How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

A foolproof recipe for cooking white rice.

cooking rice, how to, how to cook rice, how to make rice, rice, steaming rice, unstickyrice
Serving Size: 4

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.

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.


How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

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.

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.

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 Long Do You 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,

Cooking rice

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.

How Do You 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 Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

how to cook rice

But if you’re thinking about making fried rice (and there’s a recipe for that in The Mom 100 Cookbook) then cold rice is your friend.  Cold rice is also great in a frittata, and adds texture and heft to soups of all kinds.

Rice is too awesome not to know how to make easily.Click To Tweet

If you want a similar little bulleted list of info on 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.

(And there are recipes!)

cooking rice
Also do check out the video showing how to make that perfect white rice we all crave!

White rice with chicken skewers

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

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

All it takes to know How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove - finally get over your rice fear and get fluffy, non-sticky white rice every time.

How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes

  • 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.

All it takes to know How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove - finally get over your rice fear and get fluffy, non-sticky white rice every time.

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.

All it takes to know How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove - finally get over your rice fear and get fluffy, non-sticky white rice every time.

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.

All it takes to know How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove - finally get over your rice fear and get fluffy, non-sticky white rice every time.

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72 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

    5. Fred Lincoln says:

      I add an onion cut a few times, it tastes like “better cabbage” when it is cooked like this.
      TO LJK – Make him cook his own food or Divorce him.
      TO MICHAEL YOUNG – Excellent idea!

    6. Isaac says:

      Instead of water tey using chicken broth

  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

  9. I Still prefer Rice and plantain

    1. Katie Workman says:

      nothing wrong with that!!

  10. Jenny says:

    I cooked it but I have a lid to my pan that has a whole to vent and water came out the top is that normal or did I use a pot that was just to small please help

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Some pots do have that little vent hole, and if the pot is too full, water will occasionally bubble out a little. Hopefully it didn’t affect the outcome of the rice. You may want to make sure you don’t overfill these kinds of pots.

  11. Patty says:

    I need to make a large pot of spanish rice, I have the ingredients, but am a bit nervous as my rice is also hit and miss. I was in Mexico, and they make a delicious rice, they put a whole onion in the pot and use a tomato Bouillon, sounds weird but it tasted delicious…I have been wondering about Regular pot, Crock pot, or Pressure cooker??? My rice cooker is too small.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I always use a regular pot, though someday I will probably get a rice cooker, which I know a lot of people love. But I get really good results in a regular pot (don make too much rice at once, that’s the only caveat). That Mexican recipe is intriguing – do you know what kind of tomato bouillon is used? I would be interested in trying that!

  12. Amy says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sake! Don’t listen to the nit-picky people. I made this rice tonight and it’s as close to perfect as I’ve ever had.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Thank you, Amy!

  13. Kelly Burton says:

    F.e.a. I have been ruining rice for decades till i tried this method. Worked perfectly, resulted in light fluffy rice that has a great taste.

    Thank you

    1. Katie Workman says:

      so happy to hear this!

  14. Latest says:

    I can’t do and go a day without eating rice, thanks a lot for this.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I don’t think there are many days that go by in our house without it either!

  15. William says:

    Boil water and add salt,P our in rice,Stir once, or just enough to separate the rice,Cover the pot and simmer and Fluff rice with a fork

  16. Rene says:

    This is exactly how I do it, yet it’s always mushy. Drives me nuts! Is there maybe a high-altitude adjustment? I’ve tried all the other tweaks here (thanks, everybody). Have I simply offended the Rice Goddess?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Ha! I definitely know some very accomplished cooks who just ant seem to wrestle the rice thing to the ground. As far as high altitude adjustments, I definitely think there may be something to that, but unfortunately it’s not my area of knowledge at all. Check out Uncle Ben’s or Carolina’s or one of the other big rice makers and see what they have to say?

  17. Kacey says:

    I’ve never been able to cook rice PERFECTLY I always ruin it.
    but after doing it the way you said it turned out amazingly!! :) thank you for sharing

    1. Katie Workman says:

      so happy to hear! I hope it changes your rice making game forever!


    Julia DiPasquale is right. I learned to cook rice this way from my mother who was born and raised in China, who learned it from her mother who learned to cook as a young woman living in Paris. All the time my mother and I thought this was the authentic CHINESE way to cook rice, until a couple of years ago when we learned it is the authentic FRENCH way! Regardless of the method’s origin, it works every time for every kind of rice I have tried.

