Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit and Almonds

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This delicious basmati rice is studded with dried fruit and almonds, and scented with cumin, cinnamon and turmeric.

Studded with dried fruit and almonds, and scented with warm spices, this basmati rice pilaf pairs beautifully with my Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs, Lamb Kofta, or Grilled Moroccan Meatballs.

What you’ll need to make Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit and Almonds

Basmati is a type of rice grown in the Himalayas and Pakistan. It’s incredibly fragrant with a light nutty flavor. “Bas” in Hindi language actually means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of,” hence the word Basmati — or “full of aroma.” The grains are long, slender and fluffy compared to standard white rice.

How to make Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit and Almonds

It’s always a good idea to rinse basmati rice, otherwise, it will be gummy and stick together.  It only takes a minute or two — simply place the rice in a bowl with water and then swish it around to release any excess starch. Rinse the rice in several changes of water until the water runs almost clear.

Let the rice drain in a fine mesh strainer, then move on to the pilaf by melting the butter in a medium pot.

Add the onions and cook over gentle heat until soft and translucent.

Stir in the garlic and spices and cook until fragrant.

Next, toss in the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes.

Add the water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the dried fruit over top, then cover loosely and let sit for about 10 minutes. (As you can see, I used a combination of currants and chopped apricots but feel free to use whatever you like.)

Finally, toss in the almonds and fluff the pilaf with a fork.

Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted and modified from Cooks Illustrated

You may also like

Basmati Pilaf with Dried Fruits and Almonds

This delicious basmati rice is studded with dried fruit and almonds, and scented with cumin, cinnamon and turmeric.

Servings: 4


  • 1-1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions, from one small onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit, such as currants, raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted until golden


  1. Place rice in medium bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Using your hands, gently swish grains to release any excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat four to five times, until water runs almost clear. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain water from rice. Place strainer over bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring regularly, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic to sautéed onions and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Add rice to pot, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add water, salt and pepper to rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 15-18 minutes. Off heat, remove lid, and sprinkle dried fruit over rice (do not mix in). Place lid loosely over pot and let stand 10 minutes. Toss in toasted almonds, fluff rice with a fork, then serve.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 378
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 60g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sodium: 740mg
  • Cholesterol: 23mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • This was delicious! I deployed to Iraq back in 2011 and loved the local food. I remember the rice being yellow and having bits of fruit in it. This recipe is very close to the real thing. It was easy to make and delicious! I paired this with the chicken kabobs mentioned in the recipe. Great recipe!

    • — Carrie on September 17, 2020
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  • I made this yesterday. Wonderful! We have leftovers we’d love to enjoy later. Does the finished freeze well?

    • — Mary on August 30, 2020
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    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2020
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      • Thank you!

        • — Mary Ives on August 30, 2020
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  • Do you think this will work as a side dish With a middle eastern lamb stew?

    • — Judi on August 28, 2020
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    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on August 28, 2020
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  • Really really really good! I made it to go w/ Jenn’s Middle Eastern Chicken kabobs on the charcoal grill. We loved it! During this period with so many of our restaurants closed or having to cook at home…..this was a welcome treat from our usual stuck in a rut cooking. And it’s light enough for summer eating. Too bad we can’t have our friends over for cocktails & dinner. But I will be sharing both recipes w/ praise and a cocktail.
    Thank you Jenn!

    • — Riggs on August 19, 2020
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  • Jenn, any feedback or opportunities to make the rice dishes leveraging a rice cooker? Appreciate the insights from my #1 go to personal chef!!

    • — Jason Anderson on August 9, 2020
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    • Thanks Jason!! Unfortunatley, I don’t have any experience with a rice cooker so don’t have any wisdom to share – sorry! You may find these tips useful, though.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2020
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  • I am not the greatest in the kitchen and I usually butcher recipes but the rice pilaf alongside the Middle Eastern shish kebab are super simple, and my family and guests just loved them. I couldn’t believe how delicious they turned out! Thank you for the amazing and simple recipes.

    • — Farah on July 28, 2020
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  • Hello,
    Can I use whole wheat basmati rice for this?

    • — nimra on July 11, 2020
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    • Sure, that should work; just adjust the cooking time for the rice if the package of rice specifies something different than the recipe.

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2020
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  • My family loved this and could not stop talking about it!

    • — Jenny G on June 27, 2020
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    • Can I use vege broth instead of water to cook the rice?

      • — Ruth Brandt on August 8, 2020
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      • Sure, but you’ll want to cut back on the added salt so that the finished dish isn’t too salty. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on August 9, 2020
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  • Had this with chicken and beef kabobs on Father’s Day. Everyone LOVED the rice. Making more today.

