How to Cook Rice
There are hundreds of different varieties of rice grown worldwide, but most cooks only need to know a few basic ratios to cook rice perfectly.
One cup of raw rice yields about three cups of cooked rice.
1. White rice is highly refined and polished and doesn't require washing before cooking. Recipes using other types of rice, such as Basmati, sometimes call for soaking or rinsing the rice before cooking to remove extra starch. To learn about different types of rice, see All about Rice.
2. To cook long-grained white rice:
Put 1 cup of rice and 1½ cups of water in a small (one-quart) saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Steam should be coming out from under the lid; keep the pot covered and don't peek under the lid. (For novice rice cooks, a glass lid is a big help.)
4. Reduce the heat to very low. The rice grains swell as they absorb the water. If the temperature is too high, the bottom of the pan of rice can scorch while the top rice is still undercooked. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
5. When the timer rings, turn off the burner and remove the pan from the heat. Let the rice sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes (and no peeking under the lid--the steam will escape).
6. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains.
- You can serve the rice immediately, or put the lid back on to keep it warm while you finish cooking the rest of your meal.
- To chill rice for a salad, spread it out on a sheet pan to cool quickly.
- For food safety reasons, rice should never be left out at room temperature longer than two hours.
7. Other rice cooking ratios:
Follow directions on the package, or use these guidelines:
To cook brown rice:
Use 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.
To cook basmati or jasmine rice: Follow the instructions for long-grained white rice.
To cook wild rice: Use 1 cup of rice to 3 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.
To cook rice pilaf:
For pilaf dishes, rice is sauteed in oil in order to keep the grains separate during cooking. Cook the rice, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the rice becomes translucent before adding the cooking liquid. Pilafs can be made on the stovetop or in the oven.