Perfect Rice Pilaf

This perfect rice pilaf is easy to make and turns out perfect every time! It’s so simple and flavorful, you’ll crave it at least once a week!

I’ve officially mastered making rice from scratch (instead of using a box mix)! For more perfect rice recipes, try my Spanish Rice and Cilantro Lime Rice.

Perfect Rice Pilaf in a serving dish with a spoon

The Most Perfect No-Fail Rice

Hey friends! A little while ago, I shared a really delicious recipe for Greek Meatballs and I mentioned that I served them with homemade rice pilaf. This is THE recipe!

If you’ve made pilaf before and it’s flopped, I’m sorry. That’s frustrating, and trust me, I’ve been there (rice and I have not always been the best of friends). I can assure you that this recipe will not disappoint.

It’s fresh, flavorful and fluffy. No mushy rice here.

We make it a few times a month and our family devours it. You’ll definitely want to keep this recipe handy.

Homemade rice pilaf in a skillet

How to Make Rice Pilaf

SIMMER. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add some chicken broth, butter, salt, garlic powder, pepper, paprika, and onion powder. Once the mixture starts to simmer, reduce to low heat.

You’ll leave this on the stovetop while you brown the pasta and rice. (P.S. see the NOTES below if you’d rather microwave it.)

BROWN. Next, in a large skillet set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the vermicelli (or orzo) and cook until brown, about 4-6 minutes. Add the rice and cook until it turns bright white, about 5-7 minutes.

COMBINE. Pour the warm broth mixture into the skillet and stir to combine.

COOK. Once the mixture simmers, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, add some fresh chopped parsley, cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed.

SERVE it up piping hot with just about anything. We love making this as a side for pork chops, chicken or meatballs. Here are some of our favorite dishes to pair it with:

Variations

Try these variations or additions:

  • Peas and carrots
  • Chopped peppers
  • Sauteed mushrooms 
  • Nuts 
  • Saffron 
  • Orange zest
  • Replace the orzo for fideo

If you want to use your instant pot, we actually have an instant pot version of this recipe here!

How to make rice pilaf in a skilletStorage Tips

Keep leftovers STORED in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. REHEAT leftovers in the fridge until warmed through.

To FREEZE, Let rice cool completely and place into freezer safe and airtight bags. Keep it for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave, stirring occasionally.

Rice pilaf recipe in a bowl with a spoon

For even more lovely rice recipes, try:

 

Perfect Rice Pilaf | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Perfect Rice Pilaf Recipe

This perfect rice pilaf is easy to make and turns out perfect every time! It's so simple and flavorful, you'll crave it at least once a week!
4.7 from 83 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 293kcal
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Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • pinch onion powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup vermiceilli - OR orzo
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley - chopped

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the chicken broth, butter, salt, garlic powder, pepper, paprika, and onion powder. Once the mixture starts to simmer, reduce to low heat.
  • In a large skillet set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the vermicelli and cook until brown, about 4-6 minutes. Add the rice and cook until it turns bright white, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Pour the warm broth mixture into the skillet, stir to combine. Once the mixture simmers, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, add the parsley, cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed. Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

-You can also microwave the chicken broth mixture in a microwave-safe bowl for 2 minutes on high right before pouring it into the rice.
-You can cut back the butter to 3 tbsp. without it becoming sticky.

Nutrition

Serving: 6g | Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

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About the Author

Natalie

Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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Comments:

      1. I want to thank you. I’ve been with my guy for over three years now and no matter what I did I would never get his mother’s approval in the kitchen. Today I did. She absolutely loved the rice pilaf. It really made my day. Thank you so much. This really means a butt load to me.

  1. I am making your recipe again for the second time because it was so easy and so delicious!! Thank you ?

  2. I have made this three times, and we LOVE it. I like the orzo also, but vermicelli is just broken up angel hair pasta. I like the orzo because it presents better in the recipe. Pasta is uneven when broken up.

