How to Cook Rice
How to cook the best rice ever, from the stovetop to the microwave.
The best part about rice is that there are so many different types to choose from. It’s also a great source of carbohydrates and some protein, with often no fat or sugar.
The main carbohydrate in rice is starch but it also has a decent amount of dietary fiber as well. Each type of rice’s specific nutrients varies slightly, so before buying your rice check to see which nutrients it will be supplying you.
Table of contents
- Types of Rice
- The White vs. Brown Rice Debate
Preparing Your Rice
- Remember to Season
- How to Cook Rice on the Stove
- How to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker
- How to Cook Rice in the Microwave
Types of Rice
There are many types of rice on the market, each with its own flavor, nutritional value, consistency and even color.
Brown Rice Easily substituted in any dish, brown rice has nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, and has more fiber than white rice.
White Rice White rice is very fluffy once it has been cooked, with a creamy, starchy consistency. If it is long grain, it is more fluffy but the shorter the grains are more likely to stick together.
Basmati This rice is popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a nutty taste and often is compared to Jasmine rice. It’s perfect for a pilaf!
Jasmine Originally from Thailand, Jasmine rice is nutty and aromatic. It has a shorter grain and goes well in most recipes.
Wild Rice Wild rice, despite the name, is not rice. It is a mixture made of seeds that come from marsh grass. It has a fluffy texture with an earthy flavor.
Arborio This is great rice for risotto! This is because it retains more starch than other kinds of rice, giving it a particularly creamy texture.
Black Rice Black rice has an earthy, nutty flavor and contains antioxidants, which also give it its dramatic hue.
Red Cargo This rice is chewy after it has been cooked and is a pretty red color. That said, it can easily become gummy if overcooked.
Parboiled Rice Parboiled rice goes through different processing than white and brown rice, and is thus able to absorb more vitamin B and potassium. After being cooked, it has a dry and firm texture.
Sushi Rice Sushi rice is a short-grain “glutinous” white rice that is combined with rice vinegar, then cooled, before rolled into sushi.
The list can go on, but mainly for this piece in specific, we are going to be focusing on brown and white rice since these two are the most common types of household rice.
The White vs. Brown Rice Debate
Fun fact: all white rice actually starts out as brown rice. Brown rice goes through a milling process through which it becomes white rice. The milling process is to remove the husk and bran layers of the rice which helps produce the white rice kernel that is milled and free of impurities. Usually, the rice has a minimum number of broken kernels in their milling process.
Both kinds of rice are high in carbohydrates while brown rice is considered more of whole grain, with greater overall nutrients. Always make sure to compare labels when buying your rice while at the store.
Rice contains the following nutrients:
Fiber Brown rice has higher fiber content than white rice. This is beneficial because it leaves you fuller for longer, can help lower cholesterol levels, and nourishes your gut bacteria.
Manganese Manganese is beneficial for energy production and helps with antioxidant function. White rice doesn’t contain manganese, but brown rice is rich in the mineral.
Selenium This mineral helps with thyroid hormone production, antioxidant protection, and immune function as well as helps protect your cells from certain types of diseases with its high levels of vitamin E. Brown rice is a good source of selenium.
Magnesium Magnesium helps with bone development, cellular production, and muscle contraction. Brown rice is usually a good source of magnesium and white rice is not.
Folate This nutrient helps your body make genetic material and supports cell division. It is also vital to pregnant women. Enriched white rice is a good source of folate.
Preparing Your Rice
Before you cook your rice, always make sure to rinse it off in a strainer. This helps remove excess starch that has been left on the rice. The easiest method is just to pour your desired amount of rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it off in warm water while using your hands to make sure all the grains get strained evenly. When your water runs clear, the rice is ready.
Remember to Season
This might sound simple, but we can’t emphasize the importance of salting your water enough. Adding a pinch of salt to the water before the rice starts cooking will really help balance the taste of the rice. Also, adding your salt after your rice can lead to the salt not integrating completely, leaving salt granules throughout the rice.
How to Cook Rice on the Stove
Overall, there are multiple methods to cook rice on the stove, many of which can be found on your various types of rice packages. Here, we’ll teach you the basic method for cooking rice on the stove. Before making any rice, always be sure to check the instructions on the bag or box to see if your rice calls for special instructions.
- Rinse your rice.
- Add 2 parts water to 1 part rice in a large pot so it does not boil over. So if you are cooking a cup of rice, use 2 cups of water. If you like firmer rice, use 1 part water to ⅔ parts rice.
- Bring the water to a boil and add a large pinch of salt to your water.
- Add in your desired amount of rice.
- Bring the water down to a simmer, reduce the heat to a low and cover your pot with a tight lid.
- Stir your rice every five minutes.
- Cook until all the water is absorbed, which can vary between all kinds of rice but usually runs around 18-20 minutes.
- Let the rice rest before served, it can stay covered with the heat off. I let my rice sit for around 2-5 minutes. This gets it nice and fluffy. Enjoy!
How to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker
Rice cookers are amazing for multi-taskers and also for people who want the job done quicker.
- Rinse your rice.
- Use a 1-to-1 water and rice ratio. This can sometimes depend on your cooker and its strength so make sure to read your manual before using it.
- Then, the rice cooker does the work for you. All you have to do is press “on” and the machine does the nitty-gritty.
- Let the rice rest covered for around 5 minutes to get fluffy.
How to Cook Rice in the Microwave
Microwaved rice is best for long, medium, and short-grain rice. It is incredibly easy, but make sure to use a big enough bowl, or else there will be a larger clean-up!
- Rinse the rice.
- Use a large heat-safe bowl or baking dish. The rice expands a decent amount while it cooks so keep that in mind.
- Use 2 parts of rice to 3 parts of water. Meaning: 1 cup of rice, 1 ½ cup water.
- Microwave on high uncovered for around 10 minutes (for every 2 cups of rice). Do this until steam holes come up and you see water evaporating.
- Microwave on medium-low covered by a moist paper towel. Do this until the liquid is completely absorbed, this can be for around 10-15 minutes for every 2 cups of rice.
- Let sit for around 10 minutes. Season and enjoy!
Rice is a great side dish and also an amazing way to spice up your at-home dinners! Want to know how to cook rice another way, or have a suggestion for the next installment of our How To series? We'd love to hear from you! Shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com.