Creamy Greek lemon rice with herbs is the perfect side dish for many dishes. It pairs wonderfully with Greek Lemon Chicken or any grilled pork dish.
This dish easily combines many of the best Greek flavors—garlic, lots of lemons, dried and fresh herbs. A simple rice pilaf comes together quickly but forms the base to a meal of Greek Lemon Chicken.
Greek Seasoning for Lemon Rice
Ready-made seasoning mixes are a great addition to your spice cupboard. You can find many Greek Seasoning Mixes available to purchase. (I really like the all-purpose Greek seasoning made by Cavender’s. It is a delightful mix that goes well with vegetables, seafood, and all sorts of Greek dishes.
If you can’t find a mix you like, try to make your own by combining dried oregano, thyme, dill weed, granulated garlic, kosher salt, black pepper and dried mint. Add a pinch of rosemary and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to taste. There are recipes on the web. These flavors are all traditional to the herbs and spices that are featured in Greek food.
Tips for Cooking Perfect Lemon Rice
- Cooking rice can be done on a stovetop or in a rice cooker. Check out this post for tips on cooking rice. Use the standard rice to liquid ratio) 2 cups liquid to 1 cup rice) when making this recipe. Just make sure to cook the rice is a pot large enough since the grains expand during heating. Cooking rice can be done on stovetop or in a rice cooker.
- Saute the rice grains, minced onion, and garlic in oil until the grains turn opaque and onions begin to turn translucent. The rice will begin to smell slightly nutty and delicious. Stir the grains sparingly, just enough that nothing browns.
- Add the liquid (water, chicken stock, and lemon juice) and stir in the kosher salt and Greek seasoning to combine with the sauteed mix and bring to a boil. Then immediately add half of the butter and turn the burner down to low so the liquid is at a simmer. (This means there are small bubbles forming on the surface.) Cover the pot with the lid and let the rice do its thing for 17-20 minutes or until the grains are tender.
- Let the rice rest for ten minutes to finish absorbing any extra water. Then add the lemon zest and fresh herbs and fluff the rice grains. Lemon rice will be more creamy than rice with separate grains.
- I also add some more butter before fluffing since the butter adds richness and a wonderful mouthfeel.
Zesty lemon rice with herbs is a perfect side for chicken or pork. It pairs wonderfully with Greek Lemon Chicken.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- 1 onion, finely diced, about 1 cup
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoon lemon zest (zest from 3 lemons) reserved
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, (juice from 2 lemons)
- 1–1/2 cups water
- 1–1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (about 4 sprigs)
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the rice, onion, and garlic and saute until the rice grains begin to become opaque and the onion becomes translucent. Stir occasionally so the ingredients don’t brown.
- Add the lemon juice, water, chicken broth, kosher salt, Greek seasoning to the pot and stir to combine.
- Add 1-1/2 tablespoons butter and bring the liquid to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low (so the ingredients just simmer) Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 17-20 minutes.
- Remove the covered pan from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining butter, lemon zest and parsley and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Serve warm.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
When reheating Lemon rice in the microwave, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of water over the top of the cold rice before cooking to protect the rice from drying out.
If you like more lemon taste, gradually add 1-2 tablespoons additional fresh lemon juice to the rice as you fluff it. Taste the rice as you go.
I like to add fresh dill and even finely minced fresh mint along with the fresh parsley to the rice.
For a wonderful meal, serve this lemon rice with Greek Lemon Chicken.