    Thank you for sharing this. It is my go to recipe now.

    1. I use Fideo in my pilaf.  Barilla has it.  All it is is spaghetti cut up in small pieces.  I also use Fideo in chicken noodle soup.

        1. For long grain white rice, it will look slightly translucent as it cooks, then it will turn bright white (like a piece of paper). Hope that helps!

    1. 5 stars
      I totally just did. It was perfect. I used sliced toasted almonds and pistachios on top. O.M.G.

  3. Hi,
    Can you use long grain brown rice for the white? I am not a professional cook how much water and time would I need to use long grain white rice?

    1. I made this with brown rice & orzo and it turned out great! I cooked it for 20 min and then ended up adding water and cooking for another 25 min. So, in the beginning, you can prob just add 1 cup (approx) of water to the recipe and cook for 40-45min.

  4. Question? I made Mexican rice using long grain white rice and was instructed to wash my rice first so I’m wondering why I’m not instructed to wash my rice first for this recipe? Just curious because I’ll be using the same rice for this recipe. I love rice pilaf 

    1. Hi Vicki, you don’t have to rinse for this particular recipe, but you can if you want to get rid of any extra starch.

  5. Can this be baked in the oven? Would like to cook this for my mother’s 70th birthday party for 60 people. When cooking rice for this many people I find that baking with parboil rice is best. What Do You think?

    1. I made the recipe with parboiled rice . I find it healthier and the rice rises very well! I have never tried the oven. Just know that the step where the rice is sopose to turn “bright white” it will actually turn “bright orange”. 

    1. I have! I’ve actually reduced the butter to 1/4 c. (or a half stick) just because it was all we had on hand and it worked just fine.

  6. Not gonna lie – I was skeptical because I thought, “Man, that’s a lot of butter and a lot of broth!”

    BUT. It turned out delicious. I used vermicelli (broke a bunch of angel hair into small pieces). I liked it so much I pre-mixed the seasonings in a little jar to have on-hand. I’ve been trying to put together a collection of side dish recipes so I don’t have to rely on the boxed stuff, so I’m really pleased to have this recipe for a side dish. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. KG- The formula for rice traditionally is a 2:1 ratio, liquid:rice. Therefore 1 cup of rice + 1/3 cup of orzo/vermicelli = 1 & 1/3 cups of rice which would call for 2 & 2/3 cups of chicken broth. This is the basics, thus this recipe does not call for too much broth in fact it’s text cook basic cooking my friend.

  7. Making this for the third time right now – it’s AMAZING! My only question is how to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

    1. I just made this recipe, but what I did instead of cooking on the stove. I put all the liquid ingredients in my rice cooker and let it get hot, mean while sauteeing the orzo and rice in a skillet following directions and then added it to the chicken broth and other ingredients in rice cooker! Turned out excellent. Also I added a little sauteed onion and mushrooms for added flavor! Loved it!!

  8. Hi Natalie!! Thank you so much for this simple, delicious recipe!! I used orzo, and the only modification was that I added some fresh chives on top along with the parsley. This will be my go-to side dish now, thanks again!! ?

  9. Hi want to make this for a group of about 15 people. Can I make it before – do you think it will taste the same? Looks good…Please let me know. Thanks.

    1. 5 stars
      This recipe was fantastic! Easy to follow and super tasty.
      I admit to being pleased that I read the comments section before attempting this, because in New Zealand, the only vermicelli you see in shops is the Asian rice noodles. I was so confused reading the ingredients and trying to picture browning the noodle. The comments section cleared that up for me nicely.
      Many thanks!

  10. I made this last night as a side for chicken fajitas. My husband and I thought it was delicious. We’ve been married almost 40 years and he still doesn’t like to wander too far from what he grew up on. His mother was from the mountain and about every meal was meat and potatoes. So this rice recipe is something I can add to my list of things I can make that I know he likes. Thank you.

