Easy Stovetop Cheesy Rice
This cheesy rice is a savory and satisfying dish that both kids and adults will love. It’s similar in taste to mac and cheese and just as easy to prepare!
Easy Cheese Rice
This cheesy rice is a comforting side dish that the whole family will love. And it can easily take the spotlight of the meal if you choose to add a protein or veggie to it. It’s that versatile and simple!
Naturally gluten-free and made with kitchen staples, it also stores well for lunches the next day. And this cheesy rice uses only one dish, so you won’t be stuck at the kitchen sink for hours afterward cleaning up (*silently fist pumps in the air*).
Feeding kids can be tricky! But, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here you will find real-life toddler meal ideas, over 100 toddler snack ideas, great hidden-veggie recipes, 50 cooking with toddler recipes, and so much more! For even more toddler-friendly recipes, be sure to check out my best-selling cookbook: Little Foodies: Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste.
Cheesy Rice Video
Watch this video to see how easy it is to make this family-friendly cheesy rice!
Reasons to Love Easy Cheesy Rice
- Easy one-pot dish
- Made with pantry staples
- Easy to add vegetables or protein of your choice
- Family-friendly dish
- Leftovers store well for packed school lunches
- Rice: Jasmine or any other type of white rice works best, or you can use brown rice which has more fiber and B vitamins but will take longer to cook.
- Cheese: grating your own cheese (instead of pre-shredded) will melt the best in this dish, we love sharp cheddar but feel free to try a combination of a couple different cheeses for added flavor
- Butter: to help the cheese mix well with the rice
- Salt: optional, feel free to omit if serving to baby under 1 year
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
Tip: You can also substitute cauliflower rice for this recipe. You’ll need to cook the cauliflower rice in either a skillet or microwave and then stir in the remaining ingredients.
- In a fine mesh strainer, rinse rice until the water is clear.
- Add broth, rice, spices and butter to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 more minutes.
- Fluff rice.
- Add grated cheese and gently stir until the cheese is melted.
- Serve and enjoy!
Benefits of Cheesy Rice: Rice is full of carbohydrates needed to fuel a busy baby or toddler’s day, and rice is full of fiber to help keep bellies full and the digestive system moving along. Cheese gives this rice much-needed calcium for healthy bones, and depending on what other add-ins you choose, they can give a boost of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The ability to customize this cheesy rice is where it’s at! Rice and cheese make for an easy base to add a variety of different veggie or protein options. We’d recommend not adding any more than 1-2 cups of additions per batch of cheesy rice for the best results.
- cooked chicken
- cooked salmon
- chopped asparagus
- chopped or pureed sweet potatoes
- chopped carrots
- riced cauliflower
- chopped parsnips
- black beans
- cooked and chopped spinach
- cooked and chopped onions
How to Serve Cheesy Rice to Baby
You can offer cheesy rice to baby around 6 months, about the same time you would start to introduce other solid foods. Since cheese is a food that’s often higher in sodium, you may want to offer this food sparingly and continue to serve in moderation once your baby gets closer to 12 months of age.
Rice can be tricky for small hands to pick up and eat – although this cheesy rice does tend to stick together better, making it a little easier for your baby to grasp. Try rolling it into a little ball and placing on their tray or pre-loading a spoon with cheesy rice flattened on it and handing to your baby. Encourage small bites to minimize choking risks.
How to Serve Cheesy Rice to Toddlers and Kids
Toddlers can eat this cheesy rice rolled into a ball shape or practice using their spoon, fork, or even fingers to scoop it. For younger toddlers, you can still alternate offering a pre-loaded spoon in between their own attempts at bites, if your toddler seems to be frustrated by those little grains of rice. Older kids can help with picking out a veggie to add to the cheesy rice.
- Serve in moderation for younger babies due to sodium content in cheese. You can also choose to make it with water instead of broth if watching sodium levels.
- Depending on the type of rice you use, be sure to adjust the cooking time according to the directions on the package.
- Form the cheesy rice into little balls or rice “patties” which makes it easier for little hands to pick up and manage.
- Choose rice from California and give it a good wash to help reduce arsenic content.
Get the recipe: Easy Stovetop Cheesy Rice
- Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water is clear.
- Add the broth/water, rice, butter, garlic powder and onion powder into a medium sauce pan. Over high heat, bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Do not remove the lid, move the saucepan off of the heat and let sit for 15 minutes.
- With a fork, fluff the rice and then add in the cheese and gently mix with a fork until melted.
- Serve and enjoy!