Baked Rice Pilaf

So the story goes like this: I decided to make this super fantastic baked rice pilaf along with roasted brussels sprouts and broiled tilapia for dinner last night. It’s summer and I’m “trying” to eat lighter, leaner and well… yeah.

Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe l

Now I know Pat isn’t a fan of tilapia. He’ll eat it because he’s a good guy like that but unless it has a batter, crust or some sort of seasoning to mask the fish-flavor then he’s not that excited about it like he would be if I had made let’s say meatloaf. But I really wanted a light summery meal even though the weather is feeling more like fall these days… ringing in at a chilly 62 degrees. Hence the sweater in the above photo. Brrrr.

So I saw him pull in the driveway as I was coming up our side-hill from just plucking a few newly ripened grape tomatoes. After seeing him I headed inside and topped the tilapia with the garlic, lemon butter and slid it in under the broiler. I rounded the corner coming out of the kitchen to greet him and there he was standing there with a dozen roses. I mean… you guys, we’ve been married for 13 years and I’ve been with him for 19 and the last time I got roses was well over 10 years ago. And there he was handing me a bouquet of flowers, my eyes filling up with tears and he simply said “just because”. Gah! I was a blubbering mess… totally surprised and totally happy.

Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe l

He told me he skipped lunch, got out of work early and stopped to pick the flowers up on his way home. My face literally fell… HE. SKIPPED. LUNCH. And here I was serving him fish, vegetables and rice. Not the first meal anyone would pick after not eating for 10 hours. I felt SO BAD. So I broke the news to him and offered that if he was still hungry after dinner that I’d ride into town with him so he could pick up something more filling. He quickly took me up on my offer (I mean the guy bought me roses). This in turn meant I would have leftovers and that’s always fine by me


Even though tilapia isn’t my husband’s favorite, this rice pilaf recipe is. It’s relatively simple and has to be the most versatile dish of all side dishes. Typically I serve it up with chicken, pork or may I suggest this broiled lemon garlic tilapia recipe which is what I had made for dinner last night. I do have a simple version of rice pilaf from waaaay back already on this blog. But this version is jazzed up with shallots, garlic, some optional fresh herbs and is baked to perfection in the oven.


Start by dicing up a medium shallot {about 1/4 cup}.


Smash, peel and mince up 3 medium cloves of fresh garlic.


Melt two tablespoons of unsalted butter into a medium 10-inch skillet over moderate heat.


Once melted add in the shallots…


Sauté until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.


Add in the minced garlic, stir and cook for one minute.


Add in the orzo pasta…


Give it a good stir to coat in the butter, spread it out into an even layer, crank the heat up to medium-high and toast the pasta.


Stir only a few times. Once the pasta is deeply golden, smells toasty and nutty…


Add in the long grain rice. I’ve only done this with white rice so I’m not sure if brown rice works, but if you give it a whirl be sure to holla back and I’ll add it into the recipe notes.


Give that goodness a stir…


Before pouring it into a 1-1/2 quart covered baking dish.


Combine the water and the broth…


And pour in about a cup.


I eyeball it.


Give it a good stir…


Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.


Once the time is up, pour in the remaining broth/water, season with the 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of coarse black pepper.


Stir, cover and bake for an additional 35 minutes.

Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe l

There it is! Baked rice pilaf. Crispy-crunchy sides with fluffy delicious goodness in the center. I mixed some fresh herbs in there earlier… you could do it too, but it’s totally optional. PHOTO CREDIT: one of my beautiful daughters. I’m just not sure which one because they both took turns snapping photos. They are the bestest.

Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe l

Lastly, sprinkle the baked rice pilaf with a little fresh parsley if your heart desires and for a pop of color and you’re donezo.

Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe l

Perfect rice pilaf every time.

Enjoy! And if you give this Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!

Yield: 4 servings

Baked Rice Pilaf

Baked Rice Pilaf
A light side dish that is perfect with just about anything!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (dry) orzo pasta
  • 1 cup Long grain white rice
  • 1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a 10-inch skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Sauté shallots until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high and add in orzo. Stir to coat in butter and spread evenly. Toast pasta until deeply golden, about 4 minutes. Stir and continue to toast for another 4 minutes. Add in the rice, stir and pour into a 1.5 quart covered casserole dish.
  4. Combine the broth and water and pour a cup of the liquids in with the rice and orzo. Stir, cover and bake for 25 minutes. When time is up, remove lid and pour in the remaining broth and season with salt and pepper. Stir, cover and bake for an additional 35 minutes.
  5. Add in chopped parsley and fluff with fork. Serve warm.


