Are you looking for easy rice dishes with few ingredients that you can make at home? We’ve got a fantastic lineup for you!
Rice dishes for dinner are nutritious and filling, making them economical for families and budget-conscious consumers. Just ½ cup of this cooked grain is one full serving, which means a little goes a long way when planning meals with rice.
From casseroles to sides, soups, and even drinks, the following recipes will become some of your favorites. Read on to discover 27 rice dishes that you and your family will love.
1. Mushroom risotto
This Mushroom Risotto will become one of your favorite rice meals! Historically, risotto is a classic Italian dish.
At its most basic, risotto is simply rice that is cooked in a broth until it becomes creamy.
For this version, porcini and chestnut mushrooms bring an earthy flavor to arborio rice that is cooked in delectable wine, garlic, and vegetable stock.
The result is a creamy rice bowl that is garnished with cheese and parsley. This one-bowl meal is the ultimate comfort food that tastes gourmet without the price!
2. Fried Rice
Hunting for easy rice recipes? Fried rice is one of the easiest meals to throw together on a busy weeknight. The leftovers are delicious for a next-day lunch, and it’s easy to make in bulk and freeze ahead for future meals.
The secret to good fried rice is to use pre-cooked refrigerated rice in the recipe. This helps to avoid soggy fried rice! Packed with veggies but with full-on flavor, this quick and easy meal is filling and nutritious.
You can also add meats like chicken or shrimp to make it even heartier.
3. Creamy Rice Pudding
If you’ve never considered rice a dessert before, you’re in for a real treat with this Creamy Rice Pudding recipe!
This classic dessert can be served warm or cold, and with or without the raisins. White rice is cooked in milk, sugar, and salt, and the egg mixture is added to create this custardy delight.
Butter and vanilla finish off the dish for a rich, classic pudding dish. To garnish, sprinkle cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg on top!
4. French Onion Rice Bake
With only four ingredients, the French Onion Rice Bake is quick and easy but big on flavor!
Rice is baked in beef broth, french onion soup, and butter to make this flavorful side dish that is popular during the holidays.
You can easily double or triple the recipe if you need to serve a crowd, and you can also add things like meat or vegetables to make it a more substantial meal. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
5. Chicken Rice Soup
This freezer-friendly soup is the perfect meal to make in bulk and freeze in individual portions for quick lunches but is also fantastic as a dinner when served with bread and salad.
It’s hearty and nutritious for those cooler days when you need a comfort meal that warms you up.
The secret ingredient of evaporated milk adds creaminess to this delicious soup.
Store in freezer containers in the freezer for up to 6 months or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
6. Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice
This easy skillet meal is great for quick dinners and lunches and tastes just as good as its restaurant counterparts!
This Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice recipe from Averie Cooks combines garlic, green onion, soy sauce, and sesame oil for layers of classic Asian flavor that we all love.
Peas, carrots, chicken, and scrambled eggs make this a filling meal, but make extra because leftovers are even better the next day! Pro tip- if you don’t have any leftover rice in the fridge to make this with, use ready-to-serve pouches of rice instead; it works great!
7. Korean Beef and Rice
Korean Beef and Rice is a flavorful dish that is easy on the budget and quick to make.
This simple meal uses ground beef that is seasoned with a sauce that uses soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and ginger.
Sesame oil gives the sauce a traditional Asian flair. The beef is served with nutritious brown rice and topped with green onions to complete the meal.
You can serve this with white sticky rice if you prefer and the recipe is freezer friendly, so make extra to enjoy for lunch!
8. Spanish Paella
For more impressive dinner ideas with rice, look no further than Spanish Paella.
This traditional countryside “farmers” meal is said to have originated in the Valencia region of Spain and is a combination of rice, meats, and vegetables cooked in a broth in a shallow pan.
Depending on where you go, the dish varies according to each family’s preferences, but you will always find rice, saffron, chicken, and vegetables as the main ingredients.
Regardless of the variations, this delicious one-pot meal deserves a place in your regular rice meal rotation!
9. Easy Dirty Rice
A classic recipe, Dirty Rice is a popular meal that combines ground beef, peppers, celery, onions, and various seasonings cooked in beef broth.
It’s delicious on its own, but can also be served with a main dish like baked chicken or fish. It was known as a “poor man’s meal” and dates back to the plantation days.
When slaves would combine whatever meats and vegetables they had on hand with rice to make a one-pot meal that could serve many.
Though it comes from humble beginnings (and a shameful time in our nation), it’s still a beloved classic southern dish!
10. Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
This delectable, creamy chicken soup features wild rice, which gives a pleasant, nutty taste.
