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How To Cook Perfect Rice

It’s really hard to get any better than fluffy, perfectly steamy rice as a vehicle for all your favorite curries or bowls or sides or burrito guts or…whatever pairs-well-with-rice friend you can think of. Here are our favorite tips and tricks on getting the perfect texture and cook on that tiny little grain.

Image that say "How to Cook Rice." There's a bowl of white rice with flecks of cilantro and lime wedges behind it with a spoon in the rice bowl.

It’s really hard to get any better than fluffy, perfectly steamy rice as a vehicle for all your favorite curries or bowls or sides or burrito guts or…whatever pairs-well-with-rice friend you can think of.

Unless, of course, you can’t get that fluffy, perfectly steamy rice to begin with. But the perfect batch of rice doesn’t need to be intimidating! Here are our favorite tips and tricks on getting the perfect texture and cook on that tiny little grain.

Pluuuuuus, bonus alert, we’ve got some of our fave variations like coconut rice and cilantro lime rice which, depending on the recipe, can really make things S-I-N-G. So here’s to happy rice times, enjoy!

How To Cook Rice

Using the Instant Pot (we consider this our perfect rice)

Grid of four photos showing how to cook white rice in the Instant Pot.
  1. Give your rice a rinse in a fine-mesh strainer to remove some of the extra starch. Rinse until the water turns from cloudy white to clear.
  2. Toss your rinsed rice in the Instant Pot with water and a pinch of salt. Use 1 1/4 cup water for every 1 cup of long-grain white rice or brown rice.
  3. Start cooking your rice. Make sure to seal the valve on the top of your Instant Pot. If you’re making long-grain white rice, cook for 3 minutes with 10 minutes of natural pressure release. If you’re making brown rice, cook for 15 minutes with 5 minutes of natural pressure release.
  4. When your rice is finished cooking, release any remaining pressure and fluff your rice with a fork. Perfect rice ready to eat!

Using the Stovetop

Grid of four photos showing how to cook white rice on the stovetop.
  1. Give your rice a rinse. Just 30 seconds in a fine-mesh strainer works here to clean your rice and get rid of some of the extra starchiness. Just rinse until the water turns from cloudy white to clear. Keep your eye out for teeny tiny rocks or debris that need to be picked out, too.
  2. In a medium pot, add 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of long-grain white rice or brown rice you want to cook. Make sure to salt your water well, then bring your water to a boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add in your rinsed rice. You’ll notice the rolling boil will mellow out a bit. Wait until the water starts to boil a bit again and turn the heat down to low to simmer the rice.
  4. Cover the pot. Make sure to not peek inside to see how the rice is doing or you’ll let out all the steam that’s helping to cook the rice. If you’re making long-grain white rice, let the rice cook on the stove for about 16-17 minutes. If you’re making brown rice, let the rice cook on the stove for about 45 minutes.
  5. When your rice is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and let it sit covered for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot cover and fluff your rice with a fork. Voilà! Perfect rice every single time.

Variations On Rice

How to Make Coconut Rice

  1. Prepare rice as normal using 1 can of coconut milk instead of water and use 2 cups of jasmine rice.
  2. Fluff rice and enjoy!

How to Make Cilantro Lime Rice

  1. Cook rice as normal.
  2. Add a handful of chopped cilantro to the rice with a large squeeze of lime juice.
  3. Fluff rice to combine and enjoy!

How to Make Spanish Rice

  1. Add a couple tablespoons of oil to a medium size pot and add 1 cup of long-grain white rice.
  2. Toast rice until it’s golden brown in color.
  3. Add 2 cups of broth, a 4-ounce can of tomato sauce, a clove of minced garlic (or a teaspoon of garlic powder), a little pinch of dried oregano, and a little pinch of cumin to the pot.
  4. Stir to combine and cover pot. Cook rice for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Fluff rice and enjoy!

Questions About Making Rice

Raw white rice in a bowl.

What is the Ratio of Water to Rice?

If you’re making long-grain white rice on the stove or in the Instant Pot, use 1 1/4 cup of water for every cup of rice.

If you’re making brown rice on the stove, use 1 cup of water for every cup of rice. If you’re making brown rice in the Instant Pot, use 1 1/4 cups water for every cup of rice.

