How to cook rice

How to cook rice on the stove top or in a rice cooker.

A step-by-step guide including how to rinse rice, how long to soak rice and how to cook rice.

Plus, get lots of fantastic rice recipes!

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How to cook rice

This step-by-step guide to cooking rice is great for beginners. From the very first step of rinsing (or not rinsing) the rice, to the moment when you can lift the lid. Learn how to cook rice using the free boil method or the absorption method for great rice every time.

Why do you rinse rice before cooking?

Rinsing removes some starch from the grains of rice for a fluffier, separated end product. Rinsing is not necessary for all rice, such as risotto rice where the starch is important to make the dish creamy. Check packet or recipe instructions.

How to rinse rice

  • Place measured rice into a fine sieve and rinse under cold tap water until water runs clear and not cloudy from the starch.
  • Alternatively, fill a large deep bowl with cold water and dip rice filled sieve in and out of water. 
  • Shake sieve and drain well. You are now ready to cook or soak.
Note: Rinsing water can be collected and used to water plants.

Why do you need to soak rice?

Soaking the raw rice is an optional step. Soaking for a minimum of one hour before cooking shortens the cooking time and can create a more evenly cooked and separated grains. Generally, short and medium grain rice can benefit from soaking. Soaking long grain rice will make it soggy. Check packet or recipe instructions. If rinsing or soaking your rice, thoroughly drain all excess water so that your rice to water ratios remain correct.

How to cook rice on the stove

There are two ways to cook rice on the stove: free boil and absoprtion. For free boiling, the rice is cooked in lots of water then gets drained. The absorption method cooks the rice in the perfect amount of water that all gets absorbed.

How to cook rice with the free boil method

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add rice and stir for a minute to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook for recommended cooking time, checking grains every 1½ minutes from 12 minutes onwards until the rice is tender but still has a bite (al dente). Drain into a sieve or colander.
  4. If serving immediately, rinse quickly with a little warm water. If serving later, rinse under cold running water and reheat in the microwave before serving. 


How to cook rice with the absorption method

In this method of cooking rice, all the water is absorbed. It's important to follow rice and water ratios exactly, or you'll end up with either hard or soggy rice. Measure the rice and water with the same measuring jug or cup. 1 cup of rice to 1½ cups water is the general rule, see here for more ratios or check the packet instructions for your rice.
  1. Place rice and cold water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. 
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat to low. Cover with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir.
  4. Small craters will eventually appear in the rice, this shows it is nearly ready. 
  5. Turn off heat and stand for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  6. Fluff with a fork to separate grains. Stir gently with a silicon spatula to help fluff the rice without breaking the grains.

How to cook rice in a rice cooker

Rice cookers are the simplest way to cook rice, as you don't need to adjust heat or timing.
  1. Rinse rice, drain well.
  2. Place in cooker with correct ratios, 1 cup of rice to 1 ½ cups white rice is the general rule. Adjust according to packet or manufacturer directions.
  3. Turn on the cooker.
  4. Once cooked, fluff rice with a fork and silicon spatula.

Rice recipes

Make these recipes with rice! There are so many cuisines that use rice in their own way, discover dishes from around the world and enjoy the flavours they have to offer. You can find even more rice recipes here, or find out how to cook rice for risotto here!

Don't forget that you can save recipes to your own personalised ecookbooks using your free myfoodbook account. Login above to save your recipes, or if you don't have an account yet you can sign up here.

Get the recipe: One-pan Butter Chicken with Cauliflower

Plain rice is a classic accompaniment to saucy, flavourful meals such as this butter chicken curry.

Get the recipe: Teriyaki Tofu Asian Salad

Fluffy brown rice makes this salad more filling, as well as adding texture and nuttiness.

Get the recipe: Korma Chicken Meatballs in Lettuce Cups

You can cook rice with spices, stocks or coconut milk to impart extra flavour, such as in this recipe for Korma Chicken Meatballs served with coconut rice.

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