    • — Beth on June 23, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn, I’ve been enjoying a lot your recipes for some time and even purchased your cookbook, I cannot ever remember purchasing a cookbook for myself as I prefer to browse the web. Point is, I wanted to support you because I am so thankful that you share your amazing recipes online. I love to cook for my family and your emails inspire me to make dishes I would have never considered. This dish is one of them! I am forever grateful, this is just amazing! I have made it multiple times in the past month and have paired it with your kofta recipe and Mediterranean kebabs. Thank you!

    • — Christy on June 18, 2020
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    • You’re so welcome! (And thank you for your support with the cookbook!) ❤️

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2020
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  • I want to triple this recipe. Will the water ratio be accurate?

    • — Leesa on June 13, 2020
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    • Hi Leesa, because rice can be a bit finicky, I’d probably make 1-1/2 times the recipe and divide it into two separate pots. And you’ll need to increase the water accordingly. Just keep a close eye on it. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2020
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  • Jenn this was so amazing and so simple! I paired it with your Persian kebabs recipe and it was to die for. Everyone, from adults to kids and even our toddler gobbled up this rice. You made a novice cook look like a pro. Thank you so much! I have since ordered your book and can’t wait for what ‘we’ make next!

    Thanks again.

    • — Aman on June 8, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn I made the Kofta loved how the veges were pulsed to be added to the lamb mince very different and the Rice Pilaf both very flavoursome and have made the rice dish again
    I sent the recipe to my dtr who is living in Japan and she is keen to make it
    I will try the Chicken Kebabs next. I love your recipes. I am Australian living on the North Coast of NSW and some time ago I accidently bought these lovely coloured spoons to discover they were American measurements however they have been well used. I also made the Lemon Pound cake which was very well received and a favourite

    • — Elizabeth Birch on June 8, 2020
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  • Jenn, I made this last night for my husband. It was delicious! We had alot of rice and was wondering if you ever made a salad with the left overs and if so what was the recipe?

    • — Terri Pannell on June 7, 2020
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    • Hi Terri, Glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t made this into a rice salad, but certainly think it would work. You could toss it with some cooked shrimp and or cannellini beans for a little protein.

      • — Jenn on June 8, 2020
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  • Looks yumm! Think I can sub brown basmati and just cook a bit longer?

    • — Julie on June 5, 2020
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    • Sure, just keep a close eye on it as I’m not certain how long the rice will take to cook. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 5, 2020
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  • Fragrant, delicious! Used apricots and salted cashews. Excellent with the chicken kebabs. One of my family’s new favourites.

    • — HG on June 4, 2020
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  • Excellent. We served it with the Middle Eastern Kebabs, but it would be good with any number of dishes. I used golden raisins because that’s what I had on hand, and they contributed delicious bites of sweetness. Apricots or raisins would be a pretty contrast to the yellow rice. Yeah for another way to get turmeric into our diet!

    • — Kay on May 30, 2020
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  • This was easy and delicious! We eat a lot of rice in our house and I usually use the rice cooker, but I decided to branch out last night and try this. I’m glad I did. I followed the recipe exactly, except I did not rinse the rice, and instead of water I used homemade chicken bone broth to up the protein. Everyone loved it! Served it with your middle eastern chicken kabobs – yum!

    • — Jen on May 26, 2020
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  • This recipe works great for me even though I’m not good at cooking rice.

    • — Jay Verm on May 25, 2020
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    • Delicious! Thank you once again!

      • — Sabrina on July 1, 2020
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  • Made this rice along side the Middle Eastern chicken kebabs by Jenn, cucumber and tomato salad and a mint and yogurt sauce. It was an amazing combination, and my boyfriend couldn’t get enough of the rice!

    • — Pooja Roy on May 25, 2020
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  • This rice is amazing, you could eat it on its own it is that good! Didn’t last long enough to get a photo though. Will definitely be making again and recommending to all my friends.

    • — Kelly-Jo on May 17, 2020
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  • I made this tonight & it was AWESOME! I used craisins as the dried fruit since I had that & it was fabulous. This will be going into my regular cookbook.

    • — Sally on May 14, 2020
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  • My teenage son loved this! He is just starting to enjoy other types of foods, and has always loved chicken kabobs. This is better than what we get for take-out. I will be making this often in the future!

    • — Selene Ting on April 3, 2020
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  • I never, ever write reviews – though I read them every time I attempt a new recipe. But this recipe moved me to write. This rice is INCREDIBLE. We paired it with the Peruvian chicken and green sauce, and it was a match made in heaven. I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks – including yours, which I love! – but for weeks now, I’ve cooked every meal from your website, to the delight of my family. Thank you!

    • — Mindy on February 13, 2020
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    • 💗

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2020
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  • This dish turned out great ! I used chicken stock in place of the water, therefore added less salt.

    • — Indie on February 12, 2020
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  • This rice was fantastic! Instead of water, I used the liquid drained from the Middle Eastern Lamb Kofta recipe of yours and completed with beef broth (that’s all I had). It came out sooo good! I nice little kick! My husband and I loved it!

