Our Favorite Ways To Change Up The Flavor Of Plain Rice

by Texas Homesteader ~  

You can easily change up the flavor of plain rice to go with any entree. Since rice is an inexpensive pantry staple I prepare it often as a side dish with our meals. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite (yet super EASY) rice flavors to serve. 

Different flavors for plain rice - cilantro lime, buttered sage, spanish rice, rosemary #TexasHomesteader


The beautiful thing about rice is that it’s easy to mix up the seasonings for completely different rice flavors.

I’ll serve rice often as a side dish, whether we’re enjoying Mexican dishes or grilled chicken. It’s very versatile and easy to change up the rice flavors to pair with whatever meal you’re enjoying on any given night.

Basic Stovetop Rice-Cooking Directions

Conventional wisdom for cooking rice is simple: Measure & rinse rice until water runs clear. (for less sticky cooked rice)

Be sure to rinse raw rice to remove excess starch before cooking to keep it from being sticky. #TexasHomesteader

Add 1 part rice, 2 parts water or broth to a pot. Cover & simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and serve.

Sounds simple enough, right?

But DANG if I follow those directions my rice is always over-cooked and mushy. I’m really not sure what the difference is. Maybe the strength of the gas burners on my stove. Maybe the minerals in my water. I have no idea!

But if you experience the same rice-cooking frustrations, I’ll share how I do it differently for deliciously-cooked rice every time.

My Different Rice-Cooking Method

Instead of traditional rice-cooking wisdom, my rice-cooking procedure typically looks like this:

When making rice, I always use broth instead of water for more flavor and nutrition. #TexasHomesteader

  • Measure & rinse rice until water runs clear.
  • Add 1 part rice, 2 parts Homemade Broth to a pot.
  • Stir, cover & simmer 10 minutes
  • Then turn off heat, leaving pan covered.
  • Allow rice to steam in covered pan to soak up remaining broth for the final 10 minutes.
  • Remove lid, fluff rice with a fork and serve.

This always results in tender rice, not a mushy, overcooked pile of goop.

Cooking Rice In An Electric Pressure Cooker

Here’s an even easier way to cook rice using an Instant Pot pressure cooker. And it comes out perfectly every time!

Perfectly Cooked white long-grain rice in an Instant Pot #TexasHomesteader

For each cup of rice you’ll use a cup (for drier rice) to 1¼ cup of broth. Pressure cook 3 minutes with 10-minute natural release.

(You can see the complete recipe for Instant Pot Rice Here)

You can multiply that up to 4 cups if you’re using a *6-quart Instant Pot. This is almost always the way I cook rice now.

Flavor Options For Plain Cooked Rice

Whichever way you prepare your rice, I think we can all agree that cooking rice is easy and inexpensive. But how do you change up the rice flavors to go with different dishes?

Well I’m able to make a rice side dish to go with whatever I’m serving. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive and it’s always delicious.

Buttered Rice With Garlic & Fresh Sage

Buttered Rice with Fresh Sage & Garlic. I'm sharing different rice flavors that I can whip up fast to go with any meal. Cilantro/Lime, Rosemary, Fresh Garlic/Sage and more. #TexasHomesteaderButtered Rice with Garlic & Fresh Sage – This is RancherMan’s favorite. It goes well with

After the plain rice is cooked I sauté minced garlic & fresh chopped sage with butter until tender.

Then I add this buttery, sagey, garlicy goodness to the rice & fluff with a fork.

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Fresh Rosemary Rice

Rosemary Rice. I'm sharing different rice flavors that I can whip up fast to go with any meal. Cilantro/Lime, Rosemary, Fresh Garlic/Sage and more. #TexasHomesteaderFresh Rosemary Rice – This dish goes best with

I often serve this side when we have company for supper.

It’s easy, I just add 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary when I add the broth to cook the rice. This assures the rosemary herb is tender when the rice is served.

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Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro-Lime Rice. I'm sharing different rice flavors that I can whip up fast to go with any meal. Cilantro/Lime, Rosemary, Fresh Garlic/Sage and more. #TexasHomesteaderCilantro Lime Rice – I enjoy making this with any of our Mexican-themed dishes.

Since we eat south-of-the-border themed meals often, this is one of my favorites.

I typically focus on cilantro rice in the earlier spring months when the fresh cilantro is abundant in the garden. You know I hate for it to go to waste!

And I often buy limes when they’re on sale and toss them in the freezer. This way it’s easy to thaw and zest.

And I use a Vintage Juicer to get the lime juice required in the recipe. No plastic trash made!

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Texas Style Spanish Rice

Texas-Style Spanish rice is a delicious & simple way to dress up plain rice. #TexasHomesteaderSpanish Rice – When my cilantro isn’t producing in the garden but I need a Tex-Mex side, I’ll often make Spanish rice instead to go with:

I cook the rice by using 1 part rice, 2 parts broth and 1 part chunky salsa. 

Sometimes I’ll sauté aromatics like chopped onion & minced garlic before adding the rice, broth & salsa. Sometimes not. I mean, the salsa already has those things in the ingredients. So either way I’m good to go.

Yep, I’m a shoot-from-the-hip cook that way.

But RancherMan always raves when I make Spanish rice.

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Dishes That Use Up Leftover Rice

I find it helpful to have cooked rice at my disposal. And remember, rice freezes beautifully. So go ahead and make lots while you’re at it.

Section leftovers into serving sizes and freeze it for another quick & easy meal later.

Stuffed Bell Peppers – Having rice already cooked beforehand is a real time saver when I’m making my Stuffed Peppers.

Leftover rice makes stuffed bell peppers a fast menu option. #TexasHomesteader

Endless Soup – If there’s not much rice leftover I’ll just put it to good use by adding it to whatever soup we may be enjoying for lunch. It makes for a less brothy soup (which RancherMan prefers) and adds flavor & nutrition as well. No food goes to waste in my kitchen.

Chicken Fried Rice – Another favorite way to use up leftover rice is by making Chicken Fried Rice. This dish uses both leftover rice as well as leftover chicken. And it makes a LOT. 

Chicken Fried Rice makes good use of leftover cooked meat and leftover rice. #TexasHomesteader

Rice is such an inexpensive yet versatile pantry staple. We always have rice in the pantry. So it’s on our menu often! Thankfully there are many rice flavors from which to choose.


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