If you’re starving and you have a pack of rice in your pantry, half of the battle is already won. Now, all you need to do is add a few ingredients to turn this versatile grain into one delicious savory (or sweet) dish!
But what kind of ingredients should you add?
Don’t you worry, my dear! We have some of the best ideas for easy rice side dishes with a few ingredients below.
14 Easy Rice Side Dishes with Few Ingredients (Recipes Included!)
- Rice Cooker
- Benihana Fried Rice- for the Ultimate Japanese Feast
- Breakfast Fried Rice- Best Morning Pick-Me-Up
- Black Rice- The Forbidden Recipe
- Mushroom Risotto- Something Creamy
- Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice- Garlicky and Citrusy
- Coconut Rice- A Tropical Twist
- Dirty Rice- Perfect Steak Partner
- Garlic Parmesan Rice- The Most Versatile Recipe
- Mexican Rice- A Feast of Flavors
- 5-ingredient Vegetable Fried Rice- Your Daily Dose of Fiber
- Arancini Rice Balls- Deep-fried Goodness
- Arroz Caldo (Chicken Porridge)- A Side with Main Dish Energy
- Cauliflower Fried Rice- For the Keto Lover
- Mango Sticky Rice- The Sweetest Way to End Your Meal
- Pick your favorite recipe that we mention above.
- You will need to have on hand all the required ingredients.
- All dishes can be prepared in 35 minutes or less!!!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get this party started!
Learn more: Does Rice Expire or Go Bad? (FULL ANALYSIS)
14 Best Easy Rice Side Dishes with Few Ingredients
When it comes to rice, the simpler is always the better. Now, without further ado, here are some of the best easy rice side dishes with few ingredients that you should try:
1. Benihana Fried Rice– for the Ultimate Japanese Feast
If you love all things Japanese, then you should try this copycat Benihana fried rice.
This rice is extremely filling as it’s packed with a few yet highly satisfying ingredients like chicken, veggies, and eggs.
And in true Japanese fashion, fried rice also delivers interesting textures and flavors from butter, garlic, soy sauce, and lemon.
Pro Tip: This is best served with teriyaki chicken but also works well with steak and shrimp. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to add Yum Yum sauce to your menu. (*)
2. Breakfast Fried Rice– Best Morning Pick-Me-Up
Here’s a fried rice recipe that will surely make your mornings a whole lot better!
This fried recipe is already packed with all the breakfast comfort food flavors that you’ll love plus more. It has hotdogs and eggs along with a bunch of vegetables that will give you your daily dose of fiber.
Serve this and rest assured, your breakfast spreads will never be the same again.
- Pro Tip: You can substitute the hotdog with ham slices or bacon bits.
3. Black Rice– The Forbidden Recipe
Now, here’s one of the rice side dishes with few ingredients that are fit for royalty, and we mean that literally!
It’s called the forbidden rice because it was only exclusive to emperors and nobility before. But now, it’s readily available for all!
With its dark hue and bold flavors, this is definitely not your usual fried rice. A bite of this fried rice will have you diving into the sea of flavors—nutty, slightly sweet, and complex.
What are you waiting for? Try this black rice recipe if you want to feel every inch like true royalty.
4. Mushroom Risotto– Something Creamy
Add an Italian touch to your meals with Mushroom risotto. This intimidating yet quite easy rice dish is like a symphony of savory flavors and textures for your taste buds.
Just imagine the flavorful Arborio rice is slow-cooked to creamy perfection, infused with earthy mushroom flavors, and topped off with grated Parmesan cheese.
A small bite of this rice dish will instantly bring you to the streets of Italy and will have you asking for more.
5. Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice– Garlicky and Citrusy
There’s no better way to spice up your rice game than with this savory and citrusy Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice recipe.
As a staple in most Mexican restaurants, your taste buds will be transported to a Mexican fiesta with every bite.
The pungent garlic brings about a depth of flavor while the cilantro adds a touch of herbaceous flavor. As if that’s not enough, it also has the tangy lime which delivers a zesty twist that balances out all the flavors.
This rice has bold flavors dancing in perfect harmony with one another.
6. Coconut Rice– A Tropical Twist
Do you miss the sandy beach with palm trees swaying on the beach but don’t have the time or the money to visit? Well, serving coconut rice with a few barbecue dishes is the closest thing you can ever get to it.
Each fluffy grain gives off a subtle sweetness, thanks to the coconut milk.
