Cooking rice for a crowd is SO easy! For a potluck, family reunion or church party, bake it in the oven and have up to 50 servings in less than an hour.
Rice for a Crowd
Cooking large quantities of rice doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it is pretty much one of the easiest things you can make for a crowd! used this method when I was serving 50+ people at our church’s Girls Camp and it worked like a charm. I love that you can hurry and prepare it and just forget about it while you are prepping other food. Why spend $25-$35 (or more) to have rice catered when you can literally make it for a few bucks? It is so so easy.
Cooking Rice in the Oven
Use a 20-3/4″ x 12-3/4″ x 4″ steam table pan (can be found HERE). It holds 15 quarts so plenty of room for rice expansion. You can also use a roasting pan. Just make sure that it can hold at least 10 quarts. I like using the steam pan because it seems 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.
Seasoning Variations for Rice
For this recipe I used long-grain white rice. You can also use basmati or jasmine rice. The cooking times should remain the same. Once you get the gist of baking rice for a crowd it is SO easy to make variations and flavors depending on what you are serving.
- Spanish or Mexican Rice for a Crowd: Reduce water to 3.5 quarts and add 2 (28 oz) cans of Rotel, 2 c. tomato sauce, 1/3 c. taco seasoning, and more salt to taste (if needed). Continue directions as directed below.
- Seasoned Rice for a Crowd: Use 2 quarts water and 3 quarts chicken. Eliminate salt (or use very little, to taste- the chicken broth should have plenty of sodium). Cut up 2 cups of butter 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). Combine 2 Tbsp. EACH of thyme, basil, and paprika. and 1 Tbsp. turmeric. Sprinkle mixture evenly over rice and butter. Carefully pour water over the top and lightly stir to combine butter and herbs/spices if needed. Bake as directed below.
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 HERE! Or try some of these delicious recipes that you can make in bulk:
- Omelets in a Bag
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Breakfast Freezer Sandwiches
- Mom’s Cheater Chili
- Traditional Macaroni Salad
How to Cook Rice for a Crowd
- 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.
- Conventional Oven