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!

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Yield: 6 servings

Baked Rice Pilaf

A light side dish that is perfect with just about anything!


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


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • In a 10-inch skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Calories: 254kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 218mg, Potassium: 164mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 117IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

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