Easy Lemon Pesto Rice

5 from 5 votes

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This Pesto Rice makes the most amazing side dish to just about any meal. It has a delicious pesto flavor with a kick of lemon.

Lemon Pesto Rice in a white dish with a spoon on the side.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Lemon Pesto Rice
  2. Recipe Tips
  3. Questions
  4. More Rice Recipes
  5. How To Make Lemon Pesto Rice
  6. Lemon Pesto Rice Recipe

Rice is a great accompaniment for so many different meals. But, sometimes you want to mix up the flavor of regular white rice. Enter this delicious Lemon Pesto Rice.

This rice is far better than anything you can make from a box. The texture is slightly on the dry side, like in restaurants (which is exactly how I like it). It doesn’t turn out wet, clumpy and sticky like some homemade rice recipes can be. The rice really absorbs the flavors yet has the perfect consistency.

Ingredients in Lemon Pesto Rice

It doesn’t take much to make this delicious side dish. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry.

  • Long grain rice
  • Pesto (homemade or store-bought pesto)
  • Chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make this recipe vegan)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Salt
Hand stirring Homemade Pesto in a bowl with a wooden spoon.


Try our recipe for Homemade Pesto when making this rice. You will love the fresh basil pesto taste! Use leftovers to spread on pizza, sandwiches, or chicken.

Ingredients needed: Basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, black pepper.

Recipe Tips

  1. I have tried different methods in my rice cooker, but cooking it over the stove is so much better.
  2. The secret is the browning of the rice in oil before you add the broth. This is the same method that we use for our yummy Mexican Rice Recipe.
  3. Cooked pesto turns brown and isn’t nearly as appetizing looking, so be sure to add the pesto very last.


What goes with pesto instead of pasta?

Pesto tastes fabulous on rice and potatoes! This recipe is absolute proof. Pesto is also a delicious spread on pizza and sandwiches.

Is pesto sauce healthy?

Pesto sauce is healthy if eaten in moderation. It contains healthy fats and is approved to eat on a gluten-free diet, a keto diet, and the Mediterranean diet.

Can I use brown rice with this recipe?

Yes, brown rice can be used instead of white rice. Basmati and jasmine rice can also be used in this recipe. Simply follow the package directions for cooking the rice.

Read Next:Chicken Pesto Sandwich

More Rice Recipes

How To Make Lemon Pesto Rice

Lemon Pesto Rice in a white dish with a spoon on the side.

Lemon Pesto Rice

5 from 5 votes
This lemon pesto rice makes the most amazing side dish to just about any meal. It has a delicious pesto flavor with a kick of lemon.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6



  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the rice and gently stir until rice begins to lightly brown.
  • Add the garlic and salt and stir the rice until it looks golden.
  • Add chicken broth and lemon juice and turn the heat up to medium high.
  • Bring the mix to a boil then turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and fluff with a fork then stir in the pesto.


  • This recipe makes approximately 3 cups of rice which will provide six ½ cup servings or three 1 cup servings.
  • Brown rice, jasmine rice, or basmati rice can be substituted for the white rice. Follow the package directions for preparing the rice and cooking times.
  • Stir the pesto in just before serving.
  • Store leftover pesto in the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 193kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 627mgPotassium: 59mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 377IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 0.4mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


    1. I haven’t tried that, but it sounds yummy! Let us know how it goes if you try it!

  1. 5 stars
    I used this as a base recipe for our meatless main meal. For just my husband and I, I cut this in half and followed all directions (except using a jarred pesto). As a note for myself later, 20 minutes was far too long, the rice was almost mushy. Next time I’ll cut it back. At the end of the recipe, I added in drained petite diced tomatoes, garbanzo beans, capers, and feta. I kept it on low heat long enough to heat up the rest of the ingredients. It was delicious! Next time I may try adding in some chicken sausage!

  2. Really confused. It says to add uncooked rice to hot oil and stir until it browns? Dry rice? That just sounds like a bad idea. Maybe it’s because I’m new to cooking. ::shrug::

    1. Browning the rice before you boil it gives it a really great flavor! Trust us, you will love it! We wish you luck on your cooking journey!

  3. 5 stars
    This combines three of my favorite things: Rice, lemons and pesto. I’m bumping this to the top of my “Must Try” list!

    1. Yes, you should be able to double this recipe without any problems. The cooking time should remain the same. Hope this helps!