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Easy Peanut Butter Rice

This easy quick peanut butter rice makes for a delicious side dish. Pair it with some sauteed greens or peas and a protein for a satisfying meal, or whip it up to impress dinner guests instead of plain white rice.

A round mound of rice mixed with peanut butter on a white plate.

This recipe was inspired by my Zimbabwean mother-in-law telling me about how she used to eat peanut butter rice when she had morning sickness.

This is not traditional Zimbabwean peanut butter rice though, just me experimenting with peanut butter and rice. For Zimbabwean mupunga une dovi (or rice rine dovi) try this recipe.

Why you’ll love it

  • No chopping or dicing is required.
  • You’ll just mix most of the ingredients together, walk away while the rice steams, and add in the peanut butter.
  • It’s dairy-free and egg-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
  • It’s tasty as is, and tastes even better the next day!
  • It’s satisfying and filling.
  • It’s a great way to change up your menu and break out from eating plain rice all the time.

Ingredients and substitutions

You’ll only need a few easy-to-find ingredients for this recipe, you can quickly review them in the image below. Scroll down beneath it to get into the nitty-gritty details and see if any substitutions can be made if you’re short on ingredients.

Labelled ingredients including rice, peanut butter, vegetable stock, and onion powder.

Rice: I recommend using long-grain rice. You can also use medium or short-grain rice. Brown rice would be great in this recipe but can be tricky to cook and needs a lot more water so tread carefully and stick to a brand you know and adjust the amount of liquid.

Soy sauce: Soy sauce and peanut butter were made to go together and it gives lots of umami flavor in this recipe. Use regular soy sauce (not light or dark), and keep in mind that if you use a low-sodium version you may need to add more salt at the end. Coconut aminos can be substituted if you’re sensitive to soy.

Peanut butter: Use high-quality peanut butter, the kind that has oil on top and is made with just peanuts. Tahini would also work really well in this recipe, but it does thicken up after sitting so you might have to add a little more water to loosen the rice and make it more “saucy”.

Onion powder: This gives a ton of flavor but if you don’t have any or don’t like it you can omit it. I don’t recommend substituting with onion granules as they’ll add a gritty texture.

Garlic powder: Highly recommend using this, if you don’t have any you can crush two cloves and add to the stock instead.

A mound of brown-colored rice on a pale grey plate with green peas.

Cayenne: For a mild burst of heat, omit if you prefer.

Smoked paprika: Use only smoked paprika, I don’t recommend using regular paprika as it will give a claggy flavor. If you can get it, use hot or sweet Pimentón de la Vera, a high-quality smoked Spanish paprika.

Vegetable stock: You can use regular vegetable stock or make some up with bouillon or a stock cube. You can substitute this with whatever stock you have on hand as long as you think it would go well. If you don’t have any stock, you can use water, but you may need to add more salt at the end.

How to make it

This is a very simple rice recipe so stick to the steps below. If you have any doubts, check in with the process photos to make sure you’re on track.

  1. First, rinse the rice very well, at least three times or until the water runs clear, and drain all the excess water from the rice. Add the rinsed rice to a medium pot and add in the ground garlic, ground onion, paprika, and cayenne. Mix well with the rice (this will stop the spices from clumping together when the stock is added).
  2. Add the vegetable stock and soy sauce and mix well. Place a tightly fitting lid on the pan and heat on high until the mixture is at a lively simmer, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and leave for about thirteen minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. After thirteen minutes, remove the pan from the heat and leave a further ten minutes.
Collage of rice with spices, rice in a dark stock, cooked rice with peanut butter, and brown mixed rice.
  1. Remove the lid from the pan and fluff up the rice with a fork or rice paddle. Measure and add the peanut butter.
  2. Mix the peanut butter into the rice until all of the grains are coated with it. Salt to taste (I usually add a quarter teaspoon but this will depend on how salty the vegetable stock and soy sauce were).

You can serve your delicious peanut butter rice right away but I prefer to let it cool a little and eat it warm or at room temperature. It’s perfect paired with greens and a protein, although I also love it paired with peri peri tofu or vegetables in peri peri sauce.

If you’re entertaining, some red chili flakes or chopped parsley sprinkled on top can pretty up your brown rice mixture.

You can also lightly oil a round bowl with a pastry brush, pack some of the rice into it, place a flat plate on top and invert it to make a pretty mound of rice (that’s what I did for the other photos on this page).

Equipment notes

What you’ll need:

  • Measuring spoons.
  • A wooden spoon or whisk for mixing.
  • A medium non-stick pan with a tight-fitting lid.
  • A fork or rice paddle

Expert tips

  • If the lid of your pan has a steam valve (a small hole in the lid) you can just place some sticky tape on it when steaming rice to make sure none of the steam gets out.
  • If the lid for your pan isn’t tight enough or is too big, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil between the pan and the lid to tightly seal it.
  • Using a pot with a glass lid will make judging when the rice mixture is simmering much easier.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I do if my rice is still hard after cooking?

If all the liquid has been absorbed then something has gone wrong along the way (incorrectly measuring the rice or the liquid, steam escaping from the pan). Never fear, you can still cook your rice! Simply transfer it to a microwave-safe container with a lid, add in a quarter cup of water, tightly fit the lid, and microwave on high for five minutes. Leave aside for five to ten minutes, then remove the lid and fluff up your rice.

How do I store leftover rice?

Allow the rice to cool to room temperature and then add to a container with a lid or cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave for between three to five minutes (depending on how much rice is in the container). If the rice has hardened, add three tablespoons of water before microwaving and set to one side to cool for five minutes before opening.

Can I freeze this recipe?

I don’t recommend it as the texture changes and it would be a bit grainy when defrosted.

Other tasty rice recipes

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Yield: 4 servings

Easy Peanut Butter Rice

A round mound of rice mixed with peanut butter on a white plate.

Delicious savory easy peanut butter rice. Perfectly cooked fluffy rice steamed in a spiced stock with gooey peanut butter stirred in while hot. Serve it with a side of greens and the protein of your choice for a complete meal.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • ½ Tablespoon ground onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 Tablespoons peanut butter*
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the rice well until the water runs clear and rain well. Do not skip this step or you'll have mushy rice!
  2. Add the rinsed rice to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the spices (ground onion, ground garlic, paprika, cayenne) and mix well.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and soy sauce and mix. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  4. Heat the mixture on the highest setting. When the stock is at a lively simmer, reduce the heat to low and leave to cook for 13 minutes without removing the lid.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and set it to one side to steam for another 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and fluff up the rice with a fork. Add the peanut butter and mix until all of the rice grains are coated. Add salt to taste ( I usually add about a quarter teaspoon but it will depend on how salty your stock and soy sauce were).
  7. Serve immediately or allow to cool until warm or at room temperature. If eating later, allow the rice to cool to room temperature and store covered in the fridge for up to five days.

Notes

*Use high-quality peanut butter for this recipe, the stuff that's just made from peanuts and has oil on the top.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 240Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1399mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 8g

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