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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How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove

A foolproof recipe for cooking white rice.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Ingredients

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

Directions

  • 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.

Nutrition Information

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

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Comments

  1. I do a lot of cooking myself mostly when my spouse is away from home . I find this manner of rice cooking very easy . Thank you so much.

  2. I’ve used this recipe too many times to count and it is fool proof…perfect rice every time. You can’t miss plus it’s easy & quick.

  3. Very well explained and simple instructions to cook perfect rice. I couldn’t be anymore happy and grateful with the results and having this recipe available for me to use. Thank you Katie Workman!

  4. For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t burn the rice. Some still stuck to the bottom of the pan‍♀️ but it’s fluffy delicious rice and there’s no boil over mess on my stove. I’m so excited! Thank you!

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