How to Cook Perfect Rice

Here’s exactly how to cook perfect rice, so you never end up with mushy rice or hard pieces ever again!

How to Cook Perfect Rice

Let me start by saying how difficult it is to take pretty pictures of rice. It’s just…… rice, you know?

I feel a bit odd sharing this “recipe” as it’s hardly a recipe so much as it is a method.

Rice was one of those things that took me a while to really “nail.” I tried following recipes on the bags of rice themselves or following the advice of friends and family but I always seemed to end up with a huge pot of mess. I kept asking myself, “Why is my rice mushy?” 

Sometimes the rice would still be crunch, other times it was total mush. Sometimes I’d find a pool of water in the bottom of the rice pot, other times the bottom half-inch of rice was a blackened burnt mess.

This method produces tender, fluffy rice like the kind they serve in Thai restaurants. You know what I’m talking about, right? When you can see each individual grain of rice, rather than just a glob of white mush? Yeah, that’s the good stuff. I had to find out how to make rice not sticky.

 How to Cook Perfect Rice

Now that I cook rice about 17 times per week, I’ve got the whole thing figured out and figured I’d share it with you!

This method is not just how to cook white rice.  This method will work with long-grain white rice, Jasmine rice, and basmati rice. Don’t try to use brown rice!

The recipe below will make about 5 cups of cooked white rice – enough for a side dish at a family meal.

Since it’s just the husband and me at my house, I like to make this rice and then save the leftovers in the fridge to make Thai-style fried rice.

OKAY. Take a  breath.

Here’s the looooong explanation for what is really a SIMPLE process. I promise.

I also think it’s an absolute MUST to rinse your rice properly before you put it over heat.

I’ve tried rinsing mine in a strainer with running water, but I’ve found the most effective way is to measure the rice, put it into your cooking pan, then add about an inch of water over the top and use your fingers to swirl the water around. You’ll be able to see the starch coming off of the rice as the water turns murky.

Then, pour the contents of the pot (both rice and water) into a fine strainer to let the water drain off. Return the wet rice to the pan, add another inch of water, swirl again, and drain again. Repeat that process one more time and you’re good to go.

I’m really not kidding about doing it 3 times. It’s essential!

Once you’ve drained the rice for the final time, return the rice to the pan and add the measured amount of water. Stir. Set it on your stove and set turn the burner on to medium heat. Wait patiently as it comes to a boil.

Don’t make a rookie mistake and turn the heat up to get it to boil faster. That will turn your rice into a mess of mushy nasty grossness. No one likes mushy nasty grossness.

Oh, and another thing. Don’t stir the rice EVER except for the one time you did it when you added the measured water.

Once it comes to a boil, keep an eye on it and wait until the water level dips below the level of the rice. Once you can see a few mounds of rice peeking out above the water you’re ready to use your…

SECRET RICE WEAPON.

Intrigued?

Well don’t get too excited, because it’s just a regular old kitchen towel.

How to Cook Perfect Rice

Lay the kitchen towel over the top of the pot, then put the lid on the pot and ensure the whole thing is as sealed up as it can be.

Lift the hanging edges of the towel up off of the burner so you don’t burn your house down, and fold them up onto the top of the pot lid.

What’s with the towel, you ask? Well, it absorbs the condensation coming off of the rice as it steams so it doesn’t “rain” back down onto the top of the rice, which makes it soggy. SCIENCE!

Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away. Have a drink and peruse my latest pins on Pinterest in the meantime.

When the timer goes off, turn the heat off and set another timer for 10 minutes. Leave the lid on the pot. Do not peek.

When that second timer goes off, remove the lid and the towel and use a fork to fluff the rice into those perfect individual grains.

Voila! Now you know how to cook perfect rice.

How to Cook Perfect Rice

Phew! That was kind of a long post to write all about plain old rice. But hey, there’s no point in you making a delicious Panang curry or a fragrant Indian Chicken Korma if you completely botch the rice, right?

Then your food is just sad and lonely and all of that yummy sauce goes to waste because there’s nothing to soak it all up! Tragic, I tell you.

How to Cook Perfect Rice

Save this to Pinterest:

How to Cook Perfect Rice

OK friends, so you don’t have to try to extract the “recipe” out of the above instructions, here’s a handy printable for you to keep in your kitchen (might I suggest the awkward cabinet above your stove?) until you have it memorized.

Here’s How To Cook Perfect Rice!

How to Cook Perfect Rice

How to Cook Perfect Rice

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Got rice problems? Here's exactly how to make perfect rice, so you never end up with mushy rice or hard pieces ever again!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. long-grain white rice, jasmine rice, or basmati rice
  • 2 c. water

Instructions

  1. Measure out 1 1/2 cup of white rice and pour it into a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Move over to the sink and run some room-temperature water over the top of the rice until it covers the rice by about an inch. Use your fingers to swirl the rice and water around the pan. Drain the water off of the rice using a fine mesh sieve or through your hand if you don’t have one. Repeat the process of adding water, swirling, and draining two more times.
  2. Once you've finished, measure 2 cups of water and add it to the pot. Stir the rice as you add in the water, but do NOT stir it again once you've turned the heat on - ever.
  3. Set the pot over medium-heat and patiently wait as it comes to a boil. Let it boil until the water level drops below the level of the rice (the rice will be peeking through the top). Turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible, place the kitchen towel over the top of the pot, and cover the rice with the pot’s lid. Bring the edges of the towel up and twist around the handle of the lid so they aren't dangling down near the heat element.
  4. Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away. Once that timer goes off, turn the heat off entirely and let the rice sit for 10 more minutes before taking off the lid. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Yield 5 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 144Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 5mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 3g

Nutrition information has been auto-calculated for your convenience.

