How To Cook The Perfect White Rice

Discover the secret to cooking the perfect White Rice every time! Say goodbye to mushy grains or hard, uncooked pieces. Master the art of flawless rice with our foolproof rice recipe!

Bowl of white rice with chopsticks on a table.

Rice is a staple in my home. It was one of those things that took me a while to really “nail.” I tried following recipes on rice bags or taking advice from friends and family, but I always ended up with a huge pot of mess. I kept asking myself, “Why is my rice mushy?” Sometimes, the rice would be crunchy; other times, it turned to total mush.

Occasionally, I’d find a pool of water at the bottom of the pot, or the bottom half-inch of rice would be a blackened, burnt mess. This method produces tender, fluffy rice like the kind served 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 figure out how to make rice that’s not sticky. If you’re a rice lover like me, then you must try my Thai Mango Sticky Rice, Paradise Fried Rice, and Kale and Wild Rice Salad!

Overhead view of a bowl of white rice.

Reasons to Love White Rice

  • Rice complements a wide range of dishes, making it an ideal base for diverse culinary creations from various cultures.
  • Fluffy and tender, perfectly cooked white rice absorbs flavors beautifully. Leftovers are perfect for Thai-style fried Rice.
  • Rich in carbohydrates and low in fat, rice provides essential energy and can be a healthy part of a balanced diet.
  • Being light and easy to digest, rice is a comfortable and satisfying option for people of all ages.
  • Quick and straightforward to prepare, this side dish is a time-saver for busy lifestyles, offering a hassle-free cooking experience.

Recipe Ingredients

A bowl of uncooked rice and a cup of water.

The flavor of long-grain white rice, particularly jasmine or basmati, is subtly unique and plays a crucial role in many dishes. Jasmine rice is known for its slightly sweet, nutty taste and floral aroma, enhancing the sensory experience of a meal. Basmati rice, on the other hand, offers a more earthy, nutty flavor and is famous for its distinctive aroma.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Brown Rice: Substitute with brown rice for a nuttier flavor and added fiber. Adjust water ratios and cooking time, as brown rice requires more of both.
  • Broth: Replace water with chicken broth or vegetable broth to infuse additional savory flavors into the rice.
  • Coconut Milk: Mix coconut milk with water for a creamy, tropical twist. Ideal for Thai-inspired dishes.
  • Saffron or Turmeric: Add a pinch of saffron or turmeric to the water for a vibrant color and a subtle, earthy flavor.

How to Make the Perfect White Rice

Step #1: Measure out 1 ½ cups of uncooked rice and pour it into a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Go to the sink and run room-temperature water over the rice until it covers the rice by about an inch. Use your fingers to swirl the rice and water in the pan.

Adding water to an uncooked rice in a medium saucepan.

Step #2: Pour the contents of the pot (both rice and water) into a fine mesh strainer to let the water drain off. Return the wet rice to the pan, add room-temperature water where it covers the rice by an inch, swirl again, and drain again. Repeat that process one more time, and you’re good to go.

Dirty rice water being strained.

Step #3: Once you’ve finished, draining the rice, return the rice to the pot. Then measure 2 ¼ 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.

Step #4: Set the pot on your stovetop and turn the burner on to medium heat. Wait patiently as it comes to a boil. Make sure not to turn the heat up to get it to boil faster, as this will make the rice mushy. Once it comes to a boil, keep an eye on it and wait until the water level dips below the level of the rice, showing a few mounds of rice peeking out above the water.

Cooking white rice in a pot.

Step #5: Once the water level dips below the rice, turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. 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. The towel absorbs the condensation coming off the rice as it steams, preventing it from “raining” back down onto the top of the rice, which would make it soggy.

Rice in a medium saucepan with a towel on top and covered.

Step #6: Bring the edges of the towel up and twist around the handle of the lid so they aren’t dangling down near the stove burner or heating element, as you don’t want the towel to catch on fire.

Hanging edges of the towel lifted up and folded on top of the lid.

Step #7: Set a timer for 15 minutes and don’t mess with the towel or the lid.

Step #8: Once that timer goes off, turn the heat off entirely and let the rice sit for 10 more minutes before taking off the lid and towel.

Step #9: After 10 minutes, remove the lid and towel and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot.

Fluffing rice with a fork.

Voila! Now you know how to cook perfect stovetop rice.

