Armenian Rice Pilaf


This buttery rice pilaf dresses up all of your special occasions. No longer will you think of rice as a plain and basic staple–Armenian pilaf is a sophisticated, yet simple side dish.

Armenian Rice Pilaf

What ingredients do I need for Armenian Rice Pilaf?

  • Uncle Ben's Converted Rice: Listen up. This is the key ingredient in this recipe and there is no substitute for it, despite all the cost-cutting more efficient varieties of white rice available.

    Even on Uncle Ben's website, the first reviewer for their converted rice, shares: "I learned how to make Armenian Rice Pilaf over 50 years ago from an Armenian lady who made the ABSOLUTE BEST pilaf. THE ONLY TYPE OF RICE one can use (according to her and now me after making it over 50 years) is UNCLE BEN'S ORIGINAL LONG GRAIN RICE. There is NO substitute for this Rice when making Armenian pilaf. When I'm out, I've substituted many other types of rice -- MISTAKE."

    This is exactly what my mom has been preaching to me all these years! 😂😂 Moral of the story, if you remember to buy Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, you're more than half way to perfect pilaf!
  • Vermicelli (or Fideo)Look for short-cut extra thin spaghetti-like pasta.  If you can't find short-cut vermicelli, then, get the regular length vermicelli and break off an inch at a time into your pot of melted butter. In a pinch, you could also substitute pasta labeled as extra-thin spaghetti, but these noodles might be slightly thicker than ideal.

Other Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Slivered almonds (Optional)
Close up of Armenian rice pilaf

How do I make Armenian Rice Pilaf?

Melt a stick of butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Truth be told, you can cut down on the butter if the thought of using that much butter causes you to break a sweat. But for extra special occasions, we go all in, and you should do the same. 

Next, pour the short-cut vermicelli into pot, stirring and watching carefully to brown it without letting it burn. Stir in rice.

Warm chicken broth for Armenian rice pilafMeanwhile, warm chicken broth and then add it to the rice.
Chicken broth for rice pilafAdd 2 level teaspoons of salt or less.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat to very low.  Cover the pot and simmer the rice for 25 minutes. It might be tempting, but don't stir the golden brown goodness while simmering. Then check and see if all the chicken broth has been absorbed.
Armenian rice pilaf in a pot

Meanwhile, stir 1/2 cup slivered almonds with 2 tablespoons butter in a pot and cook until golden.  Top rice with almonds before you serve it. (Omit this last step if desired.) Rice pilaf goes well with many main dishes.

Pilaf rice meal with kebabsNote: This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I could earn a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Older Post Newer Post

  • Allison on

    We think nothing of this rice because we grew up with it, but my husband’s family went crazy over it the first time they tried it and they want it all the time. It is simple to make, but so delicious. And, I agree with the comments, you have to use Uncle Ben’s converted rice. I’ve tried everything else. Not the same!

  • Robin on

    Fantastic recipe! I’ve always loved the slivered almonds variation whenever I’ve had those on hand. Turns the dish from great to even greater!!

  • Chrissie on

    That’s so funny about the Armenian pilaf reference on the Uncle Ben’s website! Yes, I remember my Grandma Rosemary preaching the importance of Uncle Ben’s. :)

  • Jackie Jenkins on

    This is the best rice pilaf recipe! I make it all the time!

Leave a comment