    • — Annie on February 10, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn,

    We made this tonight for dinner. It is delicious and we want to make it again. However, It is just 2 of us and there was a lot left over. Any recommendations for halving the recipe.

    • — Meryl on January 12, 2020
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    • Glad you liked it, Meryl! You can just cut all the ingredients in half next time you make it.

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2020
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  • Used my leftover white rice – it was excellent! Spices were perfect and paired this with your Middle Eastern chicken kabobs.

    • — KCL on January 11, 2020
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  • This recipe was excellent!! We recently traveled to Israel and I was anxious to imitate the rice we ate. This was it!! Such a pleasant reminder of an amazing experience! Thank you.

    • — RaeAnn D on January 7, 2020
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  • Tried this recipe to go with a spiced roast leg of lamb. Worked like a charm. So simple yet so tasty. This is now definitely on my go to list of go to recipes.

    • — Andris Svilans on December 12, 2019
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  • THIS. WAS. THEE. BOMB!! the BOMB. DIGGETY! 🙂 Kids LOVED it as much as I did! We served it with the Middle Eastern Chicken which pairs beautifully with this Amazing rice dish! Both are fabulous dishes but I would venture to say its a must they be served together! Next time will serve with Naan bread. Mmmmm……. Gotta try this amazing rice dish, peeps!

    • — Laura on December 3, 2019
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  • Would you happen to know how long this would cook in the instant pot after sautéing first?

    • — Jen on October 28, 2019
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    • I ended up doing 6 minutes high pressure and a 10 minute natural release. It’s delicious!

      • — Jen on October 28, 2019
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      • Glad it worked out!

        • — Jenn on October 29, 2019
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    • I’m sorry Jen – I don’t. I don’t have enough experience with it to tell you confidently how to convert a recipe to an instant pot. You may want to take a peek at these tips for a little guidance.

      • — Jenn on October 29, 2019
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  • I was disappointed in this recipe. I’m not sure if it’s just my own tastebuds, or if I had too high expectations, but it was totally tasteless! I was expecting more of a middle Eastern spiced rice with hits of sweet from the fruit, but I think maybe the size of the dish requires more spice, more salt and a splash of tang…? Maybe soak the raisins in citrus or something?

    • — Tasia on October 23, 2019
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  • This recipe has gone on our regular rotation. It tastes so close to what we get from our fave local Greek place with the added texture of the dried fruit and slivered almonds. It’s one of the many recipes that we’ve come to love from your awesome site. When I’m looking for something new to mix things up, I come to Once Upon a Chef first!

    • — EJ Ogenyi on October 19, 2019
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  • So, so good! I thoroughly enjoyed this rice pilaf recipe. Can’t wait to have the leftovers!

    • — Darlene on September 10, 2019
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    • Wow! Amazing! This is very reminiscent of a biryani dish to me, which is one of my favorites. I added frozen peas with the dried fruits and almonds. Just delicious.

      • — Brooke on September 30, 2019
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  • Can I substitute olive oil or another lower fat oil for the butter?

    • — Mar on August 28, 2019
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    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 28, 2019
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  • First recipe I tried from your site, and it was a huge winner. Husband said if was “restaurant quality” 🙂

    • — Inna on July 24, 2019
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  • Absolutely gorgeous rice, simple to make , super tasty.

    • — Talia G. on July 7, 2019
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  • Being Asian, I’ve tasted many versions of rice . This has got to be the best rice dish I’ve ever eaten! I was kind of hesitant to add the cinnamon, but it added another dimension to this! I will definitely make it again!

    • — Janice White on July 1, 2019
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  • This recipe is so amazing! I made it along with your chicken kabobs for my family who doesn’t have an adventurous palate, and they were all in awe! Thank you so much Jenn!

    • — Tina Santos on June 23, 2019
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  • can you make this dish ahead , in part or entirely and then reheat?

    • — M Harris on June 20, 2019
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    • Sure, M, I think it would be fine to make the dish ahead and reheat. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2019
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      • Omg, this rice is THE BOMB!!! I am a “conservative” eater (picky if you prefer!) and made this for my husband, who likes different tastes. I decided to taste it and… I absolutely fell in love with it!! Making it for the second time in two days. Will definitely become a classic at our place!
        I didn’t change a thing. I used frozen diced onions instead of fresh (just because I hate cutting up fresh onions). And I placed the dried fruits about 10 minutes in really warm water prior to the “adding to the rice” step, just to make sure they were really soft. Thanks!!

        • — Isa on July 15, 2019
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  • I don’t have any basmati rice in my pantry at the moment, and I was wondering if I could use jasmine rice?

