How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

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A foolproof recipe for cooking white rice.

How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

How to Cook Rice

This is it—the foolproof recipe for making 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.

How to Cook Rice on the Stove

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 headed up 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.  It’s the most perfect side dish for so many different meals, and soaks up sauces like a dream. Pair a scoop of fluffy rice with anything from Asian dishes like Chicken, Broccoli and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry, Spicy Stir Fried Beef and Vegetables or Lemon and Scallion Chicken Stir Fry.  Or serve it with Mustard and Maple Pork Kebabs or Citrus Basil Shrimp Kebabs. There are few foods I can think of that don’t partner well with rice.

What Goes with 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.  Asian dishes of all kinds always pair perfectly with rice (I guess unless its a noodle dish, but even then, sometimes!).

Do You Need to Rinse Rice Before Cooking?

For basic long grained white rice, no, you do not. Other types of rice do need rinsing first to remove excess starch, but for your basic long grain rice you do not need to wash it first.

What is the Ratio of Water to Rice?

The basic water to white rice ratio is 2 cups water to 1 cup 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 of proportions and timing, but this 2 to 1 ratio is how you’ll get perfect white rice every time.

How to Make Rice

What Does Simmer Mean?

Once you bring your water to a boil, and season it with salt and perhaps a bit of butter, you’ll add your rice and allow the water to just return to a boil.  Then you’ll quickly reduce the heat, cover the pot, and keep the water and rice at a simmer, which basically means just below the boiling point.   You want the top of the liquid to be bubbling, but gently, not at a full boil, which could also cause the water to bubble up out of the pot.

How to Make Rice

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

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.

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.

Fluffing white rice with a fork

How Long to Cook White Rice

A cup of white rice will take about 17 minutes to cook, but larger amounts may take a few extra minutes.  Leaving it covered on the stove for a few minutes after it’s tender will allow it to finish absorbing all of the water and then fluffing it with a fork will get your rice nice and …well, fluffy.

How Long Will Rice Keep?

Cooked rice lasts 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. Leftover rice cdan be used in dishes like Kimchi Fried Rice, Shrimp Fried Rice, Vegetable Fried Rice, and Chicken and Rice Soup.

How to Cook Perfect Rice

How to Reheat Rice

To reheat cooked rice in the microwave, place it in a microwave safe bowl and  sprinkle a bit of water on top, then drape a damp paper towel over the top before heating it, to make sure it doesn’t dry out.  You can also reheat it in a pot:  give it a generous sprinkle of water, and heat with the lid on over low heat, stirring and fluffing frequently.  For more details, see How To Perfectly Reheat Rice On The Stove And In The Microwave. And if you have an instant pot, see How to Cook Perfect Rice in an Instant Pot.

How to Cook Rice: Rice is too awesome not to know how to make easily. Learn how to make perfect rice every time.

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If you want a similar little bulleted list of info and a recipe for brown rice, here is How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice on the Stove. And if you’re in the mood for quinoa, check out How to Make Perfect Quinoa on the Stove or try How to Cook Perfect Farro on the Stove. Also see this recipe for perfect rice pilaf, and a whole bunch of ideas for using leftover rice.

Mongolian Beef served with white rice

What to Serve with White Rice:

Here are ways to use that perfect rice all week long.  Serve it with:

Chicken Adobo served with white rice

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4.95 from 198 votes

How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

A foolproof recipe for cooking white rice.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil optional
  • 1 cup long grain white rice

Instructions 

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

Notes

What is the Ratio of Water to Rice?

The basic water to white rice ratio is 2 cups water to 1 cup 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 of proportions and timing, but this 2 to 1 ratio is how you’ll get perfect white rice every time.

Nutrition

Calories: 193.91kcal, Carbohydrates: 36.98g, Protein: 3.33g, Fat: 3.15g, Saturated Fat: 1.88g, Cholesterol: 7.53mg, Sodium: 324.24mg, Potassium: 53.19mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 0.06g, Vitamin A: 87.47IU, Calcium: 16.7mg, Iron: 0.37mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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294 Comments

  1. theresa heacock says:

    I, for the life of me, cannot make fluffy rice! And I follow rice recipes to a tee! Anyway, I followed your recipe and I finally got fluffy rice!!!! Thank you so much. I will only make your recipe from now on!