Perfect stovetop rice in a bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Rice Quality Matters: Choose high-quality rice, such as jasmine or basmati, for better flavor and texture.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse rice multiple times until the water runs clear to remove excess starch, preventing stickiness.
  • Water-to-Rice Ratio is Key: Use the correct water-to-rice ratio; typically, it’s 1:1.5 for white rice.
  • Low and Slow: After boiling, cook rice on the lowest heat setting to prevent overcooking and burning.
  • Kitchen Towel Trick: Placing a kitchen towel under the lid absorbs excess steam, preventing wet and mushy rice.
Perfectly cooked white rice in a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you reheat rice?

It is quite simple to reheat rice. All you need to do is stick it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and it will be as good as new. In fact, simply adding a few drops of water or even an ice cube can help create steam. This will soften up those grains just like when it was freshly cooked.

What is the proper rice-to-water ratio?

The most common mistake that people make when cooking white rice is to use too much water. When making rice, it is recommended that you use 1 and a half cups of liquid for every cup of rice that you cook. That means if you want to serve four people, you should be using 6 cups of water or stock to get the job done.

Can I use the leftover rice for fried rice?

Absolutely! I do this at least once a month. The trick for fried rice is to always use one-day-old rice. So this is the perfect recipe for fresh rice today and the main ingredient for fried rice tomorrow! Try leftovers with my Classic Thai Fried Rice and my Paradise Fried Rice recipes.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH WHITE RICE

This delicious (and Vegan!) Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe hits the spot when you’re craving Indian food. Serve it up over rice and garnish it with plenty of fresh cilantro!

This Asian Salmon recipe tops healthy salmon fillets with a boldly flavored Asian glaze of hoisin sauce, garlic, and siracha.

Enjoy this delicious, easy-to-make Thai Tilapia Curry recipe with a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce that adds a bold flavor to a mild fish and to the side of rice.

This Indian Tomato Cilantro Chicken is full of flavor from tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, Serrano chilies, onion, ginger and several spices that will make your mouth water before you even taste this deliciousness!

Storage Info

Store cooked rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay good for up to 5 days. To freeze it, put the leftover rice in your freezer for up to 2 months. Make sure it’s cooled completely before freezing in airtight bags or containers. To reheat, sprinkle some water over the rice to add moisture, then place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, or reheat in a saucepan over low heat.

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Perfect white rice in a bowl.

How to Cook Perfect Rice Recipe

Discover the secret to cooking the perfect White Rice every time! Say goodbye to mushy grains or hard, uncooked pieces. Master the art of flawless rice with our foolproof rice recipe!
4.5 from 689 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 259kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. long-grain white rice - jasmine rice, or basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 c. water

Instructions

  • Measure out 1 ½ cups of uncooked rice and pour it into a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Go to the sink and run room-temperature water over the rice until it covers the rice by about an inch. Use your fingers to swirl the rice and water in the pan.
  • Pour the contents of the pot (both rice and water) into a fine mesh strainer to let the water drain off. Return the wet rice to the pan, add room-temperature water where it covers the rice by an inch, swirl again, and drain again. Repeat that process one more time, and you’re good to go.
  • Once you’ve finished, draining the rice, return the rice to the pot. Then measure 2 ¼ 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.
  • Set the pot on your stovetop and turn the burner on to medium heat. Wait patiently as it comes to a boil. Make sure not to turn the heat up to get it to boil faster, as this will make the rice mushy. Once it comes to a boil, keep an eye on it and wait until the water level dips below the level of the rice, showing a few mounds of rice peeking out above the water.
  • Once the water level dips below the rice, turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. 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. The towel absorbs the condensation coming off the rice as it steams, preventing it from “raining” back down onto the top of the rice, which would make it soggy.
  • Bring the edges of the towel up and twist around the handle of the lid so they aren’t dangling down near the stove burner or heating element, as you don’t want the towel to catch on fire.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes and don’t mess with the towel or the lid.
  • Once that timer goes off, turn the heat off entirely and let the rice sit for 10 more minutes before taking off the lid and towel.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the lid and towel and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot.

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
Store cooked rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay good for up to 5 days. To freeze it, put the leftover rice in your freezer for up to 2 months. Make sure it’s cooled completely before freezing in airtight bags or containers. To reheat, sprinkle some water over the rice to add moisture, then place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, or reheat in a saucepan over low heat. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    If you had an induction stove, how would you do the last step where you leave it on the burner but turn the heat off?