    • — Starla Beselt on June 11, 2019
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    • Sure, Starla; the cooking directions for the jasmine rice may be a little different, so make sure you follow the package directions for it. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2019
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  • Would this pilaf pair well with your chicken tikka masala or would plain basmati rice be better? I’m planning to serve your minted cucumber salad and naan as well! What would you suggest for dessert?

    • — Donna on May 31, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Donna, I’d probably go with the plain basmati and for dessert, maybe lemon pudding cakes, berry trifle, key lime pie ice cream or chocolate cream pie. Please LMK how everything turns out!

      • — Jenn on May 31, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thanks so much! I made your chocolate cream pie last week, and it was delish! I live in a small town and couldn’t find the chocolate wafers, so I improvised with my own chocolate and vanilla wafer crust. Love your site…

        • — Donna on June 1, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn. Am planning to make this next week and I just wanted to double check the indicated quantity for the rice. 2600g (2.6kg) of basmati rice? Thank you.

    • — Evelyn on April 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Thanks for catching that, Eveyln! It should be 300 g – it’s been corrected.

      • — Jenn on April 13, 2019
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  • Made this 2x in the last 2 weeks. First time I made it, it did not cook consistently. THEN, I learned that the water that you add need to be boiling water so I had it boiling in a pot next to the rice mixture and then added it. It turned out great!

    • — Joyce W on April 10, 2019
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    • I made it twice with luke warm water from the tap and it worked great.

      • — Isa on July 15, 2019
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  • This recipe is a keeper! I followed the recipe to a tee last night for a Mediterranean potluck and everyone absolutely devoured it. The only change I made was in scale (by increasing the quantity of the recipe components to a total of two cups of rice & scaling everything accordingly) and it was the perfect amount for 7 people. I also didn’t have almonds around the house so I just omitted them and, while I think they would have been a nice crunch, it was fantastic without it. Be sure not to leave your spices cooking too long or they will burn.

    Thank you for this recipe!

    • — Julia on April 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • Such a great recipe. I modified it to make it into a complete vegetarian meal. I scooped out the insides of an eggplant, diced, then spiced the eggplant chunks with the same spices used in the recipe and broiled the eggplant chunks in the oven along with the eggplant shell. I then added the chunks to the rice and stuffed the shells with the rice filling. Delicious!

    • — Elyssa on February 3, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn!
    I’ve made the Middle Eastern chicken skewers before you have posted…THE BEST and the closest I’ve gotten to from a restaurant we use to eat at back home.

    I was wondering how you’d think peas or even spinach stirred through after would pair in place of fruit?

    • — Katherine on January 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the kebabs! I think peas or spinach would work in the rice. If you’re going to use spinach I’d chop it up before adding it; I think it will be easier to evenly distribute through the rice that way.

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2019
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  • I love this recipe but can the rice be substituted with quinoa? If yes, how much dry quinoa would I use?

    • — Erika on December 19, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Erika, I think you could use quinoa here but you’d need to approach the recipe a bit differently. Cook the onions and seasonings as the recipe instructs. In a separate pot, cook the quinoa (1 cup) according to package instructions. After both the onion mixture and the quinoa are cooked, toss the two together in one of the pots, remove from the heat and proceed with the remainder of the recipe to add the fruit and almonds. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2018
      • Reply
      • I love this recipe I’ve made it atleast ten times. Delicious!

        • — T khan on June 21, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn – I am doing a Christmas celebration brunch for 12 with cracked lobster and a green salad and thought this might be an interesting starch rather than potatoes. Do you think so or should I stick with something simpler?

    • — Patricia on December 10, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Patricia, sounds yummy! If the salad you’re serving is fairly simple, I think this would be a nice addition.

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2018
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  • I’m going to make this rice for my family during the Christmas holidays with either chicken kabobs or grilled Moroccan meatballs. I feel like this meal needs a vegetable and I’m trying to figure out what or how to add one. I’d like something that really complements the rice and chicken or meatballs, not just any old vegetable stuck on the side of the plate. Suggestions?

    • — Cathy Gallivan on November 13, 2018
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  • Wow! I made this with the Mediterranean chicken earlier this evening and I am still thinking about how delicious this rice is! Make this!

  • The only way I’d tweak this recipe would be to go a bit heavier on the spices–it came out more delicately than I prefer, considering there’s so much good stuff in here! But! Still VERY tasty and wonderful instructions! Will definitely make this again. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂 🙂

  • Need to make this for 20 people can I it by tripleing the recipe or should I double it in two separate pans

    • Hi Janice, because rice can be a bit finicky, I’d double it in two separate pots to be safe.

  • I love this recipe. The house smells delicious when I make it. It is great for meatless meals as I am allergic to beans and peas.

  • This rice is so flavorful and looks so colorful on a plate. I have made this many times and it always turns out great. I have yet to add almonds to it though since I have toddlers. I usually just add dried apricots. My 2 and 3 year old love it, as well. Great recipe!

