21+ Delicious Rice Side Dishes

Rice is one of the most beloved grains globally, and for good reason. It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used to create a wide range of delicious side dishes. With its ability to absorb flavors and adapt to various textures, rice has become a staple in cuisines around the world.

From hearty and comforting to bold and flavorful, rice side dishes offer endless possibilities for creativity and experimentation. Whether you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan option, or something to pair with your favorite meat, there’s a rice dish out there that can satisfy your cravings.The beauty of rice lies in its ability to be molded into various flavors and textures.

Cheesy Spinach Rice

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This creamy spinach rice recipe is a game-changer, especially with the added richness of cheddar cheese (Velveeta for an extra boost of creaminess). While traditional recipes often call for instant rice, you can easily adapt it to use long grain rice varieties like brown rice or basmati rice. The combination of finely grated Romano cheese and heavy cream (or milk) creates a velvety texture with a deeply cheesy flavor that’s hard to resist. One of the best aspects of this recipe is its simplicity – it’s a one-pot meal that’s surprisingly easy to prepare. To make it, simply combine rice, water, butter, beef or chicken bouillon, and most of the seasonings in a pot, then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let it simmer until the rice is tender, then remove the lid and stir in mayonnaise, cheese, and spinach. Replace the lid and let it sit for about eight minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. The result is a dish that’s both comforting and sophisticated, thanks to the addition of minced onion, garlic, and dried parsley flakes.

Curried Rice

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Curried rice, a one-pot wonder that pairs perfectly with Indian main courses, can also be elevated to a satisfying entrée by incorporating chicken, seafood, or tofu. The simplicity of this recipe belies its versatility, as it’s just as easy to customize with various spices and ingredients. With a mere handful of essential components – including diced onion, garlic, sweet curry powder, and rice – you’re free to experiment with different types of rice, such as basmati, Jasmine, or brown rice. For added depth, consider introducing additional aromatics like ginger, coriander, paprika, cumin, or chili powder. To make this dish even more substantial, toss in some peas or carrots for added nutrients and flavor. Want to add a satisfying crunch without compromising the dish’s vegan or vegetarian integrity? Simply sprinkle in some cashews or pistachios. This curried rice recipe shines when served alongside garlic prawns or pan-fried fish.

Broccoli and Cheese Rice

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One classic side dish that pairs perfectly with chicken is the comforting broccoli and cheese rice casserole. This recipe’s versatility makes it a staple in many households, as it can be served alongside roasted or grilled chicken for a satisfying dinner. In fact, its hearty nature makes it a viable option to serve as the main course itself. For vegetarians, this dish is an excellent choice, offering a filling and flavorful meal that’s free from animal products.What sets this recipe apart is its use of fresh ingredients, unlike some broccoli and cheese rice casserole recipes that rely on canned condensed soup. This ‘from scratch’ approach allows for a more authentic flavor profile, making it a great option for those looking to avoid processed foods.The combination of shredded cheddar cheese and cream cheese adds depth and richness to the dish, while the broccoli provides a nutritious and crunchy contrast. Serve this casserole with a fresh green salad and some crusty bread for a truly comforting meal that’s sure to become a family favorite.

Mushroom Risotto

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Risotto rice is not just a staple in traditional Italian cuisine – it’s also a versatile ingredient for creating unique and flavorful side dishes. One such example is our mushroom risotto recipe, which showcases the creamy texture that Arborio rice is famous for. But what exactly makes Arborio rice so special? Grown primarily in Italy and parts of the United States, this short-grained rice has a higher starch content than other types, resulting in its signature creaminess when cooked. Not only can you use Arborio rice to make risotto, but you can also substitute it with Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice for similar results. Keep in mind that Carnaroli rice might be harder to find in the US, so online shopping may be your best bet. When it comes to mushrooms, feel free to get creative and use any combination of button, crimini, portobello, hen of the woods, shiitake, or oyster varieties. To elevate this dish, we add a medley of flavors from sautéed shallots, garlic, fresh thyme, dry white wine, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and chicken stock – all of which come together to create a truly mouthwatering mushroom risotto.

Brown Rice Apple Salad

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As we embarked on a quest for wholesome rice recipes, our search led us to an exceptional brown rice salad that quickly won our hearts. If you’ve yet to experience the joy of a rice salad, get ready for a culinary revelation! This recipe’s versatility is one of its greatest strengths – simply double or triple it to create a satisfying meal that also yields generous leftovers perfect for meal prep.

