(Last Updated On: November 20, 2022)
This is an easy homemade Rice-A-Roni recipe you can make in the kitchen in no time at all. If you love rice, you will love our own copycat rice recipe because of the wholesome ingredients we use. And you can pronounce every word, unlike a box of rice bought at the grocery store.
This recipe calls for long-grain white rice, orzo pasta, olive oil, chicken broth, butter, shredded cheddar cheese, salt, and ground black pepper. That’s it! It is a quick side dish to go along with the main dish you are serving for dinner on almost any night of the week!
🍴 Key Ingredients for Homemade Rice-A-Roni
- 1 cup of tap water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of long-grain white rice (uncooked)
- 1 cup of orzo pasta
- 4 cups of chicken broth (2 cans – 14.5 ounces each)
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 cup of sharp shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon of table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
👩🍳 How to Make Homemade Rice-A-Roni with Cheese (Step-by-Step Instructions with Detailed Photos)
The prep time for this great recipe is however long it will take you to gather the ingredients and measure out what is needed – the water, olive oil, long-grain white rice, orzo pasta, chicken broth, unsalted butter, sharp shredded cheddar cheese, table salt, and ground black pepper. Most of these ingredients are ones most people already keep stocked up in their kitchens. As long as you keep some Orzo pasta handy, you probably have all of the rest. Easy right? I’d say that’s about 5 minutes of prep time.
Step 1. Heat the Olive Oil and then Add the Rice and Orzo Pasta
Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Turn the burner to medium-high heat. Let the olive oil heat up for about a minute or two. Then add 1 cup of long-grain white rice and 1 cup of orzo pasta to the frying pan with the olive oil. Stir to coat the rice and orzo pasta together with the olive oil.
Step 2. Brown the Long Grain Rice and Orzo Pasta
Continue to cook the long grain rice and orzo pasta on medium-high heat until it is browned. You will want the rice to be a golden brown color. The cook time will take about 5 minutes. We used a wooden spoon for no particular reason, so you can use any spoon of your choice.
Step 3. Add the Chicken Broth and Water
After the rice browns, pour 2 cans of chicken broth (14.5 ounces each), and 1 cup of water into the browned rice. Stir the rice and chicken broth mixture, then bring to a boil. After that, reduce the heat to medium heat and cover the frying pan with a lid.
Note: Some stove top burners heat hotter than others. With that said, keep an eye on the rice and broth mixture while it is cooking. If medium heat is too hot, turn the burner down a bit.
Step 4. Cook for 15 Minutes
Continue to cook over medium heat with the lid on the frying pan. The cooking time will be for 15 minutes or until you see little to no liquid left in the mixture.
Note: Towards the end of the 15 minutes, or if the liquid has evaporated, make sure to keep stirring the Rice-A-Roni.
Step 5. Add the Butter, Cheese, Salt, and Black Pepper
Then, after the 15 minutes is up, or the liquid is gone, turn the heat off, remove the lid and add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (sharp), 1/4 teaspoon of table salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper together with the chicken and rice mixture.
Step 6. Stir the Rice-A-Roni with Cheese
After the butter, cheese, salt, and pepper are added, mix thoroughly until well blended. Make sure you turned the burner off. If you aren’t ready to eat yet, you can leave the lid on the frying pan to keep the heat in for a few more minutes until dinner is ready to serve.
🥣 Recipe Variations
For this homemade version of the San Francisco treat (Rice a Roni), you can customize it in many different ways. For example, try adding in some onion powder, garlic powder, and green onions, or change the chicken stock out with vegetable broth or beef broth.
If you want to be healthier, try mixing up the white rice with some brown rice. We have not tried these recipe variations (yet), but feel free to comment about some different flavors you add in and how they turned out!
Put any leftover Rice a Roni in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about 3 or 4 days or freeze it in an airtight freezer-safe container for a couple of months.
You can put any leftover Rice A Roni in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it for a couple of minutes, then do a taste test to see if it is hot enough. Or you can put it in a saucepan and add just a little bit of water. Then set the burner to medium heat and stir while heating it until you see steam coming out of it. Again, do a taste test to see if it is hot enough to eat.
💡 Final Thoughts
Instead of buying the boxed version of Rice a Roni, the next time you want rice for dinner, make this homemade Rice a Roni recipe instead. It’s simple, quick, and the perfect side dish for a hungry family.
The store-bought rice contains all sorts of additives and artificial ingredients that are unhealthy to eat, but there is good news with this homemade recipe that allows you to still enjoy one of your childhood favorites with an end result that will not disappoint.
This great side dish goes so well with main dishes such as baked salmon, spiral ham, meatloaf, turkey breast, and round steak.
🥰 More Rice Recipes and Side Dishes You Will Love
- Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole (Instant Pot) – Lots of tasty ingredients such as brown rice, cream of chicken soup, chicken flavor bouillon, mixed vegetables with green beans, carrots, corn, onion salt, garlic powder, broccoli florets, premium chunk chicken breast (or shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken from another meal), and extra sharp cheddar cheese. So good!
- How to Make Chicken Fried Rice – This fried rice is an easy recipe to make with premium chunk chicken breast, onions, peas, fried rice seasoning mix, diced carrots, eggs that are scrambled in the cooking process, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, green onions, and cooked white rice. So delicious!
- Boiled Baby Potatoes – Super easy to make in just minutes and they are so delicious. Just boil the potatoes, drain the water, add a little bit of butter, then sprinkle on some Kosher salt. That’s it! So tasty!
- Best Mac and Cheese Recipe – Wholesome ingredients that you can pronounce. Whole milk, medium pasta shells, salt, pepper, extra sharp cheddar cheese, sharp white cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and plain bread crumbs. Yum!
📄 Recipe Card
Homemade Rice-A-Roni (Cheese)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 4 cup chicken broth (2 cans – 14.5 ounces each)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Put the olive oil in the frying pan. Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat for just a minute or so.
- Add the long grain rice and the orzo pasta to the frying pan and stir to coat the rice and orzo pasta with the olive oil.
- Stir while browning the rice, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and water. Stir to blend all together.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover with a lid.
- Cook for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is gone. Stir occasionally.
- Turn the heat off and remove the frying pan from the burner. Add the butter, cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Ready to serve. Enjoy!
- Some stove top burners heat hotter than others. Keep an eye on the rice and broth mixture while it is cooking. If medium heat is too hot, turn the burner down.
- Leave the lid on the frying pan to keep the heat in for a few more minutes until dinner is ready to be served.
- You can add other seasonings if you prefer.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
- Reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
A wife, a mother to a son and a daughter, and a grandmother to three granddaughters. Flo loves sharing recipes passed down from her own mother, her mother-in-law, and her grandmother as well as new recipes created with her daughter, Tamara Ray.
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