    1. I’d probably suggest microwave, although you could do the fried rice method on the stovetop. Non-stick skillet, medium-high heat, 3-4 minutes.

  11. As a child and young adult, I ate a lot of Rice-A-Roni.   This is an amazing substitute.   All the flavor without all the preservatives and high sodium. I use vermicelli and just break it into small pieces by hand.  We love it.   I make it at least 3 times a month.  Love it.  

  12. I have used boxed rice pilaf for years and didn’t have any for dinner last night. Made this recipe and my family loved it! Will never go back! I always have the ingredients in my pantry so I never have to be without it again! THANK YOU!

    1. I’ve never tried with minute rice or egg noodles. It would definitely change the cook time. I’m also not sure how much liquid would be required. Please let me know if you give it a try!

  13. Can I use Jasmine Rice (not long grain)? I’m very eager to use this recipe, and I have a LOT of Jasmine Rice in my pantry right now

    1. That’s what I use to make this recipe and I have never had a problem with it; just decrease the cooking time. Hope this helps.

  14. I had rice pilaf at a seafood restaurant and it had raisins in it. I had to inform them there are no raisins in rice pilaf. Likewise there is no garlic in rice pilaf. Garlic is a crutch of young chefs today. They tend to put garlic in everything. No chef worth her or his salt uses garlic.

    1. I totally agree with you about the raisins, unless it’s a Moroccan dish 🙂 Garlic however, is something our family really enjoys (especially coming from Italian heritage), you can skip it if you’d like.

    2. “No chef worth her or his salt uses garlic.” bwahahaha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks for the hearty laugh!

    3. A gobsmaking show of ignorance!

      Our word for Pilaf came from the Persian “Pilāv”. Ancient Persian Pilāv was a very popular dish, seasoned with anything from bits of Lamb or Venison, to Pistachios, Herbs, whole Spices (such as Saffron) or dried fruits like Raisins, Dates or Figs.
      And your comment about garlic? Not worthy of a reply!

    4. 5 stars
      The ORIGINAL pilaf (plov in the Caucasus mountains, where its a national dish) recipe calls for raisins. Your comment is incredibly ignorant.

  15. orzo is called risoni in Australia i used risoni and regular medium grain rice we don’t get sticks of butter so i calculated how many grams for a ⅓ cup of butter and also broth is called stock i know different cooking language lol i added toasted slivered almonds as that’s what i grew up with but mother always put raisins in i didn’t as i wanted a flavourful savoury dish i had it as a side to beef kofta and the next night a side to pork sticky honey glazed ribs thank you for this recipe so flavourful and just delicious i can even eat it on it’s own by adding seasoned beef or chicken at the end i live alone and i love dishes like this that i always have leftovers to freeze…… love from Australia Persephone

  16. Oh my gosh!  I have used every rice pilaf recipe on the net. Nothing panned out until this one. Thank you very much!  I did tweek . it a bit but it remains essentially yours. Here is what I did:  I used homemade chicken stock (always worthwhile), and added 1 chopped mushroom and 4 chopped small green onions, about a teaspoon each of roasted garlic, thyme, basil, and oregano plus a quarter teaspoon of Penzey’s Turkish spice blend and a pinch of turmeric.  I didn’t have any long grain white rice so I added two tablespoons of wild rice and two tablespoons on long grain brown rice to the orzo with a little butter and olive oil. Once browned I added short grained white rice, cooked as suggested in my cast iron skillet and added that to the broth. I’m making this sound complicated but it wasn’t bi had to cook it a little longer due to the wild rice but it really was wonderful. Just my thoughts and thanks again. 
     

     

  17. Will it be just as good with vegetable broth? I would prefer the chicken but son is a vegetarian. Might other or more spiced be used for more flavor ?

    1. Hi Mary. I’ve found that vegetable broth has a very strong taste, so I’d suggest using half broth and half water. You can definitely up the spices a tad bit (maybe use “a heaping” vs.a flat measurement).

