Lemon Rice (Greek Rice Pilaf) – Carlsbad Cravings

Greek rice recipe rice cooker


infused rice with bright fresh lemon and dill and the option of butter and feta cheese for an easy and tempting accompaniment you’ll want to serve with everything


This lemon rice is the answer to the dreaded question “What should I do?” when it comes to sides. Transform the rice into an exotic, delicious and bright Greek rice pilaf with lemon with just a few ingredients! It’s wonderfully easy and so good you’ll eat straight from the pot. I’ve included instructions for the stove or rice cooker and fun ways to customize your rice with lemon. Now just add your favorite protein, Greek pasta salad, hummus and tzatziki and you have a Mediterranean feast!

I love the Greek restaurant Luna Grill, including their Greek rice with lemon,

so I wanted to create my own lemon rice that pairs beautifully with all things Mediterranean, including my chicken gyroscopes, Greek chicken, meat skewers, chicken Shawarma chicken and Greek chicken souvlaki. Step inside this brilliant and wonderfully lemon and Greek rice butter! It requires very little practical preparation time, but it adds so much to the food, so much so that I would simply make it my meal.

This Greek rice with lemon is infused with fresh and bright lemon, aromatic garlic and onion and quick dill and the option of butter and feta cheese. You can customize the strength of the lemon’s sour flavor by adding as much or as little fresh lemon juice after cooking so everyone can enjoy their own perfect lemon rice.

Which rice is best for rice with lemon?

For this lemon rice, you can use any long-grain white rice (or brown rice if you adjust the liquid accordingly), but basmati is my favorite. Not only does basmati boast a slight nutty flavor, but basmati beans are longer than traditional white rice and are cooked lighter and fluffier. Individual grains remain distinct when cooked rather than glued, meaning no more lumpy or soft rice.

I also prefer Basmati rice because it reheats beautifully because of the distinctive grains. In fact, this rice actually tastes better the next day and is still just as fluffy!

Lemon Rice Recipe Ingredients

This Greek lemon rice recipe is full of fresh and vibrant aromatic ingredients. You’ll need


  • Rice: Use basmati rice for best results.
  • Lemon juice: fresh is

  • always better and is necessary in this recipe because we will also use lemon zest
  • .

  • Chicken broth: Please use low-sodium broth so we can control the salt
  • . Olive oil:

  • Use quality olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Onion: 1/2 medium yellow onion will do the trick. When a recipe does not specify what type of onion, it assumes yellow onion.
  • Garlic: 3 garlic cloves, chopped. Use it more or less depending on your love of garlic.
  • Condiments: dill, parsley, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper complete the flavor profile.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter to control salt.
  • Feta: Use more or less depending on how subtle or strong you would like the feta flavor – we like it more.


Cooking rice with lemon in chicken broth and lemon juice

instead of water adds SO much flavor as the rice actually absorbs the broth and lemon juice while cooking. You can also use a chicken water substitute/broth by replacing the chicken broth with 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of chicken broth or better than broth.

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You can substitute fresh garlic with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.


You can substitute the fresh onion with 1 teaspoon of onion powder.


Butter is an optional addition to Greek rice with lemon after cooking, but elevates it to a delicious restaurant. I would definitely add it if you serve the guests.

How to make rice with lemon


with lemon is very simple to make. It’s like making other rice recipes on the stove, but some of the chicken broth is replaced with lemon juice. What really elevates lemon rice is the addition of the seasonings: dill, parsley, oregano and the spicy feta cheese to finish.

To make, you will start by sautéing the onions, then add the rice, garlic and lemon zest and sauté for another minute to lightly toast the rice. This helps it retain its structure and not become soft. Next, add the chicken broth, water, lemon juice and all the seasonings and then simmer for 12-15 minutes, or just until the water evaporates and the rice is tender.

Let the rice sit for 10 minutes to fluff and then add additional lemon juice if desired. Finally, add 1-2 tablespoons of butter (or even more if you’re feeling fun and flirtatious) followed by feta cheese and then dig into it!

Tips and tricks for making rice with lemon

  • Rinse and drain the rice well. Place the rice on a fine-mesh sieve and rinse the rice thoroughly under running water until the water comes out 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 are likely to stick together and can easily become soft (see previous section). Basmati rice also reheats much better.
  • Substitute for lazy day powder. You can use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder instead of fresh onions and garlic if you don’t feel like cutting or run out of fresh ingredients.

If the liquid

  • evaporates before the rice is ready, add just a little liquid, keeping in mind that the rice will continue to steam it for 10 minutes once it is removed from the heat, so it does not need to be 100% cooked once the liquid is gone

. Add

  • lemon to taste. Not only do we sauté the rice in lemon zest, but we cook it in chicken broth, water and lemon juice so that it absorbs some of the goodness of the lemon. Still, I suggest trying cooked rice and adding extra lemon juice for a fresh, bright lemon pop. I also like to add more lemon juice after cooking the rice with lemon because each person can customize their own rice if they prefer.
  • Butter is optional but very good. If you ever wonder why Greek rice with lemon is so much better in restaurants, it’s because they carry butter. I’ve suggested 2 tablespoons of butter in the recipe, but if you’re feeling wild and/or have company to impress, then feel free to add more.
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Rice absorbs salt, so if you feel like your rice is missing something, it’s probably salt. I add extra freshly cracked salt and pepper to my rice, be sure to taste your rice first before seasoning!
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I am often lazy when it comes to sides, so if you want to remove all the chopped and make this rice with lime and lemon strictly “tip and run”, you can use the following substitutions: Replace the

chopped onion with 1 teaspoon of onion powder. Replace

  • the chopped garlic with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Replace
  • fresh dill and parsley with 1 teaspoon each dry.