Its naturally sweet taste works well with all types of Hawaiian, Caribbean, or Southeast Asian foods.
But why stop there? Make the most out of it. Try it out with your choice of main dishes.
Pro Tip: Ensure fluffy (and not gluey) rice every time by making it in the oven rather than the stove.
7. Dirty Rice– Perfect Steak Partner
When it comes to rice, don’t be afraid to get dirty, and this dirty rice is the way to go!
It’s called as such because of its dirty brown color, but don’t let its unappetizing name fool you.
With its cajun seasoning, plenty of spices, and a whole lot of meat, this dish will bring the party to your mouth.
This rice may be dirty, but it’s spicy, savory, and a bit sweet, and has the right flavors that go well with a perfectly cooked steak.
8. Garlic Parmesan Rice- The Most Versatile Recipe
Are you looking for a rice recipe that’s versatile enough to go with all types of proteins yet elegant and flavorful enough to be the center of attention at your party? We have just the thing—garlic parmesan rice!
The garlic’s pungent flavor perfectly complements the parmesan’s creaminess and cheesiness. That’s not all. The amazing flavors are subtle enough that they can be served with all types of dishes—chicken, beef, pork, seafood, fish, and even vegetables.
Aside from being a versatile recipe, the flavors of this dish are kid-approved as well!
Pro Tip: To prevent the rice from becoming too mushy, toast the rice first.
9. Mexican Rice– A Feast of Flavors
When it comes to festive flavors, nothing beats Mexican cuisine. That’s why this Mexican rice is the perfect recipe whether you’re planning a taco night or you’re just simply looking to add a punch of flavor to your dinner spread.
With its zesty tomato flavor and punch of spices, it’s going to deliver a fun fiesta for your tastebuds.
So what are you waiting for? Put your sombrero on and let’s get ready to tango with its amazingly bold flavors.
- Pro Tip: Add in a medley of fresh vegetables like bell peppers, sweet corn, and chopped lettuce for added texture.
10. 5-ingredient Vegetable Fried Rice– Your Daily Dose of Fiber
For a fried rice dish that’s both delicious and nutritious, this 5-ingredient vegetable fried rice recipe is the way to go.
If you think that it’s going to be one boring side dish because it only has a few ingredients, think again.
Despite having only 5 ingredients, the rice is a burst of flavors and textures, all thanks to the crisp vegetables, fluffy eggs and rice, and the umami soy sauce.
This dish is flavorful enough to satisfy your taste buds and at the same time, light and hearty enough to leave you feeling energized and refreshed.
11. Arancini Rice Balls– Deep-fried Goodness
If you want something different, you should give Arancini rice balls a try. These deliver all the best Italian flavors—cheesy, crispy, and tomato-ey—in one rice ball!
These cheesy and breaded deep-fried rice balls pair well with all the popular Italian dishes like Panzanella, Minestrone, salads, and many more.
Heads up, making these are time-consuming because of all the work involved, but we assure you—it’s totally worth it!
12. Arroz Caldo (Chicken Porridge)- A Side with Main Dish Energy
Why settle with having a rice dish only a side dish when you can make it a main dish? That’s what arroz caldo is all about.
This delicious Filipino chicken porridge has all the ingredients, flavors, and textures you need to enjoy a complete meal.
It features rice simmered in a comforting chicken broth, heavily seasoned with aromatic seasonings, and topped off with chicken flakes, hardboiled eggs, and crispy garlic bits. What more can you ask for?
13. Cauliflower Fried Rice– For the Keto Lover
Just because you’re on keto, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have rice (or at least a low-carb version of it!).
To satisfy your rice cravings, this is one of the best rice recipes to try. And just like regular rice, you can also make cauliflower fried rice.
All you need to do is add in your choice of keto-friendly seasonings and low-carb veggies. (*)
- Pro Tip: To make the rice more filling, you can also add protein sources like tofu, eggs, and chicken.
14. Mango Sticky Rice– The Sweetest Way to End Your Meal
- Surprise: rice is so versatile that you can also use it to make desserts!
- Case in point: this sweet and filling mango sticky rice.
This sticky rice is popular for a lot of good reasons—the sticky and chewy glutinous rice, the creamy coconut milk, the sweet and juicy mango slices, and the nutty taste of sesame seeds.
Using only 7 ingredients, you can already make this famous Thai delicacy in the comforts of your own home.