This chicken bouillon rice is a simple weeknight-friendly side. An upgraded, delicious version of plain rice that uses chicken bouillon and a few everyday ingredients.
It's fluffy, it's fragrant – the perfect companion to any main dish. Plus it's quick and easy to make.
Here are some helpful notes on ingredients you'll need. See the recipe card below for exact quantities.
- Long grain white rice – I prefer basmati for its long fluffy grain and aroma but any long-grain variety will do. Rinsing and soaking steps are important if you don't want gummy mushy rice.
- Cooking oil – use olive oil or any cooking oil you prefer.
- Chicken bouillon – I use bouillon cube but granulated bouillon and chicken base/concentrate are also good options. Read the directions on the package. You need just the right amount to get one cup of broth for each cup of rice you're making. Use a small cube that weighs between 4 and 6 grams. A larger cube may need to be cut in half.
- Water – for cooking rice. Don't forget, the correct ratio of water to rice is key here.
- Salt – essential for flavor but adjust the quantity based on the saltiness of the bouillon you're using. If in doubt, use less salt during cooking – you can always add more later.
- Ground black pepper and garlic powder – for some added flavor and depth.
- Fresh parsley – some chopped fresh leaves for garnishing. Optional but recommended.
How to make chicken bouillon rice
Follow these simple, photo-assisted instructions to prepare this recipe. Check out recipe card below for a printable version that has quantities, instructions and notes in one place.
Step 1 – wash and soak rice (tips in recipe card below). Add olive oil, bouillon cube, water, salt, ground black pepper plus garlic powder to a saucepan and cover with lid. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Step 2 – once boiling, add drained rice, give a quick mix and cover again. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until most of the water gets absorbed. If any spillover starts to happen – lift the lid for a few seconds to let steam escape then put it back.
Step 3 – to check if it's time for next step, remove the lid and look for small holes with bubbles on the surface (like you see in the photo above). Give everything a gentle mix.
Step 4 – cover the saucepan again and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Let it steam exactly 10 minutes.
Step 5 – then turn the heat off, remove the saucepan from burner but don't remove the lid. Let the rice rest covered 15 minutes so it can finish cooking with the residual heat.
Step 6 – once the resting time is up, spoon out the rice, top with some chopped parsley (optional) and enjoy.
- Overcooked or mushy rice – this can happen if the rice is left to cook in too much water or for too long. Follow the exact timings and water-to-rice ratio mentioned in the recipe.
- Burnt rice – make sure the heat is turned down to the lowest setting on your stovetop during the steaming step. Higher heat will scorch the bottom layer of rice.
- Excessive stickiness – do not skip the rinsing step. It washes away the excess starch that causes clumpiness.
- Undercooked or hard grain – skipping or shortening the soak time or using less water can cause this. Also, don't open the lid during steaming or resting durations. That'll cause a loss of steam.
- Too salty – make sure you don't use more bouillon than recommended as these products are salted. For each cup of rice, use a quantity that's sufficient for making 1 cup of broth. Follow the instructions on package as every product is different.
Substitutions and variations
- Bouillon alternatives – you can replace chicken bouillon with vegetable or beef bouillon for a different flavor profile.
- Rice varieties – feel free to use jasmine rice for some floral aroma. It will be stickier though. Brown rice also works but remember to adjust the water ratio and cooking time accordingly.
- Olive oil substitutes – coconut oil or ghee can be used instead.
- Aromatic additions – add some whole or ground cumin, bay leaf, a tiny stick of cinnamon or a few cardamom pods to the cooking water for an Indian/Pakistani touch.
- Citrus zest – grate a small quantity of lemon, lime or orange peel and mix into the saucepan just before the steaming step.
- Low-sodium swap – opt for a low-sodium bouillon cube or use a smaller amount of the regular cube.
- Colorful add ins – stir a small amount of finely diced carrots, peas or bell peppers to give a pop of color to your chicken bouillon rice.
What to serve it with
- Grilled, roasted or pan cooked chicken – poultry is a classic pairing regardless of the cooking method you use. And pairs especially well when smothered in a creamy sauce.
- Steamed veggies – think steamed cabbage, broccoli, carrots and/or green beans.
- Fish – pan cooked or baked white fish like haddock or tilapia in a saucy base. Yum!
- Mushrooms – sautéed in a bit of butter/olive oil along with some minced garlic.
- Shrimp – pan seared and tossed in bright sauces like chimichurri or honey sriracha.
- Chicken or fish piccata – because that lemony caper sauce is the perfect accompaniment to this savory side.
Storage and reheating
- Storage – put leftovers in an airtight container, refrigerate and consume within 4 days. For extended storage, freeze in a freezer safe container or resealable bag for no more than 2 months.
- Reheating – lightly sprinkle the rice with water and microwave in 30 second intervals – mix after each spurt for even heating. No need to thaw frozen rice for the microwave method – just increase the reheating time. You can also reheat on the stove by placing (thawed) rice in a pan, adding a little water and warming on low heat. Mix occasionally.
Just so you know
- The resting period at the end of cooking is an essential step that allows the rice to finish cooking in its own steam and absorb all the flavors fully – don't skip!
- Using garlic powder is convenient but when craving a stronger flavor, I sauté fresh minced garlic in the oil before adding other ingredients (like in this recipe).
- When cooking long grain varieties like basmati, expect to triple in volume. So 1 cup uncooked rice will yield about 3 cups of chicken bouillon rice.
- 1 cup (185 g) long grain white rice - I prefer basmati (Note A)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - or butter
- 1 small chicken bouillon cube - Or use granulated bouillon or chicken base (Note B)
- 1.5 cups (355 ml) water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- some chopped fresh parsley - optional, for garnishing
- Rinse the rice under cold running water using a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Soak it in room temperature water for 30 minutes. Strain after soaking. You can skip soaking, but the rice won't turn out as fluffy and may get unevenly cooked.
- Take all the other ingredients (olive oil, chicken bouillon cube, water, salt, ground black pepper plus garlic powder), put them in a saucepan and cover with lid. Bring this mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, add drained rice, give a quick mix and cover again.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until most (not all) of the water is absorbed by the rice. Keep a close eye during this time to prevent spillovers. If it starts to happen – lift the lid for a few seconds to let steam escape then put it back.
- To check if it's time for next step, remove the lid and look for small holes with bubbles on the surface. Give a gentle mix. You should be able to see a small quantity of water inside when you're mixing.
- Cover the saucepan again and reduce the heat to the lowest setting you have. Let it steam for exactly 10 minutes. It's important not to remove the lid for peeking.
- Next – turn the heat off, remove the saucepan from burner but don't remove the lid. Let the rice rest covered for 15 minutes so it can finish cooking with the residual heat.
- Then spoon out the rice, top with some chopped parsley (optional) and enjoy.
- Step-by-step photo instructions
- Recipe troubleshooting
- Substitutions and variations
- Serving ideas
- Storage and reheating
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