Classic Turkish White Rice (or Pilaf) | Turkish Eats

Classic Turkish white rice is the backbone of many different recipes from Turkey. Turks do not like sticky rice, which can be a major source of embarrassment for a cook.  The Turkish name of this dish is white pilaf.

For the best pilaf, you must use the best quality rice you can find. Certain types are better suited to this recipe. In Turkey, "baldo" rice is considered the best and it can be found in on-line Turkish grocery stores in America. If you are not willing to go after baldo rice, sushi rice works very well, so does nishiki and jasmine.


  • 1.5 cup rice, Turkish baldo, sushi, nishiki or jasmine
  • 3 tablespoons orzo or hand crushed capellini or angel hair pasta
  • 3 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons butter


  1. Boil the chicken broth or water, set aside.  You can use store bought chicken broth.  However, for the tastiest pilaf, we recommend using home made broth.
  2. Measure the rice, put it in a strainer and wash it under plenty of running cold water until the water runs clear. By washing the rice, we are getting rid off the starch that makes the rice stick. Drain the water well.
  3. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan. Add the orzo or crushed angel hair pasta and sautee at medium heat until orzo turns light brown. You need to stir continuously during this step so you can brown the orzo evenly.  Be careful not to burn the orzo! Initially, nothing appears to happen and suddenly, you begin to see the color changing.
  4. Add the rice and continue sauteeing until the excess water evaporates and the grains looks somewhat translucent. This should not take more than 3-4 minutes.
  5. Pour two cups of boiling hot broth into the pan and add the salt.  
  6. Reduce the heat to low (on electric ovens 3/10). Close the lid and leave the rice untouched for 12 minutes.  Do NOT open the lid.
  7. At the end of the 12 minutes, turn off the heat, place a paper towel under the lid to absorb the excess moisture in the pan and allow the rice rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.  This is important!  During this time, rice continues to cook gently and absorb the remaining moisture in the pan.
  8. Enjoy!

© Mehmet Ozturk 2017