  19. i love music says:

    i still prefer rice and yam

    1. Katie Workman says:

      nothing wrong with that!

  20. sam says:

    WOW…I just learnt something new. Thanks to the admin of this wonderful site.

  21. peace says:

    Tried it out, it was wonderful. my family loved it.

  22. Alejandro Neira says:

    1 cup of rice over little oil som onion power stir for 5 minutes then pour 4 cups of water, cover,low heat for 17 more minutes. OK.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I’ll have to try your version some time!! sounds like it has nice flavor. does the water all absorb or do you drain the rice at the end?

  23. Timothy says:

    I jus wash the rice bring it to a boil when it starts boiling turn it down low for 20 min and it comes out fine.I’ve done it for years same amount of water as rice 1-1 ratio.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I love how everyone has their own particular little twists and methods!

  24. Music Lover says:

    With this your strategy @Timothy what about the starch in the rice, would they fully be removed?

  25. Sinach says:

    Anytime i try to cook it must always burn, maybe am too glued to my phone,..oops..

    nice tutorials

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I know, I often need to actually set a timer, especially when I am cooking multiple things at once!

  26. Samuel Nice says:

    I tink have gain a little knowledge today

  27. Ryan R. Lara says:

    Such an informative article you had shared. We cooked rice but didn’t know a perfect way. You described clearly about that. Your tips will help us making rice properly.thanks for sharing this.keep posting this type of helpful post… :)

  28. Bianca Denice Mendoza says:

    I came out right and tasty, I usually don’t like cooking rice cuz either cames out too mushy or not fully cook through. Yeah, this time it came out right. So what I did I’ve put all ingredients till it boils for couple minutes and turned it down on low (2) till the rice is tender about 17-25. (I’ve stirred the rice quickly between 10 mins keep it from getting stuck on bottom) Fluff the rice with the fork and set aside the pot for 10 mins or less to cool off the moist (remaining water) for fluffy rice.

  29. this is very useful for me as a student of food and nutrition, thanks

  30. Amapiano says:

    Love this!

    Such an informative article you had shared. We cooked rice but didn’t know a perfect way.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      so happy to hear!

  31. Fakaza says:

    Love this post on point

  32. lawal says:

    I came out right and tasty, I usually don’t like cooking rice cuz either cames out too mushy or not fully cook through.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      great to hear!

  33. MALIK says:

    This is very useful for me as a student of food and nutrition, thanks

    1. Katie Workman says:

      glad to hear it!

  34. Carrie says:

    I’m making fried rice so I doubled everything but still only cooked it for 17 minutes. Removed from hot pot promptly to cool. After it was cooled, I fluffed with a fork and it turned out great! It’s in the fridge cooling until tomorrow. Didn’t burn, didn’t stick to the pan.

    I’m not sure what the problem is with people on here who couldn’t figure it out.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      glad it worked so well for you!

  35. Carrie says:

    PS-I also rinsed the rice thoroughly. I never cook any rice without doing that first.

  36. FAKAZA 2018 says:

    I also rinsed the rice thoroughly. I never cook any rice without doing that

  37. 247xclusive says:

    it work so well for me too. thanks for taking your time to write this

  38. Maggie says:

    Ack! The pot appears to be too small. Water is coming out the sides under the lid… is there a way to salvage the rice? 10 minutes left on 18 min timer

    1. shoot sorry to have missed this ! the best thing to do if this happens is to turn the heat down. you can also just scoop out a few tablespoons of the rice and slosh a bit of the liquid out of the pot if the volume is really too much- hard to determine if you are sticking with the proper ratio exactly, but it’s a good way to reduce the quantity of everything if you picked a too-small pot.

  39. Naira says:

    Wow! In my country if you don’t cook rice in any occasion people will say that it was not fully organized. Rice is now the first meal to be served before any other thing. I have learnt something new! Thanks for the article

    1. rice is part of many of my dinners as well!

  40. Afrohouseking says:

    I still prefer cooking rice the french way. Boil the rice in loads of water and once cooked drain the water, very similar to cooking pasta.

    1. if you have a method that works for you, stick with it!

  41. Bio says:

    Me i make sure the rice is rinse thoroughly before anything.

  42. Carlos says:

    Does anyone know how to make sticky rice? The kind that doesn’t fluff out into individual grains…kinda clumps together. How would I go about scorching it, not to where it burns of course? I think scorching it would produce the same texture…

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