I added about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and a half tablespoon of chopped mint to the pot along with the salt and pepper. It adds a bright freshness to the pilaf, however it's totally optional and you can always add the herbs to the final dish.

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21 Responses to “Baked Rice Pilaf”

  1. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — July 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I love rice pilaf, but have never actually tried making my own. Going to have to try this soon – high of 68 here today, so tonight might be the night!

  2. #
    Liz@Virtually Homemade — July 30, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I love rice pilaf! with toasted orzo. i never thought of baking it!

  3. #
    Just Me — July 30, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Baking? Now why didn’t I think of that?! (smacks forehead) I’ve baked my “plain” rice for years, divided it up and froze it for later use.

  4. #
    Connie — July 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Oh, this looks yummy. Can not wait or make this. Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes and you have a fantastic blog.

  5. #
    Tracy | PeanutButter and Onion — July 31, 2014 at 9:57 am

    my hubby eats stuff he isn’t crazy about either, and sometimes I feel really guilty… gonna make this rice real soon!

  6. #
    Muna Kenny — August 1, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Rice pilaf is cooked regularly in my house since my family loves it as side dish. I wan to try your recipe, it looks amazing 🙂

  7. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — August 1, 2014 at 8:24 am

    How sweet! This pilaf recipe looks delicious. i love that the oven does most of the work.

  8. #
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea — August 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I love this way to fix rice pilaf! I never saw a recipe for it before. Where have I been? Now on to the important part of this post, the roses. That is truly magnificent. Men on the whole really don’t understand how much mileage they can get out of a bouquet of flowers—-especially roses. I am sending your husband a gold star via the ether. Smiles—–

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — August 3rd, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

      Thanks Carol! 🙂

  9. #
    Meredith — August 1, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Totally delicious and how sweet of the husband to bring you roses!

  10. #
    Rachel Cooks — August 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    LOVE the idea of baking this! Definitely gotta try it.

    And what a guy you have! Keeper!

  11. #
    Anne — August 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Seems like a great recipe. Have printed it and will try it. I live alone, and will cook this when my kids and grandkids come over. What I do with leftovers is pat it into a ramekin and plop them onto a sheet of parchment paper. Freeze them and as soon as frozen put them in a baggie. Then I can heat and serve one portion at a time. It is also something a family could do — as it saves the temptation to use prepared foods on a night when you are in a hurry.

  12. #
    Sally — August 5, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    This is very good! I have a recipe with similar ingredients but a different way of preparation. I did one thing different: before I sauteed the shallot and garlic, I sauteed a cup of sliced mushroom until most of the liquid evaporated, then added the other vegetables.

  13. #
    Lauren — August 9, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I LOVE rice pilaf! This looks and sounds great! Can’t wait to try! 🙂

  14. #
    Gretchen — August 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I made this for dinner last night and used brown rice. The only difference was the amount of broth I needed. I added 3/4 C with 10 minutes left to bake, and i worked out perfectly. Thanks for the great recipe!

  15. #
    Peter — December 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Will you marry me Laurie? I wanna eat all your recipes made by your hands 🙂

  16. #
    Christine Rabidoux — December 26, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I tried to up the nutritional value by adding brown rice in place of the white – but couldn’t get past the texture. I will try it again just as written. I too am a fan that it is a baked dish.

  17. #
    MT — February 2, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I never leave a comment for review, BUT this recipe is amazing, I added all the water /broth at once with an additional 1/4 cup of water and cayenne for heat. I have used a similar recipe for years, but the orzo really made the dish. Please, try this recipe. It is an elevated “Rice a Roni.”

    You could also add peas at the end to vary the dish…. Yum

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 17th, 2018 @ 9:53 am

      I’m so happy to hear it, MT!

  18. #
    CFB — July 29, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Sounds delicious! I want to make this to serve 20 (using a few large baking tins). Can you please advise thoughts on best to increase the measurements? Would I use the same proportions? Thx!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — August 10th, 2018 @ 9:27 am

      I haven’t tested this recipe to serve that many, but it’s my guess that you would just take the serving about and double the ingredient amounts enough times to reach the desired serving amount. Baking times may vary as well. I hope this helps!

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