  • Oh my goodness, what a wonderful recipe! This is going to become a staple in our house. Thanks again, Jenn.

  • I made this (at Jenn’s suggestion) to pair with the Mid Eastern Chicken Kabobs. Excellent pairing and a great pilaf. I used all chopped Turkish apricots as the fruit and we all thinks it is perfect. My mom comments that she could make a meal of this dish.
    Really need to rinse the Basmati rice at least 5 times as the last time I made this I only soaked and rinsed 3 times and it was a little stickier than I like. First couple times I made it I know I rinsed more and it came out firm but fluffy

  • I made this last night, and it was delicious! I never made rice that gets toasted in the pot before boiling(but I’ve done it with oatmeal), it added a pleasant flavor and texture! I don’t think I’ll go back to plain rice again. I paired it with your middle eastern chicken kebabs and some buttered whole grain bread. It went together quickly, once everything was in the pot, I left if for my husband so I could get the baby to sleep. I’m thinking about making this next time my parents come over.

  • Hi Jenn,

    Do you have to rinse the rice?

    • Yes, Lynda, I would recommend it; if not, it will be gummy. Hope you enjoy!

  • This is outstanding and so easy! I used dried cranberries because that’s what I had on hand but I could see using any number of different dried fruits as well as different nuts. I also could see doubling the amount of dried fruit and nuts because it’s a lot of rice. Definitively a side dish I will keep in my rotation. Thank you, Jenn, for another wonderful, tasty recipe!

  • Hello – I would like to make as much of the recipe as possible in advance. My plan is to have the onion and garlic pre chopped and the spices pre measured and mixed. Could I also wash the rice as suggested the couple of needed times to release the starch? And then – just leave it in the strainer?

    Assuming this is alright – Is it better to leave then cleaned rice in the strainer out on the counter or in the fridge? I plan to leave it out for 4 or 5 hours before cooking.


    • Hi Stacey, I’ve never rinsed the rice in advance, but I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t. I think you could leave the rice out on the counter after rinsing it. Hope you enjoy!

  • Can you substitute the basmati rice with “cauliflower rice”?

    • Hi Elsa, I haven’t tried this with cauliflower “rice” but I think it should work. You won’t need to cook it nearly as long; just until the riced cauliflower is hot. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  • I just made this tonight. OMG so good. I didn’t have any Basmati Rice, used regular rice and it turned out good. Used some dried apricots and Dried cranberries, also really good.

  • I usually make plain rice, I tried your pilaf with what I had, and liked it. I added a couple of drops of orange oil ( you could also add almond, vanilla, lime, or lemon oil instead ) to cook the rice, frozen peas, only had raisins, and almonds, and onion, spices. very good! Thanks for the idea.

  • My family loved this dish! We made it exactly as written and it turned out great. I’m a recipe follower (I have trouble throwing a meal together of the top of my head), and this website makes it easy for me to cook. The recipes are easy to follow, quick to make, and include ingredients that I already have or are easy to find. And we’ve loved all of the recipes we’ve tried so far.

  • Like so many others I am addicted to your recipes! Just tried this rice dish and it was absolutely delicious! Thanks!

    Tonight we try Greek-Style Lamb Burgers!

  • Such a great recipe! Very flavorful but not overwhelming. It goes well with all kinds of chicken and I assume it would go well with other meats and seafood, too, but I have not tried. A nice easy pilaf recipe.

  • Everyone in my family loves this rice dish. I wanted lower sodium so I only used 1/2 tsp salt but doubled the cumin and turmeric. And I didn’t have currents so I used raisins. So delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Incredibly good-both with or without the dried fruit. My Persian friend used to make a similar dish which I tried in vain to replicate. This was fantastic and so easy!

  • Delicious! I used walnuts because I’m allergic to almonds and for the dried fruits used a mixture of golden raisins and chopped dates. My husband and toddler loved it so it’s definitely being added to our rotation. We had this with the kabobs on this site (also delish) and a quick salad I made using Jenns ranch recipe. Such a fabulous dinner.

  • We made the rice with the Chicken kebabs last night and this was a big hit. The Kebabs I have made many times for my family and guests and everyone raves, but this was a great addition to the meal!!

  • I would like to make this for a friend who is gluten and dairy free. Do you think I could substitute olive oil for the butter?

    • Hi Danielle, I think either olive oil or margarine would work here. Hope your friend enjoys!

  • Great!! Super tasty and easy to make. Could pair with so many dishes!

  • The flavours in this rice pilaf are amazing. The almonds add the perfect crutch. I love it just as it is. It’s like eating candy!! Perfect pairing with the Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs.

    • — Karen Hildebrandt
    • Reply
  • Can this rice be served at room temperature? Thanks.

    • Sure. It also reheats nicely in the microwave if you want it warm.

  • Absolutely delicious and easy to make!

  • Is it possible to make this in the oven?