  18. My go-to recipe. THANK YOU! I use regular chicken broth and salted butter and omit extra salt. So perfect. Much better than something from a box that you have no idea what extra unwanted ingredients are in there. 

  19. Made this for my husband. I omitted the orzo because we are wheat free and simply subbed in 1/3 cup rice. Did this remainder as described. Delicious! Will be teaching him to make it too.

    1. I have it in my instant pot now , I did the saute button for the stock , butter and spice . once the rice was ready from the stove I dumped it in and hit the rice button ,,, never buy boxed again , I also added peas at the end

    2. 5 stars
      Hi Natalie.. I, like many others, ate a lot of Rice-a-Roni growing up. But this is just great!! Much more flavorful and you can mix up the seasonings if desired. I use the orzo, I just like it better.. Natalie, thanks for the great recipe!! 👍

  20. As for the comment about rinsing the rice… people often do this to rinse off arsenic, and talc … especially if the rice is imported. As for the comment about vermicelli being the same as angel hair…, that is incorrect.. angel hair and vermicelli is VERY different… however you can probably use and pasta that takes about 15-20 mins to cook. I make this receipe with carrots and peas added and no butter.,, it turns out great!!!!  

  21. Made it with chicken and liked the flavour. Way too much butter though. Not even sure any idea needed. Left it feeling greasy. Sure it was buttery but not needed. Making again tonight with no butter!

  22. Thanks so much for sharing, this was easy and delish!  I substituted brown rice and used orzo.  I also used a tablespoon of light olive oli with a tablespoon of butter to brown the almonds and orzo, did not add any additional butter.  The end result was great and will use this recipe as a go to side dish.  This is versatile and I can see using , mushrooms, chives , scallions and even dried cranberries  as some different additions.

  23. This was so easy and delicious. I was looking for a non-salad vegetable recipe for a Scout potluck that would go with the fried chicken the troop provides. I did a run-through tonight. The son gave it a thumbs up, so it’s a go. Thank you!

  24. Perfect directions and perfect outcome. Looks delicious, IS delicious AND easy to make. I substituted thin spaghetti (snapped off in small pieces) as I didn’t have the orzo or the vermicelli and it worked great. Many rice recipes are too salty but the seasoning in this recipe was just right. (I did use the low sodium chicken broth). I can see that i’ll be experimenting and adding some of the other ingredients others have tried but making it as the recipe directs is outstanding. My husband said “best rice dish you’ve found so far!” Thank you!

  25. We have found our “forever Rice pilaf” recipe! Seriously, I’ve made it twice now and it has come out perfectly each time! Seasoned perfectly. Truly, will never search for another because this is it! ?

  26. Hi there, this is probably a very silly question. I’m new to cooking, so I’m wondering should the orzo be cooked ahead of time, before the browning?  Or am I browning the uncooked orzo?  Sorry! And thank you! ^.^’

  27. I would like to try this recipe, for Easter. IHow much would I make for 30 people? And how should I keep this warm at there house ? Have you ever done this in a crock pot ?

  28. This sounds sooo good! I’d love to be able to make my own and skip buying another box every trip to Trader Joe’s! I do have a question though. Could I substitute cous cous for the orzo? I don’t have much experience with either, but I have some cous cous in my pantry, so I wondered. Otherwise, tonight I’ll probably use what’s sure to be my last box from TJs!

    1. Cous cous would get mushy with that amount of time. You could easily skip it and just add an extra tablespoon of rice.

  29. i’m not that great at cooking rice. Always seems to stick on the bottom of the pan for me. But, this recipe was so easy, tasty and totally perfect! it’s a keeper in this house for sure!

  30. Making tonight and I can’t wait!!!! I will be doubling recipe….silly question…..will I need to double the olive oil to 4 Tablespoons or keep it at 2 Tablespoons? Thank you.

  31. Made this tonight. OMG it was delicious!!! So moorish….I was scooping up all the last bits in the pan to eat lol! Will definitely make again, it was super easy to make. 

