How Should I Cook Rice?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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Cooking rice on the stovetop is an art form, but one well worth learning. While rice cookers are convenient, one may not always be on hand, or you may want to make a special recipe which uses ingredients that should not be added to a rice cooker, as is the case with coconut sticky rice. A few simple steps should be followed when you cook rice for perfection every time, although you may have a few false starts in the beginning. Whether you cook rice in a rice cooker or not, the steps for pre-treating the rice are the same, so do not skip them!

To cook rice, start by storing it properly in containers labeled with the type of rice and the date on which it was purchased. Store hulled rices like white rice in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dark place, and try to use them within six months. Brown rice should be refrigerated until use because the oils in the hull can become rancid. Ideally, brown rice should be used within three months.


When you are ready to cook rice, start by washing it thoroughly. While many Asian cooks are familiar with this step, some westerners are unacquainted with the reasons for washing rice. By washing rice before you cook it, you remove excessive starch, as well as any contaminants which the rice may have been exposed to, including pesticides and herbicides. Washing the rice will also help the grains to separate while they cook, creating a light, fluffy rice. When you wash rice, use multiple changes of water until the water runs clear.

After you have washed the rice, it should be soaked to relax the grain. If cooking a hulled rice like brown rice or Forbidden Rice, soak the rice overnight. If you are making sticky rice, plan on soaking it overnight as well. White rice can be soaked for thirty minutes to 12 hours before cooking; if you plan to cook rice when you come home, put some on to soak before you leave for work. When you cook rice that has been soaked, it cooks faster and usually has a better texture.

When you cook rice, use a heavy pot, preferably one which is enameled. Thin pots are more likely to burn the rice while cooking, especially on unreliable stoves. Drain your soaked rice and add fresh water: a scant two cups to every cup of rice. Using a ratio of exactly two to one will tend to make the rice soggy and mushy. With the rice and water together in the pot, turn the stove on high until you can hear the water beginning to boil. Immediately bring the burner down to the lowest possible temperature, cover, and cook the rice for between 12-20 minutes, depending on the type of rice. White rice will cook more quickly, while rice with a hull cooks slowly.

Do not lift the lid of the pot at any point while you cook rice. Lifting the lid will disturb the balance of heat and steam in the pot, and will change the flavor and texture of the rice. Until you get used to the cooking time for the rice you are using, you may slightly overcook your rice, but this is not a major cause for concern. The crust which forms on the bottom of the rice pot is delicious when sprinkled with sugar and butter for dessert or fried in oil and sprinkled over the main course.

When your rice is done, fluff it briefly with a fork and allow it to sit for five to 10 minutes before serving. Leftover rice should be put immediately in the fridge, and used within two days for fried rice or other dishes. While cooking rice properly may seem like an elaborate process, the flavorful results are well worth it. After you are comfortable making rice on the stovetop, consider adding ingredients such as sliced bananas, shredded nori seaweed, or coconut milk for extra flavor.


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Post 12

I'll give you some instructions to cook Diamond Pearl Basmati Rice.

1 cup of diamond pearl basmati rice

2 cup of water

1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt.

For best results, soak rice in cold water for two-30 minutes before cooking.

Rinse measured rice once or twice to remove extra starch and drain.

Place the drained rice, water, salt and oil in an open pan and bring to boil on high flame. Stir occasionally

As water reduces below rice level, lower the flame, place a tight lid over the pan and let the rice cook in the steam for 18 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Post 11

Washing rice until the water is clear = bye bye to the vitamins!

I learned how to cook rice in the Philippines, capital country of rice. The different types of rice require a different amount of ratio for water as well as cooking times. The best way to learn is to keep on trying yourself until you get it right!

Post 9

how i cook rice on the stove top is pretty simple and it comes out great! i usually rinse the rice about three or four times with cold water. you can either rinse it the night before and then let it soak over night or rinse it on the day off and let it soak in hot water for about 30-45 min.

after then put the water inside the pot of rice. Lay your hand flat on the rice and make sure the water level reaches your knuckles. after that put it on the stove on high. let it boil until you can no longer see the water. then turn the heat all the way to low and let it slowly cook.

check on it once in a while until it has turned soft and a bit sticky, or until the consistency you want. when it is done turn off the heat and serve. Delish!

Post 8

I finally learned how to cook rice and what I learned was to cook on high until boil and as soon as it boils turn to low and let it simmer until there is no water left. Unless you use too small of a ratio of water to rice it shouldn't be hard anymore.

Post 6

most asians don't rinse rice because it rinses away minerals? so does washing off a tomato. if you're concerned about rinsing away minerals eat brown rice, but always wash!

Post 5

anon1177, i wonder what elevation you are trying to cook rice at? if the elevation is high your water will boil at a lower temperature, and may not attain a temperature high enough to break down the cellulose in your rice. a pressure cooker might be the answer, because i assume that a rice cooker would experience the same difficulties. if you are not at a high elevation, something is hinky, and i don't know what.

Post 4

i remember one of the first thing my Philippino grandfather taught me was how to wash rice. i can still see his hand swishing it around in the pot. he was a cook for a living, and i can still taste his adobo years later!

Post 3

Are you kidding me? Asians do not wash rice? Ask any Japanese or Korean Mama if they wash rice, and they will most likely answer 'until the water rinses clear'. My family and friends have always washed their rice, no questions asked. I may be a little OCD with my own, but my non-Asian friends always ask how I make such perfect rice every time, and the washing really makes their head spin.

Post 2

most asians don't rinse rice, it removes mineral and vitamins.

Post 1

I am having so much trouble cooking rice. I rinse it, Ive cooked it plain.... it always comes out still hard. I boil the water, then simmer it for 20 minutes like the oack says. NO good. I have simmered it for 45 minutes and have had success one day and failure the next....

signed - on the verge of using a RICE COOKER!

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