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 Perfect Rice on the Stove / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

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.

Kids and Rice

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.

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

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 Perfectly Reheat Rice On The Stove And In The Microwave.

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.

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 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!)

Chicken Tender Skewers with Spiced Curry Rub / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

What to Serve with White Rice:

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

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Marsala and Mushroom Cream Sauce / Mia / Katie Workman /

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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


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

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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Posted Dec 14, 2018

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  1. Some of the best rice I’ve ever had! Highly suggest this recipe! Except it only took me 10 to 11 minutes to cook.

  2. I have a large ricer and no longer use it; this simple recipe using a non-stick pot is just too great.

    With the ricer, which is advertised as “non-stick”, I generally got lumpy rice but not with this recipe, when every grain is separated.

    I cook rice on average of once every to days, usually Basmati rice, but any rice will do, except perhaps Jasmine/pearl rice, which has a starchier composition, it comes out stickier; and I consider it a sin to use instant rice, it’s completely different.

    The 17 minutes is perfect, following the recipe above of 2:1
    I then set a portion aside for immediate use, and spoon the rest of the pot in microwave food containers, which I immediately freeze and it’s a perfect solution for a rapid meal, after thawing in a microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
    After opening the microwave container, I usually add a pat of butter and some flavouring like diced tomatoes, chives; or perhaps I cooked some finely-chopped celery along with the rice, as it was warming up in the microwave, for a bit of crunchiness.

    The recipe is just perfect; just make sure to use a non-stick pot (and plastic/rubber utensils to scrape the rice from the pot). A non-stick pot is absolutely crucial; I don’t know about glass/ceramic.

    And the big secret here, is to leave the rice alone, during cooking (dont’ eve open the cover, the steam has to do the job).
    And be sure to leave the rice alone again for a while (minimum 10 minutes) after taking it off the burner. The longer the better, to absorb all the water.

  3. First time making white rice and I used this recipe. It came out sooooo good!! Will make again!

  4. As an Asian, using 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice might not be 100% foolproof, the best way is to use your finger and put on top of the rice and fill with water until it reaches the first joint. Other than that, great recipe!

  5. This recipe probably tastes good but I’m asian and have never seen anybody steam rice with butter and I’m very confused.

    1. yeah in other countries its very common they do it so that the rice doesn’t stick together and to give a nice buttery taste but personally as an outsider i like the asian version of the rice with just sone drops of olive oil so that it doesn’t stick too much together

  6. Do you want PERFECT, fluffy, delicious white rice? Look no further for your recipe. This. Is. The. One.
    Everyone has a “way” of cooking white rice, but this way is literally the BEST ONE OUT THERE!
    Did I mention fluffy? I was shocked at how easy it is to make. I’ve been doing it wrong all along. Mine always turned out like a mess of starch and that’s it. Not this time! I did the recipe exactly like it states. I used Brummel & Brown light margarine made with yogurt. You will never make rice any other way than this, trust me!
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I am now a proud rice cooker.

    1. Kerri, I like your enthusiasm, but margarine is a far cry from a healthful addition. You know those hydrogenated things never exit your body. Fact check for yourself. Stick with real food, not something man made.

      1. I prefer butter, and you add it to the water as it comes to a boil before adding the rice. if you prefer margarine go for it.

  7. I came to learn how to prepare rice. Rice, particularly white rice, is one of my favourite foods. As I write this, I’m studying the recipe so that I can make it after school (I’m 13), but I do have a question. We still haven’t figured out what gives the rice its flavour, but it’s the butter salt. I’m afraid if I do it normally, it won’t have much flavour, so please let me know if there’s anything else I can add.

    1. Try adding pineapple or lime juice sometimes and even chili powder or red cayenne pepper if you like heat as well

      1. William you don’t add seasoning when you’re making rice, rice isn’t meant to have lots of flavor and is meant to cleanse your palate whenever you’re eating something unless you’re eating a Mexican dish that involves using other ingredients. This recipe is supposed to be how to cook Asian style rice so lime juice or pineapple juice or any other seasonings are really not needed.