Thyme, marjoram, sage, and rosemary give this soup an herbal, rustic taste that is comforting on a cold, winter’s night. Because of the cream, this soup isn’t freezer-friendly, but you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
You can also swap out the flour for cornstarch to make it gluten-free and swap out the chicken with turkey, which makes it a great soup to use up leftovers from a holiday!
11. Classic Nigerian Jollof Rice
A West African dish, Nigerian Jollof Rice, is a meal in which rice is stewed in a tomato base with spices.
It is served with fried plantains and coleslaw as an everyday meal and turned into “Party Rice” for larger gatherings.
Red peppers, onions, curry powder, and thyme give a rich flavor to the rice, white pepper, and regular pepper add even more flavor!
You can also stir in extra onions and tomatoes at the end. It is said that Jollof Rice is the ancestor of the more well-known jambalaya! Leftovers keep well.
12. Curried Rice
One of the more simple rice recipes for dinner, curried rice is a classic side to many main entrees around the world. It’s so good. You may want to eat it by itself!
Basmati rice is cooked in either chicken or vegetable stock and seasoned with spices like chili, ginger, curry, paprika, and cumin. The result is an intensely flavorful and aromatic rice dish with multiple layers of taste.
Peas and carrots are also added, and of course, cashews for that nutty influence. This will become a favorite staple dish!
13. Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert
Khao niaow ma muang, or mango sticky rice, is a popular Thai street-style dessert that is delectably delicious. This is a great dish to make when you have mangos on the verge of becoming overripe and need to use them up.
The sauce is made with brown sugar, and coconut milk and then drizzled over the rice and mango for a sweet and rich treat.
To garnish, sprinkle with sesame seeds or coconut flakes.
Pro tip- You can make this in advance, but it is best to store the rice and sauce separately until you are ready to serve.
14. Cilantro Lime Rice
If you’re a fan of cilantro, then you’ll want to make this versatile dish! Cilantro Lime Rice is great in burritos and as aside.
This basic but flavorful recipe is perfect for the base of burrito bowls, and it works well in any Mexican or Asian dish.
The lime zest in the recipe really steals the show!
Basmati long-grain rice is best in this recipe, but you can use other types of rice too.
This recipe would be great to double and portion it out into airtight containers with other ingredients for easy weekly meal prep!
15. Mamaw’s Chicken and Rice Casserole
When you’re stumped about what to make with rice, Mama’s Chicken and Rice Casserole is an easy answer!
This nostalgic and comforting meal is quick and easy. Rice and chicken are baked in a mixture of condensed soups and water.
The result is a creamy, flavorful rice dish that is filling, which makes it a great choice for party gatherings and potlucks.
Make a few extra casseroles and store them in the freezer for a quick meal that you can easily reheat and serve!
16. Mexican Rice II
Another simple side to any Mexican meal is that Mexican rice is big on flavor yet so easy to make!
Rice is cooked in chicken broth and tomato sauce, resulting in the classic red rice commonly served with Mexican fare. Garlic salt and cumin, along with chopped onion, season the dish perfectly.
This recipe is very versatile, and you can add things like meats, beans, and vegetables for a heartier meal or simply serve it on the side with your favorite meals.
17. Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Thai pineapple fried rice is a classic meal from Thailand. While its exact origins are not known, this flavor-packed dish is a favorite, not just in Thailand, but around the world.
It might seem strange to put a sweet fruit like pineapple into a savory recipe like this, but we promise it is well worth it!
The pineapple carmelizes during cooking and adds so much flavor!
A couple of helpful hints: Make the rice the day before and chill it in the fridge before making and prepare all of your ingredients ahead of time because the meals cook up quickly.
18. Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito
If you have leftover rice, beans, and veggies in the refrigerator that need to be used up, make burritos! This basic vegetarian bean and rice burrito are very easy to prepare.
They are also a great meal to make in bulk to freeze for quick lunches and dinners. The rice in this recipe is elevated by adding a secret ingredient: lime juice! Cilantro and garlic add even more layers of flavor.
Some tasty variations include corn kernels and pico de gallo.
You can also spice them up by adding green chiles and jalapeno peppers.
19. Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is a baked one-pan meal that will become a favorite family night dinner.
Rice, chicken, and broccoli are baked in a cheesy condensed soup mixture and topped with a buttery cracker topping. To make the dish in even less prep time, you can use leftover rotisserie chicken.
This recipe is also good as a freezer meal and can be stored for up to 3 months before serving.
For creative variations, you can swap out different kinds of meat, like ham or beef, in place of the chicken with great results.
