Infuse your kitchen with enticing aromas and elegant flavors this holiday season. With fragrant bases, layers of depth, and fluffy rice–pilaf is perfect for home chefs looking for a crowd-pleasing dish. Rice Select® is here to inspire you to bring holiday cheer into your home and create unforgettable meals. Whether you're seeking a comforting side dish to accompany your holiday feast or a centerpiece to steal the show, festive and flavorful rice pilafs are sure to impress you and your guests. Alternatively, they’re a wonderfully comforting dish for a simple family dinner!

Rice Pilaf - What is it?

Rice pilaf is an exquisite dish and cooking method that is enjoyed in many forms around the globe. It has Persian origins, but cultural influences have given rise to variations such as 'pelau' in the Caribbean and 'pulav' in India.

The common thread that binds these international renditions together lies in the preparation. Rice pilaf is built upon aromatics, like onion, then simmered in a cooking liquid, such as chicken or vegetable broth, to result in flavorful and fluffy individual grains that don’t stick together.

How to Make Rice Pilaf

Pilaf, or any variation of it, all begin by frying chopped onions in butter or oil–with the optional addition of other aromatics such as garlic, shallot, and fennel. You can experiment with flavors and ingredients to ensure dishes are made perfectly to your liking! Be sure to sautée until fragrant. The rice is then added to the dish and stirred until coated. Next, add your cooking liquid, cover with a lid, and lower the heat to a simmer. After about 15 minutes, remove from heat and allow it to rest before fluffing with a fork. This process ensures exquisitely flavorful rice, as the ingredients infuse the pilaf with depth and richness.

Our recipe for Royal Blend® Rice Pilaf is a testament to the delicious versatility of rice dishes. The rice is cooked with onion and chicken broth and offers a seasonal touch with the infusion of earthy sage.

You can take it to the next level with Forbidden Rice and Greens Pilaf. This dish has wonderful depth–beginning with chilies, onion, leek, and garlic and then elevated by RiceSelect® Premium Black Rice, broth, fresh vegetables, and zesty lime.

Cooking Tips

  • Before cooking, be sure to rinse the rice until the water runs clear.

  • Measure your ingredients accurately to ensure the ideal rice-to-liquid ratio. For fluffier rice, you can slightly reduce the recommended amount of liquid.

  • Remember not to lift the lid or stir while cooking. Patience is key in allowing the rice to absorb the liquid gradually to result in perfectly cooked grains that don’t clump together.

  • Let the rice rest, covered, after cooking for a short while to ensure the perfect bite.

Is Rice Pilaf Gluten Free?

Pilaf can be made with different rice varieties, using long-grain for best results. Here at Rice Select®, there are several Certified Gluten Free and high-quality options.

Try any of the following premium, Certified Gluten Free varieties for your next rice pilaf:

  • Royal Blend® Rice: This multi-grain mix features Texmati® white, brown, wild, and red rice for a unique blend with sophisticated aroma and texture.

  • Jasmati® White Rice: This American-style hybrid of jasmine and basmati rice offers an exquisite aroma, texture, and subtle yet elegant flavor. If you prefer brown rice, try Jasmati® Brown Rice.

  • Texmati® White Rice: A unique hybrid of long-grain white rice and basmati, this rice offers a nutty flavor and aroma akin to freshly popped popcorn. Similarly, try our Texmati® Brown Rice.

  • Black Rice: This is a premium option which brings sweet, nutty flavors and a unique texture to dishes.

Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown rice, with its nutty flavor and hearty texture, adds a layer of depth to the classic pilaf, making it a perfect canvas for a myriad of flavors and ingredients. This rice variety introduces a distinct earthiness to dishes’ overall flavor profile that is perfect for your holiday table.

Envision perfectly cooked and fluffy brown rice, delicately infused with a flavorful broth, adorned with the umami richness of mushrooms, and completed with a burst of zesty lemon. You are picturing our Brown Rice and Shiitake Pilaf Recipe–a vegetarian delicacy that is as comforting as it is elegant.

Rice Pilaf Recipes with Seasonal Ingredients

Pilafs are highly conducive to seasonal customizations, offering endless possibilities. Highlight the cozy flavors of the holiday season with flavors such as cranberry, apple, pecan, walnut, nutmeg, and clove.

Our Cranberry Pecan Rice Pilaf Recipe and Apple Cranberry Pecan Rice Pilaf Recipe embody this time of year and are perfect for a holiday meal. These warm and inviting dishes promise a symphony of flavors, textures, and aromas.

A creamy and kid-friendly Royal Broccoli Cheese Rice Pilaf is sure to be a comforting meal during the cooler months. The rich cheese sauce adds a luxurious texture that will impress even the pickiest of eaters.

For more holiday recipe inspiration, check out our recent blog post on the subject. You’ll find plenty of ideas to make this holiday season an extra special one in the kitchen.