Wouldn't it be great if we could have a steaming pile of rice next to our dinners? Why yes, it would be nice... if we knew how to cook rice correctly. And hey, there's no shame in needing some help in the kitchen. Each kind of rice needs different cook times and varying rice-to-water ratios that indeed make things difficult. But making rice is much easier than you think. No matter which kind you have on your hands, we're here to help you get your sides right every time.

How To Cook Rice

Rice To Water Ratio

This ratio is a crucial step in making the perfect rice. Quantities will vary depending on how much you're making, but you can adjust the amounts accordingly.

Studies have shown that the ratio can drastically affect the consistency of your rice, but it doesn't really have a big influence on overall taste. Depending on how much water you add in comparison to the amount of rice you have, the texture will be either too runny, too firm, or becomes too sticky. Specific types of rice will need their own water level and it's important to keep an eye on the amounts recommended before you wind up with a mushy mess.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the ratio is affected by other elements in the kitchen. The size of your pot lid, the kind of stove you have, and the rice you're working with will all play a role. What this means is that cooking rice is sometimes more specific to the cookware and kitchen you have; recipes will help you a great deal of the way, but some of it is dependant on the items you're working with.

Now that you've got this information in hand, read on to learn how to cook the many types of rice!

How To Cook White Rice

white rice in a white bowl on a blue table
  • 1 cup of long grain white rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Fork
  • Pot
  • Sieve or colander

You don't need much else to get that rice nice and fluffy. Once you've gathered everything, follow these simple steps:

  • Rinse the rice in cold water. Drain in a sieve or colander until the water comes out clear.
  • Pour the cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in your salt and add the rice.
  • Cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Let the rice cook for about 17-20 minutes. You'll know the rice is finished when it has absorbed all the water.
  • After the allotted time, remove from heat and let sit for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Fluff your rice with a fork and serve.

How To Cook Brown Rice

cooked brown rice in a brown bowl
  • 1 cup of long grain brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Fork
  • Pot
  • Sieve or colander

Brown rice times will differ significantly from white rice. It takes much longer to cook, but you don't need any fancy cookware.

  • Rinse the rice in cold water. Drain in a sieve or colander until the water comes out clear.
  • Pour the water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in your salt and add the rice.
  • Cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Let the rice cook for about 40-50 minutes. You'll know the rice is finished when it has absorbed all the water.
  • After the allotted time, remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes.
  • Fluff your rice with a fork and serve.

How To Cook Basmati Rice

prepared basmati rice in a brown dish
  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 3/4 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Fork
  • Stainless steel bowl
  • Sieve or colander

Basmati rice doesn't need as much time as brown rice to absorb the water. It will, however, need to soak before cooking.

  • Rinse the rice in cold water. Drain in a sieve or colander until the water comes out clear.
  • Place your rice in a bowl of water. Have the water be about 1-2 inches above the rice. Let the grains soak for 30-45 minutes.
  • After the allotted time, drain the rice using a sieve or colander.
  • Pour your 1 3/4 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in your salt and add the rice.
  • Cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to as low as it can go.
  • Let the rice cook for about 15 minutes. You'll know the rice is finished when it has absorbed all the water.
  • After the allotted time, remove from heat and let sit for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Fluff your rice with a fork and serve.

How To Cook Jasmine Rice

overhead shot of raw jasmine rice in a burlap sack and a bowl
  • 1 cup of jasmine rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Fork
  • Sieve or colander
  • Pot

Jasmine rice is the perfect choice for someone looking for a rice that doesn't take much time to cook.

  • Rinse the rice in cold water. Drain in a sieve or colander until the water comes out clear.
  • Pour the cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in your salt and add the rice.
  • Cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Let the rice cook for about 15-18 minutes. You'll know the rice is finished when it has absorbed all the water.
  • Fluff your rice with a fork and serve.

How To Cook Sticky Rice

Rice Cooker

a little pile of sticky rice on a plate
  • 1 cup of sticky rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • Rice cooker
  • Bowl for rinsing
    Sieve or colander

This kind of rice (also known as glutinous rice) is a little trickier to make, but it's best prepared in a rice cooker.

  • Rinse the rice in cold water. Place the rice in a pot and fill with cold water. Swish the grains around to cleanse, then drain the rice in a colander or sieve. Repeat several times until the water remains mostly clear after swishing.
  • Drain the rice again and place it in the rice cooker. Add the salt and water.
  • Let your rice sit in the cooker for at least 30 minutes. It can remain in the water for up to five hours.
  • After the allotted time, turn on your cooker.
  • Wait for the cooker to prepare the rice.
  • Once it turns off, let the rice sit for another 5-6 minutes before serving.

Stovetop

sticky rice in a bamboo dish

If you don't have a rice cooker, you can make it on the stove. You'll need:

  • 1 cup of sticky rice
  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • Pot

Once you have everything together, making sticky rice requires many of the same steps for other kinds of rice.

  • Rinse the rice with the above method of using water in a pot until the water remains clear.
  • Drain the rice and it to a pot. Add the 1 1/4 cup of water and let it sit for the same amount of time as listed above.
  • After the allotted time, bring the water to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, bring the temperature down and let the water simmer.
  • Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and let the rice simmer for 10-12 minutes. Leave the pot lid askew just a bit so that the steam can ventilate.
  • After the allotted time, turn off the stove but leave the rice to continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes.

Why Is Cooking Rice So Difficult?

woman mixing rice in a pot with a wooden spoon

As you can see, different types of rice need varying amounts of water and cook times. While that's true for everything, the thing with rice is that it's a delicate dish and if you add too much water or cook for too long then you'll wind up with a spoiled side. Depending on how you cook it, your rice can come out way too mushy, undercooked, or too firm. It's a fine art.

Alternative Consistencies

close up shot of cooked rice on a wooden spoon scooped from a pot

Aside from sticky rice, which has its own distinct consistency, rice needs to rest in order to obtain its desired texture. Make sure to never skip the resting phase as this important step ensures water is distributing evenly to the grains.

Your fork also plays a part in getting the right texture. Once your rice is made and has rested for an appropriate amount of time, get your fork and mix the grains around a bit to let remaining moisture escape. It also helps make sure your rice grains don't stick together.

Bottom Line

Learning how to cook rice is a vital step in making simple side dishes. It's okay if your rice hasn't come out as fluffy or tender as you'd like. Much of cooking rice is patience and learning as you go. Follow these easy recipes for different kinds of rice to get yourself started and you'll be nailing your own recipes in no time.

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