This quick and easy one pot rice pilaf with carrots is what your weeknight dinners have been missing. Plain long grain rice is elevated with so much flavour with sautéed carrots, onion, garlic, and herbs, and cooked in flavourful stock. This fresh and fluffy pilaf takes just 10 minutes to prep and you can even cook it faster in your rice cooker or instant pot.
What is a Rice Pilaf?
A pilaf is a rice dish that is cooked in a stock with added vegetables, spices, herbs, and sometimes meat. It is found in many cuisines around the world but originated in ancient Persia, as referenced in one of the stories of Alexander the Great. This dish has been a favourite of mine growing up. Here is what you will need to make rice pilaf:
- long grain Basmati rice
- olive oil
- fresh dill
- vegetable stock - you can also use chicken stock.
- Italian seasoning - optional, but adds extra flavour.
- potatoes - adding potatoes on top absorbs all the delicious flavour of the rice and stock. This is completely optional but highly recommended.
- parsley - added on top for garnish and extra flavour.
How to Make the Best Rice Pilaf with Carrots (Three Ways)
- Prepare rice. Place the rice in a large bowl and rinse 3 to 4 times with cold running water to wash off extra starch from the rice. You can also pre-soak rice in water for 30 minutes.
- Sauté vegetables. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or cooking pot over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add onion, carrot, garlic and dill. Sauté for 3 minutes until you start to smell the aroma from the herbs.
- Add rice. Drain the rice in a strainer and add it in the Dutch oven or pot. Stir well to combine rice with vegetables and herbs. Add vegetable stock, Italian seasoning and salt. Mix and bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes. Add halved potatoes on top and coat with the stock to allow them to soak in the wonderful flavour.
- Simmer. Turn heat down to low and cover. Wrap the inside of the pot lid with a clean dish towel to help absorb the steam inside the pot, otherwise your rice will be mushy. Simmer for 30 minutes, until rice cooked and water is all absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve. Gently fluff the rice and add chopped parsley on top. Transfer the rice onto a plate and serve.
How to Cook Rice Pilaf in the Rice Cooker
You can cook this pilaf in a rice cooker. Simply prepare and cook the ingredients in a skillet and then transfer to the rice cooker. Add the rice and stock and mix together to combine. Add potatoes (if using). Then turn on the rice cooker and cook the way you normally cook rice in the rice cooker.
How to Cook Rice Pilaf in the Instant Pot
You can cook this pilaf in an instant pot. Use the sauté feature on the instant pot to cook the vegetables and herbs. Then, stir in rice and remaining ingredients. Lock the lid and seal. Cook on your "rice" setting. Let it release naturally for 10 minutes after, and then release any remaining pressure.
Tips for Making Rice Pilaf
- Pre-soak the rice. Pre-soaking the rice for at least 30 minutes before cooking helps the rice cook faster and also creates a better texture.
- Use a dish towel. Wrap the inside of the pot lid with a clean towel and bring before covering it to simmer. This helps to absorb the steam inside the pot. Otherwise, you will end up overcooking the rice with a mushy texture.
- How to serve rice pilaf. Serve rice pilaf with a side of grilled meat. My favourites are Greek lamb souvlaki skewers or Persian saffron chicken skewers (jujeh kabob).
More Rice Recipes
- One Pot Spanish Chicken and Rice
- Easy Coconut Rice
- 10-Minute Vegetarian Fried Rice
- Basmati Rice with Saffron
- 10-Minute Seafood Fried Rice
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.