Garlic Rice is the easiest, best tasting side dish that you can serve with anything! From roast chicken to chops, stir fries to fish, Middle Eastern to Mexican food, this buttery rice is so flavourful you can eat it plain. Have some tonight, freeze some for later!
Garlic Rice is one of my most-used side dish recipes and I feel a little selfish for keeping it to myself all these years! It’s a rice side dish that’s quick to make and literally goes with anything. Any cuisine, any food type. From an Argentinian Chimichurri steak to Chinese Char Sui Pork, French Ratatouille to Moroccan lamb meatballs, a slow roasted Greek Lamb Leg to Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken, I challenge you to think of a dish that this Garlic Rice wouldn’t go with!
Think of it like mashed potato. Or the rice version of everybody’s favourite garlic bread! Or – an easier version of fried rice. Make it today and heat it up tomorrow, keep a stash in your freezer. It’s just as much at home on your dinner plate as it is as part of a big buffet.
No sauce required
One specific thing about this Garlic Rice is that it’s flavoured enough to eat without smothering with sauce, like saucy stir fries and plain white rice. Here’s an example of what I mean – a dinner plate with Lime Chicken. I’d ordinarily serve it with something that stands on its own two feet, like Mac and Cheese, Potato Salad, or maybe some roast vegetables or hefty salad like my favourite Quinoa Salad.
But Garlic Rice is much faster to make!
Ingredients in garlic rice
So – hard sell done. 😂 Here’s all you need to make Garlic Rice!
Rice types – This recipe will work with long grain (my default), medium grain, short grain (sushi rice) or basmati.
Not suitable as written for brown rice, jasmine rice, wild rice, black rice or faux rice (cauliflower rice, quinoa etc). Jasmine rice can be made as Garlic Rice but you’ll need to follow the preparation steps per the recipe (rinse + less water).
Butter (unsalted) – The cooking fat of choice, for lovely buttery flavour. We use half to sauté the garlic that the rice is then cooked in, then the other half is stirred in at the end. Maximum butter flavour!
I used unsalted butter which is my default for cooking because then I can control the amount of salt from other ingredients. If you only have salted butter, skip the salt in the recipe.
Extra virgin olive oil makes a lovely alternative to butter. Use 4 tablespoons.
Garlic – Garlic minced with a knife will sauté better. A garlic press/crusher works ok here because we are using enough butter (garlic is wetter so doesn’t sauté quite as well unless you use plenty of fat). Jar garlic paste, however……don’t talk to me about that stuff! Sour, wet and barely resembles the flavour of real garlic!
Liquid chicken stock/broth OR water + stock powder – This rice really is tastiest made with liquid chicken stock/broth. It’s a standard pantry item for me which I stock up on when it’s on sale because I use it so much in my cooking.
However, as a cost effective alternative, stock powder plus water can be used. Use whatever amount the jar specifies. Usually it’s 1 teaspoon of powder plus 1 cup of water = 1 cup of liquid stock.
My favourite stock powders for this recipe:
1. Vegeta vegetable seasoning
2. Knorr Chinese chicken bouillon powder – cleaner, less “fake” chicken flavour than Western ones
3. Any other chicken or vegetable stock powder
How to cook garlic rice
It’s just like cooking plain rice – except we start with garlic butter, and finish with more butter. 😇 You know this is going to be good!
❗️No need to rinse the rice unless you are worried about cleanness which, if you purchase rice in packets from grocery stores, should not be a concern. Rinsing is not required for fluffy rice. What you need is the correct water to rice ratio: 1 1/2 cups of liquid for 1 cup of rice. Most recipes get it wrong! Read more about why you don’t need to rinse in How to Cook Rice.
If you insist on rinsing then reduce the stock by 1/4 cup – to account for the waterlogged rice. Else your rice will be overly soft and not as fluffy as it should be.
My default way to cook rice is on the stove but the recipe notes includes directions for rice cooker and oven.
Sauté the garlic in half the butter for 30 seconds or until it turns light golden and smells amazing.
Coat rice in that awesome garlic butter until it becomes a little translucent, like we do with risotto!
Steam 15 minutes – Add the stock and salt, turn up the heat and bring to a simmer. Once you see bubbles on the surface of the water, immediately put the lid on and turn the stove down to low (or medium low if you’re using a weak/small burner). Then cook for 15 minutes.
Rest 10 minutes – Take a quick peek to ensure the water has been absorbed. Then remove off the stove – lid still on – and rest for 10 minutes.
Butter and fluff – Fluff the rice, then toss the butter in and fluff through until melted.
Optional parsley – Also fluff the parsley through, if using. Little green specks looks pretty but doesn’t add anything for flavour, so it’s optional. Then it’s ready to serve!
