At our house, this easy lemon rice is a side dish staple and with just 5 ingredients, it’s a super simple way to jazz up plain old white rice any day of the week.
No matter where your set your plate, it’s likely that rice will be one of the side dishes served on any international dinner table.
This lemon rice makes regular appearances alongside so much of my main meal cooking, like my Greek marinated chicken, or as a basic side for my Greek pork souvlaki kebabs or turkey kofta skewers, and always with my Easy Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce.
But this lemon rice doesn’t travel only in Greek or Mediterranean circles. It’s a fan of crossing all culinary borders, and it does a fine job of fitting into any dinner no matter the main dish’s international personality.
How to Make Lemon Rice
This recipe really couldn’t be any simpler. The method is the same as cooking any regular white rice, but with a zest and squeezey juiced lemon effervescence. But lemon juice isn’t the only flavor enhancer, I also add the zest of the rind that comes from the fine grating of the citrus rind, releasing the flavorful oils that will really propel the flavor infusion.
To zest the lemon, I use a microplane zester or this OXO hand held grater, rotating the lemon as I grate. And please note, a typical cheese grater won’t work for this job because the holes are far too big and not nearly sharp enough.
For the final lemon touch, adding both the lemon juice and the zest to the cooking water at the start of the cooking process makes the rice absorb the subtle flavors of the lemon.
How to Add Personality to White Rice
I’m a flavor builder, so like many of my other rice side dishes, I like to add another layer of brightness with a little chopped parsley and if there’s any extra zest, I toss it on too. But adding parsley or anything else is totally up to you and your preference.
I also add butter at the beginning of the cooking process simply because I love the combination of the lemon and the butter. If you’re more of a purist, once again, leave it out if you’d like.
Keep the rice simple by adding just the lemon, or switch it up with extra ingredients to match other cuisine flavor profiles, like:
- Chopped nuts like pistachios, Marcona almonds, or pecans
- Chopped dried fruit like apricots, cranberries, raisins, or currants
- Parmesan, feta, or goat cheese
- Chopped herbs such as dill, parsley, or cilantro
- Sauté chopped onion, red bell pepper, or garlic before adding the rice and water to the pan for a more savory flavor
Main Meal Recipes to Pair with Lemon Rice
- 10-Minute Maple-Crusted Salmon
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts
- Broiled Miso Cod With Vegetables
- 10-Minute Teriyaki Shrimp
- Easy Greek Chicken Kebabs
- 10-Minute Chicken Stir Fry
Lemon Rice Recipe
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
Bring 1 3/4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan with a fitted lid. Add the add the lemon zest, lemon juice, rice, butter and salt, stir with a wooden spoon then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat and fluff with a fork. Place a kitchen towel over the pot and, replace the lid, and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with more kosher salt to taste and stir in the minced parsley.
More Simple Side Dishes You’ll Easily Make Too
- Easy Lemon Orzo Faux Risotto
- Easy Parmesan Buttered Noodles
- The Best Buttery Parsley Potatoes
- Green Beans and Shiitake Mushrooms
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Recipe
Do you have a simple side you love to make or a request for a recipe? Share it in the comments below, or email it to me at [email protected]
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