Homemade Vegan Rice-a-Roni is a perfect side dish for any meal. It's every bit as fluffy, buttery, and delicious as the boxed stuff you enjoyed as a kid, but made dairy free and vegan! You'll love how easy it is to prepare, too, whether cooked on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot.
Why we love this recipe
Did you grow up eating Rice-A-Roni? I actually didn't. When I was a child, much to my dismay, my mom was all about healthy, whole foods, so she didn't buy processed products.
But in high school, my best friend introduced me to chicken Rice-A-Roni, and holy moly... I was hooked! Every time I went to Jen's house I asked if we could make a pot of Rice-A-Roni. I mean, what hungry teenager doesn't love buttery, salty, fluffy, white rice?
This recipe gives you all the same delicious flavors but without dairy or chicken. It's amazing how much it tastes like the original, and I think you'll love it, too!
For the most authentic flavor, you'll want to stick closely to the recipe as written. But of course, it's just a rice dish! So if you want to experiment and make it whole grain, gluten-free, or oil-free, I don't blame you. 🙂 Have fun!
- Rice - I often have white basmati rice in the pantry, so that's what you see in the photos. Long grain white rice is also perfect.
- Pasta - if you can find vermicelli that works well here; I used angel hair pasta, broken into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces. Feel free to substitute whole-grain or gluten-free pasta.
- Vegan butter - though many of the recipes I share are oil-free, for true Rice-A-Roni flavor we need a little butter. Just 2 tablespoons gets the job done.
- Vegan "chicken" broth - I used Edward & Son's Not-Chicken Bouillon Cubes; other options are Ocean's Halo broth or Better Than Bouillon chicken flavor.
Update: here's a homemade chicken-flavor broth mix you can make in minutes!
- Seasonings - the combination of parsley, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powder replicates the ingredients and flavor of Rice-A-Roni.
- Turmeric - turmeric is an ingredient in original Rice-A-Roni; it gives the rice a lovely, golden color but can be omitted if you don't have any.
How to make it
Vegan rice-a-roni can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. The process looks like this:
- In a large pot over medium heat or using the Instant Pot sauté function, melt the butter. Add the broken pasta pieces and rice, and stir to coat. Sauté for 3 or 4 minutes or until the rice is fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
- For the stovetop method, bring to a simmer, stir, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the broth has been absorbed, about 15 minutes (refer to the cooking instructions for the particular type of rice you're using). Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes.
For Instant Pot method, stir the ingredients well. Lock on the lid, and set to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Carefully quick release the pressure, and remove lid.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Turn vegan rice-a-roni into a full meal by adding cooked beans, baked tofu or tempeh, or shredded seitan. Top with green onion and fresh herbs for a healthy and comforting meal.
Frequently asked questions
It can be! Select your favorite gluten-free spaghetti or angel hair pasta, and make sure the broth you're using is gluten-free. Most brands of vegan butter are gluten-free, but it's always a good idea to check the label.
The broth is the main source of saltiness and chicken flavor in this recipe, so it is pretty important. But if necessary, vegetable broth can be used. I recommend adding ⅛ teaspoon poultry seasoning and an additional tablespoon of nutritional yeast to make it more savory.
Similar to other cooked rice dishes, this one will stay fresh for up to 5 days when kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It's also freezer-friendly.
Yes! Instead of vegan chicken broth, try this recipe with beef-flavored bouillon or Ocean's Halo No Beef Broth.
I hope you enjoy this simple, nostalgic vegan rice-a-roni as much as we do!
As always, if you try the recipe I would love to hear from you. Comment below and leave a star rating to let everyone know how it turned out!
You might also like these vegan sides:
Vegan Rice-A-Roni (Chicken Flavor)
- 1 ½ cups white basmati or long grain rice See Notes.
- 3 ounces angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup) Sub whole-grain or gluten-free if desired.
- 4 cups vegan chicken-flavored broth or 2 ½ cubes vegan chicken-style bouillon dissolved in 4 cups water See Notes for brand recommendations & a homemade version.
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
- 1 ¼ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Place a large pot over medium heat. Melt the butter, and add the broken pasta pieces and rice, and stir to coat. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the rice is fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, and bring to a simmer. Stir the rice, cover the pot, and reduce heat to low. Cook until the broth has been absorbed, about 15 minutes (refer to the cooking instructions for the particular type of rice you're using). Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve.
Instant Pot instructions:
- Using the sauté function on your Instant Pot, melt the butter. Add the broken pasta pieces and rice, and stir to coat. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the rice is fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine. Cancel the saute function. Lock on the lid, and set to sealing. Cook at high pressure for 4 minutes. Carefully quick release the pressure, and remove the lid. Fluff with a fork, and serve.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com. For the most accurate nutrition information we recommend calculating it yourself to reflect the specific ingredients used in your dish.