Elevate your summer meals with Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice! This vibrant side dish features fluffy rice infused with the bright flavors of freshly squeezed lemon juice, fragrant minced garlic, and a touch of zesty cracked black pepper.

The buttery richness adds a layer of depth, creating an irresistible combination that perfectly complements any summertime feast.

Whether you’re grilling your favorite protein or enjoying a light salad, Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice is sure to become a new summertime staple.

Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

This rice is SO good. So SO good. I know, I know… subjective. But honestly the rice is fluffy, buttery and so flavorful. It can be used in SO many ways.

Here’s why you’ll love this recipe for garlic lemon pepper rice:

  • Simple and flavorful: It combines just a few basic ingredients for a dish that’s packed with bright and zesty flavors.
  • Versatile: This rice pairs beautifully with a variety of proteins and vegetarian options, making it a great side dish for any meal.
  • Quick and easy: This recipe comes together in minimal time, perfect for busy weeknights or when you need a fuss-free side dish.
  • Better For You: Made with simple ingredients like rice, lemon, and herbs, this dish is a better for you and satisfying addition to your meals.
  • Elevates the ordinary: The lemon pepper seasoning takes plain rice to a whole new level, adding a burst of freshness and flavor.
  • Budget-friendly: The ingredients are typically affordable and easy to find, making it a budget-conscious option.
  • Customizable: Feel free to add your own twist to the recipe! Try incorporating chopped vegetables, different herbs, or even a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.

It is the perfect side dish served with grilled chicken or a steak or better yet, whip up some shrimp and in my opinion, you pretty much have shrimp scampi. 

The smooth buttery flavor with the tartness of fresh squeezed lemon juice, cracked black pepper and garlic simply makes it the perfect addition to any meal.

Need something for a quick side for dinner? Here ya go. Need a more elegant side for a dinner party… also, here you go. 

Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

What to Serve with Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

The bright and zesty flavors of garlic lemon pepper rice pair well with a variety of dishes! Here are some ideas to consider, depending on your protein preference and meal style:

Protein Mains:

  • Seafood: The citrusy flavors complement the delicate taste of fish. Think grilled salmon, baked cod, or even shrimp scampi for a light and elegant meal.
  • Chicken: Lemon pepper rice shines with roasted or grilled chicken. You can also try a lighter option like lemon herb chicken breasts for a well-rounded flavor profile.
  • Beef: For a heartier option, a juicy steak or grilled burgers can be a great match. The tanginess of the rice cuts through the richness of the beef.

Vegetarian Options:

  • Tofu or Tempeh: Marinate and grill tofu or tempeh for a protein-packed vegetarian main course. The lemon pepper rice adds a fresh element to these versatile ingredients.
  • Roasted Vegetables: A colorful medley of roasted vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers creates a vibrant and satisfying vegetarian dish.
  • Lentil Soup: For a hearty and comforting meal, serve your lemon pepper rice alongside a bowl of lentil soup. The lemon and garlic flavors complement the earthy taste of lentils perfectly.

Additional Tips:

  • Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette is a great way to round out the meal and add some extra greens.
  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro can be sprinkled over the rice for an extra pop of flavor.
Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

What flavors and sides go well with this rice?

Garlic lemon pepper rice brings a lot to the table with its bright, citrusy, and slightly peppery flavor profile. To complement it perfectly, consider side dishes that either:

  • Lean into the fresh, zesty flavor: This means opting for other light and flavorful options.
  • Provide a contrasting element: This could be something creamy, rich, or smoky to balance the acidity and zest.

Here are some ideas based on these two approaches:

Leaning into the Zesty Flavor Profile:

  • Roasted Vegetables: A colorful medley of roasted vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or cherry tomatoes adds vibrancy and another layer of healthy goodness.
  • Green Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette: A simple green salad with a vinaigrette featuring lemon or orange juice complements the citrus notes in the rice.
  • Grilled Pineapple: Grilled pineapple offers a touch of sweetness that pairs beautifully with the savory rice. We have a lovely Grilled Pineapple Ring Rum Sundae that is to die for. Omit the ice cream and just serve the grilled pineapple.

Contrasting Elements:

  • Creamy Sautéed Mushrooms: Earthy mushrooms cooked in a creamy sauce offer a rich counterpoint to the bright flavors of the rice.
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob: Sweet and smoky grilled corn adds a touch of summery flair and a contrasting texture. Grilled Corn on the Cob with Garlic Herb Butter.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes provide a comforting and contrasting texture to the fluffy rice.


  • Simple Sautéed Greens: Sauteed spinach, kale, or Swiss chard with a touch of garlic is a quick and healthy side dish that complements the rice without overwhelming it. Garlic Butter Spinach and Mushrooms.

Ultimately, the best side dish for your garlic lemon pepper rice depends on your main course and personal preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your favorite combinations!

What can I pair this lemon pepper rice dish with?

This dish goes great with all kinds of things – chicken, seafood, steak.

Here are a few things we’ve made it with.

Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

If you’re looking for more great lemon recipes… check these out! There’s easily something for everyone!

More Delicious Lemon Recipes

Close up of rice.

Are you ready to make Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice?

It’s about time, simply scroll down and get a printable recipe you can whip up tonight. Enjoy! 

Bowl of Rice surrounded by lemons.

And here we go! 

Recipe for Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice

Nicole Cook
Buttery rice, infused with fresh squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic and cracked pepper makes this Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice the perfect side dish for any summertime meal.
4.94 from 15 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 229 kcal


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups white rice uncooked
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoons dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper


  • In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir about 1 minute.
  • Add the black pepper, and lemon juice.
  • Stir in the rice and mix to coat with the butter sauce.
  • Add the chicken broth, dried parsley and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Cover with a lid and reduce to a low simmer. Cook about 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed into the rice.
  • Remove from heat, and again cover with a lid. Allow to stand 5-10 minutes until soft.
  • Remove lid, and fluff rice with a fork. Season with a little salt and more black pepper, if desired.


Calories: 229kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 605mgPotassium: 86mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 179IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword easy side dishes
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