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 37 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!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Could these ingredients be prepped and stored in a ziplock or Tupperware so that it adds the convenience factor of the boxed version?

  2. 5 stars
    So good! I had to write & let you know that I’ll never purchase anymore boxed or pre seasoned rice now that I’ve got this recipe memorized. I was looking for this exact taste, but thought I’d only find a flavorless healthy one. This is not! It’s rich in flavor and tastes delicious. I’m a pescetarian so I substituted chicken broth for veggie broth. I put some angel hair pasta in the blender for vermicelli. I used pink himalayan sea salt and mostly all other organic seasoning. This recipe can literally become whatever flavor you’d like – just like the boxed gunk. I look forward to trying different seasonings with it. This is now a staple for my Sister and I. Thank you so much!!

  3. 5 stars
    My son asked me to make him Rice a Roni. I don’t have any of the boxed type so I made him this version from your recipe. He absolutely loved it and I felt better knowing whet ingredients were in the dish. Thanks again. A new favorite!

      1. Thank you for the quick reply! I’m making this for Thanksgiving. 🙂 Looks fabulous!

  4. I made this the other night, but didn’t say anything to my teenage boys who like the box stuff. When they asked me what they were eating I asked them why and they said “this is the best rice I’ve ever had”. They like it better than the processed boxed stuff! Thanks for a great recipe with simple ingredients!

  5. I love the idea of this, rice and pasta and that chicken stock sounds delicious and filling too.

  6. I love rice-a-roni so this would be great for a healthier version! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. oh yeah rice a roni but homemade! this looks amazing, I´m like you I don´t like eating ingredients I can´t pronounce! great recipe in everyway

  8. This is absolutely perfect, my kids enjoy eating rice and try to do something different for them it will be awesome. Nice recipe

  9. 5 stars
    Okay, that looks delish! Definitely way better than what you buy in the store, like you said!

  10. Never heard of this dish before. I will need to veganise it, Hope it goes well. Sounds like a simple dish.

  11. 5 stars
    I do like Rice-a-Roni on occasion. And I do have a box of that small sized spaghetti in the house and some white rice. I think I will attempt this this weekend. It does sound delicious!