cooking rice

Cooking Rice – Basic Cooking Skills

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Don’t let your fear of cooking rice keep you from enjoying so many delicious meals! Rice can be a challenging dish to cook properly. If too much water is used, it’s gummy. If not enough water is used, it’s firm and burnt to the bottom. Let’s put all your fears to rest and discover the foolproof way of cooking perfect rice every time.

This post is part of our Basic Cooking Skills series. Each week we will be doing a deep-dive into one basic cooking skill and a brand new recipe to accompany it to practice that newfound skill. Check back throughout the series for updates and new posts.


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I LOVE rice and, as you can tell, am always incorporating into our meals.

It is too delicious of a food to ignore! Rice can be utilized in practically any cuisine and can be used in Vegetable Stir Fry, Crockpot Cajun Chicken, Chicken Curry, New Orleans Gumbo, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, as a side for Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas, or stand on its own as Crispy Persian Rice.

Learning how to confidently cook rice will shape your meals forevermore.

Let’s jump right in. There’s no time to waste!

rice, food, healthy

How to: Cook Rice Flawlessly

  • Bring water to a boil and season with salt. 
  • Add rice to the water and return to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce the heat, allowing the rice to simmer.
  • Simmer for roughly 15 minutes or until dimples form in the rice.

Cooking Rice Guide

Materials needed

Optional Methods

Water to Rice Ratio

The gold standard for the water to rice ratio is 2:1. 

2 cups of water for each 1 cup of rice

This can vary depending on cooking method or kind of rice, so be sure to check the instructions before using. However, this is your go-to for white rice on the stovetop

Soak or Not to Soak

Starch and other tiny particles tend to stick on rice. They may not seem like much, but these starches can cause the rice to be extra sticky.

To avoid this, the rice grains just need a quick soak in cool water.

rice
Before Soaking
rice
After Soaking

Add your rice to water in a bowl and swirl it around. You should notice the water getting cloudy — this is the starch!

Drain the water and repeat 2 or 3 times until the water starts to drain clear.

This process only takes a few minutes but can have a lasting effect on your dish!

Adding Lots of Flavor

An easy trick for extra flavor is swapping out some of the water for chicken broth or vegetable broth. Homemade chicken broth is even more flavorful than store-bought so I always opt for that if I have the choice.

Butter is commonly melted into rice for increased flavor and can be stirred in before cooking or after.

Add chopped herbs and diced aromatics (garlic, ginger, etc.) in with the rice for added savoriness and unique flavors.

My favorite combination is cilantro and ginger as a side for Indian Curry!

Instant Pot Rice

Stovetop rice used to be my go-to method when preparing rice, but the Instant Pot has taken the #1 spot now!

I’ve never owned a rice cooker so I can’t speak to those, but Instant Pot rice is so effortless and hands-off. I get picture-perfect rice every time without fail and don’t have to hover around the stove like I would with stovetop rice.

I cover in detail in a nothe rpost how to make perfect instant pot rice so be sure to check it out and get all your questions answered!

Implement your new skill

Coming up next Thursday is a yummy rice recipe that will allow you to try out your new knowledge. Be sure to keep an eye out!

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What are some of your favorite rice dishes to enjoy? The comfort of a warm rice dish is unbeatable this time of year!

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46 thoughts on “Cooking Rice – Basic Cooking Skills”

  1. I used to never cook rice. Felt like it was too much work (I know it’s supposed to be simple and easy. I was just being impatient and always bought the instant microwave kind). BUT I recently got an InstantPot and it has changed my kitchen skills dramatically. I love making new things, including rice dishes, in the InstantPot.

  2. I have a secret to reveal! I am terrible at cooking. I love baking and I am good at baking however cooking really isn’t my strong point. This post is fab and is so informative thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Hi Kalin. Thank you! Something so simple and yet … I didn’t know. I have to confess, I got so fed-up with trying to get ‘real’ rice cooked properly that I resorted to boil-in-the-bag rice. Armed with your advice I’m going to try the real thing again 🙂

  4. Ah I’m not very good at making rice I’ll be honest, I often opt for using the microwave pouches instead. I love this post as it’s simple and one of the basics lots of people don’t know how to cook perfectly 🙂 thanks for sharing x

  5. Rice is a staple at almost every meal where I’m from. Most families, including mine, have rice cookers at home and it is very easy to operate! I’ve never cooked rice in any other way but with the rice cooker. Nevertheless, these tips could come in handy to anyone without a rice cooker. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m gonna have to try a rice cooker now! One of my roommates had one but rarely used it, it’s so unfamiliar to me but sounds totally worth it 🙂

  6. I love my rice especially with a delicious chicken korma curry, I sometimes find it difficult to know when it’s cooked, it’s like pasta, it’s one of those items that just takes it time to cook!

  7. I’ve never cooked rice before. I’ve always used the microwavable pouches instead but they are so expensive. I recently bought a packet of rice to cook and will use these tips to hopefully make it tasty and edible.

  8. I seem to never cook rice properly, so this was a really helpful read. It tends to constantly get stuck to the bottom of my saucepan, so I appreciate your tips and insight! Always looking for more cooking information and your blog is a fountain of knowledge.

  9. I’m obsessed with the Zojirushi rice cooker – it’s the easiest way to prepare rice for a variety of dishes, but it definitely helps to know different methods and tricks.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  10. I absolutely love rice, I’ve only just got the hang of making rice.

    I’ll admit to always being a little scared of it! Not getting it right, the risk of poisoning from reheated rice etc which I know is silly.

    It’s a firm favourite in our house x

  11. I am awful at cooking, I am getting better, but you can still see the fear in my partner’s eyes when I say I’m going to cook something. This post is beneficial for me and will help when I attempt to cook again. Thank you for sharing! 😊

  12. I practically live off rice haha! But surprisingly I have only just got the hang of making it. Whenever my boyfriend makes it though, it always sticks to the bottom of the pain, so this would be a very useful post for him! Thank you 😀

  13. Pingback: Pomegranate Basmati Rice - Abundance of Flavor

  14. Cooking rice is so though and used to be one of my pet peeves! I couldn’t stand starchy or dry rice until I managed to do it right! Still, portioning is not a skill I have as I cook enough rice for the neighbourhood! Thanks for sharing x

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