What sets this brown rice salad apart is its abundance of textures and flavors. The Granny Smith apples add a delightful tartness, while the red bell pepper contributes natural sweetness. Green onions bring a punchy freshness, complemented by the richness of cheddar cheese. A sprinkle of parsley flakes, sea salt, and black pepper rounds out the flavor profile.

To further enhance this rice salad’s character, fresh lemon juice and cider vinegar introduce a tangy depth, also lending preserving qualities that keep the dish fresh for days to come.

Black Rice

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Black rice is a game-changer for those looking for a nutritious and unique side dish. This ancient grain, also known as Forbidden Black Rice, boasts impressive credentials, including high levels of protein, minimal carbohydrates, and an extremely low calorie count compared to other rice varieties.

Turmeric Rice

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Turmeric is a culinary powerhouse that brings a trifecta of benefits to the table. Its vibrant yellow hue adds visual appeal, its aromatic flavor enhances any dish, and its numerous health advantages make it an excellent addition to many recipes. When you incorporate turmeric into your cooking, you’re guaranteed to impress your family or guests with a mouthwatering meal.

This turmeric-infused rice recipe is a great example of how the spice can elevate a simple dish into something extraordinary. The use of coconut oil, while recommended, can be substituted with olive oil for a non-saturated option.

The blend of spices, featuring dried thyme and ground cumin in addition to turmeric, adds depth and complexity to the dish. Meanwhile, the array of vegetables, including green peas, garlic, carrots, and onion, provides a satisfying filling component.

As you work with turmeric, remember that it can temporarily stain your skin, so take precautions by wearing gloves or working carefully with the spice. While the stain will eventually fade, who wants to worry about yellow fingers at a dinner party?

Cilantro Lime Rice

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Cilantro rice has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, with its popularity largely attributed to Chipotle’s inclusion of this flavorful side dish on their menu. But what if you could easily recreate this deliciousness at home? That’s exactly what we’re going to explore today. This versatile recipe is more than just a complement to your favorite Mexican dishes – it can be used as a base for a wide range of international cuisines. With its combination of aromatic garlic, pungent scallions, zesty lime, and fresh cilantro, this rice dish is sure to elevate any meal. The ingredients are straightforward: simply combine minced garlic, chopped scallions, grated lime zest, freshly squeezed lime juice, chopped cilantro, a pinch of sea salt, and a dash of red pepper flakes for added depth. This recipe’s possibilities are endless, making it the perfect addition to your culinary repertoire.

Cumin Rice

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If you’re craving a flavorful side dish to pair with Indian curries or other international dishes, look no further than this simple yet aromatic Jeera rice recipe, also known as Indian cumin rice. With its unmistakable blend of warm spices and subtle sweetness, this dish is sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire.What sets Jeera rice apart from other rice recipes is its incredible ease of preparation. In just about 10 minutes, you can have a pot of fragrant, fluffy rice ready to serve alongside your favorite curry or fajitas.To create this mouthwatering dish, you’ll need high-quality basmati rice, a few pantry staples like ghee or butter, and an assortment of spices including cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and sea salt. For added depth and heat, don’t be afraid to toss in some chopped serrano peppers.While the rice-to-water ratio for traditional cooking methods remains 1:2 (one cup of rice to two cups of water), those using Instant Pots can adjust their ratios to 1:1.75. With its adaptability and versatility, it’s no wonder Jeera rice is a popular choice for Taco Tuesday or any other day when you’re in the mood for something new and exciting.


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While other rice side dishes may have their own unique flavors, Arancini di Riso rice appetizers stand out with their rich history and addictive taste. These Sicilian-born rice balls are stuffed with a medley of ingredients like mozzarella cheese, peas, and meat sauce, making them a mouthwatering treat. In Rome, they’re known as suppli, often featuring only cheese, but regardless of the filling, these crispy fried bites are hard to resist.

The process of creating Arancini di Riso begins with a simple mixture of rice, then it’s filled with an assortment of tasty ingredients. After being dipped in egg, flour, and breadcrumbs, they’re deep-fried until golden brown. This delightful snack is commonly found at bars, pizza shops, and other establishments in Sicily and Southern Italy.

A pro tip for making Arancini di Riso: prepare them ahead of time and refrigerate before frying. This helps the filling to stick together nicely, ensuring they hold their shape when cooked.

