Turkish Rice Pilaf Recipe

Turkish Rice Pilaf Recipe

This cinnamon and allspice scented rice pilaf recipe is traditionally used as a filling for stuffed grape leaves, stuffed peppers, and other “dolmas” or “stuffed things” in Turkey. Known as Iç Pilavı in Turkish, it is equally delicious eaten on its own without being used as a stuffing.

Mise en Place

Take a few minutes to gather all the ingredients together (called mise en place) before heating the oil, and this dish will come together quickly. Once the essential Turkish spices cinnamon and allspice hit the pan, along with fresh dill and mint, you will decide, or rather your nose will decide, that you have made the right decision in making my aunt Selva’s rice pilaf recipe. The raisins add sweetness, the pine nuts add crunch, and the herbs and spices meld into an aroma that will have family members finding their way into the kitchen to see if dinner is ready yet.

rice pilaf recipe

Rice Pilaf Recipe for a Crowd

This recipe makes a good portion, either for feeding a crowd, or for lunches for the week. If you don’t want a big pot of rice, halve the recipe. The method of covering it with a towel at the end of cooking is not to be skipped. I have found this method used across many cultures, and I am told it helps the rice grains to not stick together, but rather each individual grain of rice can shine on its own.

Traditional Turkish Recipes

This dish is named after my aunt, who is technically a long-lost cousin that got back in touch with my immediate family after a few years of being out of touch. Selva is my dad’s first cousin, loves to cook, and I love when she comes to visit, because she loves to cook just as much as I do–it is here the family resemblance shines through.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Selva’s Summer Rice Pilaf Recipe alongside Turkish-style braised green beans, and zucchini fritters.

Rice Pilaf Recipe, Weekly Meal Plans, Vegetable Recipes, Clean Eating Recipes, Healthy Dinner Recipes, Recipes for Dinner

Selva’s Summer Pilaf

Currants may be used in place of the chopped raisins in this recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Turkish
Keyword: rice pilaf recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 349kcal


  • 1 large onion, yellow or white is fine
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts*
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (basmati is my favorite here)
  • 3 cups water, or according to rice package instructions


  • Cut onion into medium dice. Roughly chop raisins. Chop fresh dill and mint.
  • Heat oil over medium heat in large pot with a tight fitting lid. Add onions and saute in until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add pine nuts and stir until lightly colored. Add raisins, spices, salt and pepper, and rice, saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Stir in half of the dill and mint, if using dried mint add it all here. Add water to the pan. Bring to a boil, stir, cover, and lower the flame and cook till no liquid is left and there are some holes in rice, according to package instructions, usually 15-20 minutes.
  • Once rice is cooked, remove from heat, remove the lid, and cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel. Put the lid back on over the towel and let it sit for 15-20 min with lid on. Then add the second part of fresh dill and fresh mint (if using) and stir. You can add a little sugar if needed, raisins are usually enough for the sweetness. Taste to adjust seasoning for salt.


*Whole almonds can be substituted for the pine nuts here, just chop them briefly before adding to cooking onion.
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Rice Pilaf Recipe, Weekly Meal Plans, Vegetable Recipes, Clean Eating Recipes, Healthy Dinner Recipes, Recipes for Dinner

2 thoughts on “Turkish Rice Pilaf Recipe”

  • 5 stars
    Perfect recipe, once the ingredients are ready, it only takes 20 min to cook and ready in 20 min. I enjoyed this pilaf several days, it gets better the next day.

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