Homemade Rice-A-Roni

May 16th, 2008 by katie


This is our standard rice side for those meals that need something a little more interesting than plain white rice. It takes no more time than the boxed stuff and only a teeny bit more effort (teeny as in you have to find your bottle of parsley flakes in the back of the spice cabinet). I really really want to make this with those little star pastas you put in soup. I think the kids would love it.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni or Rice Pilaf

Serves 6, Prep: 5 min, Cook: 15 min
  • ¾ cup long grain white rice
  • ½ cup small pasta shape, like broken fideo, spaghetti, angel hair, etc…
  • 1-3 tbsp butter, depends how much fat you want, I usually use a tbsp of Better Butter
  • 14 oz no fat, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp low sodium chicken base
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preparation is the same as stated on the box of Rice-a-Roni. Melt the butter in a pan and saute the rice and pasta until lightly browned.
  2. Add the chicken broth, base, parsley and garlic. Add any other seasonings if you would like.
  3. Bring to a boil and cover, then reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes without lifting lid.
  4. After 15 minutes check to see if all liquid has been absorbed and fluff rice with a fork. If the rice is tender but it is still a little wet just let it sit on low with the lid off for a few minutes.

This is a great side because it takes care of itself on the back burner while you make the main dish and veggies.  It is also handy and convenient to keep these ingredients in your pantry-ensuring you are always prepared to whip up a side even when you haven’t thought past the main dish.

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Posted in Budget, Easy, Health/Nutrition, Sides

25 Responses

  1. Kristin

    I’ve never had rice-a-roni (I know, gasp!) but all of a sudden I want what you’ve described. It sounds fun and interesting.

    I have to say though — in my household Garlic is never optional LOL it is a requirement!

    Have a great day!

  2. Gina

    My kids love Rice-a-Roni and I’d much rather serve this than the boxed stuff – less sodium! Thanks!!!

  3. Corinne Logan aka "Farm Mom"

    Love this! I made it in a large tub and broke up the spaghetti noodles in the food processor.
    Packed up 1 1/2 cups into sandwich bags and then stored inside a large sealed “bin” for future use.

    I love being able to make our own – without the PRESERVATIVES and MSG! Great recipe – am making it tonight!!

  4. Larry G

    I love Rice-a-roni but I hate all the sodium. One thing I do is dice up a carrot and a rib of celery as well, makes it just a little better.

  5. kristin

    Yummy! I used rice vermicelli and it worked out perfectly. So glad I found this!

  6. megan @ whatmegansmaking

    this might be a dumb question, but what is chicken base and where do I find it? Thanks, can’t wait to try this!

    No dumb questions here! ( And hopefully no dumb answers, either!) Chicken base is the same thing as “Chicken Soup Base” and is a concentrated paste sort of like chicken boullion. The flavor is much better though and it is not as salty. You can buy it near the boullion in most grocery stores in a tub or jar, or on Amazon: Chicken Base -Katie

  7. Jill

    Barilla now offers cut spaghetti to make making this recipe easier.

  8. Agnes

    I couldn’t believe how delicious homemade rice-a-roni is. I use fine egg noodles, they are the perfect size and no need to break up. I’ll have to try parsley next time.

  9. mjfitz

    If you really want it to be quick and frugal. Dollar General has little bags of the tiny vermicille(sp?) in their stores. Not to mention their rice (at least around here) is a good buy too. I have been making for several years my daughter has a medical need that requires (believe it or not)a high salt intake(and I am the opposite), anyway she didn’t like box taste was all salt no flavor. So came up with this type of recipe that suits her. Wonderful and very, very cheap!

  10. mjfitz

    On the side I mix the bag of rice and vermiecille together and store.

  11. Kim

    We have made this several times and the kids always ask for it. Thank you!!!

  12. J.

    Must you use instant rice for this recipe? I normally keep regular long grain brown rice in the pantry, and cook it in a rice cooker; it takes about 45 minutes to cook one cup of rice. So would I have to pre-cook that rice for this recipe, or pre-cook and dry it, or just increase the cook time during the simmer stage? Or can I follow the recipe exactly? I’m afraid the rice won’t get done, because boxed rice-a-roni probably contains instant rice (pre-cooked).

    This recipe uses regular long-grain white rice, not instant. For brown rice, the recipe would need significant adjustment. I believe you could adjust the liquid amount and simmer time, similar to making a brown rice pilaf. Let us know if you figure it out! -Katie

  13. J.

    Okay, after three experiments tonight, I think I made a decent rice-a-roni out of Basmati long-grain brown rice. I crumbled up fettucini noodles, sauteed them in 2 tbsp butter, and set them aside. Then I sauteed the brown rice in the leftover butter, added 3 1/2 cups chicken broth and simmered for 35 minutes, covered. Then I added the sauteed noodles (with a recommended cook time of 12 minutes) and cooked an additional 15 minutes, covered. The only measurements I changed was increasing the broth to 3 1/2 cups, and increasing the total cook time to 50 minutes; of course I also sauteed the pasta separately and added it to the rice later so it didn’t overcook. Tasted great!

  14. joyce

    I made this tonight & my entire family gave it a thumbs up! They said it was much better than boxed rice a roni.

  15. Kristine

    I have a silly question, are u supposed to saute the rice and pasta while its hard?

    Yes, lightly brown the hard rice and pasta, then add the liquid and cook. -Katie

  16. Lotta

    I just made this tonight and it turned out great! Both kids loved it, even the rice-hater 7-year-old! 😀

    I used leftover cooked rice, so I cooked the cut-up angelhair spaghetti first according to the instructions (with half the liquid and only 5 minutes cooking time), then added the rice and cooked another 3 minutes. Very quick and a great way to use up leftover rice!

  17. Danna

    lol, this is extremely near to my recipe for Armenian Pilaf. except my Armenian step-family uses TONS of butter. i usually use olive oil to saute my rice/fideo. (: thanks for sharing!

  18. Chris

    could instant brown rice and whole grain pasta be used for this recipe?

    Whole grain pasta would be fine but brown rice and instant rice both cook differently than regular long-grain white rice. I have tried brown rice in the past and it siginificantly increases the cook time to the point that the pasta kind of turns to mush. -katie

  19. Jeannie C

    Thank You!

    I grew up on processed boxed dinners, and even thought I now make wholesome meals from scratch, I still hunger for the tastes of my youth. THIS is an amazing “knock off” that my whole family enjoyed! I can’t believe how much it actually tastes like Rice-A-Roni! I followed your recipe exactly.

    Awesome. Tasty. Inexpensive.

    I will be making this again and again! Thank you!!!

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cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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