Seasoned Rice

$0.95 recipe / $0.16 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 15 votes
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If there’s one thing I knew right away starting the SNAP Challenge, it was that I was going to have to bulk out my meals considerably with inexpensive beans and grains to stay under $4.50 of food per day. Instead of using plain old rice, I made a big batch of seasoned rice the first day, which I used as a base for multiple meals throughout the week (and maybe the whole month). 

For the entire month of September, I’ll be participating in the SNAP Challenge and attempting to eat on $4.50 per day. Read more here.

Overhead view of a bowl full of seasoned rice

What Kind of Rice Can I Use?

You can use any type of rice you like, just be sure to adjust the water ratio and cooking time to match the directions on the package for the rice you’re using. I used long grain brown rice for this recipe, which adds a nice nutty flavor and is also very filling. Jasmine rice is another great option because it has even more flavor, but it does come at a higher cost. I would avoid medium or short grain rices for this recipe since those tend to be very sticky. 

Can I Make This in a Rice Maker?

Yes, just add the seasonings (garlic powder, thyme, crushed red pepper, and salt) to the rice maker along with the rice and water, then use the rice maker as you normally would.

What Do You Serve with Seasoned Rice?

You can serve seasoned rice as a side dish to something like Salisbury Steak, Turkey Taco Skillet, Garlic Butter Baked Chicken Thighs, Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, or Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms. Or you can use the seasoned rice as a flavorful base for a bowl meal, like Smoky Roasted Sausage and Vegetables, BBQ Beef and Beans, or Roasted Brussels Sprout Bowls.

How Long Does Seasoned Rice Stay Good?

When the cooked rice is cooled and stored properly, it will stay good in your refrigerator for about four days, or you can freeze for about three months. Because cooked rice is one of the more common sources of food poisoning, it is important to take the proper steps with your leftover rice.

How to Store Leftover Rice

Anytime you save leftovers of cooked rice, it’s really important to divide and chill the leftovers as quickly as possible. Rice can naturally contain a bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which has spores that are resistant to cooking. Bacillus cereus contamination does not produce any visible signs or smells, so it’s of utmost importance that rice be cooled properly immediately after cooking. Transfer your cooked rice to a new container (do not leave it in the hot container it was cooked in), divide the rice into smaller portions if cooked in a large batch, and then place it in the refrigerator to cool. Do not let your rice sit out at room temperature. The goal is to cool the rice to below 40ºF in under two hours, so the sooner it gets in the fridge, the better.

Seasoned rice on a plate with vegetables and chicken

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Seasoned Rice

5 from 15 votes
Seasoned rice is an all-purpose side dish infused with garlic and herbs. Serve it as a side dish or as the bed for your favorite bowl meal.
Seasoned rice on a plate with vegetables and chicken
Servings 6 1 cup each
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 50 minutes


  • 2 cups long grain brown rice ($0.80)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) ($0.02)
  • 3/4 tsp salt ($0.03)
  • 4 cups water ($0.00)


  • Combine the rice, garlic powder, thyme, red pepper, salt, and water in a heavy bottomed pot. Give it a brief stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  • Place a lid on the pot and bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest with the lid in place for 5 minutes more.
  • After 5 minutes without heat, fluff the rice and serve, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1CupCalories: 227.75kcalCarbohydrates: 47.32gProtein: 4.72gFat: 2gSodium: 313.67mgFiber: 2.3g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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How to Make Seasoned Rice – Step by Step Photos

Rice and seasonings in a pot

In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine 2 cups of rice, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, and ¾ tsp salt.

Water being poured into the pot with rice and seasonings

Add four cups of water to the pot. Cover the pot with a lid, then place it over high heat. Allow the pot to come to a full boil, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and allow it to rest and continue to steam in the residual heat for 5 minutes.

Brown rice being fluffed in the pot with a fork

After 5 minutes, fluff the rice and serve. 

Overhead view of a bowl full of seasoned brown rice

It may not seem very revolutionary, but when working with a limited budget, it’s important to make sure every meal is as satisfying as possible. I plan to eat pretty much the same thing throughout the week, so I have to make sure it’s damn delicious so that I keep coming back! Ha!

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  1. Quick an ez and really packs a punch with the crushed red pepper, awesome flavor, thanks!

  2. I love making this rice dish as a side! I’ve made it many times and it’s still tasty. I usually add 1/2 tsp onion powder to give it a little more flavor. I don’t handle spicy foods well so I leave out the chili flakes and add a pinch of cayenne powder for flavoring instead. In my latest batch, I added half a bag of frozen peas and let it cook with the rice. Super cheap, delicious, and you get some more veggies in your diet. Great recipe!

  3. When using McCormick Caribbean Jerk seasoning, how much do you use for this recipe?

    1. I’ve never used that seasoning blend for this, so unfortunately I don’t know.

  4. Can yellow rice be used? Maybe someone asked this already, but in my scanning through comments I didn’t see.

    1. You could probably do this with just about any type of rice. Just make sure to use the appropriate amount of water and cooking time suggested on your rice package.

  5. Wow, I didn’t know that rice was one of the easiest ways to get food poisoning, thank you so much for that information and tips to stay safe.

    1. You got food poisoning from rice ? That’s terrible . Didn’t know that was possible either

  6. This recipe has the best ratio of liquid to rice! My basmati rice has never come out fluffy before. I officially have no need for Rice a Roni! I’ve made rice hundreds of times but this is the best texture it’s ever had.

    1. I do’t use brown rice. Do you think white rice would taste good in this recipe? TY