Did you make this recipe?

Take a picture and tag @thewanderlustkitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #thewanderlustkitchen. We can't wait to see your version!


 

 

December 18, 2013 | Last Updated on April 12, 2021 by Linda

147 thoughts on “How to Cook Perfect Rice”

  1. Hi! The rice was perfectly cooked something that’s a sight to been seen!! However, when I got down to the bottom of the pot, I discovered a huge burnt mess! What could I have done wrong that would have resulted in this? The rice on top was absolutely beautiful

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the great recipe! Any tips on what to do for egg fried rice? Do I cook it as above but then fry in a pan with eggs afterwards? Or is it more complex than that?

    Reply
    • Hi Dylan,

      Here are three of my fried rice recipes that you could adapt to be just egg fried rice:
      https://thewanderlustkitchen.com/classic-thai-fried-rice/
      https://thewanderlustkitchen.com/paradise-fried-rice/
      https://thewanderlustkitchen.com/easy-thai-fried-rice/

      My suggestion is to start with the classic Thai fried rice, and you can use any rice, it doesn’t have to be jasmine.
      In the main recipe, I would leave in everything, but you could take out the onion, garlic and scallions if you want.

      For the items in the “For Serving” list below, I would leave them all out, except for the cilantro, if you like cilantro, but that is optional:
      1 lime, cut into wedges
      1 cucumber, sliced
      1 tomato, sliced
      1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
      Ground fresh chili paste (sambal oelek), or sliced birds eye chilies in fish sauce, or Sriracha (or all of the above!)
      Leave out the basil leaves and then optionally leave out the lime, tomato and cucumber.

      -Linda

      Reply
      • Thank you! Your method worked perfectly the first time!

        Is fish sauce the key to making it taste like true Japanese takeout? If so, where do you buy that and is it in the refrigerated or shelf stable section?

      • Hi Lisa,

        Yes, for all of my fried rice recipes, the fish sauce does help it taste authentic. You can find it in the international aisle (non-refrigerated) in most large grocery stores. You do have to refrigerate it after opening.

        – Linda

  3. I tried this as you said it because no matter what I did, my rice always came out slightly crunchy. I did as you mentioned except I had to use paper towels because I don’t own any kitchen towels and sadly it still came out slightly crunchy. I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

    Reply
  4. Finally…a recipe that will give me the non-sticky, fluffy rice I have been looking for. I followed the directions exactly as written. I just now took the pot of rice off the stove and was so thrilled when I removed the lid to find the non-sticky, fluffy rice I was hoping for. A big THANK-YOU for sharing your recipe.

    Reply
    • I followed this recipe exactly and it looked promising when I opened the pot but it somehow managed to be both crunchy and mushy at the same time! I am unsure what I did wrong.

      Reply
  5. I’m 43, male bachelor, that has to cook for himself and with rare exceptions only garbage microwave food comes in single servings.i call them “garbage plates” like the comedian Jim Gaffigan. After decades of making mushy, watery, indistinct pots of rice for years, these instructions have given me the ability to actually make rice that isn’t an embarrassing pot of rice diarrhea. As someone with so little cooking skill that I’ve burned 3minute instant ramen which only requires enough skill to turn on a burner, these instructions have allowed me to actually cook and enjoy eating a decent bowl rice. Thank you so much for sending this through the interweb tubes and making it available to dorks like me that can’t cook our way out of a wet paper bag full of Happy Meals.

    Reply
      • Great rice, worked perfectly, I rinced the water multiple of times until it was almost clear.
        For the water, I used 1.5 finger above rice level.
        If you follow that great recipe(No picking) the rice will come out fluffy and perfectly cooked.

    • Hi Rob,

      You don’t use the lid until you turn down the heat and put the towel over the pot in step 3.

      – Linda

      Reply
      • This worked very well. Probably best I’ve tried. Longer than others but certainly better result.

    • It worked fabulously for me. Now, what if I want to make a favored rice? I guess you put the seasoning in before you turn on the pot? I love Spanish rice and am trying to figure out how to make it work in this method. Thanks again.

      Reply
  6. I’ve tried your method several times with EXCELLENT results! No more mushy, pasty rice in this house! I was wondering if you had tested your method using chicken broth as the cooking liquid? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  7. Like several others my rice did not come out as expected. The bottom layer was smushy paste; the top was ok but still sticky – I followed your technique exactly which I found from winding thru your blog and was very excited to try it. Your rice looks very good!
    But sadly at the very BOTTOM you show the recipe without all the searching for the info. I put water to rice ratio as standard pkg measurement. But your recipe (again at the bottom) showed more rice to water than package instructions.. PLEASE put your recipe at the top or allow readers the ability to skip to the recipe. I just wanted instructions; not the story, although it was entertaining. I may try it again another day but not today – disappointed.
    I also wonder whether the difference between gas and electric stoves might be substantial. I have electric.

    Reply
    • Tried this recipe today. Only difference is I added a few seasonings, a few bay leaves, and a few drops of olive oil. Turned out great! This is the first time I’ve ever cooked rice and got it right. Thank you!

      Reply
  8. I have been cooking rice for years, and it has always been a kind of hit or miss thing… Well today I decided to try your method because I wanted perfect rice. I must say that I’m impressed and overjoyed that I’ve finally found the secret. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! Tried it last night and its the best I have ever made rice and I was embarrassed at not being able to
      I jave an electric hob with those grey hob plates. I didnt know if to take off for the final cool down as they stay warm for a while.
      Well i did and it was just slightly mushy…simples, just put back on hob plate with towel back on and left it some more and it was great.
      Sorry you have been ridely spoken to by some….I am over the moon this is the first time I have made lovely rice 🙂

      Reply

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