This Easy Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (With Wine) is perfect for entertaining. If you like rice, you will like this recipe. It is one of these beautiful dishes that you will want to make over and over again, as it can be served with so many things and in so many ways.
Let's travel to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean with this Easy Greek Lemon Rice Recipe. This easy side dish, a staple in many Greek restaurants, combines the subtle tang of fresh lemon juice with the sophistication of dry white wine to create a complex flavor that will elevate it to the next level.
Whether you're pairing it with succulent grilled salmon or tender chicken or enjoying it as a standalone dish together with some other vegetables or a salad, this lemony rice promises to be your new favorite go-to side dish.
Simple to prepare yet bursting with flavor, this recipe showcases the best of Greek cuisine with its use of aromatic lemon zest and the perfect blend of herbs. It's not just a side dish; it's a journey to Greece on a plate.
💝 Why you will love this dish
- Simple and Quick to Prepare: This recipe is straightforward and perfect for both novice cooks and experienced chefs. It requires basic kitchen skills and can be ready in just a few simple steps.
- Versatile Pairing: The subtle flavors of lemon and wine make this dish incredibly versatile. It pairs beautifully with a variety of mains, from seafood like salmon to poultry and even vegetarian options, making it a perfect side for any meal.
- Customizable: The recipe allows for customization with different herbs and types of rice. Whether you prefer the aromatic touch of tarragon or the hearty texture of brown rice, you can tailor it to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
📝 Ingredients needed
This recipe uses simple ingredients that are easy to find. Make sure you check the recipe card at the bottom of this article for full instructions and tips.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Butter: Start with 2 tablespoons for sautéing the rice.
- White Rice: Use one cup. You can opt for long-grain rice, basmati rice, or even brown rice. Just keep in mind that for each type of rice, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid required for cooking the grains.
- Lemon Zest: From one lemon for a bright lemon flavor.
- Liquid: One cup of either water or vegetable/chicken broth.
- Lemon Juice: ½ cup to enhance the zesty taste.
- Dry White Wine: ½ cup. Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc are good choices for a sophisticated flavor. Replace it with the same amount of broth if wine is not your thing.
- Salt: A ½ teaspoon for seasoning.
- Herbs: My favorite is tarragon, but fresh dill, parsley, or cilantro are perfect as well. If you don't have fresh, use dried herbs, especially in the winter.
- fresh garlic cloves
- bay leaf
- red onion
- oregano, thyme, basil
👩🍳 How to make
Cooking rice should not raise any issues, and this easy recipe teaches you how to combine simple ingredients to obtain an amazing dish.
Step 1. Rinse the rice: Rinsing rice thoroughly before cooking in this recipe is essential. Start by placing the rice in a bowl and covering it with enough cold water to fully immerse it. Gently swirl the rice with your hand, then carefully pour off the cloudy water.
Repeat this rinsing process 2-3 times or until the water runs clear. This step is key to removing excess starch from the rice grains, preventing them from becoming sticky or gummy during cooking. Additionally, this rinsing helps to eliminate any impurities or processing agents.
Step 2. Saute the rice: Heat the olive oil or butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the rice and lemon zest. Stir constantly so the rice doesn't stick to the pan or burn. Cook for 2-3 minutes until well coated and slightly glossy.
Step 3. Add Liquids and Season: Pour in the chicken stock or water, white wine, lemon juice, and salt, bringing the mix to a boil.
Step 4. Simmer: Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until you obtain a tender and fluffy rice and the liquid is absorbed. If you notice that it needs more water, add a few teaspoons until the rice has the right consistency. It should be soft but not mushy.
Step 5. Final Touch: Stir in your chosen herbs before serving.
Note: I juiced the lemons using this tool that I love.
💡 Expert tip:
How much liquid do you need to cook rice?
The ratio for cooking rice generally is roughly 2 cups of water for 1 cup of dried rice. However, if you go with Arborio rice, for example, which behaves a little bit differently when cooked, use 2 ½ cups of liquid for 1 cup of rice.
🍽️ How to serve this lemon rice with wine
Lemon Rice with Wine is a versatile dish that pairs wonderfully with a variety of main courses. Here are some excellent options to enjoy alongside this flavorful side dish:
- Fish: The lemony notes in the rice complement the seafood perfectly. Try it with grilled salmon, baked cod, or any fried fish you like.
- Chicken: The subtle flavors of this delicious side dish can beautifully balance the richness of roasted, grilled, or even fried chicken. Chicken and rice are a match made in heaven.
- Vegetables as a side dish: Go for mushrooms with garlic, peas with mint, baked zucchini, or this creamy spinach.
- Greek-Inspired Dishes: Embrace the Mediterranean theme by serving the rice with Greek specialties like chicken souvlaki, gyro, or a vibrant Greek salad.
- Seafood: Complement the rice with seafood dishes like shrimp or a simple garlic and lemon butter prawn dish.
- Mixed Vegetable Grills: The lemon rice can also be a great accompaniment to a platter of mixed grilled vegetables, adding a refreshing zest to the smoky flavors.
❄️ How to store
- Refrigeration: Cool the rice to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 5-6 days.
- Freezing: Spread the rice on a baking sheet and freeze initially. Then, transfer to freezer bags or containers for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and add a little water when reheating.
- Reheating: Use a microwave or stovetop with a bit of added water or broth to prevent the rice from drying out.
🙋♀️ Recipe Faqs
Yes, you can make Lemon Rice using leftover rice. This approach is particularly useful for a quick and efficient preparation. The key is to reheat the leftover rice properly and then mix it with the lemon juice, herbs, and other seasonings.
This method infuses the pre-cooked rice with fresh flavors, transforming it into a delicious and rejuvenating dish. It's a popular practice in various cuisines, especially in South Indian cooking, where Lemon Rice is often made with leftover or precooked rice. The process is simple yet effective in elevating leftover rice into a flavorful meal.
Yes, the recipe can be adapted for a rice cooker or Instant Pot. Make sure to adjust the liquid ratio and settings according to the appliance instructions.
For basmati, Jasmine, or white rice, the ratio is 1:1, or 1 cup rice to 1 cup liquid, which means that you will have to reduce the amount of wine, lemon juice, and water or vegetable/chicken broth. I would do only ½ cup water with ¼ cup wine and ¼ cup lemon juice.
You can either reduce the amount of lemon juice in the recipe or add a dash of sugar to balance the taste.
🍚 More Recipes With Rice
🍲 More Side Dish Recipes
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Easy Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (With Wine)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 cup white rice
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1 cup water or stock chicken or vegetable
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon (or parsley, or cilantro, or basil.) Dried herbs: 1 teaspoon (see note below)
- Heat the oil or the butter in a casserole.
- Add the rice and lemon zest and cook, stirring, until the rice is well coated.
- Add the stock, wine, lemon juice and salt and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.
- Stir in the herbs and serve.