This homemade rice-a-roni is a blend of rice and pasta cooked in butter, chicken broth and seasonings until light and fluffy. An easy side dish that tastes WAY better than the store bought kind!

Rice-A-Roni is a popular way to round out a meal, but I don’t love all the unpronounceable ingredients in the boxed version. This chicken Rice-A-Roni has no artificial ingredients and is absolutely delicious.

Homemade Rice a Roni Recipe | Rice Side Dish | Easy Rice Recipe #rice #sidedish Homemade Rice a Roni Recipe | Rice Side Dish | Easy Rice Recipe #rice #sidedish

Homemade rice-a-roni topped with tomatoes and herbs, all in a skillet.

I know this may come as a surprise, but I didn’t learn how to cook until after I graduated from college. In college I survived on pantry food like canned soup, cereal and Rice-A-Roni or Pasta Roni with meat or veggies mixed in. Once I learned to cook, I didn’t buy boxes of Rice-A-Roni anymore, but on occasion I crave those flavors. I decided to make a homemade Rice-A-Roni and I think it tastes even better than the original!

How do you make rice a roni?

To make Rice-A-Roni, you’ll need white rice, and pasta that has been broken into small pieces. I use spaghetti or vermicelli pasta for this, and my store actually sells something called mini spaghetti which is actually small pieces of spaghetti in a box. The pasta and rice are toasted in butter before the seasonings and broth go in.

Toasted pasta and rice in a skillet.

I use chicken broth in this dish because I feel like it tastes the closest to the box version I used to buy, but you can absolutely substitute vegetable or beef broth if you prefer. After the chicken broth and seasonings go into the pan, everything simmers away until you end up with a flavorful and fluffy rice mix. Be sure not to overcook your Rice-A-Roni so that it doesn’t get mushy.

Cooked rice-a-roni in a skillet.

What kind of rice is used in rice a roni?

Traditional Rice-A-Roni uses a long grain white rice, along with the vermicelli or spaghetti pasta. Long grain rice comes in different varieties, all of which have their own unique flavor. I typically just use a bag of rice simply labeled as long grain, or I use basmati rice for a nuttier flavor.

Can you cook rice a roni without butter?

The butter is important in this dish because it’s used to brown the pasta and rice grains which gives them a lot of flavor. If you’d rather not use butter, you can substitute olive oil instead, but the flavor will be different from the boxed version.

A skillet of chicken rice-a-roni made with pasta, rice and fresh tomatoes.

What flavors can you add to rice a roni?

While this Rice-A-Roni is delicious as is, there are so many different ways to add extra flavor. Some of my favorites are:

  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh chopped herbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Pesto
  • Smoked paprika

This homemade Rice-A-Roni is the perfect accompaniment to chicken, fish, steak or shrimp. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to the boxed version!

A bowl of homemade rice-a-roni topped with chopped tomatoes and herbs.

More great side dishes

5 from 38 votes

Homemade Rice-A-Roni

AuthorSara Welch
Homemade rice a roni topped with tomatoes and herbs, all in a skillet.
This homemade rice-a-roni is a blend of rice and pasta cooked in butter, chicken broth and seasonings until light and fluffy. An easy side dish that tastes WAY better than the store bought kind!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup spaghetti or vermicelli broken into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes optional


  • Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add the pasta to the pan and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the pan and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add the chicken broth, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper to the pan.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low.
  • Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and sprinkle with parsley.
  • Stir in tomatoes if using, then serve.


Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 426mg | Potassium: 383mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 12.8mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1.9mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

Learn more about Sara

Related Posts

Free Bonus

5 Secrets to Meal Planning + Free Toolkit!

5 from 38 votes (9 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. And it honestly is not much harder or time consuming than rice a roni. I always saute onion, celery, and carrots in the butter first and add diced cooked chicken or even ham right before covering and simmering. Comes out great every time.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! Daughter is eating her 3rd bowl of it right now! I followed the recipe. Used angel hair pasta and in addition to the butter used a little red palm oil for color. This recipe is a major keeper!!!

  3. Love this Rice-A-Roni! Yummy and easy for a cook that is lucky my husband is still alive after 50 years of my cooking! Made it for a dinner party of 8 and doubled the recipe as is. Wil make this again and will try with long grain brown rice next! Thanks!

  4. Cannot wait to try thr homemade rice a roni…I think we all love the taste but like you said very well that all those ingredients in the box are just too much…I love to cook so I’m sure this and many of your other recipes will find a way into my meals…thanks again,


  5. 5 stars
    Good Morning–
    The burning question here is exactly how does one break vermicelli into 1/2″ pieces? I could buy video, use the vermicelli wrapped in a kitchen towel method…but 1/2″? Please advise so that we can enjoy your recipe.
    Nancy C
    Louisville KY

    1. I just use my hands to break it up, if it’s not exactly 1/2 inch it’ll still taste good! I don’t break the whole bundle at once, I divided it into smaller chunks to make it easier to break.

    2. Actually you can buy it already broken. Its in the Latino section of your grocery store. Comes in small clear packages.

    3. You can always go to the Mexican section of a supermarket and get it there. We eat a lot of vermicelli soup, and it comes in that size already.

  6. 5 stars
    I used Basmati rice and no tomatoes, but I needed an extra 1/2 cup of liquid to cook the rice all the way. I also used fideo pasta. Super delicious.