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Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo

5 from 1 vote

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An easy homemade Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo for a quick dinner idea. A versatile side dish recipe with some pasta and herbs.
Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo in a pot on a counter.

This Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo is a delicious and easy side dish recipe that is versatile for so many dinner ideas. Fluffy rice is flavored with simple herbs and butter for a simple side dish. Fast and easy to make, and a great budget friendly recipe.

Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo in a pot on a counter.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Tire of overpaying for groceries? This Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo is an amazing side dish recipe that is perfect to serve up with so many dinner ideas!

Easy to make with a handful ingredients you already have on hand, this homemade rice is a versatile flavor profile that everyone will love.

An easy side dish for any main dish, you will love how simple and flexible this orzo rice recipe is while still being packed with flavor.


Full quantities and recipe details can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Homemade rice pilaf only needs a handful of ingredients. Let’s talk about what you need to make this easy rice pilaf recipe!

Long Grain White Rice – a white plain rice is perfect here but you can also swap for jasmine rice, basmati rice, or brown rice as desired. Adjust liquid ratios and cook time as desired based on that rice type.

Orzo Pasta – a classic in rice pilaf! A rice-shaped pasta that is typical in many boxed version. You could also use vermicelli pasta which is really just angel hair broken up into pieces. Or you can skip it and replace it with the same amount of additional rice.

Vegetable Broth – (or vegetable stock). You can also use chicken broth (or chicken stock) if preferred. Broth is better than water because it is going to bring a lot of the flavor to the rice.

Yellow Onion

Butter – I prefer to use butter instead of olive oil for the flavor that it brings. You can use olive oil instead if preferred.

Garlic Powder

Fresh Parsley – I love fresh parsley in this rice when I have it. You can also use 1 teaspoon of dried parsley instead and just add it at the same time as the stock. You could also use any fresh herbs as desired.


A portion of Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo on a white plate.

Instruction Overview

It is very easy to make this toasted orzo rice pilaf recipe! First toast the rice and pasta until lightly golden brown in a small or medium pot over medium heat with some unsalted butter. This will give you a great nutty flavor and a perfect texture!

Then add the dried seasonings. Add the broth to the toasted orzo and rice, and bring to a simmer or light boil.

Cover and reduce heat to a simmer over low heat. Cook for approximately 15-17 minutes. Cook time varies based on the age of the rice and your altitude/humidity.

When done cooking rice, remove from the heat.

Let the rice rest with the lid still on to steam for 10 minutes. This is a great way to get fluffy rice.

Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and test for any seasoning adjustments. If your rice still feels too hard, you can add a splash of water and add a few minutes more cooking time over low heat.

Add the fresh herbs and mix to combine.

Serve immediately with your favorite meal!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This rice is best when eaten within 3-4 days.

Looking down on Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo in a pot.

Kim’s Tips

A fun addition would be toasted pine nuts for some texture and crunch added on top! You could also add some Parmesan cheese or golden raisins. I also love to add green onions on top!

Homemade rice pilaf is full of flavor while also being neutral flavors. It is very versatile to use with so many main courses and meals as a simple side dish.


Does rice pilaf contain orzo?

Rice pilaf is not required to contain orzo, or any pasta. But it is very common in the boxed version from grocery stores for orzo pasta to be included.

What makes rice pilaf different?

Rice pilaf is a cooking style where the rice is toasted in a fat, such as butter, before being cooked in a liquid.

Why is my rice pilaf mushy?

A mushy rice or pasta can happen when there is too much liquid and the starch is overcooked, releasing excess starch.

Does orzo taste like rice?

Orzo is shaped like rice, but is a pasta. So it tastes like pasta.
Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo in a silver pot on a counter.
Pin for Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo in a pot with title.

Main Course Recipe Ideas

Main Courses for Neutral Sides

Here are a few main course recipes that would be great options to serve up with this one!

Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo in a pot on a counter.

Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo

An easy homemade Herbed Rice Pilaf with Orzo for a quick dinner idea. A versatile side dish recipe with some pasta and herbs.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: International
Keyword: 30 Min or Less, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings (approximately 2.5 cups total)
Calories: 168kcal



  • Heat a medium pot on the stove over medium heat.
  • Add the butter and melt.
    2 Tablespoons butter
  • Add onion and cook until just translucent, approximately 1 minute.
    ¼ cup yellow onion
  • Add the rice and raw orzo. Stir to coat and toast slightly, approximately 2 minutes.
    ¾ cup white rice, 2 Tablespoons orzo pasta
  • Add the stock, salt, and garlic powder. Stir. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
    1 ½ cups vegetable stock, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • When boiling, reduce heat to low (simmer) and cover the pot.
  • Cook until the rice has absorbed the liquid, approximately 15-17 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, still covered, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork. Add the fresh parsley and mix to combine.
    1 ½ Tablespoons fresh parsley


I normally add more salt than this, but the salt in stock varies greatly and it is better to under salt at first than oversalt. Make sure you season to taste as desired when done with salt and parsley.
Do not have or want to use orzo? Replace the orzo with the same amount of additional rice.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 509mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 327IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.5mg
By on June 13th, 2024

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

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