This homemade Rice A Roni is easy to make and tastes great!
One of the things that I have done in trying to avoid packaged food is to cut out all packaged rice and pasta mixes. We did not eat them very often, but I would keep them on hand for a quick and easy side dish.
I have tried several recipes that I found online and could not find one that we liked. So I came up with a version that basically combined a few recipes that I had seen. What I came up with was a version of homemade rice a roni that we love.
If you are trying to avoid packaged and boxed mixes this is a great recipe to try. It is so much better tasting than the boxed stuff and you can control the ingredients.
You can easily make this with beef or chicken broth. Add in some ground beef or cooked chicken and you have a simple main dish.
I am sharing two versions of this. One is the amount needed for one meal. The second is the recipe for making a large batch of mix to scoop out and use as needed.
Homemade Rice A Roni
A quick and easy side dish that is better than that famous box of rice mix.
- 4 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken into pieces
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked long grain white rice
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme ( I leave this out of the beef version)
- 3 1/4 cups beef or chicken broth or use water and bouillon ( I usually use water and bouillon because it is cheaper)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Melt butter in a skillet or sauce pan.
- Add rice and pasta. Stir until rice has turned opaque and pasta has browned slightly. This takes 2-3 minutes.
- Add seasonings and stir to coat rice and pasta.
- Add broth (or water and bouillon). Bring to a boil and stir well.
- Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes or until rice and pasta is tender.
Homemade Rice A Roni Mix
- 1 cup of spaghetti, broken into small pieces
- 2 cups rice, uncooked
- 1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
- 6 tablespoons instant chicken or beef bouillon powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme ( I leave this out of the beef version)
- Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
- To use.
- Place 1 cup of mix, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 cups of water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
- You can also cook the rice mixture and butter in the pan until rice is slightly browned. And then add the water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
That sounds so good. I hate buying the rice a roni from the store b/c i don’t know what is really in it. Thanks for the recipe!
I have always liked ric a roni but don’t buy it very often because it costs too much. Thanks for the great, and I’m sure much more healthy alternative!
p.s. Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
While I generally liked Rice-A-Roni in the past, the salt content is outrageous. I’m definitely trying this recipe.
I love this- I often make rice a roni for lunch with vegetables and left over meat added. But I don’t like the fact that it has preservatives in it. I’m going to give this a try! Thanks.
This sounds great as I have a TON of rice and pasta!! One question though and this maybe a stupid one but I don’t have the bouillon powder but rather the cubes. Could I grind it to powder?
Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva
Thank you for this recipe. I like Eice-a-roni and so does my boys. This will really come into use for my family.
This sounds like a fantastic alternative to Rice-A-Roni. I’m definitely trying it. 🙂
Krisi and Adam
Sounds like a great alternative to Rice-a-Roni. Will add this to my cupboard.
Oh, what a great idea!!! Does the seasoning fall to the bottom of the container though?
Kirstin, the spices do fall to the bottom some. I always shake or stir it right before I use it to solve this problem.
I’ve got my ingredients, now I’m wondering about serving sizes. For the mix recipe you gave us how many servings does that make? Thanks.
One cup of the mix made up feeds our family of five. But my kids are still pretty small ages 6,8, and 10. I think one cup of the mix though will give you about the same as a box of rice a roni.
Thanks for this recipe. When eating Ramen noodles, I always have leftovers from the seasoning packet–I typically only use about a quarter of it. I store the remaining seasoning in a bottle and use it like bouillon powder. One could certainly use the Ramen seasoning in this, if you have leftovers. Sodium content is high, but same as in bouillon. Just use less–a little of either goes a long way. Alternately, one might skip the powder altogether, and replace the water with low-sodium or homemade stock or broth. The flavor might be more mild, but you could boost it by stirring in fresh herbs at the end.
Is beef bouillon powder different than beef instant bouillon? I made this last night and it was extremely salty, so I thought maybe I used the wrong thing. Please let me know. Thanks!
@Angie, Different brands of bouillon can contain different amounts of salt. So that may be the difference. You can always cut back a little on the bouillon if you think it is too salty. I think it is a bit salty but less salty then the real rice a roni.
Thank you for a fantastic recipe!!! My son who always says he doesn’t like rice had two HUGE servings of this. I finally have a side dish that the entire family will eat (happily)!! Thank you, Thank you, thank you!
I LOVE Rice-a-Roni and it was one of the only packaged mixes left in my pantry… until I found this recipe of yours. Thanks so much! It’s wonderful.
@JenPenM, I am so glad that you like it!
The only thing that bothers me about bouillon is that it almost always contains msg. I wonder if anybody has found any that does not? At least the amount of chemicals all togther would be vastly less than rice dinner mixes at the store, even with the bouillon. Sounds very good.
Great idea and very tasty!
Try this idea… leave out the bullion (too much salt and preservatives anyway) and instead of 2 cups of water, use 2 cups of stock (homemade gives you complete control) of your choice.
Add in: sauté some thinly sliced mushrooms in that initial phase with the rice and noodles.
After it’s been cooked about 15 minutes; add 1/4 cup of milk, stir, and let stand uncovered covered 5 minutes. Very creamy.
I saw your recipe and with great excitement prepared it for dinner last night. I think perhaps I did something wrong! The rice was severely undercooked. I kept having to cook it longer and longer, and add more water. The roni’s then were overcooked. Any suggestions? Is it better to saute the mix in the butter before adding the liquid? I am sad, and so confused! Thanks……
@Mommytoneb, This was a recipe I posted early in my site. I have not made this since I went gluten free two years ago. But from what I remember we did like the texture better when I sauteed the mixture first in butter.
If you want to make it yellow, add some turmeric. That’s probably what makes the boxed version yellow. It’s commonly used in south Indian cooking — it’s what gives yellow curry its color. 🙂
Do you use minute rice or long grain rice I would love to try this recipie and thank you:)
Long grain rice is best for this. I hope you enjoy it!
I made this for the first time tonight and it was delicious! My husband even commented “this is a keeper!” I have made three of your recipes so far and they were all good. I will be trying many more. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for letting me know. I am so glad you enjoyed it!
I had the same dilemma when we switched to real, whole foods. I finally perfected a chicken flavored rice we love. I cook the rice in 2 cups of homemade chicken stock (salted to taste), and 2 tablespoons of homemade poultry seasoning blend. It’s really good, and so easy! I’ll have to try adding in some “roni”.
I make this too, but use orzo pasta. I always toast the rice and pasta for awhile in a little butter before adding the broth and seasonings. I think it makes a huge difference. Yum!
I made the mix for this a few weeks back and got to cook it tonight. It was a hit with my family! My granddaughter could not get enough. I blogged about this recipe on my site (https://mytinyhousedream.blogspot.com/2013/07/puttin-by-home-made-rice-roni.html) but felt compelled to stop by and say thank you. We love, love, love your recipes! Thank so much for sharing!
Curious, I don’t keep bouillon powder in the house. Only the cubes! How many cubes should I use to make this?
I would adjust it for the amount of cubes needed for 2 cups of water. I think that would be 1, but check to make sure.
I found that 6tbs of bouillon was way too salty, I tripled the rice and pasta and still find it way to salty, maybe it should be tsp not tbs
Can’t WAIT to try this. I hate all the “bad stuff” in the box mixes, but my son loves it and I’m so happy to find a version I can make at home!! YAY!!!
I hope you enjoy it!
I have spent many years trying to find a suitable home made recipe for rice a Roni fried rice! It is one of my favorite childhood dinner foods. The recipe you listed is closest I have ever tasted! I slightly amended the cooking directions as I prefer to brown the rice a bit before adding water and seasoning. Thanks again for sharing your tasty find!
God bless you and everything that comes out of your kitchen adventures!
have you changed this recipe? I don’t remember broth instead of the bullion and I can remember there being directions on this as the basic recipe and if you wanted to make it Mexican on how to do that? I now live down in Australia and this is the closest I have ever come to the original. I have served it at several pot lucks and everyone LOVES it. I saute’ onion and celery before I add the rice and it is amazing. thanks in advance!
I did update the recipe. The recipe had it as a large mix where you would just make up a huge dry batch and take out enough each time for what you need. So yes it did have just the powdered bouillon before. I just basically broke it down to be a single batch recipe. I put the broth or bouillon and water because that is how I now make it and for those that need gluten free it is easier because gluten free bouillon can be hard to find. I am so glad to know that you have enjoyed this recipe for so long. I shared this recipe so long ago that it was buried in the archives and I was not sure anyone even knew it was there. So I am glad to here that you love it! I agree on adding onion and celery it adds great flavor. I like to add ground beef or chicken to it also to make it more of a meal. I do have a Mexican rice recipe on my site, but it wasn’t with this recipe. Is this the mexican rice you are talking about. https://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2009/09/mexican-rice.html
do you happen to remember the ratios? I would make up those batches and keep it in my pantry. If someone liked my recipe, I’d send them home with some and the link to it. It’s such a great copy cat! We make it with silvered almonds and steamed lima beans and kielbassa.
Yes I still have the old version printed out. I will add it back to the post so that both versions are there and people can print the one they want. It might be a few days before I get it added back, but I will do it. I am so glad to know that there are people that have been making and loving this for years! Thanks for being such a faithful reader!
not only do I love it but it is shared down here with all the other expats missing back home!
I just wanted to let you know that I updated the Rice A Roni post. It now has both version. The one batch version and the large mix batch. I hope that helps. And thank you so much for sharing my recipe with others. I am so glad it helps give you a taste of home.
Hi. I used to make this a bunch as a kid (my parents didn’t want to shell out the extra dough for the boxed mix) but I always first melted a little bitter and browned the pasta and rice first. I found that it added a depth of flavor. Love that you’ve come up with this and your site as a whole!
Lynn, I am going to try your rice a roni recipe very soon but I am looking for a recipe for a gluten free Spanish Rice version of rice a roni. I love their Spanish Rice cooked with a half pound of ground beef, But I need a gluten free version. Thank you for any help. Chris Poett
Several people have asked me about other gluten free versions of rice a roni type meals. So I am working on coming up with some. I know many people miss those.
My family loves this! My husband was a die-hard boxed fan, but of course there’s too much junk and sodium in it, so I’m glad he likes this. I make it in my Instant Pot, sauteeing as stated, using just 2 cups of broth, and hitting the Rice button.
I am so glad that you enjoyed it!! And I am glad it worked in the Instant Pot! I am going to have to try it in the Instant Pot. That would make it even easier.