Teta’s Easy Lebanese Rice Pilaf Recipe

My husband is Lebanese and we are lucky enough to spend a few months each year in Beirut, his hometown, eating all our favorite Lebanese dishes. This easy Lebanese rice pilaf recipe is passed down from the kids teta (grandmother in Arabic) – she taught them how to make it the last time we were in Lebanon. Read this post to find out how to make a traditional Mediterranean rice pilaf recipe.

An important part of raising multicultural children is teaching them all about the cultures they come from. Since my husband is Lebanese with family still living in Lebanon, we spend a couple of months in Lebanon each year.

Lebanon is small Middle Eastern country steeped in culture and history and for us foodies, a country full of delicious foods to explore. If you’re planning to visit Beirut, the country’s capital, here are a few articles we recommend you read: The best things to do with kids in Beirut, Top 5 kid-friendly restaurants in Beirut, The kid-friendly guide to Lebanese Food, and Ka’ak, the Lebanese bagel. You’ll find a lot more in our Lebanon archives.

Making Teta’s Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Jaf and Lou Lou love their RICE!

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Enjoying her rice!

Especially their grandmother’s rice, a special kind of rice that only Teta (meaning “grandmother” in Arabic) makes. And, today we’re going to share teta’s beloved recipe with you…straight from her kitchen in Beirut.

Lou Lou has become an expert in preparing this easy Lebanese Rice Pilaf recipe which goes well with certain dishes in many households throughout Lebanon such as: Fasoulia (White Bean and Beef Stew), Molokiah, and Kafta Bil Patata.

I had to learn how to make this rice since we eat it almost once a week when we’re back at home in Hawaii (we eat it on a daily basis in Lebanon). It’s so easy to make and your kids will enjoy helping you make it!

First you’ll need the following ingredients:

Teta’s Easy Lebanese Rice Pilaf Recipe Ingredients

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe

  • 1/2 cup spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt

Get the ingredients now!

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Your kids will enjoy breaking up the pasta.

Measure and pour 1 cup of rice in a bowl, set aside. Have your kids break up the spaghetti into 1/2 inch pieces while you wash and soak the rice for 5 minutes in cool water.

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Let sit for 5 minutes.

In a medium pot, add butter until melted and sizzling. Add spaghetti and mix until light brown, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Lou Lou helping out with the browning of the spaghetti. She loves to cook!
easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
the pasta should look like this.

The spaghetti will start to turn brown. You don’t need them all to be a dark brown color but at least majority more than half.

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
What is should look like when “browned”.

Remove water from soaked rice and add rice to cooked spaghetti mixture (be careful from the steam it will produce when you add the rice, it can burn your finger). Mix together and add salt.

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Add in soaked rice
easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Mix together and add salt

Add 2 cups water to rice and boil until water almost disappears.

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Did you know if you place a wooden spoon over the rice it won’t overflow?
easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Boil rice until water is almost gone.

Reduce to low heat and cover pot to let rice sit for additional 10-15 minutes. After 5 minutes, mix rice and add more salt (or butter) if needed, keep pot covered it not fully cooked.

easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Rice will look like this after it sits in pot for 10-15 minutes.
easy lebanese rice pilaf recipe
Lou Lou and her rice 🙂

Sit, serve and enjoy!

Teta's Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Lebanese, Mediterranean
Servings 4
Author pint size gourmets


  • 1/2 cup spaghetti broken into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup long grain rice pre-soaked in cool water
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Sauté spaghetti pieces in butter or olive oil over medium heat until light brown in color. Stirring constantly to make sure it doesn't burn. 

  2. Add in uncooked rice.

  3. Add water. Stir until rice boils.

  4. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer until the rice is cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Uncover and fluff rice gently with a fork.
  6. Place in serving dish and serve warm.


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