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French Onion Rice

This French onion rice recipe is a simple way to elevate your typical rice side dish massively. It’s delicious thanks to caramelized onions and the addition of cheese, garlic, and other flavors often associated with classic French onion recipes. This dish is ready in about 50 minutes if you’re caramelizing your onions from scratch.

french onion rice in a blue shallow casserole dish

This French onion rice feels decadent, indulgent, and full of flavor. It’s great served as a side dish (I ate it alongside my red pesto butter beans recipe, for example!), or you could add your protein and vegetables of choice to make this a full dish in it’s own right.

Other flavor-packed recipes you might like include this spicy rice, my French onion pasta recipe, these French onion loaded potato skins, and this creamy mushroom pasta.

Ingredient Notes

The exact quantities of the ingredients you need for this recipe are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Here, I’ve added a few notes on the ingredients you need, plus a few potential substitutions you could make if you can’t eat/find a certain ingredient.

ingredients for this french onion rice laid out: basmati rice, cheese, butter, onion, vegetable stock, garlic, seasonings
  • Rice: I used basmati rice for this recipe, but any rice that you have available will work! Substituting the rice for risotto rice or even orzo could also work.
  • Onion: Use a large white onion, thinly sliced, to make the caramelized onions needed for this recipe. If you’re short on time, caramelize the onions ahead of time.
  • Garlic: Use one or two cloves of fresh minced garlic.
  • Butter: I caramelize the onions in butter, but you could also use olive oil instead.
  • Vegetable Stock: We cook this recipe in vegetable stock to give it even more flavor – but you could also use water if you prefer.
  • White Wine: A splash of white wine helps to de-glaze the pan after you’ve caramelized the onions, and adds a delicious flavor to this French onion rice. You can omit it if you prefer, though.
  • Seasonings: A simple blend of thyme, salt, and black pepper is all that’s used in this recipe.
  • Cheese: I used mature cheddar cheese in this recipe, but Gruyere is more traditional for French onion recipes (be aware that Gruyere often is not vegetarian).
  • Cream: While not absolutely essential, a splash of cream elevates this rice dish and gives it a beautifully creamy texture.

Substitutions & Adaptions

To make it vegan: Substitute the cream for vegan cream, and use your favorite vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Also, use vegan butter or olive oil instead of the butter.
Other alternatives: If you want to make this a one-pot meal, you could also add in your protein of choice and serve the rice family-style for everyone to dive in!

How To Make This French Onion Rice Recipe

Again, the exact step-by-step instructions and ingredient quantities will be in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. 

Below is an overview of making this recipe, plus some process shots to help you visualize how this recipe should turn out.

Step 1) Caramelize Your Onions

To caramelize your onions, start by thinly slicing your white onion. Next, heat your butter in a pan and add the onions. Cook the onions low and slow for 30 – 40 minutes until golden, soft, and caramelized. Stir them frequently to prevent the onions from burning, adding a splash more oil or butter if needed.

Add your minced garlic to the onions when done and cook for another minute.

Step 2) Cook The Rice

When the onions have about 10 – 15 minutes left to go, start cooking your rice in a separate saucepan. I’ve used vegetable stock in this recipe to give the rice maximum flavor, but you could also use just water. 

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. My general process is to rinse the rice, cover it with the water or stock, and bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer on a very low heat for 10 minutes before turning off the heat and leaving the rice to steam with the lid on for a few more minutes.

Step 3) Assemble The Dish

Add your white wine to your pan with the onions, then add the cooked rice, seasonings, cheese, and cream. Stir the ingredients together until the cheese melts into the rice and the onions are fully combined.

Note: The cream is optional in this recipe – if you’d prefer to omit it, the dish won’t change much but the cream does add a delicious extra touch of decadence to your French onion rice.

What To Serve Your French Onion Rice With

I really enjoyed this French onion rice with one of my go-to bean recipes – these red pesto beans were a great combination of flavors, but these creamy pesto beans or simple garlic and lemon butter beans would also work well!

I think some vegan chicken chunks or mince would also be delicious stirred into the dish (maybe with some mushrooms, too!) to make this a complete meal.

Storing

Always be careful to follow good safety instructions for cooling and storing leftover rice. Do not allow your rice to sit at room temperature for too long, and ensure you have correctly reheated it before serving.

close up shot of French onion rice topped with parsley, caramelized onions are stirred through the rice

FAQs

Could I use riced cauliflower instead of rice?

Technically, yes, you could use riced cauliflower as a substitute for the rice for a lower calorie alternative in this recipe. However, be aware that the texture and overall flavor of your French onion rice would be quite different with the substitution of cauliflower!

Should I use long or medium-grain rice?

Either will work fine for this recipe! A risotto rice would also work perfectly, too.

Could I use pasta instead of rice?

Definitely! Check out my super-popular French onion pasta recipe here.

french onion rice in a casserole dish on top of a muslin cloth.

French Onion Rice

Yield: 3-4 portions
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This delicious and easy French onion rice recipe is the perfect side dish to elevate any dinner. It’s perfect to impress guests at a dinner party or served as a one-pot meal with your protein of choice.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 white onion
  • 30g butter
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 40ml white wine
  • 50g sharp cheddar cheese
  • 50ml double cream
  • 10g fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice your white onion, then heat your butter in a pan and add the onions. Cook the onions low and slow for 30 - 40 minutes until golden, soft, and caramelized. Stir the onions frequently to avoid them from burning.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your rice according to the package instructions in the vegetable stock.
  3. Add your minced garlic to your caramelized onions and cook for another minute, then add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Cook until the wine has mostly disappeared (2-3 minutes).
  4. Next, add the cooked basmati rice, seasonings, cheese, and double cream. Stir everything together so the rice and onions are mixed.
  5. Top with the fresh parsley and enjoy!

Notes

You could also stir your cooked protein of choice into the rice to make this a complete meal!

If you want to make this recipe for a dinner party, I would recommend caramelizing your onions in advance to cut down on cooking time when preparing other dishes!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1050mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

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