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a casserole dish containing vibrant yellow home-made pilau rice. There are some cardamom pods, a stick of cinnamon and a bay leaf in the rice
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4.96 from 25 votes

Easy Homemade Pilau Rice

My easy pilau rice is ready in less than 30 minutes with about 2 minutes hands on time. Never buy ready made or order take out again. Make a double batch and freeze for another day. Serves 4 as the main side for an Indian meal, or 6 if you are also having bread.
Servings: 4
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins


  • 1 tbs Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • small piece Cinnamon Stick
  • 5 Cardamom pods
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice - 200g
  • 2 cups Vegetable Stock or Broth - 480ml
  • 2 Bay leaves


  • Pour the oil into the bottom of a heavy saucepan, or casserole dish (Dutch oven) and heat over a low flame. Crack the cardamom pods - the best way to do this is on a chopping board with the side of a heavy knife. Add the cardamom, turmeric and cumin and fry for a minute until fragrant.
  • If you are making onion pilau rice add a finely chopped onion along with the spices and cook with them until soft.
  • Add the rice and stir until it is coated with the spice and oil mixture
  • Pour over the stock, add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick and give a quick stir. Add a little salt. Bring to a gentle simmer, put the lid on the pan and leave on the lowest heat for 25 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes take the pan off the stove top. The rice would have absorbed all the liquid. Fluff the rice with a fork, replace the lid and allow to stand for up to 15 minutes.


Homemade Pilau Rice - Tips and Tricks
  • You can make onion pilau rice by finely chopping an onion and fry with the spices at step one.
  • You can of course use different spices, I sometimes throw in half a lemon rind to make lemon rice.
  • There is no need to rinse the rice.  If you do rinse the rice then reduce the amount of stock by 2 tbs
  • I make my easy pilau rice in a heavy cast iron casserole or Dutch Oven.   Use the heaviest pan you have. A sturdy pan heats evenly and will prevent hot spots and burning. It wil also keep the rice warm for longer at the end of cooking.
  • Use a pan with a well fitting lid.  If the lid doesn't fit properly then some steam will escape and you might end up with dry rice.  If the lid isn't tight add a extra spoon of water.
  • Cook on the lowest heat and if needed use a stove top heat diffuser or simmer ring - these cost a few pounds or dollars and will last a lifetime.
  • Make ahead, cool and keep in the fridge for no more than 48 hours.
  • Leftovers can be frozen - Pack into an empty takeaway container, allow to cool and then freeze.
Nutritional information
  • This recipe is 8 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion
• Please note that the nutrition information provided below is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
• Unless stated otherwise cup conversions have been made with an online tool. For accuracy please check with your favoured conversion tool. We recommend buying inexpensive digital kitchen scales.
Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Easy Pilau Rice, Homemade Pilau Rice, Pilau Rice