This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy.
Cooking rice for a crowd is SO easy with this Baked Rice Method! For a potluck, family reunion, or church party, bake it in the oven and have up to 50 servings in less than an hour.
Featured with this recipe
- Ingredients in this Rice Recipe
- What Kind of Pans to Use for this Easy Oven Rice
- Types of Rice to Use
- Seasoning Variations for Baked Rice
- Getting the Quantities Right:
- Tips for Perfect Baked Rice
- How to Store Leftovers
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Ideas for Cooking for a Crowd
- How to Bake Rice (Making Rice for a Crowd)
- Rice for a Crowd (Baked Method) Recipe
Cooking large quantities of rice doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it is pretty much one of the easiest starches you can make for a crowd! I used this baked rice method when I was serving 50+ people a big dinner at our church’s Girls Camp, and it worked like a charm. It was so much easier than making batches on the stovetop or a rice cooker and it never scorches on the bottom of the pan. Use it for stir fry, fried rice, cilantro lime rice or plain rice. It’s cheaper, too! Why spend $25-$35 (or more) to have rice catered when you can literally make it for a few bucks? You will love this easy recipe!
Ingredients in this Rice Recipe
A basic rice recipe is so easy and only has three ingredients. You can add more seasonings like fresh herbs or lime juice as desired but here’s what to start with:
- Long grain, white rice – I use a five pound bag of long grain rice for this recipe. I prefer that over short grain or medium grain. That’s about 12 cups of rice or 3 quarts.
- Water – five quarts or about 20 cups water. This may seem like excessive water to rice ratios, but rice in the oven requires more liquid than the stovetop. You could use vegetable broth, chicken broth or beef broth instead of water.
- Kosher salt – three tablespoons, or add a teaspoon salt more at a time, to taste.
What Kind of Pans to Use for this Easy Oven Rice
Cooking rice in the oven is so easy and can make a large quantity. Use a 20-3/4″ x 12-3/4″ x 4″ steam table pan. It holds 15 quarts, so plenty of room for rice expansion. You can also use a roasting pan or a large baking dish with a lid. Just make sure that it can hold at least 10 quarts of rice and liquid. I like using the steam pan because it allows the rice to liquid ratio to cook more evenly. It is only 4″ deep, so not too shallow, not too deep. The closer you can get to the dimensions above, the better.
Types of Rice to Use
For this baked rice recipe I used long-grain white rice. You can also use brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, short-grain rice or jasmine rice. The cooking times should remain the same. No need for rinsing the rice before cooking, either. You can rinse, if you want to, by using a fine mesh strainer, but that step isn’t necessary.
Seasoning Variations for Baked Rice
Once you get the gist of cooking large quantities of rice for a crowd, it is SO easy to make variations and flavors depending on what you are serving. Keep it simple with lemon zest, a little garlic, and garnish with parsley, bell peppers or green onions. Season with some soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Or try one of these recipes below. They’re super easy and absolutely delicious!
- Spanish or Mexican Rice for a Crowd: The recipe below calls for 5 quarts of water. For this Spanish Rice, reduce water to 3.5 quarts and then add two 28-ounce cans of Rotel tomatoes, 2 cups of tomato sauce, ⅓ cup of taco seasoning, and more salt to taste (if needed). Continue directions as directed below. This is delicious served with refried or black beans.
- Seasoned Rice for a Crowd: Use 2 quarts water and 3 quarts chicken broth. You can also substitute beef broth if you’re serving this with a beef main course. Eliminate salt (or just use a pinch to taste. The chicken broth should have plenty of sodium). Slice four cubes of butter (2 cups) into squares (pats) and evenly place over rice (it doesn’t need to be perfect, this is just so it will melt evenly when the hot water is poured on). In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons EACH of thyme, basil, and paprika and 1 tablespoon turmeric. Sprinkle mixture evenly over rice and butter. Carefully pour water and chicken broth over the top and lightly stir to combine butter and herbs/spices if needed. Bake as directed below. This rice is delicious alongside cooked carrots, green or red peppers, and onions or any other vegetables.
Getting the Quantities Right:
The baking times and methods shouldn’t change depending on the quantity of rice. It may vary slightly but not much. You will just need bigger or smaller pans depending on whether you need more or less rice. The recipe below makes 50 servings but it can easily be doubled to make 100 servings. If doubling, you will definitely want to use 2 separate pans, but they should still be able to fit in 1 oven. If you need closer to 20 servings of rice, you can half the recipe but still use the same-size pan or opt for a smaller pan.
Tips for Perfect Baked Rice
Some of our wonderful readers offered some helpful tips to make this rice perfect every time:
- Toast the dry rice in the oven for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Add blended charred tomatoes and onion to the boiling liquid just before pouring it over the rice to be baked.
- Use boiling water, not cold water. Water temperature will affect how the rice cooks in the oven.
- Make sure to use enough water and check the volume of water in the recipe. Keep in mind that there is more water in this recipe than cooking on the stove or a rice maker.
- Double the foil pan due to weight of water for added stability. You can use foil steam table size pans or a large casserole dish.
- Fluff rice using a fork just before serving.
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftover rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Heat again by warming in the oven, if there is a lot to heat up, or microwave single servings. Remove the covering before microwaving.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s the easiest, least messy way to make rice for a crowd. And unlike rice cooked on the stovetop, which is heated just from the bottom, oven-cooked rice gets an even, steady flow of heat from all directions.
You will need more water when baking rice than you would cooking it on the stovetop. For a five pound bag of rice, you’ll need about 20 cups or five quarts of water.
This recipe will serve 50 people, at about ½ to ¾ cup per person. So you’ll need a five pound bag of long grain rice for a party of 50.
READ MORE: Family Reunion Ideas for Meal Planning
More Ideas for Cooking for a Crowd
Need more ideas for cooking for a crowd? Have a big reunion coming up? Check out our Ultimate Family Reunion Meal Planning Guide! Cheesy Potato Casserole (aka Funeral Potatoes) is always a crowd pleaser, along with this yummy Blueberry Jello Salad. Or try some of these delicious recipes that you can make in bulk:
How to Bake Rice (Making Rice for a Crowd)
Rice for a Crowd (Baked Method)
- Conventional Oven
- 3 quarts long grain, white rice (12 cups or a 5 pound bag)
- 5 quarts water (20 cups)
- 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
- Place 3 quarts uncooked rice in large roasting pan (lightly sprayed with cooking spray), spread evenly. Set aside.
- In a large stock-pot, combine water and salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
- CAREFULLY pour boiling water over rice and stir so rice is even along the bottom.
- Immediately cover tightly with aluminum foil. Make sure you have a tight seal around ALL the edges.
- Place roasting pan in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Fluff with a large wooden spoon & serve.
- **Note: If you want to wait to serve, just keep in the oven at 150 degrees or so, or keep warm in an electric warming pan. Add a little water if necessary to keep from drying out.
Love this recipe?
We want to hear from you! Please leave a review.