food stylist
Helena Picone
Hallie Burton
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Brooke Deonarine
recipe developer
Diana Andrews

Serves 4 


  • 1 cup basmati rice, about 6-1/2 oz 
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion 
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, grated, crushed, or finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • ½ cup thawed frozen petite peas, optional
There are hundreds of pilaf variations in many cultures around the world. What they all have in common is the cooking technique: rice or other grains get combined with water or broth using a method that helps the grains remain separate, light, and fluffy. In this recipe for fragrant basmati pilaf, I’ve done a few things to achieve perfect results. I rinse the rice before cooking, which removes excess starch and helps prevent the rice from becoming sticky. Then, before adding any cooking liquid, I toast the rice lightly in olive oil, butter, and aromatics, which adds tons of flavor and really ensures the grains don’t clump. At the end of cooking, I drape a dry kitchen towel over the top of the pan to absorb moisture so the pilaf is nice and fluffy every time. I also toss in a handful of peas to add a bit of texture and color to the rice, but if peas aren’t your thing, leave them out or replace them with a different chopped vegetable, nut, dried fruit, herb, or a combination. Pilaf is highly customizable and I encourage you to try whatever add-ins you crave.


Step 1
Put the rice in a medium mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water, stirring with your hands until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly. 

Step 2
Heat the oil and butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently until the grains are translucent and lightly colored, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, 1 tsp salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until the grains are plump and fluffy, and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  

Step 3
Remove from the heat, uncover, and add the peas if using. Lay a folded, clean kitchen towel over the pan and cover with the pan’s lid to hold the towel in place. Let the rice rest for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.

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