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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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!
More great side dishes
- Stove Top Mac and Cheese
- Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
- Parmesan Zucchini
- Garlic Knots
- Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
- 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.