How to Cook Rice

5 from 471 votes

Follow this simple guide for how to cook white rice with step-by-step instructions of the best rice to water measurement and perfect timing for fluffy rice!

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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!

White rice with a fork in a bowl
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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:

  1. Instant or quick rice – which has been processed for a faster cook time but falls short in the taste department.
  2. Jasmine rice – originally from Thailand, which is fragrant and almost sweet tasting.
  3. 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.

Measuring rice in a measuring cut

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.

Rinsing white rice in aa sink

Put the rice in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add a little less than twice as much cold water as rice. In this case, it’s a little less than 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.

Tutorial for how to cook rice - adding water to the pot

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.

white rice cooking in a pot

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!

collage of white rice in a pot with and without lid

Recipes to serve with white rice

top down shot of white rice in a white bowl on a table

Frequently asked questions

How long does rice take to cook?

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.

How much water do you need to cook rice?

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

How do you store cooked rice?

Cover tightly in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days. Reheat with a little water until warmed through.

How long does cooked rice last?

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.

Can you freeze rice after you cook it?

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

fork in rice

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

Follow this simple guide for how to cook white rice with step-by-step instructions of the best rice to water measurement and perfect timing for fluffy rice!
5 from 471 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side Dish
Calories 169
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup white rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cup water

Instructions

  • 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 saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt, then add the water and bring mixture to a simmer uncovered, about 5 minutes.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir the rice in the pan to evenly distribute it, but don’t over stir.
  • Lower the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 18 minutes without opening the lid. Then turn the heat off.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow the rice to rest covered for 5 minutes in order to absorb all the liquid and steam.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains, and serve.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 293mg, Potassium: 53mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Side Dish

Photo Credit: Erin Jensen

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