Greek Lemon Rice


Transport your taste buds to the sun-drenched shores of Greece with our delectable Greek Lemon Rice recipe. Bursting with vibrant flavors and aromatic herbs, this traditional Greek dish is the epitome of Mediterranean cuisine. In this article, we’ll guide you through the simple steps to create this zesty and comforting rice dish that will elevate any meal to new heights.


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1-2 lemons
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)


  1. Sauté Aromatics:
    • In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add Rice and Toast:
    • Add the long-grain white rice to the saucepan and stir to coat it in the olive oil, onion, and garlic mixture. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted.
  3. Simmer with Broth:
    • Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth, along with the bay leaf, dried oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let the rice simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  4. Add Lemon Zest and Juice:
    • Once the rice is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the zest and juice of 1-2 lemons, depending on your preference for tanginess. Adjust the amount of lemon juice to suit your taste.
  5. Serve and Garnish:
    • Fluff the Greek Lemon Rice with a fork to loosen the grains. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Transfer the rice to a serving dish and garnish with chopped fresh parsley for a pop of color and freshness. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side for an extra squeeze of citrus flavor.

Serving Tips:

  1. Pairing Suggestions: Serve Greek Lemon Rice as a flavorful side dish alongside grilled or roasted meats such as chicken, lamb, or fish. It also complements Mediterranean-inspired dishes like kebabs, gyros, or stuffed peppers beautifully.
  2. Garnish and Presentation: Before serving, garnish the rice with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley for a pop of color and a touch of freshness. Arrange lemon wedges on the side for guests to add an extra squeeze of citrus flavor to their rice.
  3. Family Gatherings and Potlucks: Greek Lemon Rice is a crowd-pleaser and makes a great addition to family gatherings, potlucks, and dinner parties. Double or triple the recipe to feed a larger group, and watch as it disappears quickly!
  4. Meal Prep Option: Prepare a batch of Greek Lemon Rice ahead of time and store it in individual airtight containers for easy meal prep. Enjoy it as a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner throughout the week by pairing it with your favorite protein and vegetables.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover Greek Lemon Rice to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store the rice in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through before serving.
  2. Freezing: Greek Lemon Rice freezes well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Transfer cooled rice to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving some room for expansion. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Refreshing Leftovers: If reheating refrigerated Greek Lemon Rice, sprinkle a little water over the rice before microwaving to help prevent it from drying out. Stir the rice halfway through the reheating process to ensure even warming.
  4. Reviving Frozen Rice: To revive frozen Greek Lemon Rice, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. Reheat the rice in a saucepan on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of broth or water if needed to loosen the grains.
  5. Serve with Fresh Ingredients: Enhance the flavor of reheated Greek Lemon Rice by serving it with a side of fresh herbs, such as parsley or dill, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The addition of fresh ingredients will brighten the dish and bring back its original vibrancy.

Variations of Greek Lemon Rice:

  1. Mediterranean Vegetable Rice:
    • Add diced bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes to the rice during cooking for a colorful and flavorful twist. Stir in chopped Kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese before serving for an extra burst of Mediterranean flavor.
  2. Lemony Herb Rice Pilaf:
    • Infuse the rice with a medley of fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and basil for a fragrant and herbaceous variation. Finish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of lemon zest for a bright and refreshing taste.
  3. Greek Spinach and Feta Rice:
    • Sauté chopped spinach with garlic and onion until wilted, then stir into the cooked rice along with crumbled feta cheese. Season with dried dill and a squeeze of lemon juice for a Greek-inspired spinach and feta rice dish.
  4. Mediterranean Rice Salad:
    • Turn Greek Lemon Rice into a refreshing salad by chilling it in the refrigerator until cold. Add diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and chopped fresh mint. Drizzle with a lemon vinaigrette dressing and toss to combine for a light and summery dish.
  5. Lemon Garlic Rice with Shrimp:
    • Sauté shrimp with minced garlic and olive oil until pink and cooked through. Serve the shrimp over Greek Lemon Rice for a satisfying main course. Garnish with chopped parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for added brightness.
  6. Greek Rice Stuffed Peppers:
    • Use Greek Lemon Rice as a flavorful filling for stuffed peppers. Prepare bell peppers by removing the seeds and membranes, then stuff them with the rice mixture. Bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through for a wholesome and satisfying meal.
  7. Lemon Chickpea Rice Bowl:
    • Incorporate cooked chickpeas into Greek Lemon Rice for added protein and texture. Serve the rice and chickpea mixture in bowls with sliced avocado, diced cucumber, and a dollop of tzatziki sauce for a nourishing and satisfying rice bowl.
  8. Tomato Basil Rice with Lemon:
    • Add diced tomatoes and chopped fresh basil to Greek Lemon Rice for a vibrant and flavorful variation. The combination of juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil, and zesty lemon creates a refreshing twist on traditional Greek rice.
  9. Greek Lemon Rice Soup (Avgolemono):
    • Transform Greek Lemon Rice into a comforting soup by adding additional broth and beaten eggs to create a creamy, velvety texture. Stir in cooked shredded chicken and fresh dill for a hearty and comforting soup reminiscent of avgolemono.
  10. Lemon Rice with Toasted Pine Nuts:
    • Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown and fragrant, then sprinkle over Greek Lemon Rice before serving for added crunch and nuttiness. The toasted pine nuts add a delightful texture contrast to the fluffy rice.


