Herbed Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

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Rice is universally loved and this recipe is simple but exploding with flavor.

If you are looking for a perfect side dish for entrées such as blackened redfish, baked honey-mustard chicken, or Grandma’s pork loin roast, this is the one. The sky is the limit on how to flavor the pilaf, but we really love the flavor combinations of this version. And it’s so easy!

An overhead view of a large silver skillet filled with a herbed rice pilaf with toasted pecans.

How To Make Herbed Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans


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The Ingredients You Will Need

As mentioned, this recipe can be adapted to your tastes and even to what you have on hand. We’ll provide perfectly wonderful substitution for various flavor-enhancers and add-ins below. Be creative!

Rice – We go with long grain or basmati, but you could also go with wild rice or a wild rice medley, however, the cook time will increase (typically to about 50 minutes).
Garlic – Minced.
Butter – Unsalted. Olive oil can be substituted.
BrothChicken or vegetable are both great choices.
Celery – Finely chopped. You could also used chopped carrots, bell peppers, or zucchini.
White wine – Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc are good choices. You can substitute apple juice or just water if you don’t want to cook with wine. Don’t use cooking wine.
Herbs – Dried oregano is easy and great. You could also go with basil or thyme, fresh or dried. (If fresh, use a tablespoon, if dried, use a teaspoon).
Toasted pecans – Roughly chopped. You could also use (or substitute) toasted almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, crumbled cooked bacon, or sliced green onions.

EXPERT TIP: Wine adds a wonderful depth of flavor and 99.9% of the alcohol will cook out. If you do not want to cook with wine, try apple juice (or cider), or just increase the broth by a quarter cup.

A person pouring white wine from a small carafe into a large skillet filled with simmering broth with chopped celery and uncooked long grain rice.

Tips for Making Perfect Rice Pilaf

Sauté the Rice in Butter or Oil – This is critical to perfect pilaf. Sauté until the rice becomes translucent and lightly toasted, which helps to enhance its nutty flavor and prevents clumping.

Simmer in a Flavorful Liquid – Don’t skimp here. White wine along with a deeply flavorful chicken or vegetable broth will deliver a very highly flavorful rice pilaf.

Incorporate Aromatic and Textural Ingredients – Garlic, herbs, nuts, and even dried fruit will infuse the pilaf with a rich and fragrant profile.

Let the Rice Rest – After cooking, allow the pilaf to rest, covered, for a few minutes to ensure the grains are fluffy and fully cooked before serving. Then fluff with a fork and serve at once.

EXPERT TIP: Toasting the pecans before chopping them brings out the natural oils from the nut and deepens the flavor. This can be done hours in advance of preparing the rice.

A person dumping roasted chopped pecans from a small glass bowl into a skillet of fully cooked rice pilaf.

Other Amazing Recipes Featuring Rice

Rice is so versatile and here are some of our favorite rice-forward dishes that we are sure you and your family will love, too:

Wild Rice with Pancetta and Cranberries
Slow Cooker Asparagus Risotto
Roasted Turkey, Butternut Squash, and Risotto
Cilantro and Lime Rice
Best-Ever Mexican Rice
Authentic Chicken Fried Rice
Louisiana Dirty Rice
Red Beans and Rice
Perfectly Steamed Rice

These are all amazing, without a doubt. But, in the meantime, isn’t this rice pilaf catching your attention?

A large wooden spoon holding up a serving of herbed rice pilaf with toasted pecans.

Ready to make the best rice dish in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag @HowTofeedaLoon!

A large wooden spoon holding up a serving of herbed rice pilaf with toasted pecans.

Herbed Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

This really is a wonderful side dish and so much better than the boxed variety. See the blog post for variations with the ingredients. It can also be made in advance and then easily reheated in the oven before serving.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Easy side dish recipe, how to make rice pilaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 284kcal


  • 1 large (12-inch) skillet with lid or 2-qt saucepan (with lid)


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup long grain rice or basmati
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup white wine See NOTES
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or vegetable
  • ½ cup celery chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup pecans toasted, roughly chopped


  • Melt the butter in your skillet (or saucepan) over medium heat. Add the garlic and rice and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, ¾ cup long grain rice, 3 cloves garlic
  • Stir in the white wine, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in the broth, celery, oregano, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Let rest for a few minutes and then stir in the pecans. Serve at once.
    ¼ cup white wine, ¾ cup chicken broth, ½ cup celery, 1 tsp oregano, ¾ tsp Kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ cup pecans


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
See the blog post for substitutions and ingredient alternatives for the pilaf.
The pilaf can be made in advance and reheated in a dish (covered) in the oven at 325°F until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Or, reheat in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat, adding a little more broth, if necessary. 
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. 


Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 613mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg
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