Home Recipe Roundup 20 Rice Side Dishes (+ Easy Recipes)

20 Rice Side Dishes (+ Easy Recipes)

Tasty, inexpensive, and very versatile, these rice side dishes are the perfect way to use up your pantry staples.

Grab that bag of rice you picked up at the bulk food store and prepare to be amazed at what you can do with the humble grain.

Cilantro Lime Rice with Fresh Lime
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From sweet (coconut rice) to savory (southwestern rice), and from salads to casseroles, there are many dishes to enjoy with these 20 mouthwatering recipes.

Whatever you’re planning for dinner, there’s a rice dish that’ll help it shine.

Serve pilaf rice with your next curry, try lemon rice with fish or chicken, or enjoy a brown rice apple salad with a light lunch.

With so many ravishing rice recipes on offer, it’s time to get your grain on!

Black Rice with Chopsticks

1. Black Rice

Black rice is native to Asia, where it was so highly prized that only nobility could eat it.

Also known as emperor’s rice or forbidden rice, the superfood grain is now readily available for all.

So us mere peasants can now chow down on a bowlful of healthy goodness. 

This striking side is more of a deep purple than black. It’s sweet, nutty, chewy, and packed with antioxidants.

This recipe lets the rice do its thing, dressing it simply with butter, onion, and slivered almonds.

It’s a unique dish that doubles as both a conversation starter and a satisfying side.

2. Greek Lemon Rice

This delightful Greek rice is beautifully scented with zesty lemon and other aromatics.

Capturing all the bright and vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean, it’s made with fresh herbs, garlic, onion, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Perfect for light lunches and small dinners, this is a rice side that won’t weigh you down.

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3. Garlic Parmesan Rice

Quick and easy, this garlic rice is ideal when you’re in a rush and facing a family mutiny if dinner doesn’t appear soon. 

In this recipe, jasmine rice is simmered in milk for 15 minutes until fluffy.

It’s then stirred together with grated parmesan, butter, and a touch more milk – transforming it into a creamy, rich side.

The secret to this delicious dish is to toast the rice first.

Browning it slightly with garlic salt and parsley deepens the flavor and makes this one you’ll want to save in your recipe book. 

Mexican Rice with Beans and Lemons

4. Mexican Rice

This amazing Mexican rice is perfect for your next Taco Tuesday or Fajita Friday.

Flavored with cumin and rich tomato sauce, it’s a filling and flavorful side. 

It’s also incredibly versatile. You can dress this up with a splash of fresh lime and chopped cilantro or add a kick with some jalapenos.

You can enjoy this as-is or turn it into a more filling meal by adding some protein like chicken, shrimp, or beef. 

5. Brown Rice Apple Salad

Sweet and nutty, this rice and apple salad is a truly delicious blend of tastes and textures.

Made with tart apples, sweet bell peppers, fresh lemon juice, and parsley, this zesty side would work with any main.

Try it with salmon for a healthy dinner or serve with quiche for a vegetarian brunch. You’ll make this one over and over again.

6. Arancini

Arancini are Italian rice balls stuffed with a variety of different fillings and fried until crispy.

Making them is usually a bit of an effort, but this easy recipe takes the work out of it by using quick-cooking rice.

If you don’t have any handy, leftover cooked rice will work, too.

When you have your rice, you simply mix it with egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, and seasoning.

Then shape it into balls and fry until golden brown. 

Break open the crunchy shell, and inside you’ll find a soft cheesy center.

You can serve these as a side or enjoy them as an appetizer with a creamy dip.

7. Rice Pilaf

This easy pilaf recipe is the perfect side plate if you’re in the mood for fluffy, aromatic rice.

Pilaf is a specific technique for cooking long-grain rice. It involves cooking garlic and onion in oil, before adding your rice.

The rice is stirred around the pan, slightly toasting it as it picks up all those wonderful flavors. 

It’s then simmered in either broth or water until tender and fluffed with a fork just before serving.

8. Salsa Rice

This easy salsa rice is ready in just 20 minutes, but you’ll remember the enticing flavor long after the last bite.

The perfect recipe for busy cooks, as there are lots of smart shortcuts here. 

Simply saute long-grain white rice with taco seasonings, simmer until tender, and then stir in a jar of store-bought chunky salsa.

This recipe is proof that a ton of flavor doesn’t mean a ton of work!

9. Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is one of those recipes that can intimidate beginner cooks.

It may seem complicated, but it’s really not with this easy recipe.

If you can stir, you can make risotto. You toast the rice in a pan first before gradually adding broth, stirring almost constantly to ensure even cooking.

Cooking your grains in this way makes them beautifully silky, sticky, and creamy.

Throw in some mushrooms, shallots, and parmesan to finish it off, and pour yourself a congratulatory drink. You just made risotto!

10. Cumin Rice

This simple dish is the antidote to dull and dreary rice sides.

You’ll need cumin seeds rather than ground cumin for this fragrant recipe. 

Toasting the seeds gives you much more flavor. All that flavor is then soaked up by the rice, making it earthy, peppery, and slightly sweet.

11. Summer Squash Rice

If you had a bumper crop of squash this year or picked up a few at the farmer’s market, you’ll need to make this rice.

In this recipe, seasoned rice is cooked until tender and tossed with garlic butter summer squash. 

Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese before serving and watch it disappear as your hungry guests devour it.

12. Coconut Rice

This sweet and fluffy coconut rice is just as good as your favorite restaurant or takeout version.

Made with coconut milk and lime leaves, it’s an ideal addition to curries, stir-fries, or spicy soups. 

And you don’t have to worry about your rice going gluey.

This step-by-step recipe talks you through every step so you can enjoy sticky, tender rice every time.

13. Broccoli and Cheese Rice

If easy, cheesy rice sounds like your idea of a gastronomic good time, you’ll love this recipe.

It’s a simplified version of a classic broccoli and cheese casserole. It keeps the flavor but ditches the prep.

You can use whatever rice you have on hand, and simply cook it up with veggies and seasoning.

Then all you’ll have to do is stir in some cheese, serve, and enjoy watching your guests dig in.

14. Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro and lime is one of my all-time favorite flavor pairings, and it works beautifully here with long-grain rice.

Based on Chipotle’s legendary rice, this recipe gives you all the taste of restaurant-style rice without leaving your home.

Serve it with your favorite Mexican meal or use a base for your next burrito bowl.

15. Southwestern Rice

This is a one-pot, vegetarian side dish that turns routine rice into something special.

Flavored with plenty of spices and bulked out with veggies and beans, this is a hearty and healthy dish that’ll round out dinner.

If you’re a fan of meal prepping, this is a great time-saver for weekday dinners.

Make a big batch on Sundays and keep or freeze to enjoy later.

16. Cranberry Rice Pilaf

Sweet and savory, this cranberry pilaf is a unique side that’ll have you reaching for seconds.

Tart cranberries and fresh orange zest give the rice a tangy taste that’s perfect for chilly nights. 

This is also a keeper for the holidays. It’s the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving feast, Christmas dinner, or any festive fare.

17. Curried Rice

Give your rice plenty of punchy flavor with this easy but tasty curry recipe.

Made with basmati rice, curry powder, carrots, peas, and cashews, this side has a little of everything.

If you’re serving it for a special occasion, top it with crispy fried eggs for extra protein and extra deliciousness.

18. Turmeric Rice

Bright and beautiful, this turmeric rice tastes as good as it looks.

Rice is simmered in a turmeric-laced broth along with onion and garlic.

Serve this one with curries and spiced meats. It’s like sunshine in a bowl!

19. Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole

Full of fiber and antioxidants, wild rice is one of the healthiest grains around. It’s also very tasty, with a distinctive nutty flavor. 

Here, wild rice is blended with tender broccoli and melted cheese to create a comforting casserole.

It’s the perfect accompaniment to your next family dinner or Sunday roast.

20. Mushroom Rice

While this is technically a side dish, you’ll be forgiven for wanting to eat a big bowl of this hearty mushroom rice for dinner.

Caramelized mushrooms are tossed with cooked rice and scallions for a rich dish with plenty of earthy, deep flavor.

20 Best Rice Sides (+ Easy Recipe Collection)

Tasty, inexpensive, and versatile, these rice side dishes are the perfect way to use up your pantry staples. From lemon to garlic parmesan to mushroom risotto, these sides are sure to please.


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Rice Side Dishes

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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