  2. Ray says:

    Read this as I have only ever made pasta ( am a dude ) so worked great, added in Salmon an ate on this remote beach in Baja, Muchas Graciad

  3. Isaac says:

    Followed the directions to a tee (I usually make alterations). The rice came out perfectly. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Michelle says:

    Hello, I am excited to try this recipe. I have Type 2 Diabetes so I cannot eat a lot of rice but it is nice to be able to make a smallish amount, use a small serving to extend the protein I cooked with sauce. I’ll refrigerate the rest for later in the week or freeze and reheat in the microwave as another reader shared.

    My question is related to types of rice. I really like basmati rice and wonder if you can tell us the portions to use in a pan to get a good quality outcome?

    Thank you!
    Michelle

    1. Katie Workman says:

      No problem!
      1 ¾ cups water
      ½ cup kosher salt
      1 tablespoon oil or butter
      1 cup basmati rice
      similar cooking time, and resting time!

  5. Tatyana Likerman says:

    I understand that 1 cup rice, 2 cup water ratio requires 17 min of cooking. How long for 2 cups rice, 4 cup water? 34 min seems excessive. Has anyone tried?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      You probably just need an additional few minutes! Unfortunately the app that doubles recipes really doesn’t work for time, so that’s a real drawback.

      1. Teresa says:

        Thanks for explaining this it was easier than I could imagine. My mom cooked rice so stiff we thought of it as gummy rice. She refused to change her ways God love her ,but as for me I am always willing to give it a try and usually I learn new.

    2. Rebecca Cleek says:

      I used 4 cups broth & 2 cups rice and 2 tbls oil & some salt, simmered slowly and was perfect! I cooked about 35 minutes or more never removing lid till end and let stand a while. I then used in quick cassarole with cream of chicken soup, cooked chicken, veggie of choice cup of milk & little broth then made corn flake & butter topping and baked about 30 mins or till topping brown and little bubbly and was wonderful!

  6. Anne Meyer says:

    TY. This is the only way I cook rice now. Donated my rice cooker to charity.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      wow!

    2. Katie Kennedy says:

      I am 42 and have been making rice for probably 30 years, burning it about 40% of the time (please don’t judge me). No more! This recipe is perfect! From one Katie to another, thank you so much!

  7. Kittyxoxo says:

    First time making rice perfectly!! Thank you for this recipe, every time I made it, I guess I had too much water and rice became soupy, I just left it alone this time, I trusted the process and on medium heat i let it simmer, even turned it down if it splashed a bit, but honestly, at exact 17 min mark my rice was done and yummy!!!
    I wanted to cry, it was the best thing I’ve tried yet because I messed up so much I had given up, oh I will make my rice and sushi with confidence, thank youuuu!!!

  8. Olivia Romero says:

    If I need 2 cups of rice, what would be the new recipe?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      the recipe as written will yield 2 cups of cooked rice!

    2. Valerie Favazza says:

      Four cups of water, Olivia…

  9. Bizzeegal says:

    First time ever in my life I was successful in getting the perfect rice. Thanks for the exact steps to making this beautiful fluffy white rice. I only made 1 serving. Pout. Lol. I’ll be making extra servings from now on!

  10. Quinn says:

    Another great way to store and reheat rice is to separate it into portion sizes, wrap it in plastic twice, and then freeze it. Microwaving it while frozen solves the need for the extra water and any time since it only approximately takes 3 minutes (1.5 minutes/side).

    1. CANDACE says:

      Thanks! A great time saver for me.

      1. Christa Chamberlin says:

        Obsessed with this rice and it’s so easy. Can you make Spanish rice from this recipe? If so, how would you do it?

      2. Katie Workman says:

        I’ve never tried to turn this into Spanish rice, but that’s something I will play aorund with!