How to Cook Rice Perfectly Every Time

Rice is a staple in many diets around the world, but getting the texture just right can be tricky. This guide will show you how to cook rice perfectly, whether you’re using a rice cooker, the stovetop, or the microwave.

How to Cook Basic White Rice

One of the best pieces of basic rice cooking equipment is, of course, a rice cooker.

Quick and simple to use and ensuring perfect rice every time, this basic piece of equipment can simplify mid-week rice preparation and is loved around the world.

A pressure cooker is next on the list for quick, easy, and delicious cereal. If you don’t have a rice cooker or pressure cooker handy, you can always cook delicious rice on the stove.

Whichever method you use, be sure to follow the basic rules of cooking rice.

Measure your rice to ensure the correct water to rice ratio. In this way, each grain cooks perfectly absorbing all the water and it is not necessary to drain it.

For white rice, you need 1.5 cups of liquid for 1 cup of rice.

Make sure to rinse your rice before using it to remove the starch and ensure a fluffy texture.

Tip for cooking white rice

3 is the magic number when it comes to rinsing. Add your pre-measured dry rice to the container you are cooking in and cover with cold water.

Use your hands to wash the rice in water, drain and repeat 3 times. Using your hands really helps ensure the grains are washed well and really improves the overall texture of the rice when cooked.

Always cook rice in cold water rather than hot water, then heat it on the stove.

Once the water boils, put the lid on and lower the temperature to simmer to cook the rice gently.

Tip for seasoning your rice water

For base grains, treat rice water like pasta water. This means that you always have to use more salt than you think.

You can always add more seasoning to taste after cooking, if needed.

Let the rice do its own thing. Leave it covered over medium to low heat and don’t be tempted to stir, shake or uncover during its cooking process.

For extra fluffiness, once it has reached its cooking time, let it sit off the heat and steam in its own container for about 5-6 minutes.

How to Cook Basic Brown Rice

A little extra prep, liquid, and cooking time is required for brown rice. Soaking brown rice is recommended but not always essential because it contains less starch than white rice.

You can get around without soaking if you slowly simmer the grains for ¾ of the cooking time before removing from the heat, covering and steaming for the last 1/4.

However, if you can spare even 20 minutes, soak your rice in double the liquid, uncovered, at room temperature. You will definitely notice the difference in texture.

The ideal time to cook brown rice is around 1.5 hours, but you can also cook it the night before to save time and effort. Just be sure to drain and rinse them before using.

Once done, follow the rules above but cook at a lower temperature for longer.

Read these articles while you wait for your rice to cook:

How to cook basmati rice

Basmati, regardless of its color: white or brown, will take longer to cook than its basic friends (above) due to its length.

Basmati is one of the longest grains, which can add a significant boost to cooking time. For example, brown rice has cooking times more than double that of basic white rice.

Treat both colors the same as the bases by adding more liquid, time, and prep to the brown variety.

However, soaking is not essential here as it is above, a simple rinse will suffice.

After cooking, run a fork through the grains to separate them before serving. I like to bring my basmati to a boil before bringing it to a simmer and letting it cook – but it all has to do with personal preference.

Basmati also lends itself to a more complex method of cooking – pilaf style. This means coating the grains in a hot oil alongside other aromatics (as if you were making risotto) before cooking, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed.

How to cook the perfect rice

Be sure to choose the rice that best suits your dish. Some add more nutty flavors and others a chewier grit.

Rice comes in many varieties, including: long, medium, and short grain.

There are also aromatic, wild or colored and special cereals that lend themselves more to a specific dish or cuisine: Japanese, sushi, risotto, paella, etc.

Each type has its own unique characteristics that impact the taste and texture of the final finish and each requires its own preparation and cooking times/techniques.

Tips for cooking rice

1 cup of uncooked white rice (regardless of grain type) is about 3 times the amount when cooked.

However, 1 cup of uncooked brown rice (regardless of grain type) is about 4 times the amount when cooked – so you need less brown rice per recipe than white. Keep this in mind if you are replacing.

Most rice requires rinsing first – this helps remove any excess starch and leaves you with perfectly cooked, separated grains without them becoming mushy or mushy.

Risotto rice is one of the exceptions because you need this starch to create the famous creaminess that risottos are known for.

How to cook rice in the microwave

Want to learn how to cook rice quickly? Try using your microwave!

You might think it’s impossible to cook rice in the microwave, but it can actually be cheaper and easier than using a rice cooker.

Unlike cooking rice on the stove where you have to wait for the water to boil before turning down the heat, you can just let the microwave do its thing.

An added bonus, there’s less washing up because all you need is a microwave-safe bowl. Plus, it’s less likely to burn than cooking in a pan and is also less sticky.

To cook rice in the microwave, rinse it thoroughly with cold water before placing it in a microwave-safe bowl.

Then cover the rice with water using the proportions suggested above, but be aware that you will need more water if cooking brown rice.

Then cover the bowl with cling film and prick several times with a fork. You can also cover the bowl with a plate if you don’t want to use plastic.

Cook the rice on high heat (900W) for 6 minutes, then lower the temperature to medium (500W) and cook for another 8 minutes.

Once cooked, let the rice rest for a few minutes before serving.

Can you reheat cooked rice?

Contrary to popular belief, you can actually reheat cooked rice1. However, there is only a short window to do so and should never be done more than once.

After cooking your rice (the first time), you should act quickly to cool the rice before storing it in the fridge (or freezer). This will help slow the growth of bacteria.

In order to reheat cooked rice to a safe degree (anything above 75°C), be sure to heat the rice thoroughly before eating.

Regardless of reheating method: microwave, oven, stovetop, be sure to stir at regular intervals to ensure even reheating.

Stop throwing oil down the drain!

Find out how to safely dispose of excess oil with our cooking oil disposal guide.

The references

  1. https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/home-food-fact-checker