      1. All the other recipes on the internet that I have read say to throughly rinse the starch off the rice so it will not be sticky. How do you obtain non-sticky rice without the rinsing step? Thanks.

        1. certain types of rice do require rinsing, but not commercially packaged long grain rice – it won’t hurt, but it’s not necessary and I never do it!

  8. I came here to learn how to cook rice. I really like rice especially white rice. As I am writing this i’m studying the recipe so I can do it after school (Im 13 thats why) but I do have a question. what gives the rice its taste still haven’t made it but what makes its taste is it the butter salt. I feel like if i do this normal it wont have taste please tell me if there’s anything i can put to add taste Thank You!!

    1. the flavor of white rice is very delicate, so you will taste the butter salt and (and whatever you serve it with). but it’s still a nice light flavor!

    2. Anthony, I too love rice. I have learned that I can add anything I want to make it taste how I want it to. You can add broth to add a chicken or beef taste by replacing some of the water. I have added garlic powder to the water to make it have a bit of garlic flavor, but use just a little until you get it to the flavor you need. Just go crazy and make it to your heart is content. This recipe is perfect. Easy to make. Good luck!

  9. Great easy recipe to follow! Thank you! I cook from scratch but rice has always been my Achilles heel!

    Thanks again!

  10. Thank you I loved how your directions were so clear and explanatory, the rice came out perfect!!! ❤

  11. I’m not here to call out the author! I’m sure Katie is great! However, this recipe cannot be a foolproof recipe! And here’s why; If you are boiling water at an altitude of of 3,250 ft (approx.) or higher, by the time that your water comes to its initial boil you’ll have lost quite a bit of it because of atmospheric low pressure. Covering your pot while it comes to a boil will negate SOME of this loss, but as soon as you lift the lid you’ll loose up to 15% of your water. And I promise that it is a pain in neck to try to add water later in the process.
    Conclusion: If you are cooking rice at a high altitude, add cold water and rinsed rice at the same time to a cold pot. Bring to a boil, season, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for up to 20 min.. If possible use a clear glass lid so that you know when the water has absorbed. Check at 15 min (for 1:2 cup), tilt pot to see where your water is at. Pull immediately if no water runs to the edge. Leave covered 2-3 min. Fluff and serve:)
    Happy Mountain Cooking Folks!
    Side Note: SLC, UT is not actually on a mountain

    1. Had not cooked edible rice in years. Followed your instructions and it was perfect. Thanksma

  12. Perfect. Mine was nice and fluffy in 17 mins. (Nevada altitude). I threw away my rice cooker after making this.

    1. I don’t eat rice or cook it , but my wife does and she didn’t have time to cook it herself soooo
      I’m cooking it and I wanted to get it right.
      So it came out perfect
      Thank You

  13. the 2 to 1 ratio does not work for multiple cups of water, the rice ends up being overly sticky and wet.

  14. I love this recipe!! I’ve added carrots and peas to it too. This has become my favorite way to make pork chops. I just leave the soup and rice out. Then I use the pork tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, fried rice, bbq sandwiches, etc. Thanks for sharing this!!

  15. This is my go-to recipe for rice. I’ve been using it for about a year and I love it. I use Jasmine thai-hom-mali rice (from the brand Dragonfly) and I feel like this just elevates the taste and texture. This is a great recipe, I’ve recommended it to all my friends and family.

  16. What size serving is the Nutritional information based on? If salt is not added how much sodium per serving (I have a chronic kidney disease)?

  17. Thank you so much. The phrasing of this article was perfect. I really appreciate that you explained it to me like I was 5. I got really excited when I saw “What does simmer mean?” Haha. This level of explanation is exactly what I needed.

  18. Excellent. Turning off the heat and allowing to set a few more minutes at the end was the tip I needed…for the past 20 years haha. Thank you!

