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How to Cook Rice

How To Easily Cook Rice Perfectly Every Time

Blue and white bowl filled with perfectly cooked rice

While cooking rice may seem like one of the simplest cooking tasks, many people seem to struggle with achieving that perfect outcome.

If cooked at high temperatures and unrinsed, your rice will probably stick together and turn into rubbery mush.

Under-cooking your rice, on the other hand, will result in a chewy, hard, dry texture. However, with a few simple tricks, you can cook your rice perfectly every single time.

In this detailed guide, we will cover every single aspect, including the rice preparation, the optimal cooking temperature, as well as a few little hacks that will truly take your rice to the next level. 

Tip #1: Rinse the rice before cooking

Many people avoid this step thinking that it makes no difference in the final outcome. In addition to cleaning your rice, rinsing it in cold water before cooking will also remove the excess starch.

Excess starch is, in fact, one of the main reasons why your rice turns out sticky and mushy, so you definitely want to remove it before cooking for the best result. 

That being said, recipes that require a thick, creamy consistency (such as rice pudding) can only benefit from the starchy component, so feel free to skip this step if you’re making a similar dish. 

Bonus tip: the best rice type for thick, rich desserts such as rice pudding is definitely arborio rice, but there are also many good alternatives to arborio rice out there – as long as they’re short-grain!

Tip #2: Add a little bit of oil

If you find that your rice always turns out super dry and gummy, no matter what you pair it with, a little bit of olive oil (or any other oil of your choice) can solve this problem.

Simply add a drizzle of oil into the pot, combining it with rice and water. Give it a good stir and cook it as you normally would.

The oil will lock in the moisture, while also preventing the rice from sticking together, which is a great added benefit of this hack. 

Tip #3: Toast the rice before cooking it

While this step is completely optional, it is probably one of the best rice preparation methods for three reasons.

Toasting your rice beforehand will create an outside barrier on each grain, ensuring they don’t stick together while they’re cooking. Also, this barrier will prevent the cooked rice from turning into sticky mush once it cools down.

This step will also enhance the flavor of your rice, giving it a unique toasty, nutty, savory note that plain cooked rice doesn’t have.

Finally, toasting the rice before cooking it will also shorten the actual cooking time.

Keep in mind that after toasting the rice in the pan, you can simply pour the water (or chicken stock for more flavor) into the pan and cook it without transferring it to a saucepan.

This will also enhance the aroma of the toasted rice since it will absorb all these nutty, smokey flavors from the pan. 

Tip #4: Add enough water

One of the common mistakes people make when cooking their rice is not adding enough water for the rice to properly cook without turning out extra sticky.

Keep in mind that, for most rice types, the ideal rice-to-water ratio is 1:2. However, make sure to check out the cooking instructions on the packaging. 

Tip #5: Season the water

Adding your seasonings to the cooking water will allow the rice to absorb the flavors and develop a complexity that cannot be achieved by simply adding the spices to your cooked rice.

Needless to say, you can always adjust and enhance the flavors once the rice is cooked.

Tip #6: Don’t cook your rice at a high temperature

While you want to bring the rice to a low boil, it should not continue to cook at a high temperature.

Cooking rice over high heat could result in undercooked, chewy rice, which is something you definitely want to avoid.

You want to get the rice to a gentle simmer, which will allow it to cook properly, but the water won’t cook off in the process. 

Tip #7: Leave the lid on

As tempting as it can be to remove the lid and check on your rice while it is cooking, you want to leave the lid on after it has reached a gentle simmer, and let it cook on low.

Removing the lid will only disrupt the process, and release the steam which is an important factor in cooking the rice.

Tip #8: Set your timer

Instead of checking your rice every 5 minutes, you should let it cook on low for 18 minutes, and as we’ve mentioned, keep the lid on and trust the process!

The magic number for long-grain white rice is 18 minutes, while short-grain rice may require a bit less time, but this also depends upon your personal preference when it comes to rice firmness.

Brown rice, on the other hand, has a coarser structure, so you want to cook it on low for about 30 minutes to achieve the perfect texture. 

Tip #9: Allow it to rest for a few minutes

After draining the water, you don’t want to rinse the rice with cold water, which is a common mistake people make when cooking their rice.

Instead, transfer the rice back to the pan it cooked in, and cover it with a lid. Once again, the steam will do its magic and after a few minutes, you’ll be left with perfectly cooked rice!

Tip #10: Gently break up the grains

After allowing the rice to rest in a steamy pot for a few minutes, you want to ensure it doesn’t stick together by gently breaking up the grains with a fork.

This little trick is the easiest, yet the most efficient method of creating that fluffy rice texture. At this point, you may also add a little bit of olive oil, or a piece of butter into your warm rice and mix it in for a perfectly creamy consistency. 

Now that you know how to cook rice perfectly every time, here are some delicious recipes to use it in!

Almond Chicken

Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken

Ham Fried Rice

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Beef

Indian Butter Chicken