    • — Gay Lee Freedman
    • Reply
    • Gay, I think this would be best made on the stovetop- sorry!

  • Delicious! I was looking for a recipe for persian “Jeweled Rice” that I’d had at a party that the owner of the establishment added to our “potluck” and this looked similar. I make it with brown basmati and increase the liquid and cooking time accordingly, usually using half chicken broth and water (or water flavored with Better than Bouillon).

  • Jenn, if I cheat and use Trader Joe’s jasmine rice that you microwave, how many cups of cooked rice should I use? Thanks, Carol

    • Hi Carol, 3 1/2 to 4 cups would be the equivalent here. Enjoy!

  • I love to include fruit in pilaf and this one is beautiful to behold and very delicious. I have served this with the lamb burgers and they go so well together! I hope you try this; equally nice with chicken or even pork.

  • Great recipe; easy & delicious!

  • Just made this today. It was really good! I’m going to make it again for a group next week and want to perfect it. I followed directions exactly and the consistency was a bit heavy and not as fluffy as I was hoping it would be, although the flavor was wonderful. Suggestions?

    • Hi Patrice, glad you liked it! In terms of the heaviness you mentioned, did you rinse the rice before cooking it and did you fluff it with a fork after cooking?

      • I did rinse it several times, but I may have stirred in the fruit instead of sprinkling on top. Could that have affected texture? I reheated leftovers for dinner tonight and topped it with some mango salsa I had. Addicting! Thank you for this recipe. Really unique!

        • I don’t think that stirring in the fruit would’ve made any difference. Is there any chance you used a bit too much water? That’s the only other thing that I think would cause it to be heavy/sticky.

  • I make this all the time in my rice cooker Jenn. Do the sautéing first, add to rice and water, cook and add in fruit as per recipe at the end. I don’t think I have ever made this for company when someone hasn’t asked for the recipe!! Thanks again for all the great recipes.

  • Do you think I can make this rice in my rice cooker?

    • Hi Sara, I think so, but you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The quantities may be different than what’s specified here.

  • This was amazing! I strongly recommend making this the day before and reheating before serving. The leftovers were sooo good once all the flavors had time to marinate overnight!

    Also I used brown basmati rice for this (not on purpose–the fiance bought the wrong kind) but it came out great anyway.

    • You should NEVER reheat rice!

  • Made this on the day for my lunch party while the Chicken Kebabs were BBQ grilling. Was tasty! I was planning to use a rice cooker but then decided to follow your recipe for the stovetop pot and it was just as quick and easy, thanks!

  • If i’m making the basmati rice pilaf for 12 people (tripling the recipe) – using a big pot – will i need to allow more time for the cooking.
    working on my timing. will do chicken kebobs also.
    thanks. alice

    • Hi Alice, It’s likely that the cooking time will be about the same, but I’d keep an eye on it. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • I made this for Middle Eastern night at my cooking group. It was the first dish to be completely gone within the first 20 minutes!
    My husband lived/worked in the UAE for several years before we married and he loved this. It is truly easy and delicious.

  • Lovely dish–served to a group with kebabs, pita, olives, hummus and tomato, cucumber, red onion & lettuce salad with Greek dressing. Best comment: “I’ve never had middle eastern food before. I think I need this recipe”

  • This complimented the tandoori chicken so well! I love this dish!

  • Do you think the recipe would work if I cheat and use microwave jasmine or basmati rice and simply add sautéed onion, spices etc to the rice?

    • Yes Maureen, I think that would work.

  • My daughter who hates rice and will not eat it, actually liked this. Great job on the recipe, it’s a winner in my house

  • Where you have the nutrition info, you say “Serving Size-4”. So is the information for ONE serving or all FOUR? 407 calories seems like a lot for one serving of rice. Thanks!!

    • Hi Barbara, The nutritional info is just for 1 serving. I think what elevates the calories here is the butter, almonds and dried fruit. I did rerun the numbers to make sure they were correct and have updated them slightly (based on the tool that I use always updating information). The calories per serving now come in at 378. Hope that helps!

      • It’s a pretty hearty serving. Most bags of rice have a serving size of .25 cup uncooked rice. This recipe has 1.5 cups or .375 cups each. Plus the butter, fruit and almonds. But it is so much better than plain rice!

        • — Cathy on November 13, 2018
        • Reply
  • Hi, I made this last night and followed the instruction exactly as written, when it came time to serve the rice, it was crunchy, this is the first time I’ve made this recipe. Was there something that could have happened? By the way, your website is amazing!! thank you

    • Hi Giselle, it could be that the rice didn’t cook quite long enough as different brands vary a bit. Next time you may want to cook it a bit longer. (Because of the longer cooking time, you may need to start out with just a bit more water.)

      • thank you very much for the quick reply, I will add a bit more water and cook for a bit longer, I love your site, the only one I use for all my cooking!