  1. Is Greek Lemon Rice the same as traditional rice pilaf?
    • While both dishes feature rice as the main ingredient, Greek Lemon Rice is distinguished by its vibrant lemon flavor and Mediterranean-inspired herbs. The addition of lemon zest and juice gives Greek Lemon Rice its signature tangy taste, setting it apart from traditional rice pilaf.
  2. Can I use brown rice instead of white rice in this recipe?
    • Yes, you can substitute brown rice for white rice in Greek Lemon Rice. Keep in mind that brown rice typically requires a longer cooking time and may result in a slightly chewier texture compared to white rice. Adjust the cooking time and liquid accordingly when using brown rice.
  3. Is Greek Lemon Rice gluten-free?
    • Yes, Greek Lemon Rice is naturally gluten-free as it does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. However, always check the labels of packaged ingredients such as broth or seasoning blends to ensure they are gluten-free certified if following a strict gluten-free diet.
  4. What is the best type of rice to use for Greek Lemon Rice?
    • Long-grain white rice, such as jasmine or basmati rice, is ideal for Greek Lemon Rice due to its fluffy texture and ability to absorb flavors well. However, you can also use other varieties of white rice or even brown rice depending on your preference.
  5. Can I make Greek Lemon Rice ahead of time?
    • Yes, Greek Lemon Rice can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. Store any leftover rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water to refresh the rice.
  6. Is Greek Lemon Rice suitable for vegan or vegetarian diets?
    • Yes, Greek Lemon Rice can be enjoyed as part of a vegan or vegetarian diet as it contains no animal products. It is made with plant-based ingredients such as rice, vegetable broth, olive oil, and herbs.
  7. What can I serve with Greek Lemon Rice?
    • Greek Lemon Rice pairs well with a variety of dishes, including grilled or roasted meats such as chicken, lamb, or fish. It also complements Mediterranean-inspired dishes like kebabs, gyros, or stuffed vegetables. Serve with a side of Greek salad or tzatziki for a complete meal.
  8. Can I adjust the amount of lemon juice in the recipe?
    • Yes, you can adjust the amount of lemon juice in Greek Lemon Rice to suit your taste preferences. Start with the juice of one lemon and add more as needed, tasting as you go until you reach your desired level of tanginess.
  9. Can I freeze Greek Lemon Rice?
    • While Greek Lemon Rice can be frozen, the texture may change slightly upon thawing and reheating. If freezing, store cooled rice in freezer-safe containers or resealable bags for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  10. Can I make Greek Lemon Rice without onions and garlic?
    • Yes, you can omit onions and garlic from the recipe if desired. Simply skip the sautéing step and proceed with cooking the rice directly in broth with the addition of lemon zest and juice for flavor. Adjust seasoning as needed before serving.


With its bright and zesty flavors, our Greek Lemon Rice recipe is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Whether served as a side dish alongside grilled fish or chicken, or enjoyed on its own as a light and refreshing meal, this rice dish captures the essence of Greek cuisine in every mouthful. Embrace the flavors of the Mediterranean and bring a taste of sunshine to your table with this delightful recipe!

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