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Knowing how to cook rice is a skill anyone can master. Perfectly cooked rice is the foundation of so many good meals!
How to Cook Rice
So many of our favorite meals start with rice as a base. Whether you are making our Restaurant Ham Fried Rice or Red Beans and Rice, the rice is the star of the show! It also makes an excellent side for P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, and Chicken Tikka Masala!
Rice can go wrong a lot of different ways. It can be too gummy or too crunchy or too sticky. Lucky for you, we’ve tried a bunch of different methods and recipes to find the best, easiest ways to cook rice. We’ll share our method for how to cook rice on the stove top, in a rice cooker, in the oven, and in the instant pot.
Do I Need to Wash Rice?
The short answer is yes. Washing or rinsing your rice helps to achieve the perfect texture. It washes off the starches on the surface of the rice, which ensures it won’t be gummy. Letting the water soak into the rice a little bit also helps the rice cook more evenly. You won’t end up with dry areas. To wash the rice, put it in a very fine mesh strainer. Run cold water over the rice until the water runs clear. Let the rice sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking.
What Kind of Rice Should I Use?
Most recipes, unless otherwise stated, use basic, long-grain white rice. That is the type of rice we used in all the recipes below. Most white rice will cook in the same way as long grain rice, but brown rice needs much longer to cook. There are also many different varieties of rice you can use depending on that you are cooking. If you want your rice to be more dense, like a Japanese or Hawaiian-style dishes, use a short-grain rice or medium-grain rice like Calrose rice, sushi rice. If you are making risotto, the best rice to use is arborio rice. For a drier rice, for dishes like Mexican rice, rice pilaf, fried rice or seasoned Indian rice, try using Jasmine rice or Basmati rice.
How to Cook Rice on the Stove Top
Use a 1:2 ratio of rice to water (ex. 1 cup rice, 2 cups water). Put uncooked rice in a fine mesh strainer. Run under cold water until the water coming out the bottom runs clear. Let the wet rice sit for 5-10 minutes. On your stovetop, bring water to a boil in a large pot or saucepan with a lid. Add the rice and stir. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 18 minutes, or until rice is tender. Lift the lid and fluff with a fork.
How to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker
Use a 1:1 ratio of rice to water (ex. 1 cup rice, 1 cup water). Put uncooked rice in a fine mesh strainer. Run under cold water until the water coming out the bottom runs clear. Let the wet rice sit for 5-10 minutes. Add rice and water to the rice cooker and stir. Close the lid and press the white rice button. When the timer goes off, lift the lid and fluff with a fork.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place 3 cups uncooked rice in a 9×13 pan (lightly sprayed with cooking spray), spread evenly. Set aside. In a large stock-pot, combine 5 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of 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 pan in oven and bake for 20-25 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. To make rice for a crowd, use our easy recipe here.
How To Store Rice
Store your cooked rice in an airtight container and store in your refrigerator. The rice will stay good for up to 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze rice! Just place your cooked and cooled rice in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and lay flat in your freezer and freeze for 1-2 months.
How To Re-Heat Rice
To re-heat rice, place your rice in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a microwave lid (we will usually just use a plate that will fit over the bowl). Microwave for 2 minutes and fluff with a fork. If it still isn’t heated all the way through, cover and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minutes. If your rice seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two of hot water water and continue to fluff with a fork.
Rice Recipes To Try
The recipe below is to help you make the perfect rice, as-is. If you want to try a rice recipe with a few more bells and whistles, give one of these recipes a try:
Want even more? We have DOZENS of rice recipes! Check out ALL of them HERE.
What to Serve with Rice
Now that you have a solid foundation and you know how to cook rice, what are you going to put on top? Try one of our favorite recipes!
How to Cook Rice in the Instant Pot
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 cup water
- salt to taste
- Put uncooked rice in a fine mesh strainer. Run under cold water until the water coming out the bottom runs clear. Let the wet rice sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Add rice and water to the Instant Pot and stir.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot. Move the valve to the sealing position and set the pot to cook on Manual at high pressure for 4 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot and let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Lift the lid and fluff with a fork.
- Serve with your favorite dish!
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I am notorious for cooking rice without a timer. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong…lol. Happened upon this precise for cooking rylee be in my instant pot and loved it! It takes no time at all to cook and comes out perfect every time!
This was very helpful! Thanks.
Great compilation of tips for cooking rice! Thank you!