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This is a complete guide for how to cook rice. Cooking white rice is one of the first skills I was determined to master when I learned to cook from my mom. We serve white rice a few times a month with Lebanese food. It’s a versatile side dish that complements so many different recipes. Now you’ll learn the perfect way to make it for your family!
Does your heart sink when you see the words “serve with rice” at the end of a recipe? Does this supposedly simple component – rice- (!) never live up to the rest of the meal? Memorize the simple steps below for how to cook rice, and you’ll be on your way to cooking perfect rice on your stove. No rice cooker or pressure cooker needed.
Different types of white rice
For this tutorial on how to cook rice, I am using long grain white rice, the country’s most popular variety. It is called long grain because its length of each grain is about five times its width. Other varieties of white rice include:
- Instant or quick rice – which has been processed for a faster cook time but falls short in the taste department.
- Jasmine rice – originally from Thailand, which is fragrant and almost sweet tasting.
- Basmati rice – originally from India, which has nutty undertones.
Step by step stove cooking instructions
Measure one cup of long grain white rice into a cup and level it off. One cup of dry rice will make enough cooked rice for two to three adult servings. (Or two adults and two small children.) The cool thing about this recipe is it is proportional. Always use one part rice to two parts water. Adjust accordingly for the number of people you are feeding.
Pick through to remove any tiny stones or debris, Then, using cold water, rinse the rice thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch from the rice which can make it gummy – the first key tip for how to cook perfect rice.
Put the rice in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add twice as much cold water as rice. In this case, that is two cups. I also recommend adding salt in this step. I use half a teaspoon of salt per cup of rice. But feel free to adjust to your taste preference.
Now, without covering the pan, bring the water to a boil. Next, stir the rice in order to evenly distribute but don’t over do it.
Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 18 minutes. Do not lift the cover to check on the rice. If you do, heat and steam will escape, and this can affect the rice’s texture.
When the time is up though, take the pan off the heat. Again, without removing the cover, let the rice sit and steam for at least five minutes. This step is my second important tip for how to cook perfect rice
Remove the cover and fluff with a fork. And just like that, now you know how to cook rice!
Recipes to serve with white rice
- Cauliflower Curry
- Quick Butter Chicken
- Harissa Chicken
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Chicken Burrito Bowl
- West African Peanut Soup
- Lemon Herb Shrimp Stir Fry
- Red Lentil Curry
- Panko Crusted Salmon
- Beef Stuffed Peppers
Frequently asked questions
Unprocessed white rice needs 15 to 25 minutes on the stove top and at least five additional minutes to steam off heat after done cooking.
The short answer is it depends on the variety you are making. When in doubt, refer to the package directions.
Long grained rice and Indian basmati rice: 1 part rice: 2 parts water
Jasmine rice: 1 part rice: 1 ½ parts water
Sushi rice: 1 part rice: 1 part water
Cover tightly in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days. Reheat with a little water until warmed through.
After cooking the rice, it will last for up to 5 days as long as it is stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, you can freeze rice for up to 6 months. For easy storage and quick defrosting, package thin – easily defrosted portions – in ziplock freezer bags that can be stacked in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or stovetop with a splash of water
Remember the two important steps that will make huge difference in how your stove-top rice comes out: Rinse before cooking and allow to steam off the heat. Like quality bread, lovely rice takes good food to the next level. People have been cooking rice for 8,000 years. Now you also know how to cook white rice!
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How to Cook White Rice
- 1 cup white rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Measure the rice into a cup and level the top.
- Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve thoroughly in cold water until the water is clear.
- Pour the rice into a pan over a low heat.
- Add double the amount of cold water, sprinkle with the salt and then bring it to a boil uncovered.
- Using a wooden spoon stir the rice in the pan to evenly distribute it, but don’t over stir.
- Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat, for 18 minutes, then turn the heat off.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Allow the rice to rest in the pot for about 5 minutes, without opening the lid, to absorb all the liquid and steam.
- Fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains, and serve.