  19. This was really helpful. I made the best pot of stove top rice for my son today. I substituted butter for Ghee and it had a delicious creamy flavor. Thank you!!!!

  20. Embarrassed to say that I couldn’t remember the ratio of water to rice or how long to cook it. Thanks for the help and the rice turned out perfect – nice and fluffy with just the right amount of butter!

    1. you don’t, and of course it’s not done in Asian households, but it helps to keep the grains separate and also adds nice flavor!

  21. I used this recipe to make stove-top rice, for the first time in my life. Had a Japanese foreign exchange student visiting and asked him to taste because he knows me well enough to be honest. He gave it the thumbs up and went back for 2nd! Thanks so much – this is now my go-to rice recipe.

    1. Justy a few more minutes! If you are using a very narrow and deep pot, about 5 or 6 more minutes, if you are using a shallower pot, usually just another 3 or 4 minutes. The thickness of the rice in the pot will contribute to how long it takes to cook. I often double batch!

  22. I had some leftover white rice, so I mixed with an onion and bell pepper mix with some natural rice vinegar, EV olive oil, salt and pepper, and a dash of Creole seasoning, and heated it in the microwave for a few minutes. It made a nice rice salad.

  23. Taught my g-daughter this recipe to teach her how to read a recipe and cook it. Came out delicious.
    Thank You!

  24. I love using left over rice for Breakfast , put rice on plate warm in microwave fry two eggs not to hard , you want a running yellow , put the eggs over the rice . Delicious

  25. Thank you so freaking much, I’ve been wanting to buy a rice cooker I gave up on cooking rice because I always mess it up and I followed what you said and my rice came out so freaking soft and fluffy delicious thank you !

  26. I usually rice fail every time I attempt to cook it. It was to the point where I resorted to just buying frozen rice. This recipe is the first time I managed to cook rice that didn’t snowball or burn. Thanks Katie!

  27. Rinsing removes the B vitamins that were added to prevent vitamin deficiency. White rice is missing the bran and rice germ which contained most of the vitamins.

  28. My mother used this method. As a child in a family of 8, there was seldom leftover rice, but my mom would always cook extra and warm it for our breakfast. She added milk, sugar, brown sugar or honey and butter and cinnamon. It was a wonderful tummy warming thing!

    1. Long grain white rice is just the type of grain, but you will see it marked on the package – many brands make it! It comes in boxes and bags….

  29. How would I go about scorching it, not to where it burns of course? I think scorching it would produce the same texture…

    1. If you like a crusty bottom on your rice you can add a few minutes to the cooking time. Keep any eye (and your nose!) on it!

  30. I was very confused using water to cooking Rice. But my problem is solved in the article. The ratio helped me. 2 to 1 is the best practice for cooking rice. Thanks for sharing.

  31. 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. these are all valid ways to make rice! This recipe is about making it in a pot, and you should make sure to use a medium sized pot, not one that is too small….

    2. Yes use a regular pot for this rice. Use the same amounts of liquid to rice ratios, but you need to fry the rice first in oil and diced carrots. Blend tomato onion garlic and pour it over the Golden rice and cook till it soaks into the rice. After that put the water and chicken bouillon salt and herbs you want for flavoring. Stir cover and cook like normal rice.

  32. 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…

    1. What does rinsing the rice before cooking it. Is it to get rid of some of the starch. Does rinsing the rice make a difference in how it turn out in the end

      1. I never rinse plain white rice. It would remove some of the starch, and I guess make the grains more separate, but I’ve never had an issue with that with the right amount of water, and the right amount of cooking time!

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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

  38. 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.

  39. 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… :)

  40. 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.

  41. 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. 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?

  42. 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.

  43. 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

  44. 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. 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?

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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. 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!

  49. 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. 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.


  51. 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

  52. 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

  53. 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.

  54. 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. 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.

  55. 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. 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. 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.

    3. 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!

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