Greek Lemon Rice

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Greek lemon rice is a delectable Mediterranean side dish that’s packed with flavor. The foundation of this recipe lies in sautéed garlic and onions, which are then simmered in chicken broth and infused with the brightness of lemons and herbs. This pilaf-style rice dish is elevated by its unique flavor profile, making it an ideal accompaniment to a variety of dishes.
What defines a pilaf? Typically, pilafs begin with the simple yet aromatic process of sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil or butter, allowing the grains of rice to absorb the rich flavors. The cooked rice is then mixed with broth, which could be chicken, beef, or vegetable-based. Greek lemon rice takes this classic approach to new heights by incorporating a generous amount of garlic, a large lemon, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley and dill. Feel free to substitute other herbs like oregano, mint leaves, or basil chives for added depth.
This versatile side dish pairs wonderfully with an array of Greek favorites, including gyros, meatballs, chicken, or Souvlaki.

Cheese Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole

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There’s something special about cooking with wild rice – it always feels like a celebration. This versatile grain pairs perfectly with a variety of meats, including beef steak, roasted chicken, lamb, ham, or even venison, making it an excellent side dish option. But what really takes this recipe to the next level is the addition of broccoli and two types of cheese, turning it into a satisfying vegetarian main course or Meatless Monday alternative.

The star of the show in this wild rice casserole is undoubtedly the combination of white cheddar and gouda cheese, which melts beautifully with the help of heavy cream. You can use either all wild rice or a blend for this recipe.

To give this dish its signature flavor, we’ve added a blend of spices including crushed red pepper flakes, fresh thyme, freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt. And to make it truly special, be sure to load it up with an abundance of vegetables – broccoli florets are just the beginning, feel free to add carrots, celery, and diced sweet onion for extra flavor and texture.

The secret to achieving that perfect balance of flavors lies in the combination of olive oil and butter. By using both, you’ll create a rich, indulgent casserole that’s sure to become a family favorite.

Southwestern Rice

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When it comes to Southwestern flavors, this rice side dish is a standout. With its rich combination of black beans, garlic, green bell pepper, diced tomatoes, yellow corn, and spices like smoked paprika and cumin, it’s easy to see why this recipe has the potential to be a main event. Whether you’re looking for a meatless Monday option or just want to add some excitement to your Mexican-inspired meal, this black bean and rice side dish delivers. And with its versatility – pair it with grilled chicken breasts, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or even use vegetable broth for a vegan twist – there’s no denying the appeal of this flavorful recipe.

Summer Squash Rice

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Looking for a one-pot rice dish packed with veggies and straightforward flavors? This summer squash and rice recipe is sure to become a family favorite. The beauty of this recipe lies in its flexibility – use a combination of zucchini and yellow squash, or stick to just one type, such as zucchini alone. Carrots bring an extra layer of flavor, nutrition, and visual appeal, while other veggies like broccoli can be easily substituted in. For a healthier take, make the swap to brown rice. This summer squash and rice dish pairs well with any entree, including beef steak, chicken, pork, or turkey, but it’s equally at home as a satisfying vegetarian meal. To keep things vegan-friendly, simply substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Rice Pilaf

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Rice pilaf is a crowd-pleasing side dish that’s surprisingly simple to prepare. By following this straightforward recipe, you’ll be rewarded with a fluffy and flavorful rice dish that’s far from mushy. To create this culinary delight, you’ll need long-grain white rice and vermicelli (or orzo). A blend of aromatic spices, including garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, sea salt, and black pepper, adds depth and zest to the dish. If you prefer a nuttier flavor, you can substitute brown rice, although you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. This versatile pilaf also freezes beautifully, allowing you to enjoy it at a later date. To freeze, simply allow the cooked rice to cool completely before portioning it into airtight bags or containers that are safe for freezer storage. Frozen rice pilaf will keep for up to three months and can be reheated in the microwave when you’re ready.

Garlic Parmesan Rice

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We adore one-pot meals for their convenience, making weeknight dinners stress-free. However, simple yet satisfying weekend recipes are always a welcome treat. This scrumptious creamy garlic parmesan rice dish is no exception – it’s a game-changer that will leave you craving more. To boost the nutritional value of this easy-to-make side dish, spinach takes center stage, while vegetable or chicken broth, along with milk and butter, ensures a rich and indulgent flavor profile. The key to this recipe’s success lies in sautéing the rice with garlic until it’s nicely coated with melted butter, resulting in an irresistible aroma that will leave your taste buds singing. A sprinkle of parmesan cheese adds depth and complexity to this dish, making it an excellent accompaniment to grilled meats like chicken, seafood, or steak. And if you’re feeling adventurous, serve it on its own as a satisfying vegetarian meal, paired with a fresh green salad and some crusty bread – the perfect solution for a quick yet satisfying dinner.

