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. Sounds great, but I’m trying to avoid MSG, and chicken broth has it, unless you make your own (too time consuming!) Any suggestions?

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this Recipe! I live in ecuador and have been craving rice a roni which is not available here. Your recipe
    satisfied my craving for Rice a ronii and its better!! then the box!!

  3. Can you make this a day ahead and then just add a little water or broth to heat it up? Would it be as good? Thinking of a last minute company dinner.

  4. 5 stars
    Great tasting and quick. My family loved it! I added turmeric, paprika, and a tablespoon of Better than Bouillon chicken base to the seasoning mix. Rice a Roni lends easily to adding any leftover chicken, turkey, and vegetables before serving . And because I love the ease of my instant pot, I converted the cooking method to finish cooking in it. (Instant Pot Cooking method: Rinse rice til water runs clear. Reduce liquid to 3 1/4 cups broth. Cook 8 minutes on high in an 8 qt instant pot. Quick release method.) Thank you so much for a good wholesome recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for the 4th time tonight-my family loves this and I can pronounce everything that’s in it-not like the boxed version. Change it up when I want and customize when needed- it’s perfect!

  6. It would be delicious and very falavourful to use sundried tomatoes instead of chopped or green pimento olives would be nice too. You could also add artichoke..or spice it up mexican with corn salsa and top with fresh avocado and a drop of yogurt or sour cream. Lots of possibilities here. Use it as a filler for taco chicken or ground or even beef…

  7. 5 stars
    Perfection! This is so delicious that I’ll never buy the store-bought kind again. We love it! I sometimes add a bit of turmeric for color. Thank you for this recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this last night for a family gathering. It was amazing! I used home made veggie broth since most of us don’t eat animal products and it couldn’t habe been better. It tasted better then what I remember the box kind tasting like. Everybody raves about it. So glad to find a great rice dish to add in our weekly rotation!

  9. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight because I didn’t have a box of Rice-A-Roni. We were pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. I didn’t add the tomatoes because we wanted a recipe that was as close to the store bought Rice-A-Roni as possible. It was easy to make & tasted even better than the original! I will definitely be making it whenever we want Rice-A-Roni in the future. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    This tastes exactly like rice a roni, but 10x better! I added a dash of salt on top at the end and used broth made from bouillon cubes because that’s what I had. This went so well with salmon and cauliflower. Amazing recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I sauté diced chicken and mushrooms and add to the rice at the end.
    Thank you for a great recipe

    1. That’s what I was thinking might work with the rice, quinoa. I have a “Success tri-color box” to try. I was searching for quinoa rice a roni. I would think it was out there.

  12. Absolutely loved it better than store bought 👍
    Used water and herbs ox since I don’t eat meat
    Lol the only one that I will use. Made it with beef herb ox also came out perfectly thanks so much. Gonna look for Spanish style next or Mexican with no cheese 😁

  13. This looks and sounds delicious. One question, though. Can a good, non-rice gluten free pasta be used?
    Thank you