How to Cook Rice

how to cook rice


Lots of people struggle with how to cook rice. I know because I hear about it every week. So to appease the masses and throngs of youngsters and oldsters who’ve requested help with rice, here is another video in the Learn to Cook series: How to cook rice on the stove, without a rice cooker.

How to Cook Rice Video

How to Cook Rice Instructions

These instructions are specifically for cooking long or medium-grain rice on the stove. The amount of water required to cook one cup of rice is different for different rice varieties. Long grain rice that works with this method includes Basmati, Texmati, Jasmine, and popcorn rice as well as any white rice labeled “long grain rice”.

You can use this method for cooking long grain brown rice, but you will need to increase the water by 1/4 cup and simmer the rice for 45 minutes when cooking brown rice. The technique is the same.


How to Cook Rice

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4.9 from 11 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter or oil, optional
  • Additional spices if you desire: 1 bay leaf; 2 cracked cardamom pods; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1″ stick cinnamon; 2 slices fresh ginger; 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds


  1. Combine all ingredients in your pot and put the lid on it. Put the pot on high heat.
  2. Once the pot comes to a boil (you will notice steam and hear bubbles) reduce the heat to as low as you can go without turning it off and set a timer for 15 minutes.
  3. DO NOT open the lid. DO NOT stir the rice. Just turn the heat down and set a timer.
  4. *Tip for electric stoves: Since electric burners take a while to cool from high heat to low heat, have another burner on the back of the stove set to low so that once the rice pot comes to a boil, you can switch the pot to the low burner and turn the high burner completely off. This will help prevent burning or overocoking the rice.
  5. When the 15 minute timer dings, turn the heat off and let the rice sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving. You can let it sit longer, up to 30 minutes, and it will be just fine and even stay warm.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 169
  • Carbohydrates: 24
  • Protein: 2

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Rice Cooking Tips

  • When cooking rice on the stove, make sure you are using a heavy-bottomed pot (no cheap aluminum pots, please) and make sure that the pot is large enough to accommodate the rice swelling to four times the original volume. For example, use a 1 or 1.5 quart pot to cook 1 cup of rice. If cooking 2 cups of rice, use a 2 quart size pot.
  • Your pot will also need a tight-fitting lid. A glass lid is helpful to avoid peeking temptation, but not necessary. If you really don’t own a pot with a lid, get a piece of foil fitted around the top of the pot before you start cooking. Once the rice/water is boiling, slip the foil lid on top and weight it with a medium-gauge pan or skillet (not cast iron).
  • For gas stoves, turn the heat under the rice to the lowest setting possible after it’s come to a boil. If cooking rice on an electric stove, use one burner on high to bring the pot to a boil, but have another burner set on low so that you can immediately bring the temperature down to a simmer without waiting for the hot burner to cool off. That’s a trick I learned from my great aunt Maline. Be careful around the hot burner until it cools off!
  • Don’t peek! Don’t lift the lid to look or stir the rice while it’s cooking. You’ll let the steam out and end up with undercooked rice.
  • Let the rice rest. By leaving the rice covered and off the heat once the timer goes off, you allow residual steam to absorb and the rice grains to firm up a bit so that when you stir it, it doesn’t all break up like rice pudding. This is part of what makes rice a great side dish! You can leave it for 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes and it will stay nice and hot in the pot, ready when you are, for serving. So go ahead and get your rice cooking first thing and prepare your other courses while that happens.

Things that go with rice:

Serve hot cooked rice with stir fry, or beef stew, or New Orleans red beans.

Store leftover rice in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or in a pot with a small amount of water over low heat. Or use leftover cold rice to make fried rice.

Follow this link to learn how to cook short grain rice for sushi rolls.

Or this one for a basic risotto recipe using arborio rice!

For more about cooking different types of rice, check out my Learn to Cook book! It’s got everything you need to know about cooking all varieties of rice.

how to cook rice



  1. Great Stone Face on September 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Stray thoughts on this episode:

    * I could have rice at every meal. My middle son is the same way. He took a 25-lb. sack of white rice to school and finished it off. I don’t know how long it took him.

    * I’m so addicted to my rice cooker, that I’ve even vacationed with it. (My wife and my cast iron pan chaperoned.) Still, it’s important to know the basics, in case you don’t have your cooker, so I thank you for this excellent video.

    * In some cultures, the little bit of crusty rice that may be found at the bottom of a pot of cooked rice is considered a delicacy. I find it’s not so good for my teeth, though.

    * There are relatives of brown rice that can be fun to use. Black rice and red rice can add a fun color contrast to a meal. Cook them like brown rice. Also, you can mix half and half brown and white rice, if you have a little difficulty digesting brown or you want to lighten it up a bit. I’d still cook it like brown rice with just a tad less water. I’ve also cooked yellow rice from the Carolinas, but that cooks like white rice.

    * Now, let’s say you don’t have a measuring cup and you want to cook white rice. What do you do? A friend from Puerto Rico recommended that you pour the rice in the pot, touch it with the tip of your forefinger, then add enough water to rise to your middle knuckle. It works! (She never cooked brown rice, so I didn’t get a suggestion for that.)

    • Hilah on September 3, 2014 at 8:19 am

      Thank you, GSF!
      That last point, yes that is a great trick. I had a roommate from Korea and she would measure rice the same way, but using short grain rice and only adding water to the first (last?) knuckle, so only about 1/2-3/4 inch above the rice. I still do it that way when I’m lazy.

      It’s really amazing how many different methods there are to cooking rice that can be found around the world. Alison mentioned the boil-and-drain method from Saveur in her comment, which is something I’d heard of but not until late in life. A good friend’s mom always makes rice (white rice) by boiling in a lot of water and then draining. It always seemed to me like either a very old-fashioned method or a very American method. I wonder if it’s either.

