How to cook rice

Article by: Allrecipes staff  |  Picture by: GRANNYLOOHOO
How to cook rice
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Learning how to cook rice is made easy with our advice on which rice to choose and clear-cut instructions on 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 every time.

Different types of rice

There are short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grained varieties of rice: each type is used for different types of rice dishes and cuisines.

  • White rice has been milled to remove the outer husk - the bran and the germ of the grain - and cooks more quickly than brown rice.
  • Arborio rice is an example of a medium-grained, starchy rice used to make risotto. The constant stirring required during the cooking process releases starch that helps thicken the dish. Other popular rice choices for risotto are the varieties Carnaroli and Vialone Nano.
  • Basmati rice is a fragrant long-grained rice grown in areas of South Asia.
  • Glutinous rice, also known as 'sticky rice', is used in Chinese and Asian dishes, both sweet and savoury. It's a short-grained rice that is generally steamed, not boiled.
  • Wild rice is actually a grass seed and is not considered a 'true' rice, although it's often found in rice blends and pilaf mixes.

White rice is highly refined and polished and does not require washing before cooking. Recipes using other types of rice, such as basmati, occasionally call for soaking or rinsing the rice before cooking to remove extra starch.

How to cook white rice

Follow these step-by-step instructions to cook white rice (plain, long grain, basmati, jasmine, etc.) using the absorption method:
  1. Put 185g of rice and 350ml of water in a small (one-litre) saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Bring the water to the 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 beginning rice cooks, a glass lid is a big help.)
  3. Once it boils, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and set a timer for 20 minutes. Don't lift the lid at all during the 20 minutes, otherwise the steam will escape. The rice grains swell as they absorb the water. If the temperature is too high, the bottom of the pan can scorch while the top rice is still undercooked.
  4. When the timer rings, remove the pan from the heat. Let the rice sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes (still no peeking under the lid!).
  5. 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.
Chilling rice
To chill rice for a salad or fried rice, spread it out on a baking tray or any flat tray to cool quickly in the fridge.
Other rice cooking ratios

Follow directions on the packet, or use these guidelines to cook other types of rice by the absorption method:

To cook brown rice
Add 185g of rice and 500ml of water to a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Let stand, covered and off the heat, for 10 minutes before serving.

To cook wild rice
Use 185g of rice to 750ml of water. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Let stand, covered and off the heat, for 10 minutes before serving.

To cook rice pilaf
For pilafs, 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.

To cook rice by the rapid boil method

Bring a litre of water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add 185g of rice and continue to boil, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is cooked to your liking. How do you know? Taste a grain or two and decide! Drain well through a sieve when your rice is ready.

More rice resources

See our How to make risotto article for a step-by-step guide on making risotto, or check out our Rice recipe collection for hundreds of tasty recipes.
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  • Comment: Maggsp

    Sorry I meant to say to add the cup of rice to the 2 cups of boiling water. If you want to make larger quantities just use the same format so how ever much rice you use just double the quantity of water.
    Posted: 04 Jun 2016

    Comment: Maggsp

    I recently went to an Idian cooking class and was taught how to cook an authentic Idian curry. The teacher who took the class said to add a cup of rice to 2 cups of water add to boiling water put the lid on pan then turn the heat off 10 minutes later it was perfectly cooked.
    Posted: 04 Jun 2016
    This is brilliant because when i cook rice they are usually like bullets or sometimes some rice grain sticks to the bottom of the pan? Is it true once you cooked it and removed the excess water to pour water of it again to remove any remaining starch?
    Posted: 16 May 2016 Easy


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