What Does It Mean to Fluff Rice?

Fluffing rice just means running a fork or a rice paddle through the rice after it’s finished cooking and while it’s still in the pot to break up the big clumps of rice and make it fluffy for scooping.

Do You Season Rice Before or After Cooking?

Fresh or dried herbs should be added to your rice after it finishes cooking. For salting rice, make sure to do this to the water before adding your rice to your pot.

How Do You Make Rice Taste Good?

  • Use chicken or veggie broth instead of water
  • Use canned coconut milk instead of water
  • Add in fresh or dried herbs
  • Add in chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice
  • Drizzle a bit of soy sauce on top
  • Add a pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil to the pot

Troubleshooting

There was a lot of extra water in the pot after the time was up. What should I do?

Drain off a bit of the extra water using a fine-mesh strainer and return the rice to the pot, but don’t put the lid back on the pot. Continue to cook the rice over very low heat until the rice is fluffy and the excess moisture is gone. Keep an eye on it though and watch for the rice drying out.

My rice always bubbles over when I cook it on the stove. Help!

A couple things to try here! Your stove temp could be a bit too high – just turn it down a crank to an extra low simmer setting. Your pot could also be too small for the amount of rice you’re cooking, so we’d recommend sizing up to help prevent this.

I went a little overboard with the salt and now my rice tastes too salty. Can this be saved?

Sure can! Make another batch of rice, but don’t salt the water. Cook the rice according to the instructions above. Once the rice is finished cooking, combine the salted and the unsalted rice. Boom! Rice crisis averted!

Why is my rice extra sticky and/or mushy?

A couple ideas why this might be happening! It’s possible you used too much water here. When you’re rinsing your rice, make sure to “squeeze” out some of the extra rinsing water or this will affect how your rice cooks. One other idea is, if you’re making white rice, double-check that you’re using long-grain white rice. The shorter the rice grain, the stickier the rice gets typically.

Our Favorite Ways To Enjoy Rice


How else are you loving to eat rice these days? Tell us, tell us, tell us!

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14 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    John

    Interesting article overall, but it seems s as rather glaring omission to make no mention of short grain white rice, which is extremely common and has a different water ratio than the others that you cover.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Carrie W

    When I have to make rice on the stovetop on an electric range, I typically swap burners when I change temps. I’ve found that just turning the burner down that you started with to get the water boiling doesn’t cool fast enough and you end up with crispy rice on the bottom (if not burned!). I have a gas cooktop at home so it isn’t a problem, but we have an electric range at the cabin and I’ve ruined more than a few batches before I figured out swapping the burners seemed to solve the problems I had. Then again – We’re big Instant Pot fans so that is our preferred method and I finally bought a small one to have at the cabin just for rice. *grin*

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    David

    Do you have a recipe/recommendation for making Spanish rice in the Instant pot? Also, what size pot do you use for small(er) servings like 1-2 servings of rice?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      If you’re making long-grain white rice on the stove or in the Instant Pot, use 1 1/4 cup of water for every cup of rice.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nina

    In the InstantPot directions, there’s no mention of measurement for the rice. 1 1/4 cup of water to ? rice. 1 cup?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      If you’re making long-grain white rice on the stove or in the Instant Pot, use 1 1/4 cup of water for every cup of rice.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jill

    I’m confused also on the ratios. You mentioned 2 cups of water in the paragraph but later said 1 1/4 cups? Also, what about short grained rice? Thank you!!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Jill! The ratio for the Instant Pot is 1 cup rice to 1 1/4 cups water. For stovetop, it’s 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. We haven’t tested short grain rice, but we did a quick search on Google and it looks like the ratio would be the same and cook time in the Instant Pot is 5 minutes. We’d recommend this tutorial for stovetop.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Edson

    Nice way to teaching how cook rice. Is the same way to cook Black Rice or Red Rice??

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Edson! We didn’t test these methods with black or red rice, so it’s hard to say.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Heather R

    Thank you for sharing this recipe on how to make rice in the instant pot. I have a recipe that I have been using, but it seems to fluctuate as to whether it comes out right or not. I am very excited to have found this one and to be able to try it this weekend!