As a young wife and mother I always made rice side dishes from a box. You know the ones I am talking about, with quick-cooking rice and a flavor packet, aka "salt bomb." Now I cook from scratch, but I still miss those boxed rice side dishes. My favorites were Creamy Four Cheese and Creamy Parmesan. This recipe is an ode to the Creamy Parmesan boxed mix, minus the salt bomb. This Creamy Parmesan Rice Recipe Copycat is made with long grain rice simmered slowly with garlic, butter, milk and chicken broth, then finished with finely grated Parmesan cheese. It is thick and rich with a lovely hint of garlic and a big pop of Parmesan.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This easy rice recipe will have you reminiscing about the rice you made from a little box. It will have as much flavor and creamy texture, if not more, but will be better for you nutritionally.
- This creamy rice recipe turns plain white rice into the perfect side dish with simple ingredients and minimal effort.
- Rice - This dish is best when made with a long grain white rice versus a brown rice, arborio rice, instant rice, sushi rice, or minute rice. The long grain rice holds up well and maintains the structure of the rice better during the cooking process. I use Jasmine rice, which is a long grain rice with an amazing fragrance.
- Chicken Broth - Use low sodium chicken broth if you have it. Chicken stock will work as well, but it has a more chicken-forward taste. Use vegetable stock if you don't have chicken stock.
- Milk - I use 2% lactose-free milk because that is what we buy. You don't need half and half or heavy cream for this. Whole milk is fine too, just a bit creamier. You could use sour cream in place of the last ¼ cup of milk if you want it a little tang and a bit creamier rice dinner side dish.
- Parmesan cheese - I used a wedge of store brand Parmesan cheese grated fine with a microplane. You could use the pre-grated cheese in the plastic containers, but I shy away from the shelf-stable stuff in the round green can.
- Garlic and onion - best if using fresh instead of garlic and onion salts. It would be easy for this recipe to be too salty with the cheese, chicken broth, and salted butter. Skip the garlic and onion salt.
- Butter - use olive oil if you don't have butter.
- Garnishes - chopped parsley, a little sprinkling of grated Parmesan, and a couple of grindings of coarse black pepper are my favorites. A bit of lemon zest would be nice, as would a few shavings of Parmesan. Use a large serving bowl and let everyone help themselves.
Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the recipe card.
Simple Step-by-Step Instructions
Melt butter over low heat.
Add garlic and onion. Cook until soft.
Add rice and salt. Cook one minute.
Add broth & ½ cup milk. Keep the rest.
Simmer covered on low 20 minutes.
Remove lid and stir occasionally.
Cooking is done. Remove the pot from heat.
Add the reserved ¼ cup milk.
Add the Parmesan cheese off heat.
Stir to mix & garnish with parsley.
Variations of Creamy Parmesan Rice Recipe Copycat
- Make this an Instant Pot recipe by putting all the ingredients except for ¼ cup milk and the grated Parmesan into the pot. Add the reserved milk and Parmesan cheese after cooking using the rice setting on your machine.
- Turn this in to a cheesy chicken dinner by putting all the ingredients in a casserole dish. Lay thin chicken cutlets on top and bake until the chicken is fully cooked and the rice is tender. Creamy chicken casseroles are always a favorite at my house.
The secret is to not overcook the rice. When you overcook rice, the grains break and too much liquid is absorbed. Cook your rice covered until it is done and the individual grains are intact. After the rice is cooked, remove the lid and let the rice sit for a couple of minutes to allow any excess moister to dry out. Then lightly fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains of rice.
Most white rice produced in the US is thoroughly washed then fortified with nutrients. So, Americans usually do not wash white rice. It's fine if you do, though. Rice imported from other countries may not be either washed nor fortified. (see my note in expert tips)
Looking for More Delicious Rice Recipes?
Look no further than these two recipes.
- Use a large skillet, medium saucepan, or Dutch oven. You definitely want something with a heavy bottom to distribute the heat better.
- There is a never-ending debate over whether rice should be rinsed or even soaked before cooking. Mashed has an excellent article on this subject where they address each type of rice and the pros and cons of rinsing. I highly recommend it.
- I always rinse my rice well under cold water in a strainer. I lived in Taiwan many years ago. Our apartment abutted a huge rice paddy. I saw how rice was grown and processed. Between the water buffaloes pulling the plows, to the rice being laid out in the road for cars to drive over to remove the hulls, I formed an opinion as to whether or not to wash rice. I am sure that fifty years later the process has improved, but old habits are hard to break. I wash my rice.
Make this Creamy Parmesan Rice Recipe Copycat anytime you would be using plain rice as a side dish. It pairs well with chicken, beef and seafood. Serve it will bread and a salad as a light supper.
Creamy Parmesan Rice Recipe Copycat
- Medium saucepan or Dutch oven (needs a lid)
- microplane or fine grater
- wooden spoon
- ½ cup long grain rice uncooked rice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ small onion
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup chicken stock
- ¾ cup milk divided
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
- Melt butter over medium heat or medium-high heat, watching closely so as not to burn the butter.
- Add the garlic and onion. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent.
- Add rice and salt. Cook one minute stirring constantly to coat the grains of rice with the melted butter.
- Add broth and ½ cup milk. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot.
- Simmer covered on low 20 minutes.
- Remove lid and stir occasionally.
- When liquid is gone and the rice is tender, it is done.
- Remove from heat & add the reserved ¼ cup milk. Stir to mix.
- Add the Parmesan cheese off heat.
- Stir to mix, fluff the rice with a fork, and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.