Use a large saucepan or small pot (~24 cm / 10″) – we’re making 2 cups of rice which is 6 cups cooked. If your cooking vessel is too small, the depth of the rice will be too high which means it will take longer to cook and the rice will cook unevenly (the bottom layer is soggier).
A clear lid saucepan is super useful for rice cooking because you can see what’s going on! ie Ensure water is simmering, can check to ensure the water has been absorbed without lifting the lid.
DO NOT STIR, DO NOT LIFT LID while the rice is cooking! That is the surefire path to mushy, unevenly cooked rice.
DO NOT skip the resting time! This is super important – the rice is actually not fully cooked even once the water is absorbed (try some, you’ll see). Also, the rice is wet. During the resting time, the rice finishes cooking and the water on the surface of each grain gets absorbed. There is no shortcut for this!
The most versatile recipe I’ve ever shared?
This really may be the most universal recipe I’ve ever shared. I honestly can’t think of a single dish that it wouldn’t go with – except, of course, recipes where starch is already built in, like pasta, pizza etc.
Make this tonight and freeze some for later.
I hope you love it as much as I do. And use it Forever! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
- 50 – 75g/ 4 – 5 tbsp unsalted butter , divided (Note 1)
- 5 garlic cloves , finely minced (Note 2)
- 2 cups white rice (uncooked) – long grain, medium grain, short grain (sushi rice) or basmati (Note 3)
- 3 cups chicken stock/broth , low sodium (stock powder option – see Note 4)
- 3/4 tsp cooking/kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
- 1 tbsp parsley , finely chopped, plus extra for garnish (optional)
- No need to rinse the rice. The rice will be fluffy because this recipe uses the right ratio: 1.5 cups liquid for every 1 cup of rice.
- Sauté garlic – Melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Once foamy, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until it turns light golden.
- Coat rice – Add the rice and stir for 30 seconds or until the grains turn translucent.
- Simmer – Add stock and salt. Turn heat up to high, then once the water starts bubbling, put the lid on and immediately turn the stove down to low (or medium low, if your stove is weak/small). (Note 5)
- Cook 15 minutes – Cook the rice for 15 minutes. No stirring, don't lift the lid.
- Rest 10 minutes – Tilt the saucepan and have a quick peek to ensure all the water is absorbed. Then remove off the stove, with the lid still on, and rest for 10 minutes.
- Fluff rice, then fluff through remaining butter until melted. Toss through parsley, then tumble into serving dish. Sprinkle with extra parsley then serve!
1. Butter – I provide a range because more is tastier (and I fully endorse it), but the lower end of the scale is the minimum for a tasty dish that some might consider to be more sensible for a Monday night dinner. 🙂 2. Garlic minced with a knife will sauté better but a garlic press/crusher works ok too – garlic is wetter so doesn’t sauté quite as well. Jar garlic paste, however, don’t talk to me about that sour stuff! 3. Rice types – This recipe will work with the listed rice grains. Not suitable for brown rice, jasmine rice (you can add garlic butter to the jasmine rice recipe), wild rice, black rice or faux rice (cauliflower rice, quinoa etc). Alternative method – Cook brown rice etc per recipe. Sauté the garlic in butter, then tip the cooked rice in and toss in the garlic butter. Flavour infusion not quite as good but still extremely tasty! 4. Liquid stock will give a better flavour but a good substitute is to use stock powder plus water. My favourite is Vegeta, a vegetable stock powder. Chicken stock and other brands of vegetable is also suitable. To use stock powder, make this recipe with 3 cups water (750 ml) + stock powder for this amount of water per the jar instructions (usually 1 teaspoon per 1 cup water) + 1/4 tsp salt (NOT 3/4 tsp per recipe, rice too salty). 5. Rinsing is not the secret to fluffy rice, the correct liquid to rice ratio is (1.5 cups liquid: 1 cup rice). However, you should rinse if you are concerned about rice cleanliness (if you buy in packs at grocery stores, you shouldn’t be) or if you just can’t break the habit. But if you do, you MUST reduce the stock by 1/4 cup, to account for the water logged in the rice. If you don’t, your rice will end up overly soft and slightly mushy. 6. The liquid should have small bubbles / actively rippling when the lid is on and the stove is on low/medium low. If the heat is too low and the water is doing nothing, then the rice is just sitting there, bloating in hot water instead of cooking! 7. Other cook methods:
- Rice cooker – Follow the recipe up to stirring the rice in the garlic butter. Then scrape it all into the rice cooker, add the stock and salt and cook per the rice cooker instructions.
- Oven – Follow the recipe up to bringing the stock to a boil in a pot. Then pour it all into a casserole pot with a lid. Bake for 35 minutes until liquid all absorbed. Rest 10 min with lid on, then fluff, stir through butter and parsley.
Life of Dozer
I shared a fun little RecipeTin Meals organisation diagram on Instagram over the weekend. Everybody reports to CEO Dozer! 😂