First things first: pay attention only to the Homemade Rice-A-Roni in the above photo! That’s what this recipe is for! I posted this meal last week and there were so many requests for a recipe that I made it again to develop measurements but it was too late and dark to get photos. So, I’m using the full meal pictures from Instagram. I’ll update the pictures in this post when I make it again!
If you watched (and listened to) the TikTok where I made this rice (and chicken and spinach) then you already know I grew up on Rice-A-Roni and absolutely loved it. One of my favorite things to do as an adult is recreating the boxed stuff I loved from scratch. To be honest, it doesn’t come from a place of avoiding preservatives or anything like that, it’s just fun! It’s like a puzzle.
Homemade Rice-A-Roni Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Homemade Rice-A-Roni recipe:
- Long grain rice: I always use parboiled (also referred to as converted) rice. I don’t know how this recipe will work without it. Just get some parboiled rice.
- Vermicelli: You can substitute thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta broken into 1″ pieces. Vermicelli (pasta vermicelli, not rice vermicelli!) is just really skinny pasta. Please note that outside of the U.S. this information isn’t necessarily accurate. Different countries do different things!
- Salted Butter: If I’m being honest, I prefer salted to unsalted butter in all things except really delicate baked goods. I’ve never had a recipe that was made too salty by using salted instead of unsalted, but taste is subjective of course. If you’re sensitive to salt, feel free to use unsalted butter here.
- Chicken Broth: To make it chicken-flavored Homemade Rice-A-Roni, of course. Meaning, if you swap this out for beef broth or vegetable broth, you’re making a different flavor!
- Fresh Parsley, Garlic, Onion Powder: These round out the flavor to give it that real Rice-A-Roni flavor. I should add here that I haven’t had Rice-A-Roni in like 15 years so if my memory is off or the flavor has changed, I might be way off!
- Kosher Salt, Black Pepper: The classics. For obvious reasons.
How to Make Homemade Rice-A-Roni
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Homemade Rice-A-Roni:
- Toast the vermicelli and rice. Melt the butter with the oil, then add the vermicelli. Toast it until it begins to look dry again, then add the remaining butter, and stir in the rice. Toast the rice until it’s starting to brown and smells nutty.
- Add the seasonings and broth. Dump all of the remaining ingredients into the skillet and stir well. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cover and simmer. You’ll want to have selected a skillet with a tight-fitting and preferably glass lid. Tight-fitting so the rice cooks properly, and glass so you can check the amount of liquid in the rice without removing it. Simmer the rice for 18-20 minutes, until you don’t see any more liquid bubbling.
- Crunchy bottom or no? After the rice and pasta are tender, and all of the chicken broth has been absorbed, you can remove it from heat, fluff, and serve. Interested in an additional boost of flavor and texture for your Homemade Rice-A-Roni? Let it continue cooking for a few minutes. The bottom of the rice will turn crispy and golden brown. It’s delicious. Be careful not to let the rice dry out while you’re doing this, tho. Spoon over a tablespoon of chicken stock if it seems to be too dry at the end of the usual cooking time, but you still want a crispy bottom.
This Homemade Rice-A-Roni recipe goes with pretty much everything. For example, you could…
- Sauteed Chicken + Spinach. Like the meal you see above. Watch me make it on IGTV.
- Honey Jerk Roasted Chicken. Roasted asparagus would set this off wonderfully, I think.
- Bloomin’ Fried Chicken. Maybe with some Cast-Iron Broccoli and Cheese?