    • Stelka on May 18, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      It is proportions of rice to water. Use any vessel even a coffee cup or fast food cup. Just add 2 times the amount of water to rice.

  2. Alison on September 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I know you’re talking about white rice here, but for brown rice, I really like the Saveur method: – it used to come out all gummy or too wet for me, but I’ve been making it this way since I saw it earlier this year and the results are FANTASTIC. We prefer brown rice for the extra fiber and we like the flavor. I usually make a huge batch since it takes a long time (~40 minutes), and freeze leftovers for quick brown rice at a later time.

    They do recommend an absurd amount of water (12 cups water to 1 cup of rice!) but what I do is use a lot less and keep a kettle of almost boiled water on the stove next to it and add it if I need to. Whatever I don’t use can stay in the kettle and be used for tea later or my husband’s aeropress the next morning (which he is obsessed with!)

    • Hilah on September 3, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Whoa! 12 cups of water! That’s bananas. I’m with you on making a big pot of brown rice, though, since it does take so long to cook. I do the same when I cook dried beans.
      Thanks for writing, Alison!

    • Jason Tinling on September 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      A second vote for the Saveur method for brown rice. Much easier, and produces good quality grains.

  3. Lesley on September 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Hilah, is it 10 or 15 mins on low? Instructions above state 10, but video states 15.

    • Hilah on September 3, 2014 at 8:09 am

      Dangit! Sorry, Lesley. It’s 15 minutes to simmer, then 10 minutes to rest. Thanks for pointing that out!

  4. The Other Randy on September 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I always make steamed rice in my microwave, but it only works if you have one that allows two stage cooking. First stage is for 8 minutes at full power and the second is for 16 minutes at half power.

    • Hilah on September 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      I never think to cook rive in the microwave. But it’s a good trick to know if you’re cooking several things and running out of stove-top room!

  5. FoodJunkie on September 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for a great tutorial. I generally use a rice cooker now but if I just need a small batch I fall back on this. One new and depressing thing I recently learned about rice is that it is prone to bacteria spores that are not killed by cooking. Apparently rice leftovers are a common cause of food poisoning. The food safety folks suggest serving rice right away whenever possible. If cooked for later use it should be cooled as fast as possible and stored in the fridge for no more than one day – well darn that rules out my big batch for the week 🙁 They also suggest being careful to reheat rice all the way through and not reheat more than once. I suspect with careful handling the rice is good well beyond one day but definitely don’t leave it out in the pot overnight to use tomorrow. Now returning you to more cheerful posts.

  6. Razieh on September 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Hilah,

    you can also try cooking rice in Persian style 😉
    I think it may be interesting for you.

    Thank you for your awesome videos.

    • Hilah on September 6, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Thanks, Razieh! I have always wanted to try making Persian rice.

      • Ehsan Hashemi on September 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm

        Don’t forget to make “Tadig ( Tah Dig )” with it!
        it’s heavenly good

  7. Jensen Bell on September 24, 2014 at 4:38 am

    I’m only eating brown rice now. I tend to get it right. 1 cup long grain organic brown with about 2.5 cups water or a mix of water and stock. I start the two cold and bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. My results vary but are usually with in the delicious range. I tend to like the texture of Trader Joe’s organic brown rice in a microwave bag better than about half the times I make mine. It could be that I’m not letting it rest enough. The microwave bachelor-rice has a 30 second rest and … yum. Food. But when I do get the rice right on the stove, nothing beats it. Any tips beyond that for brown rice? (I’m not using 12 cups of water per cup, no way.)

    • Hilah on September 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Yep, that sounds right on, Jensen!
      One thing that I do sometimes (esp when making brown rice for people who “don’t like brown rice”) is saute the rice in about a tablespoon of butter with some garlic and a bay leaf until the garlic smells cooked. Then add stock and cook as you described. The flavah is magnificent and I think the saute makes the rice grains a little softer in the end result.

  8. Katricia on October 9, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I use 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water. (Or 2 parts rice, 3 parts water …) I add the rice into the water while it’s cold, add a tiny bit of oil, and add maybe 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I stir it, and bring it to a boil with the lid off. When it just begins to boil, I turn the heat down pretty low, so it will simmer, put the lid on, and cook it for 15 to 20 minutes. It usually produces fluffy rice. I’ve used this method with pretty much every medium to long grain white rice I’ve tried. I always get great results. Just thought I’d mention it, since it uses a little less water.

    • Katricia on October 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Actually, after reading your method again, it’s pretty much the same with the exception of the water amounts. Anyways, I love all of your recipes! Thanks for everything you do!

  9. Cucumber on December 21, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Well, I don’t… maybe you really can do it in usual rice cooker, but, as I think, it’s much handier just once buy normal multicooker (as my one – Redmond 4500 multickooker) and be sure that you buy it for long years.

  10. Sarah on August 13, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Wow! I’ve been burned by internet recipes many times so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I used this for basmati rice and it came out completely perfect. Holy crap that’s awesome, I’m so happy. Especially cuz my electric stove is a bit iffy sometimes but I followed your directions exactly and it was seriously perfect. THANKS a million!!

    • Hilah on August 14, 2018 at 7:02 am

      Well, hooray!! 😀 I’m so happy for you, Sarah!

  11. Ichi Tokyo on December 4, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    This looks too good! Thanks for great post!

  12. Mary Pearson on May 5, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for this great video. In some parts of Europe and West Africa they do put a bit of salt in the rice while cooking, and they drizzle it with a bit of olive oil too. And they keep stirring it so the grains don’t stick together.

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  14. John Purcell on January 19, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    Followed recipe exactly. After 15 minutes, water in rice. Thumbs down

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