  32. I found this recipe this year on New Years day and have been making it just about every week since then! Delicious!!

  33. Recipe sounds great! Can I make it just with the rice,no orzo or vermicelli? Would the procedure be the same? Thanks for sharing

  34. Wonderful recipe. We are getting away from processed foods. And rice a roni was my favorite go to. Hands down this tastes so much better. I can control the salt!! I used my own chicken broth that i save in freezer in ice cube form. I did use about two pinches of chicken base which is salty. I used jasmine rice and angle hair. Have leftovers and will stir some shrimp and bell peppers to make a whole meal again. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thank you!!!!

  35. Made this for dinner tonight. OMG, so good! The kids told me to never buy the boxed stuff again. Super easy recipe too! Thank you!

  36. Absolutely Delicious!!! Even my picky teen loves it! I have made this a few times already and it gets better every time!! 

  37. Number one-there is no such thing as ‘too much garlic’. Number two-rice pilaf is a little bland for my taste so I have to kick it up a notch by adding mushrooms, onions, celery and diced carrots to the pan when I am sautéing the rice. I also match the broth I use to the meat I am cooking, beef with beef, etc. I also use wild rice in mine. Actually you can make this a lot of different ways to suit your taste. Yours is a good basic recipe, thanks. 

  38. Love, love, love. I use your less butter and microwave options. Absolutely brilliant. I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve made it.

  39. Natalie, can I make this rice pilaf for a larger group ahead a few hours and keep it in a warm oven, or will it get sticky and not be as good?

    1. Yes, I’d suggest keeping it on a pretty low temp though. Another option is making it ahead of time (even a day or two, and reheating it on the stovetop or in the microwave) later- it tastes just as good!

  40. Absolutely Love this recipe ! , I add saute’d onions and toasted sliced Almonds . It’s the best rice recipe Ive ever used . Real butter works much better than margarine in this recipe , it’s my go to and my family begs me to make it .

  41. This is the best and easiest rice pilaf *ever*! I use the vermicelli because I can find it in grocery stores here in Memphis, and, boy, is that a game changer. Planning on pairing it with the rotisserie style chicken I cooked in my instant pot last night tonight, but I’ve paired it with salmon and spinach previously, and been delighted.

  42. I stumbled upon this recipe days ago and have already made it twice! It’s so good. I could eat this everyday. The first time, I followed recipe to the T. Second time, I reduced butter, it was noticeable, bc that extra butter is soooo good, but less greasy. I love this pilaf recipe, thank you so much. Now I can make buttery pilaf whenever the craving hits! It’s so easy too. You can serve with anything! I like to go the Mediterranean route. I made this w/ authentic Greek white parboiled long grain rice and vermicelli (also Greek) and served w/ beef kofta kebabs and a tomato-cuke-parsley salad. Deeelish!

  43. I have made this recipe at least 4 times now or more. My husband and I LOVE it! It’s our favorite rice recipe! And you’re right we do crave it at least once a week! It’s life changing!  

  44. Delicious recipe!  I used gluten free spaghetti with the rice and it came out perfect.  Note:  I did pour the liquid into the rice/spaghetti mixture and cooked it on low for 30 minutes.  

  45. I made this recipe for the fourth time this evening on request from my family! I’ve just started getting interested in cooking and your rice pilaf recipe has gotten the best reviews from the folks of anything I’ve tried.

    Do you know how many calories are in a serving?

    1. Hi Steve, unfortunately I don’t calculate the nutritional value of my recipes, mainly because it can vary depending on specific ingredients/brands used.

  46. I’m not a very good cook. I’ll admit it. But I made this tonight, topped it with grilled spicy shrimp, and it was freakin’ amazing. This rice is truly unscrewupable. It will be on our menu rotation often. Thank you so much for making me look like a pro!

