Knorr’s Rice Sides are a favorite backpacking food for thru-hikers, section hikers, and weekend warriors because they include all of the nutritional food groups important to backpackers: salt, carbohydrates, and easy. If you add a little protein like a can of tuna fish or chicken, sausage, or pepperoni slices, they become a filling and surprisingly nutritious meal with plenty of calories.
Calorie wise, each packet contains 675 to 700 calories worth of food with anywhere from 500 mg to 800 mg of sodium per serving with 2.5 servings per package. Unlike bulky freeze-dried dinners, they pack up flat, they’re very inexpensive at $1 each, and they’re readily available in the small food stores and supermarkets found near hiking trails.
Knorr’s Rice Sides cook quickly in 7 minutes or rehydrate if you’re into no-cook meals, While you need a cookpot to boil water, simmering isn’t required since you can just let them soak in the hot water to save fuel. This also makes them a good option for stoves systems like the Jetboil Flash and Jetboil Zip which are NOT designed for simmering (see Can You Cook Food in a Jetboil?). Clean up is also very easy and usually just requires a quick rinse of your cookpot, especially if you add a little extra water to make the rice a little more “soupy.”
Knorr’s Rice Sides are available in a lot of different flavors:
- Chicken Broccoli
- Cheddar Broccoli
- Herb and Butter
- Mexican Rice
- Spanish Rice
- Teryaki Rice
- Taco Rice
- Chicken Rice
- Beef Rice
Knorr’s Sides are surprisingly free of toxic crap in this day and age, such as artificial flavors and coloring. On the other hand, none of their sides are vegetarian or vegan. While some of their meals are gluten-free, you need to read the labels of each meal packet, because the ingredients in them may change over time.
While Knorr’s Rice Sides are great, my advice is to avoid Knorr’s Pasta Sides if you can. While they taste ok, they’re much harder to clean up after a meal. A lot of them have cream sauces like Creamy Garlic Shells or Fettuccini Alfredo that stick your cook pot and require more work to clean after eating. They’re also terrible as non-cook, soaked meals that don’t reconstitute as nicely as the rice dishes.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.