SNAP Challenge: Seasoned Rice

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.

Originally posted 9-2-2014, updated 3-7-2021.

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

Seasoned rice on a plate with vegetables and chicken
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5 from 13 votes

Seasoned Rice

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.
Total Cost: $0.95 recipe / $0.16 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 6 1 cup each


  • 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.
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Serving: 1 CupCalories: 227.75 kcalCarbohydrates: 47.32 gProtein: 4.72 gFat: 2 gSodium: 313.67 mgFiber: 2.3 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See 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!

Stay tuned to see the different ways I use this rice throughout the week.