This Rice Bake dish serves as a basic recipe to which numerous other Rice Bakes can be made, simply by adding in different Liquids, Vegetables & Seasonings.
I use the Rice Bake to cook various proteins too. But wanted to separate the two main components (Rice & Protein) into a Rice Bake that just focuses on the Rice and the most basic ingredients that go into it. Then cover full course meals with various proteins added.
What is a Rice Bake
A Rice Bake is Rice baked in the oven with various flavored Broths or Liquids. It can have any kind of Seasoning or Vegetables to create numerous Flavored Rice Bakes employing the same technique.
The texture of the Rice varies with Crispy bits towards the top and bottom. Softer bits of Rice are in the middle. All of the Rice is fluffed creating different textures throughout before serving.
Why Bake Rice
A Rice Bake offers up a different texture than cooking Rice Stovetop or even a Rice Cooker. While you can do a Rice Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes to produce the same type of Rice, texture and all as either a Rice Cooker or Stovetop. There really is no point. A Rice Cooker is much easier and you are really missing out on what a Rice Bake can offer.
So why go through the trouble of Baking Rice in the oven? Because of the different Textures in the Rice and the Crispy bits created when Baking Rice. It really is quite different from Stovetop or a Rice cooker and all that Magic happens after 30 minutes. This is what distinguishes a Rice Bake. It’s the different Textures throughout, with Crispy Bits of Rice that makes this such a comforting dish.
Rice Bake Ingredients
The Rice Bake consists of 4 main Ingredients; Thin Liquids, Rice, Seasoning & Vegetables, usually a Mirepoix or Soffritto, a Holy Trinity like Onions, Celery and Peppers or some variation of it. Add any type of Vegetables you desire.
These four Ingredients can be switched up to create numerous versions of a Rice Bake.
What type of Rice for a Rice Bake
Use either Basmati or another medium to long grain Rice. Basmati is great for Pilaf Style Rice and Medium Grain Rice is good for a Stickier Plump Rice.
Rinsing the Rice isn’t necessary. This would wash away Starches that are desired for this recipe. The Rice goes in as is with no rinsing to get coated in Fat. Mix the Rice around to ensure each Grain gets coated in Fat.
The Rice is sautéed for a bit in Fat along with the Vegetables. This only takes about 1-2 minutes. This coats each grain of Rice in Fat and cooks the Starch in the Rice. It really comes out with a nice texture.
Use a Long Grain to Medium Grain Rice.
What type of Liquids for a Rice Bake
Use Maggi Bouillon Cubes with Water to create the Broth. Pair the type of Bouillon Cube with the choice of Protein being used. Check out the Post Maggi Bouillon Cubes for more information including ingredients and various strengths of broth.
Add other Liquids to shape the flavors like Tomato Juice or V8 Juice. Add in Coconut Milk or a small amount of Flavoring Liquids such as Worcestershire Sauce, Lemon Juice, Hot Sauces, Wines, Vinegars, Sesame or Chili Oil.
If adding in any additional liquids then displace the water by how much liquid you add in order to keep the total amount of liquids added at 3 cups.
Combine Bouillon Cube with Water to create a Strong Broth.
Place 2 bouillon Cubes into a Bowl with 3 Cups of Hot Water and ensure that they are dissolved.
I use a Fork to flatten them out so they can dissolve better or crumble them with your fingers.
1 Part of Tomato Juice can be added. Using 2 Cups of Water, 2 Bouillon Cubes for the Broth and 1 Cup of Tomato Juice or less.
Homemade Tomato Juice can be made from combining 1/4 C Tomato Paste with a 3/4 C Water can be used in place of.
Drinking wines or Cooking wines can be added. If adding in Cooking wines omit the Salt until the end if needed. Since cooking wines usually have higher amounts of Salt in them.
Add in about 1/4 C of Goya Cooking Wine and omit the Salt initially.
Keep all the liquids at 3 C per 2 cups of Rice and use Liquids that are thin.
What Fat to use for a Rice Bake
The Rice Bake needs a good amount of fat, about 1/4 – 1/3 C for about 2 Cups of Rice. Use Rendered Fat if you can. This will add so much more flavor, especially so when making a Rice Bake with Proteins.
Optionally Use Lard, Bacon Grease, or Oil for the Fat or to top up the Rendered Fat if you end up not quite having enough.
Use Rendered Fat if pairing the Rice with a particular protein, as this will add so much more flavor.
As soon as the the fat has been rendered, you can add the vegetables to sauté briefly and then the Rice.
Keep the Fat at about 1/4 C – 1/3 C and top up with other forms of fat if you don’t have enough.
What Vegetables to use in a Rice Bake
Almost always I include diced Onions, Chopped Garlic, and Bell Peppers. Although there are so many other things you can add including Mirepoix, Soffritto or Frozen Vegetables.
Include a bit of Hot Peppers for some heat, Hot or Sweet Pimento Paste and even a bit of Salsa. You can also go with just Onion & Garlic. The featured image used 1 Large Onion and 3 Cloves of Garlic.
No matter what you add, Sauté the Vegetables in Fat just for a bit before adding in the Rice.
