Lebanese Restaurant Rice Pilaf


It took me three tries, but I finally nailed a restaurant-style Lebanese rice pilaf. Nothing I tried online came close to this. I guess the secret is the right kind of rice, the correct rice-to-water ratio, and of course, plenty of butter and oil! Find a good Lebanese yogurt marinade, grill some meats, and get a hold of some hummus. If you're from southeast Michigan or anywhere else with a large Middle Eastern population, you will feel like you're eating at your favorite place. Trust me.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Additional Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
6 cups


  • 3 cups parboiled long-grain white rice

  • ½ cup butter, divided

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • ½ cup orzo pasta

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon tahini


  1. Fill a large bowl with water. Add rice and let soak for 10 minutes; drain and rinse until water runs clear.

  2. Heat 1/4 cup butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir orzo in hot butter-oil mixture until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add drained rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir orzo-rice mixture until rice is coated in butter-oil mixture and starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

  3. Pour 4 cups water over rice mixture and add salt; stir and bring to a boil. Cover the skillet, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is fluffy and tender yet firm, about 20 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat; cook and stir almonds until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup butter and tahini until almonds are evenly coated.

  5. Mix almond mixture into rice mixture.


Squeeze a little lemon over the top of rice at the end for some added tartness.

Use other roasted nuts like pistachios or cashews, or even add some golden raisins for variety.

Some restaurants use little pieces of vermicelli or angel hair pasta instead of orzo, so you can substitute those if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

203 Calories
13g Fat
18g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 203
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 641mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 49mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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