Basmati Rice Pilaf

This easy rice pilaf recipe takes things to the next level with basmati rice. We hope you'll add this classic dish to your repertoire. It's a perfect side dish or bed for a wide variety of meals. We love it with seared scallops.


Basmati rice is just as easy to prepare as plain white rice, but its flavor and aroma elevate this simple dish to next-level status.

The case for rice pilaf

Some recipes are so basic, so versatile, so good that every cook should know them. There's that pesky "should," I know. But I feel pretty strongly about this. Rice pilaf is one of those recipes. And basmati rice pilaf is pilaf's best version of itself.

Rice pilaf woke up on the right side of the bed this morning. And if you're new to this side dish and ready to learn a simple, easy recipe, then so did you.

Psst: speaking of beds, maybe you'll try this as a bed for seared scallops with chorizo. Just sayin. 

How to make rice pilaf

A few keys to a good pilaf: flavor, flavor, flavor. You don't want to overwhelm, but you definitely don't want to bore. Use good butter (I love Kerrygold salted butter like I love my children) and good stock (I almost never make my own but have a couple of boxed favorites such as this one for veg and this one for chicken). Brown the onions a little like the recipe suggests to develop the flavor. Basmati rice will speak for itself in the flavor department. And don't skimp on the salt and pepper.

I'm feeling a little bossy today I guess. Sorry not sorry. 🙂

Basmati Rice Pilaf

This is a best-self version of a classic recipe with plenty of flavor and zero complicating factors. It's a versatile side dish that I hope you'll build into your repertoire.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serves Serves 6


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper (see instructions)

To garnish (optional)

  • Minced chives
  • Chopped almonds


  1. In a wide pan with a lid (like this onethis one, or this one), melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about five minutes. While onion cooks, rinse rice in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear and shake out any excess water.
  2. Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about a minute. Add rice and stir to coat with butter, then cook, stirring once or twice, for two minutes. Pour in stock and give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then cover pan, lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until broth is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  3. Off the heat, place a clean kitchen towel between the pan and the lid to absorb excess steam and let pilaf rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and almonds if using and serve.


If you use salted butter and stock, you may not need additional salt. Just taste and adjust before serving.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 176 Total Fat:: 6.4g Carbohydrates:: 26.4g Fiber:: 1.4g Protein:: 3.3g