  • This was amazing! I made it for a dinner party with Chicken Kabobs and Tzatiki. It was a hit!

  • This rice is delicious and pretty.

  • I made this rice last night for a party of 15. It was a crowd favorite, and I got so many compliments!

  • Made this dish last night it was a hit the crowd.

  • Hi Jen, I am thinking about making this side. I want to use basmati brown rice any suggestions.

    • Hi Bea, Sounds great. You can just proceed with the recipe as it’s written, but pay attention to cooking time on the package of rice in case it differs at all from regular basmati rice.

  • My family loved this rice dish! My husband who normally is picky about fruits and nuts in his food, loved it! And so easy to make.

  • Hello, oops… How much water should I have used? Mine came out a bit soggy. Attempting to dry it out now.

    My eyes widened when i poured the rinsed rice into the sautéed mix and the rice absorbed the mixture. Enlightening!


    • Hi Jon, It’s 2-1/4 cups.

  • I served this with the chicken kabobs from this site, and did not add the dried fruits or nuts this first time out because I was serving it to children who can be picky about garnishes. The rice is amazing, just like a restaurant, and was well loved by all. Once the kiddos get more adventurous I’ll make it according to the original recipe. Thanks for another all-star family recipe!

  • Wow! Rarely does a recipe look exactly like the picture when making it. This is dead on, seasoning is perfect and turmeric makes it absolutely beautiful. Flavors are bold, it is healthy and I can’t wait to make it again.

  • I am so impressed with your recipes. I have never cooked with dry fruits, and wanted to know if I could use dried cranberries? Thank you!

    • Thanks, Maribel! Yes, it’s fine to use dried cranberries 🙂

  • Excellent recipe. I wanted to use my rice cooker so sautéed onion, garlic and spices as directed, transferred to rinsed rice in rice cooker. Gave it a good stir, let it sit for 10 minutes, added water etc. as instructed.

  • This has become a standard in my house, we usually serve it with the Middle Eastern Kabobs. It’s easy to customize with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand – I’ve used dried apricots, currants, golden raisins and even cranberries for the fruit, and almonds, pistachios or cashews for the nuts. Delicious.

  • This was absolutely delicious! Glad I doubled the recipe!! Thanks so much!

  • im making this today but can this be made ahead of time then just re heated?

    • Hi Jill, Yes, no problem to make ahead. Enjoy!

      • Hi Jill,

        Did you reheat your rice and if so how was it?
        Jenn, how would you recommend re-heating a few hours later?

        Thank you

        • Hi Lisa, this reheats nicely– the microwave works well for this.

  • Absolutely delish! This recipe is a definite must try.
    Used golden raisins for the fruit.

    • Had it with the Middle eastern Chicken kabobs and it was also fantastic!
      Thanks for these great recipes.
      Really appreciate the side dish recipes.
      Look forward to trying some more!

  • Incredible. I used dried mango for the fruit, and will increase the amount of that and the almonds next time. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  • This rice was really easy to make and absolutely delicious. I made it to go with the middle eastern chicken kebabs and it was a great pairing. I added dates and dried apricots for the dried fruit. I will make this over and over again!

  • Can this be made in a rice cooker?

    • Hi Carrie, I think so, but you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The quantities may be different than specified here.

  • Hi can you make this a head of time say 1-2 days a head?

    • Hi Shonna, Yes, it reheats well.

  • I didn’t have any basmati so I ended up using jasmine rice also used golden raisins for the dried fruit, pecans instead of almonds, and accidentally left out the Tumeric until the very end ! Even with all these mess ups/subs the rice came out wonderful! Only imagine how wonderful it would’ve been if I followed the recipe exactly

  • Can I use regular rice for this recipe if I don’t have basmati or sweet brown rice, barely and wild rice blend? Or will it effect the overall flavor to much?

    • Hi Florence, It will work, but you’ll need to change the cook time and liquid measurement depending on which type of rice you use.

  • We had friends over for dinner on Saturday and I made this rice. We all loved it! There was a little left over which I sent home with our guests. We loved it so much I made it again tonight. Served it with salmon. Followed the recipe exactly. I will be making this often!

  • Hi Jenn! I am making this along with your Middle Eastern Kebabs for a special birthday party and I am truly excited! I was wondering, I am going to be tripling this pilaf recipe, would the rice cook within 15 minutes as well, despite having much more rice to cook? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Joanne, Cook time should be about the same. Hope everything turns out well!

  • I made this, along with the tandoori chicken thighs last night and it was AMAZING! My boyfriend, who is a chef, raved about both of them! The rice pilaf was a perfect accompaniment to the chicken. Thank you!

