Lemon Rice is bright, creamy and easy enough for everyday, while elegant enough for entertaining!

(Photo by Laurie Smith)

Lemon Rice Recipe

I’ve been making this Lemon Rice for years, and it’s always a big hit at my dinner parties. It’s also a bit of a surprise when I serve it, because it looks just like plain ol’ white rice. Then people taste it, and are wow-ed!

Long grain white rice and lemon zest are briefly sautéed in a bit of butter, then simmered in flavorful chicken broth. Five minutes before serving, lemon juice and cream are added. So easy, so delicious! Lemon Rice is the perfect side dish to serve with fish, seafood or chicken.

What can I add to plain rice for flavor?

In this amazing rice dish, additional flavor comes from adding ingredients at two different points in the preparation process. First, rice is cooked lemon zest, butter and chicken broth. Lemon adds brightness, butter richness, and chicken broth savoriness. Once cooked, additional freshness and richness are layered into the rice through stirring in lemon juice and heavy cream.

Another way to amp up the deliciousness even more is to reduce the cream and stir in Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley (see “Variation” on bottom of recipe card).

How to Make Lemon Rice

You’ll want to make this recipe every time you entertain, it’s that luscious and easy to prepare! Here are the steps:

  1. Prep chicken broth.
    Place the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Sauté rice.
    In a separate large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in rice and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add broth and simmer.
    Stir in hot broth and salt, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add juice and cream; finish cooking.
    Stir in lemon juice, then stir in cream. Continue to stir over low heat until cream is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How easy is that?

What to Serve with This Lemon Rice Side Dish

This dish is the perfect side with almost any meat or seafood, just make sure you aren’t overdoing the lemon flavor. As I mention in my tips on how to plan a dinner party menu, don’t overdo an ingredient! Here are a few of my favorite main dishes to pair with Lemon Rice:

How to Store, Freeze and Reheat Lemon Butter Rice

If preparing ahead, or if you have leftovers, place them in an airtight container (a zip top baggie works well) and refrigerate. Once cooled, the rice can also be frozen (make sure to use a freezer-safe baggie).

To reheat: thaw if frozen. First, stir a spoonful of chicken broth into the rice. Then, reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan, covered, on low heat. Stir occasionally while heating.

How long will lemon rice keep?

Refrigerated lemon rice will keep for around 3 days. Frozen will keep for up to 2 months.

Lemon Rice FAQ

What is the best rice for Lemon Rice?

Readily available long grain white rice works perfectly in this recipe.

Can I cook Lemon Rice in a rice cooker?

You could cook Lemon Rice in a rice cooker, but depending on your model of cooker, you may need to dirty another pan. If you aren’t using an Instant Pot, or other type that allows you to sauté, then you’ll need to cook the uncooked rice and lemon zest in butter in a separate saucepan before adding it to the cooker. With an Instant Pot, you can use the sauté setting, then convert over to the rice cooker setting.

Does lemon juice keep rice from sticking?

I’ve never had an issue with rice sticking in this recipe – probably due to the butter! If you are worried, you can add a drop of lemon juice to the chicken broth.

Can I use bottled lemon juice in Lemon Rice?

You can use bottled lemon juice (check the label to make sure it is made from real lemons and has minimal to no preservatives), but you need to purchase fresh lemons to get the zest for this recipe, so you may as well use fresh!

Pin it now to save for later!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Lemon Rice

Lemon Rice is bright, creamy and easy enough for everyday, while elegant enough for entertaining. Long grain white rice and lemon zest are briefly sautéed in a bit of butter, then simmered in flavorful chicken broth. Five minutes before serving, lemon juice and cream are added. So easy, so delicious!

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
  2. In a separate large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in rice and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in the hot broth and salt, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice, then stir in the cream. Continue to stir over low heat until the cream is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Gluten free: Use gluten-free chicken broth.

Lighter Version: Prepare as above, omitting the cream.

Variation: Reduce cream to 1/2 cup, and when you add the cream, also add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley.

  • Author: (From “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®” by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: side dishes, gluten free

Share This With The World

About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


Related Posts


Sign up for recipes, tips & more!
Join the club

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating