This lemon dill rice recipe is about turning easy ingredients into big flavors. Perfect as a light and aromatic side to brighten up your dinner routine.
Love these flavors? Try my lemon dill potatoes next.
Here are some helpful notes on ingredients you'll need. See the recipe card below for exact quantities.
- Cooking oil – olive oil or any neutral smelling option will do.
- Ginger – fresh, peeled and grated. Ginger powder doesn't work – I've tried.
- Garlic – finely minced. You can also grate or use a garlic press. Garlic powder is not a good substitute.
- Green chili – I use Thai chili but if you prefer less heat use milder options like jalapeno, anaheim or poblano peppers. Reduce quantity when using big-sized peppers. Canned/frozen options taste different, so use fresh chilies only. I don't remove seeds, but you can if you want.
- Stock/broth – use chicken or veggie broth/stock. I always get unsalted or low-sodium options so it's easy to manage the saltiness in my dishes. If using regular options, reduce the quantity of added salt.
- Long grain white rice – I prefer basmati, but regular rice will also be great. Avoid jasmine rice.
- Dried dill weed – the star ingredient. It's inexpensive and you can find and use it all year round. Plus it pairs wonderfully with lemon.
- Salt – reduce the quantity if you're not using low-sodium stock/broth.
- Lemon juice – fresh, not the bottled kind.
- Fresh parsley (optional) – some chopped fresh leaves for garnishing.
How to make lemon dill 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). Heat olive oil in a saucepan on low heat. Add ginger, garlic plus green chili. Saute 2 minutes. Add the broth while keeping the heat still low to avoid splattering.
Step 2: Put the lid on and bring the liquid to a boil on high heat. Then add drained rice plus salt.
Step 3: Also add dried dill. Give a quick mix and cover again. Cook until about 30% water is left – takes roughly 4 to 7 minutes. If foam / bubbles start to overflow, remove the lid for a few seconds then put it back.
Step 4: To check if it's time for next step, remove the lid and look for a very thin layer of water bubbling on the surface. Then add lemon juice. Mix gently and cover again. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it steam for exactly 10 minutes.
Step 5: Next turn the heat off, remove the saucepan from burner but don't remove the lid. Let the rice rest covered for 10 minutes.
Step 6: Once the resting time is up, spoon out the rice, top with chopped parsley (optional) and enjoy!
- Rice sticking to the saucepan – make sure the heat is set to the lowest setting during the steaming phase. Use a thick bottomed saucepan if you can.
- Mushy rice – don't exceed the soak time, drain the rice thoroughly before using and add the exact quantity of water per cup of rice (not more, not less).
- Undercooked or firm grain – this can happen if you skip or cut down the soak time or use less than recommended amount of water. Also important is to not remove the lid during the steaming or resting phases. Trust the process.
- Too clumpy – washing and soaking are important to prevent this. If excess starch is not washed away, it'll cause the rice to be sticky and you won't get the fluffiness. Been there, done that!
- Too salty – if you are not using low sodium or salt-free broth/stock, reduce the quantity of added salt.
- Aromatics burning quickly – ginger, garlic and green chili can burn if your oil is too hot or if sautéed for too long. If you notice a bitter aroma or darkened bits, start over or you'll get an unpleasant taste in the final dish.
Substitutions and variations
- Stock/broth alternative – dissolve bouillon powder/concentrate/cubes in water and use as a replacement. See the package instructions to determine how much product is needed per cup of water. And reduce or omit salt in the recipe as these products are often heavily salted.
- Fresh dill – can be used instead of dried, but triple the quantity.
- Lemon juice substitute – Fresh lime juice can be used (1:1 ratio).
- Garnish variations – use chopped fresh dill, cilantro or mint in place of parsley for some change.
- Adjusting heat – skip the green chili pepper if you like your food mild. And if you want a spicier kick, double up like I do 😊
- Citrus zest – a little quantity of lemon zest will make the rice taste more lemony and bright. Add to the saucepan along with rice.
What to serve it with
- Beef or chicken skewers – marinated in a nice sauce and grilled to perfection.
- Oven-roasted veggies – classics like carrots, broccoli or cauliflower roasted with some seasonings.
- Pan-cooked chicken – pairs even better when served in a creamy sauce.
- Simple salad – lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers tossed in a citrusy dressing.
- Shrimp – grilled or pan cooked and coated in a herby sauce.
- Lentil soup – some earthy flavors to balance the brightness of the rice.
- White fish – with a spicy, flavorful crust or just simply baked.
Storage and reheating
- Storage – transfer leftovers to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. For longer storage, place in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
- Reheating – sprinkle a little water on rice and reheat in the microwave in 1 minute intervals. Mix gently after each spurt to ensure even heating. Frozen rice can be reheated without thawing but may require more microwaving time. For stovetop method, transfer rice to a pan, add a little amount of water and warm over very low heat (mix occasionally).
Just so you know
- This isn't exactly a "Pilaf" or "Pilau" recipe but my method of sautéing the aromatic ingredients first is a nod to the style of making flavorful rice dishes in Middle East, India and Pakistan.
- The combination of lemon and dill might remind you of Greek and Mediterranean dishes.
- To scale up this recipe, use the "+" sign on the recipe box below. The ingredient quantities will adjust automatically to the number of servings you select.
- 1 cup (185 g) long grain white rice - I prefer basmati (Note A)
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 inch ginger - finely grated
- 3 cloves garlic - finely minced or grated
- 1 small green chili - finely chopped. I prefer fresh Thai chili (Note B)
- 1.5 cups (355 ml) chicken broth/stock - low sodium (Note C), or use vegetable broth/stock
- 1.5 teaspoons dried dill weed
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- some chopped fresh parsley - optional, for garnishing
- Using a fine mesh strainer, wash the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear (takes about a minute). And gently swirl the rice with hands as you wash. Then soak in room temperature water for 30 minutes. Strain after soaking.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan on low heat. Add grated ginger, minced garlic plus chopped green chili. Saute 2 minutes.
- Pour in the broth while keeping the heat still low to avoid splattering. Alternatively, briefly remove the saucepan from the burner when adding the liquid.
- Put the lid on, turn up the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Then add drained rice, dried dill weed plus salt. Give a quick mix and cover with lid.
- Cook until about 30% water is left – takes roughly 4 to 7 minutes. If foam / bubbles start to overflow, remove the lid for a few seconds then put it back.
- To check if it's time for next step, remove the lid and look for a very thin layer of water bubbling on the surface.
- Then add lemon juice, mix very gently, cover again and reduce the heat to the lowest setting you have. Let it steam for 10 minutes (setting a timer is important).
- Next turn the heat off, remove the saucepan from burner but don't remove the lid. Let the rice rest covered for 10 minutes (not more).
- Once the resting time is up, spoon out the rice, garnish 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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