Mushroom Rice

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This earthy flavored mushroom rice is a simple yet satisfying side dish that’s perfect for any occasion. To make this recipe, you’ll need mushrooms of your choice – whether it’s classic button mushrooms or more exotic options like portobello, cremini, or shiitake. Additionally, you’ll require garlic cloves, vegetable broth, and butter. If you’re running low on vegetable broth, chicken broth can be used as a substitute.While this recipe calls for long-grain white rice, feel free to experiment with brown rice instead. Just keep in mind that brown rice takes longer to cook, so adjust the cooking time accordingly. Alternatively, you could use Arborio rice to create a creamy mushroom risotto.For an even more intense mushroom flavor, swap out the vegetable broth for mushroom broth. This will result in a dish that’s bursting with earthy aroma and taste.To take this recipe to the next level, consider adding other ingredients like green peas, parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon, baby spinach, or green onions. The possibilities are endless!

Cranberry Rice Pilaf

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As the holiday season approaches, finding innovative recipes to incorporate your favorite ingredients is always exciting. For me, that ingredient is cranberries – and this Persian-inspired cranberry rice pilaf is a game-changer. The sweet and tangy flavor of the cranberries pairs perfectly with the subtle earthiness of saffron, creating a truly unique and mouthwatering dish.

This hearty side dish can easily become a full meal on its own, even without meat. The addition of crunchy nuts (such as pistachios, pecans, or almonds) adds texture and depth to each bite. And let’s not forget the fluffy basmati rice that provides a satisfying base for the entire dish.

One of the best things about this recipe is its versatility – you can use either dried or fresh cranberries, making it easy to adapt to your personal preference. Additionally, feel free to substitute in dried cherries if you’d like to give the pilaf a different flavor profile.

Coconut Rice

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Coconut rice has become my top pick for accompanying Thai main dishes, grilled chicken dinners, seafood feasts, and tropical-themed meals. The creamy, rich flavor it imparts is a perfect complement to a wide range of flavors. What’s more, this side dish is remarkably easy to prepare, requiring only a few staple pantry ingredients. I highly recommend using high-quality jasmine or basmati rice as the base for your coconut rice. Simply combine the rice with canned coconut milk, coconut water (or plain water), and sea salt. A pinch of salt, preferably sea salt or kosher salt, is crucial to bring out the full flavor of the dish – omitting it will result in a flat-tasting final product. Before cooking, be sure to rinse your rice under cold water to remove any excess starch. For added convenience, you can also use a rice cooker to prepare this side dish. To take it to the next level, consider adding a splash of soy sauce for an extra boost of flavor.

Salsa Rice

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While salsa rice may not be as well-known as its Mexican and Spanish counterparts, it’s a surprisingly easy recipe that requires fewer ingredients. One of the key differences is that you can use vegetable broth or chicken broth instead of Caldo de Tomate. This makes the dish more accessible to those who want to try something new without committing to a long list of ingredients. Brown rice fans will also appreciate this recipe, as it’s easy to adapt by adjusting the cooking time. The beauty of salsa rice is that you can use store-bought or homemade salsa to give it your unique flavor. Add some ground cumin and garlic powder for an authentic taste. To take this dish to the next level, consider adding some protein like ground beef, chicken, steak, chili beans, or black beans. You can also mix in some veggies such as poblano peppers, green peas, or corn. This versatile side dish pairs perfectly with a variety of Mexican foods, including tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, and tamales.

Mexican Rice

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Whether you’re craving a side dish for Taco Tuesday or looking for a flavorful accompaniment to your weekend fajitas, authentic Mexican rice is the perfect choice. This versatile recipe can be paired with any type of Mexican cuisine and offers a rich, savory flavor profile that’s sure to impress. A key ingredient in making authentic Mexican rice is Caldo de Tomate, a tomato bouillon that adds depth and complexity to the dish. While it’s possible to make Mexican rice without this ingredient, using Caldo de Tomate is what sets authentic Mexican rice apart from its more generic counterparts. In addition to Caldo de Tomate, you’ll need just a few other pantry staples, including olive oil (or canola oil), long-grain white rice, tomato sauce, and water. For an added layer of flavor, consider substituting chicken broth for some or all of the water. To season your Mexican rice, simply add garlic (or garlic powder) and chili powder to taste. While this recipe is a great standalone side dish, it’s also a natural pairing with many other Mexican favorites, from grilled meats and vegetables to beans and cheese.

Final Words

Get ready to delight your loved ones with these mouth-watering recipes. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or just want to share a meal with family and friends, these dishes are sure to impress. And don’t forget to let us know what you think! With 7 votes from enthusiastic cooks, this recipe has already earned its spot in many hearts. Take the opportunity to gather everyone around and savor the flavors together.

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