Onions, Peppers & Garlic
- 1 Large Onion
- 1/2 Red & Green Bell Pepper
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Onion (diced)
- 1 Carrot (shredded and chopped)
- 1 Celery (diced)
- optionally with minced Garlic
- 1 C Onions
- 1 C Tomatoes
- 1 C Peppers
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
Really good in Rice Bakes and is used in the Chourico Rice Bake & Meatball Rice Bake.
Add in about 1/4 C of Sweet or Hot Pimento Paste, depending on if you want a spicy kick or not.
I tend to go with Sweet and add in the desired amount of heat through another source.
Keep the added Vegetables to about 2-3 Cups.
Rice Bake Seasoning
There is so much versatility with just the Seasoning. Creating numerous dishes with the same technique and using different Spices. Pair up any Rice dish with any Seasoned Meats. Any Spices used on the Meat can be used in the Rice Bake. Add Salt along with any Herbs & Spices or use a Seasoning Blend.
Salt & Pepper Blend
- 1/2 Tbl Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp White Pepper
Keep the Salt at about 1/2 Tbl for this dish. If a Customized Seasoning you use is moderate in Salt, use about 1 Tbl. You can always add Salt later to toss into the Rice while fluffing if unsure.
Rice Bake Cookware
You will need a Sauté Pan, Brazier Pot, Saucepot, Wok or a deep Skillet to initially cook everything in. I use the Brazier pot from the 2 tier Steamer set but sometimes use a Wok. Everything initially gets cooked in this and then emptied into a Casserole dish.
The Casserole Dish or pan will need a cover or you can cover it with Aluminum Foil. I tend to always use a larger baking sheet placed on top to act as a cover.
I actually prefer this way using the Baking Sheet to cover the casserole. Because if any meats are added, I can season the meat and set it on the Baking Tray until the Rice is emptied into the casserole dish. Then just place the Meat on top and use the baking sheet to cover. It also collect the water when resting so that if you remove the Baking sheet quickly tilting it as you move it away, you don’t reintroduce the water back into the Rice. Whereas covering it with tinfoil you would. So if you can stick with a Cover that comes with your Casserole Dish or use a baking tray to cover.
Use a Sauté Pan, Brazier or Wok to initially cook everything before emptying into the casserole dish.
Use a Casserole Dish larger than 2 1/2 Quarts with a cover. If you don’t have a cover, use larger baking tray that can fit over top.
How long to cook a Rice Bake
This is really going to come down to preference and may take some trial and error on your side, it did with me. While my preference is at 450 F middle rack position for about 40 – 45 minutes. Yours may differ depending on how Crispy you want the Rice.
Depending on what you are after, a Rice Bake will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes at temperatures between 350 F – 450 F. Although in general it is best to stick with 400 F – 450 F and just adjust the time the Rice stays in the oven.
450 F for 40-45 minutes for crispy bits of rice or 400 F for 40 minutes for no or very minimal crisping of the Rice.
How to make a Rice Bake
Vegetables along with the Rice are sautéed for a few minutes in Fat before adding in the Liquids that will cook the Rice. It is brought to a boil before being emptied into a casserole dish to finish cooking in the oven while covered.
You can shape the flavors and create numerous other dishes using the same technique. Just switch up your choice of Proteins, Vegetables, Liquids & Seasoning.
Sauté the Vegetables
Sauté your choice of vegetables in Fat until softened over medium heat. Just a few minutes.
Vegetables are Onions, Celery, Mixed Peppers and Garlic.
Cook the Rice in Fat
Add in the unwashed Rice and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Mixing well so that each grain can get coated in fat.
Basmati Rice is used.
Turn the heat up to max and add the Liquids along with any Seasonings and bring to a boil.
Ensure the bouillon cubes are completely dissolved.
Just the Water and Chicken Bouillon Cubes is used with the Salt & Pepper Blend.
Bake the Rice
Empty into a Casserole Dish, cover and bake in a preheated oven at 450 F for 40-45 minutes.
When it is done baking, remove and let rest while still covered for 15-20 minutes before fluffing the Rice to serve.
- 1 Sauté Pan
- 1 Casserole Dish 2 1/2 Quarts or slightly larger
- 2 C Basmati Rice - or Jasmine, any medium to long grain rice
- 3 C Water
- 2 Cubes Maggi Chicken Bouillon - or other flavors
- 1/4 C Neutral Oil
- 1/2 Tbl Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp White Pepper
- 2-3 C Mixed Vegetables - See notes
- Preheat the oven to 450 F with the rack in middle position.In a Sauté Pan set over medium heat with Oil.Rendering out your choice of fat and top up with Lard or Oil to get about 1/4 C of Fat or slightly more is preferred, especially if pairing with meat.
- Add in the Vegetables to cook briefly, then the Rice and cook for about 1–2 minutes. Add in the Broth (Water & Bouillon Cubes) along with the Salt & Pepper Blend and bring to a boil. Ensure that the Bouillon cubes are completely dissolved.
- Empty into a Casserole Dish, mix well and spread evenly. Place into the oven covered for 40–45 minutes.
- Remove the Rice Bake from the oven, keep covered and let rest 15 – 20 minutes. Toss the Rice, scraping the bottom and sides and fluff. Adjust the seasoning if needed and toss again. Serve the whole Casserole at the table, or individually plate the Rice.
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