  • This looks delicious! I’m planning on making Chicken Marbella for special company this Sunday . Do you think that this Basmati Rice Pilaf recipe would go well with that or compete with too much flavor? Also, can you suggest a wine that would go well with the meal? (Also planning to make a salad and your haricot vert and shallot recipe) Oh… and planning to also make the lemon squares for dessert. Any feedback about the menu or drinks would be really appreciated! I’m an enthusiastic novice! (But I have made Chicken Marbella before and love it!) Thanks!!!

    • Hi Phillis, I think the basmati rice pilaf would be nice but I would probably omit the dried fruit and spices (okay to leave in the turmeric, as it’s really just for color). The rest of the menu sounds absolutely perfect! As for the wine, there’s a lot going on in the dish so I’d stick to a crisp and clean white. Here’s a link with some options:

      Or if you prefer red, I’d go with something light like Pinot Noir.

  • Can I make the rice minus the fruit and nuts? Just want a nice flavored rice

    • Hi Lad, Yes that would be fine.

  • This rice is truly delicious. I followed the recipe to a “t” and used dried cranberries and golden raisins for the fruits. It was so good. I would say that the recipe makes more like 6 servings rather than 4.

  • Delicious! Made it once just as is, but second time, made a few changes. Cooked for 25 minutes (v. low – have gas stove); added 1 tsp of turmeric (makes the color more yellow) and a few bay leaves, which I removed before stirring/fluffing up the rice @ the end. Also doubled up the quantity of dried fruit. Love the texture of the rice and so different than when I use for making Asian rice (cook that in a rice cooker), so nice to see basmati being so versatile.

  • This rice is addictive. My SO and I kept going back for more. Truly perfect rice. The instructions were SO spot on. I love Basmati rice, and this is one of the few times it came out perfectly!

  • I made the Basmati Rice Pilaf for company and served it in a large platter and added a variety of chopped dried fruits for color. It was delicious and looked magnificient! Thank you, this recipe is a keeper and makes a great presentation.

  • This rice pilaf is AMAZING! The rice was the perfect consistency, and so fragrant and flavourful, thanks to the spices and aromatics! Thank you for posting this lovely recipe. Oh, and thanks for the basmati-rinsing tip. I’ve never been satisfied with my rice dishes until I followed your instructions. I will never again use basmati without rinsing first.

  • I can almost smell it…. Im makin this for my family friday…. The rice looks really yummy beautiful n colorful… Mmmmmm

  • My husband is Middle Eastern, and when he tried this rice, it took him back to his childhood. You nailed it with this recipe!!

  • I made it last Thanksgiving. It is delicious! Next time I will double or even triple the dried fruits, I think it will be more flavorful. But this is a personal taste. Thank you Jenn for great instruction: very easy to follow!

  • Rice is a favorite in our house, and so I am always quick to spot a new variation. Your combination of spices and dried fruit is a showstopper…fragrant, colorful, perfect blend of sweet and savory. Substituted raisins for currents.

  • So pretty and a great dish to serve with chicken.

  • Easy and delicious!

  • I was looking for a good recipe to make rice with dry fruits and this Is it! I am planning to make it for this Thanksgiving. Jenn, can I make this rice a day before with so much cooking to do on Thanksgiving day?

    • Hi Nella, You can definitely make it ahead and reheat it in the microwave!

  • This rice has been on my todo list every since you posted the picture with the chicken kebabs. I made both tonight. I let the chicken marinade for a day and a half this time and it was super flavorful and tender. My husband requested I add these to his list of favorites. I used a mix of raisins + the dried apricots. It really makes the dish. I used about 1/2 c of fruit.

  • I tried this one and it was really good for a side dish.

  • this looks amazing. thank you for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to make it!

    I am sure not a traditional ingredient, but I wonder if I can add green olives to it?

    • Hope, I think green olives would be delicious in this…great idea!

      • Thanks, Jenn! You convinced me – olives it is! haha

  • I always cook with basmati rice. It is my favorite! I will definitely have to try this.

  • This is a first for me and this recipe was so easy to make, very flavorful and my family, who shy’s away from new recipe’s loved it.

    I love your recipe’s and this is a keeper to make many times over. Thanks for the step by step, everyone can be an accomplished Chef like you.

  • This recipe sounds wonderful. I’ll make it tonight. I was looking for a carb to go with my steamed fish & chinese cabage. Turmeric is so healthy as well.
    So glad this came up today.
    Thank you for all your great Recipes.

  • Thanks for the rinsing hint for basmati! Do you rinse all of your rice before cooking? I can’t wait to try the recipe, it looks delicious!

    • Hi Becky, I don’t rinse all of my rice, but with basmati it’s a good idea.

  • When my kithen reno is complete (hopefully in a couple of weeks), I am making this AND the kebabs. I can’t wait to make this using my new Miele appliances!

  • I love basmati rice..I cook with it a lot. Great recipe!

  • I can smell it over the airwaves !! All Jennifer’s recipes are hits..and are presented so beautifully and clearly. This one is on my menu for Friday night.

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