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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
4.97 from 29 votes

Easy Homemade Pilau Rice

My easy homemade pilau rice is a feast for all the senses. Colourful, fragrant and delicately spiced, this effortlessly impressive rice dish is guaranteed to lift the spirits.
Servings: 4
Prep Time4 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time32 mins


  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • small piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup basmati rice - 200 g
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or broth - 480 ml
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 knob butter - optional, to finish


  • 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 on a chopping board with the side of a heavy knife. Add the cardamom, turmeric and cumin to the pan and fry for a minute until fragrant.
    1 tbs vegetable oil, 5 cardamom pods, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Add the rice and stir until it is coated with the spice and oil mixture.
    1 cup basmati rice
  • 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 18 minutes.
    small piece cinnamon stick, 2 cups vegetable stock or broth, 2 bay leaves
  • When the cooking time is over, take the pan off the stove top. The rice will have absorbed all the liquid. Fluff the rice with a fork, replace the lid and allow to stand for up to 15 minutes.
    For restaurant quality rice, add a knob of butter or a little ghee to the hot rice. Allow to melt and stir through before serving.
    1 knob butter


Homemade Pilau Rice - Tips and Tricks
  • Make brown pilau rice by using brown basmati rice and increasing the cooking time to 40 minutes.
  • There is no need to rinse the rice. If you do rinse the rice, then reduce the amount of stock by 2 tbs.
  • This recipe uses more liquid than if you had cold ingredients in a cold pan.
  • 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.
  • 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 spoonful of water.
  • Cook on the lowest heat. If necessary, use a stove top heat diffuser or simmer ring to keep the heat low and even. These cost a few pounds or dollars and will last a lifetime.
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