How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

A foolproof recipe for perfect rice, every time.

Serving Size: 4

How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

This is it – the foolproof recipe for how to cook perfect rice on the stove. If cooking rice makes you nervous, know that you are not alone.  Even really accomplished cooks get intimidated by plain old rice.  My mother had a friend who made extravagant, authentic Chinese meals, and then sent her husband to go pick up rice from the local Chinese restaurant.  Another friend of mine works in one of the best test kitchens in the country, and when she has a chili party she asks one of the guests to bring the rice.

But we’re going to solve the rice-phobic issue today.  Rice is too awesome not to know how to make easily.  And if you have kids, you probably know how much kids like rice. I serve rice at least a couple of times a week, with dinner — it’s so easy to make, it’s perfect for soaking up sauces, balancing out a slightly spicy main dish, and when all else fails, it’s what a picky eater will eat.  Often I make brown rice….more often I make white.

How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove / Mia / Katie Workman /

The basic recipe is 2 to 1, in terms of water and rice. You can easily, double and even triple the recipe; just make sure you are using a pot large enough to hold the rice as it cooks and expands. Other rice varieties, like brown and Arborio, can be a little different in terms or proportions and timing, but this is how you’ll get perfect white rice every time.

Cooked rice keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so you can make extra to serve later in the week, or to use in different dishes.  To reheat cooked rice in the microwave, you could sprinkle a bit of water on top, and drape a damp paper towel over the top before heating it, to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil (optional)
  • 1 cup long grain white rice

1. Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and butter and allow the butter to melt.

2. When the water has returned to a boil, stir in the rice. Let the water return to a light simmer. Stir again, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Keep the rice simmering slightly, and keep the pot covered (you may have to peek after a few minutes to make sure the heat is at the correct temperature, but then let it cook, covered). Start checking to see if the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed at about 17 minutes. It may take up to 25, especially if you are making a larger quantity of rice.

3. When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit for another couple of minutes to finish absorbing any liquid. Take off the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and let it sit for another 2 minutes or so, so that some of the excess moisture in the rice dries off.

How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove / Mia / Katie Workman /

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16 thoughts on “How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove”

  1. LJK says:

    Followed this exactly.. and my husband said it’s not right. I don’t eat rice really so I’m unsure about the texture. It seemed hard to me but he said it’s mushy. #talent lol What could I be doing wrong? All water was absorbed in 17 minutes, I let sit as instructed, fluffed as instructed.. but.. no.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I wish there were a way to ensure everyone got perfect results every time! Some packages say to start with the rice in cold water, but this is the way I usually make it. Rice also can be different from brand to brand, so perhaps the type you used wasn’t being cooperative. I’m sorry, and hope you’ll give it another shot!

    2. Andrea says:

      Might need to wash the rice first. It washes of the starchy powder and makes the rice fluffier.

    3. Safia says:

      Use less water first and then taste it, add more water if needed. Just keep this in mind, you can always add more liquid but you can’t take it out and that goes for all your foods.

    4. Fer says:

      Too much water

  2. Suzanne says:

    Make the same rice again, exactly the same way: except either add less water, or leave it cooking for more time. You may have to repeat the process several times, altering one factor each time, to get it right. To determine if rice has absorbed all the water, take a fork, slide it down along the side of the pot, and pull toward the center about 1/2″. Look to the bottom to see if there’s any clear or starchy water puddling on the bottom. If so, cook for a few more minutes and check again. If the pot bottom is dry, you’re ready to shut off the heat and let it steam the last few minutes. I’ve found a lot of variability in rice cooking time in the last few years, anywhere from 20-45 minutes depending upon white vs. brown types.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      It’s true, rice remains mysterious as a genre. If you find a brand you like and stick with i you will get to know that brand and how it cooks, and get more consistent results.

  3. Mark says:

    With this method you will never burn or scorch the rice. bring to boil 8 to 12 cups of water. Add the salt, stir. Add 1 cup rice, stir once to get the rice separated and boil for 12-14 minutes testing for doneness till the rice is cooked through. Pour through a strainer and set strainer on top of the cooking pot to dry a little. Cover with lid to keep warm.

    Wild rice will take much longer to cook.

    No matter what kind of rice you will get perfect results every time.

    1. Nan Jorgensen says:

      Why would you need so much water?

  4. allan powers says:

    I read somewhere after rice is cooked
    take the saucepan off stove and put
    a towel over the top it’ll absorb any
    remaining water in rice, I’d like to
    know if you put the lid on top of towel .
    thanks for any info

  5. Donna says:

    I can’tt make rice at all and love it basaltic or jasmine it’s always hard I do. 1 cup rice and 1 1/4 water. After boil turn to low in 7 minutes it was dry and stuck in pan and hard crunchy I give

    1. Amanda says:

      You needed about 3/4 C more water and probably needed to lower the heat. Hope that helps!

  6. Julia DiPasquale says:


  7. Michael Young says:

    I mix a 2 part water and 1 part chicken stock to get a richer taste. I use with my cajun meals.

    1. Fred Lincoln says:

      Excellent idea!

  8. Tony says:

    This is really coolNice info

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