20. Salsa Rice
We don’t think you’ll find a quick rice dish than this Salsa Rice! When you are short on time but need something big on flavor, this quick recipe will do the trick.
With only 4 ingredients, Salsa Rice can be served as a side or combined with other ingredients to become the main dish. Instead of regular rice, this recipe uses Minute Rice which cooks up fast.
And your favorite chunky salsa and shredded cheese are all you need to season it!
Serve it on the side with your main entree, or add vegetables and meat for a delicious, whole meal.
This familiar one-pot recipe from New Orleans is a classic favorite meal of many.
Jambalaya is a creole Cajun-spiced rice dish with vegetables, chicken, and shrimp cooked in a tomato-flavored chicken and wine broth for the ultimate comfort food delight.
Jambalaya is similar to Paella but has more heat and does not use saffron as the main ingredient.
It is a great recipe to make for large gatherings that don’t require anything else to be served with it, but some people serve fresh cornbread as an aside.
22. Ginger Rice
When you don’t want just plain rice as a side, this Ginger Rice recipe is a good choice. It calls for aromatic jasmine rice rather than standard rice, but you can use any rice you have on hand.
Garlic and ginger add just the right amount of flavor, while black pepper and green onions finish this simple side beautifully. You can also sway out plain water for chicken broth when cooking the rice for added flavor.
Served alongside your favorite Asian dishes or enjoyed alone, we think this will become a regular rotation in your menu plans!
23. Coconut Rice
Are you looking for an authentic coconut rice recipe that isn’t gluey? This Coconut Rice from Recipetineats is as close to the restaurant version as you can get!
The author also gives some very helpful tips to achieve that fluffy rice texture that we all love, like rinsing the rice before cooking it to remove excess starch and diluting the coconut milk before adding it to the rice.
Make sure to visit your local Asian grocer to find the Pandam leaves that are in traditional Asian coconut rice!
24. Shrimp Scampi Risotto
This incredibly flavorful risotto will become one of your favorites! Shrimp Scampi Risotto is a buttery, garlicky and ultra-creamy main dish that will wow at the dinner table.
It’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two, but we have a feeling you’ll like it for any meal when you just want something more special. Arborio rice is cooked in a chicken wine broth that is seasoned with onion and garlic, and butter.
The shrimp is then cooked scampi-style and added to the rice with parmesan cheese for a simply divine meal.
25. Garlic Butter Rice
Is there anything more savory than garlic and butter? We think not!
This garlic butter rice recipe is the perfect side to serve with your main meal but can also stand on its own as a one-bowl dish.
This simple, flexible rice recipe is made by cooking rice in chicken broth and flavoring it with garlic, pepper, salt, and butter, then finished with chopped parsley.
A great base recipe for meal prep, you’ll want to make extra to enjoy meals throughout the week!
If you’re looking for unique rice recipe ideas, Horchata should be added to your list! This refreshing rice-based drink is a staple served during Cinco de Mayo, but you can now enjoy it all summer long with this DIY recipe.
Horchata is a creamy, strained Mexican drink and is made with rice, almonds, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar. It’s served over ice and garnished with a cinnamon stick as a light but milky beverage that is delicious and satisfying on a hot day.
You can also make this up to 3 days before your big event.
27. Easy Bacon Fried Rice
Bacon in fried rice? Yes, please! This easy fried rice recipe has all the traditional flavors of fried rice plus adds bacon for a savory bite.
Peas and carrots, onions, and scrambled eggs make this a one-skillet meal that is perfect as a weeknight meal.
Sesame oil is essential to achieving its authentic flavor, so make sure to have some on hand in your kitchen for this recipe.
Dishes that pair well with his rice are Sweet and Sour Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and Cashew Chicken, to name a few, but you’ll like this as a stand-alone dish too!
27 Easy Rice Recipes
- 2 c uncooked parboiled rice
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 8 ounces smoked pork sausage, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 bell pepper, finely diced
- Two 6-ounce cans tomato paste
- 4 tsps granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Rinse the rice in a fine colander until the water runs clear.
- In a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
- Add onions, peppers, and sausage to the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender and are slightly browned at the sides(about 3-4 minutes).
- Stir the tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper into the vegetables and sausage.
- Add the rice to the tomato mixture and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
- Remove from heat and transfer the rice mixture to a prepared 9x13 pan.
- Add just enough water (about 2 cups) to the pan to cover the rice and tightly cover the pan with baking foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Do not remove the foil during baking time.
- Remove the pan, turn off the oven and fluff the rice.
- Recover the pan and return to the warm oven for about 10 minutes to allow the rice to soak up any remaining liquid.
- Remove from the oven, fluff, and serve.