How to Flavor Plain Rice

Updated February 21, 2017

Turn rice from plain white into wonderful by adding flavour to it during every stage of cooking. Plain rice tastes as its name sounds: bland. To remedy this problem and make rice tastier, avoid the packaged rice seasoning mixes with preservatives. Use your favourite herbs and spices to make a flavourful rice side dish. Both white and brown rice benefit from additional seasonings and flavours.

Heat the butter, onion, garlic and rice in the bottom of a large stock pot over medium-high heat.

Toast the rice and vegetables until the rice is slightly darkened and the vegetables are translucent. Toasting the rice makes it more flavourful than cooking it without toasting.

Add the stock and herbs to the rice and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the rice for 10 minutes.

Place a kitchen towel on the bottom of the pot lid, and cover the stock pot with the towel and lid. The towel absorbs excess liquid from the steam and prevents the rice from becoming soggy.

Lower the heat to low and simmer the rice for 10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and become tender.

Fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains before serving.


Herb options for rice should match the flavours used in your main dish. For instance, flavour rice with basil for serving with an Italian entrée or add cumin for a Mexican dinner. Saffron- or curry powder-flavoured rice pairs well with Indian dishes. Increase the cooking time to 45 to 50 minutes for brown rice, and use twice as much water as rice for cooking. Add salt and pepper to taste after cooking the rice. Salted cooking water makes the grains rupture, resulting in soupy rice.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cups long-grain white rice
  • Large stock pot
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs
  • Towel
  • Fork
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