Lemon Rice infused with bright, fresh lemon and zippy dill and the option of butter and feta for an easy, tantalizing side you will want to serve with everything!
This Lemon Rice is the answer to the dreaded question “What should I make?” when it comes to sides. It transforms rice into exotic, delectable, bright Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf with just a few ingredients! It’s wonderfully easy and so good you will be eating straight from the pot. I’ve included directions for stove top or rice cooker and fun ways to customize your Lemon Rice!
I love the Greek restaurant Luna Grill, including their Greek Lemon Rice, so I wanted to create my own Lemon Rice that pairs beautifully with everything Mediterranean including my Chicken Gyros, Greek Chicken, Beef Kabobs and Greek Chicken Souvlaki. Enter this bright and wonderfully lemony, buttery Greek Rice! It requires very little hands-on prep time, but adds a lot to the meal, so much so, I would just make it my meal.
This Greek Lemon Rice is infused with bright, fresh lemon, aromatic garlic and onions and zippy dill and the option of butter and feta. You can customize the strength of the tangy lemon flavor by adding as much or as little fresh lemon juice after cooking so everyone can enjoy their own perfect Lemon Rice.
What Rice is Best For Lemon Rice?
For this Lemon Rice, you can use any long-grained white rice (or brown rice if you adjust the liquid accordingly), but basmati is my favorite. Not only does basmati boasts a light nutty flavor but basmati grains are longer than traditional white rice and cook up lighter and fluffier. The individual grains remain distinct when cooked instead of sticking together which means no more clumpy or mushy rice!
I also prefer Basmati Rice because it reheats beautiful because of the distinctive grains. In fact, this rice actually tastes better the next day and remains just as fluffy!
Tips and Tricks to Make Lemon Rice
- Rinse and drain rice thoroughly. Place rice in a fine mesh sieve and thoroughly rinse rice under running water until the water runs clear. This is essential to remove the extra starch that will make the rice stickier.
- Use basmati rice for best results. Other types of rice will likely stick together and can easily get mushy (see above section). Basmati rice also reheats much better.
- Lazy day powder substitute. You can use 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder instead of fresh onions and garlic if you don’t feel like chopping or are out of fresh ingredients.
- If liquid evaporates before rice is done, then add just a little liquid, keeping in mind that the rice will continue to steam for 10 minutes once it’s removed from heat, so it doesn’t need to be 100% cooked once liquid is gone.
- Add lemon to taste. We not only sauté the rice in lemon zest but cook it in chicken broth, water and lemon juice so it sucks up some of the lemony goodness. Still, I suggest tasting the cooked rice and adding additional lemon juice for a fresh, bright lemon pop. I also like adding more lemon juice after the Lemon Rice is cooked because each person can customize their own rice if they prefer.
- Butter is optional but sooooooo good. If you ever wonder why Greek Lemon Rice is so much better at restaurants it’s because they load on the butter. I’ve suggested 2 tablespoons butter in the recipe but if you are feeling wild and/or having company over to impress, then feel free to add more.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Rice soaks up salt so if you feel like your rice is missing something- it is probably salt. I add additional freshly cracked salt and pepper to my rice be sure you taste your rice first before seasoning!
Can I Make Greek Lemon Rice in My Rice Cooker?
Absolutely! I love my rice cooker so much and is how I usually cook my rice because it is dump and run hands off perfection. It also allows you to easily use brown rice too! The ingredients for Greek Lemon Riced cooked in your rice cooker are going to be the same except we are going to substitute garlic cloves with garlic powder and onion with onion powder.
How to Make Lemon Rice in Rice Cooker
- Add rice (long grain white or brown), chicken broth (amount according to your rice cooker), 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and all of the remaining ingredients to your rice cooker except for butter and feta.
- Set rice cooker to white or brown rice cook setting according to which rice you are using. Once rice is cooked, stir in butter to melt followed by feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Taste and add 1-2 tablespoons additional lemon if desired (I add one tablespoon).
How To Customize Lemon Rice
This Lemon Rice is incredibly versatile. It can be served as a tempting side or it makes a fabulous base to add your protein and veggies for a delectable meal-in-one.
Try adding any of these proteins:
Delicious with these veggies:
- bell peppers
You can also add additional butter to your Lemon Rice Pilaf as I’ve discussed above – sooo good or stir in a dollop of tzatziki. You can also change up the flavor profile of this Lemon Rice from Greek Lemon Rice to Indian Lemon Rice with the omission of dill and parsley and the addition of coriander, curry and/or turmeric – the possibilities are endless!
What to Serve with Lemon Rice?
Lemon Rice Pilaf is not only customizable but the ideal side as-is to any Mediterranean dish (Greek, Spanish, Italian). Here are just a few main dishes that it pairs beautifully with:
- Greek Chicken
- Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon
- Chicken Gyros
- Greek Beef Kabobs
- Roasted Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp
- Parmesan Pesto chicken
- Lemon Basil Chicken
Now it’s time for this Lemon Rice because it’s so good you’ll want to serve it with everything – or with nothing because its cravilicious all by itself.
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