  47. I have always wanted to make rice pilaf. And years ago just bought the box kind. Was thrilled to get this recipe and now I am making my own from scratch. What I did was heated all the ingredients for the broth contents in a rice cooker, while it was heating up, I sauteed both the orzo, and rice, then added those into the rice cooker and let it finish off cooking! I also later after rice was done, added sauteed mushrooms and a little bit of diced onion. Turned out Excellant and no,burning or sticking to bottom of a pan. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I will be making it again!

  48. I have made this recipe many time. I add cooked cubed chicken and extra 1/2 cup water the last 10 min. It is YUMMY good. Love your recipe.

  49. 5 stars
    I made this a couple of weeks ago and it came out perfect! I am making it again tonight for Christmas dinner. I will never go back to the “Box” stuff again. So delisious and easy.

  50. 5 stars
    I had 2 cups of cooked jasmine rice left over from another meal & saw your rice pilaf recipe. I adjusted the recipe by cooking the orzo in the hot oil in the skillet for about 3 minutes as directed, then stirred in the cooked rice for another minute or so. I added the broth to the skillet (only used 3 TBS of butter & 2 cups of chicken stock since the rice was already cooked) & simmered until the broth was reduced. It was wonderful! So if anyone has any leftover cooked rice, the recipe with this variation works well – the texture of softer rice & crunchy orzo was amazing.

  51. 5 stars
    I love this recipe so much I make this spice mix in a large batch and keep it in a mason jar in the cupboard so it’s always ready to go whether I make rice pilaf or a quick rice. It’s delicious! My modification: I only use about 1 TBS of butter so I add an extra 1/3 cup of water. 

  52. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful recipe. I didn’t change a thing. So delicious. I printed it out before and then lost it. Took forever for me to find it again.

  53. 5 stars
    This is my go-to rice side dish now, I make it with orzo and everyone loves it! Especially with Greek chicken and salad. Thanks for the great find!

    1. I’m so glad it’s become a go-to rice side dish for you! It’s definitely one of mine too! Orzo sounds like a great variation. Thanks for sharing what you do!

  54. 5 stars
    This is the best rice pilaf I have ever had. I have made this twice in a few weeks. I chopped up 1 cup of mushrooms and added to skillet once the rice and orzo had finished sautéing . Then I added the broth. Delicious!!

  55. 5 stars
    Made recipe as directed, but based on the author’s comment I reduced the butter to 1/4 c.
    I found this adjustment and all other ingredient amounts listed in the recipe to be perfect. The pilaf turned out absolutely perfectly.
    After the 15 minute simmer time I added the parsley, but found it was not necessary to simmer any longer. All the broth had been absorbed.
    The flavor is delicious!

  56. 5 stars
    This is a wonderfully easy and tasty recipe. I stopped buying boxed rice pilaf because it pales in comparison. My family loves it!

  57. 5 stars
    Hi there, my family loves this recipe. Have you ever tried doing it in the oven? I am cooking for a youth mountain bike team racing Nationals this next week and will be in a rental house in CO so not sure what they have. Curious if I can do it in a roasting pan for a large group. I have done it in elect skillets before but I don’t want to schlep them on the trip. Thanks for your insight.

    1. You should be fine if you add everything to a baking dish, cover and bake at 375° until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Good luck!

  58. 5 stars
    OMG this was sooooo good. 3 of us polished the whole thing off. Compliments from everyone on how good it was! Might try reducing the butter and oil a bit though. Thanks for posting such a great recipe.

  59. 5 stars
    I confess that I rarely make any recipe exactly as written, but this one is perfect as is! I usually use the orzo, but I’ve found that angel hair pasta works also.

  60. 5 stars
    This reminded me of when my mom used to make Rice-A-Roni when I was a kid, but in a very good way! It was really easy and we finished the entire pot-oops!!

  61. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Made it last night as a side dish with salmon and fresh tomatoes. I sent a picture of it all to my daughter who’s away at college. She said she’d love to be able to eat that right now! 🙂