Can I make Greek rice with lemon in my rice cooker?

absolutely! I love my rice cooker and it’s like I usually cook my rice because it’s pulling and running my hands out of perfection. It also allows you to easily use brown rice! The ingredients for the Greek lemon rice cooked in your rice cooker are going to be the same, except that we will replace the garlic cloves with garlic powder and the onion with onion powder.

How to make rice with lemon in

the rice cooker Add rice (white or

  1. brown long grain), chicken broth (amount depending on your rice cooker), 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and all remaining ingredients to your rice cooker except butter and feta cheese
  2. .

  3. Adjust the rice cooker to the white or brown rice cooking settings according to the rice you are using. Once the rice is cooked, add the butter so that it melts followed by feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Try and add 1-2 tablespoons of extra lemon if desired (I add a tablespoon).

How to customize

rice with lemon

This rice with lemon is incredibly versatile. It can be served as a tempting side or is a fabulous base for adding protein and vegetables for a delicious meal in one.



Transform Greek rice into a meal into one by adding any of these cooked proteins:


  • turkey Ground
  • beef
  • Italian sausage
  • Shredded roast chicken Shrimp chicken
  • Salmon/other fish
  • Pork


You can add your favorite vegetables for two sides, in one! You’ll want to sauté longer cooking vegetables like carrots and broccoli with the onions, shorter cooking vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers with the garlic and, of course, add spinach at the end of cooking.

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli Zucchini
  • peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Frozen vegetable mix: Like frozen peas, you can use a frozen, corn/carrot/pea mixture and stir them in your rice after it has cooked, but before recovering and letting the pot sit for 10 minutes.



love lemon rice with sliced almonds, but most nuts or seeds will be delicious: Sliced or sliced almonds

  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pine nuts Sesame
  • seeds ADD POMEGRANATE CURRANTS OR ARILS I love sweet pops on my salty sides like: Raisins Chopped dried apricots Pomegranate seeds

  • Do it


can also add extra butter to your Greek rice with lemon

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as I discussed above, so good or stir a tablespoon of tzatziki or Greek yogurt.

Exchange flavors

You can also change the flavor profile of this lemon rice from Greek rice with lemon to rice with

Indian lemon with the omission of dill and parsley and the addition of cilantro, Curry and/or turmeric: the possibilities are endless!

What to serve with rice with lemon?

Lemon Rice Pilaf is not only customizable, but it is the ideal accompaniment as it is for any Mediterranean dish (Greek, Spanish, Italian). Here are just a few of the main dishes it pairs with beautifully:

Greek chicken Lemon Garlic butter

  • Salmon

  • Chicken gyroscopes
  • Greek meat skewers
  • Roasted lemon

  • butter
  • Garlic Parmesan shrimp
  • Pesto chicken
  • Lemon Basil Chicken
  • Shawarma
  • Doner Kebabs

Now it’s time for this lemon rice because it’s so good you’ll want to serve it with everything, or nothing because it’s cravilicious by itself.


yes! While this Greek rice with lemon recipe doesn’t require much preparation, you can still prepare everything ahead of time so you can get together in minutes.

  • Chop the aromatics. Chop onions, garlic and herbs and cilantro and store in separate airtight containers in the fridge.
  • Lemon juice. Juice and zest lemons and store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.
  • Measure condiments. Measure all seasoning and store in a separate airtight container.
  • Rinse the rice. Rinse the rice thoroughly and leave it in the strainer to dry.


This lemon rice recipe is

stored beautifully!

  • Refrigerate: Let the Greek rice with lemon cool to room temperature and then transfer it to a tightly coated airtight container or several small containers to prepare the food. Store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
  • Microwave: For small portions, microwave rice in a microwave-safe container with a couple of teaspoons of water for 60-90 seconds or until heated.
  • Stove: For larger portions, transfer Greek rice to a nonstick skillet along with a pinch of water or chicken broth. Heat over medium heat, stirring often until heated.


This easy lemon rice recipe can also be frozen:

  • let the rice cool completely before transferring it to a freezer bag (recommended) or an airtight container safe for the freezer. If you use a bag, squeeze as much air as possible to avoid frostbite.
  • Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Let the rice thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat in the microwave or stove as above.


  • Mushrooms Orzo
  • Pumpkin Risotto
  • Crushed
  • potatoes

  • Glazed carrots
  • Garlic bread Green bean salad

  • Twice baked potatoes
  • Macaroni and cheeseLooking
  • for more Greek recipes? Greek chicken salad

  • Greek
  • pizza

  • Greek
  • pasta


Pineapple Coconut Cashew Coconut Rice Ginger Red Beans and Rice Cilantro Lima Rice

  • and Black Beans
  • Creamy Cilantro Lima Avocado Coconut



Put it on your BOND, GREEK or RICE board to SAVE

for later!

Find me on Pinterest for more cool recipes! I’m always setting :)!

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©Carlsbad Cravings Original


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