How to make white rice on the stove

It is time to say goodbye to soggy and undercooked rice and learn how to make white rice on the stove with a perfect result. When it comes to making rice on the stovetop, finding the best way can be a bit challenging to get those soft and fluffy grains just right.

I love making white rice at home a lot; it’s such a simple and versatile dish that can be paired with almost anything. It is one of the quickest meals to prepare and I have mastered the tricks behind it. It is all about precision: the right ratio of water to rice grains, the proper cooking time and temperature, and even some gentle seasonings that could add up to making the perfect white rice.

Related: How to make rice pudding from scratch

So, I thought to share with you how to make white rice on the stove perfectly every time in this article. Your cooked white rice can be used as an excellent base for chicken stew, roasted chicken, pasta sauce, stir-fried dishes, or soups. It is also perfect for pairing with this creamy chicken curry sauce.

As you read down, you will learn the different types of rice, their different cooking methods, the right ratio of water to rice grains, and the best tips for making the perfect white rice every time.

White rice to water ratio

To achieve that fluffy and moist textured cooked rice, you will have to pay attention to the ratio of water to rice; for most rice, you will need a 1:2 of rice to water. That means 1 cup of uncooked rice typically requires 2 cups of water to cook until tender but this can vary depending on the type of rice used.

So, how much water do you need for 2 cups of rice? If you are cooking 2 cups of rice, you will need 4 cups of water to get the best texture. You need twice as much water as rice; this ratio of water to rice will always produce perfectly fluffy and tender grains every single time. That is the exact measurement I used for this recipe and it worked out perfectly as seen in the picture above.

Related: How to cook rice with coconut milk

What is the best kind of rice to cook?

The best type of rice that is ideal for cooking or boiling is your regular long-grain white rice. This type of rice offers a light and delicate flavor with each bite and is perfect for everyday meals like curries, sauces, and stew and you can use it to prepare fried rice as well.

Other popular types that are most preferred by many people include basmati rice and Jasmine; these varieties are fluffy, nutty, aromatic, and easy to cook too. The texture of these types of rice makes it ideal for soaking up flavors and creating that fluffy consistency we all know and love.

Tips for making perfect white rice on the stove every time

  • Always rinse your rice until the water turns clear; this helps remove excess starch that can make your dish mushy or soggy.
  • Get the correct ratio of water to rice (for instance, you will need 2 cups of water for every cup of rice). This works best for long grain white rice and allows the grains to cook evenly without being too dry or soggy.
  • Don’t take off that lid or peep while the rice is cooking as heat and moisture will escape. The steam is what helps those grains absorb all the water and also makes them cook evenly.
  • Leave the rice to rest for 15 to 10 minutes after removing it from the heat before serving, this allows time for any remaining moisture to be absorbed into the grains resulting in perfectly cooked rice.
  • If after cooking your rice and it appears a little bit hard, sprinkle 1/2 cup of water over it, cover it to steam again for an extra 5 minutes until done.

Ingredients for making white rice

  • 2 cups of long-grain rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

How to make white rice on the stove

How to make white rice on the stove

Making white rice can be tricky, and one of the most common challenges is ending up with soggy and mushy rice. You will learn how to make white rice on the stove in five simple steps.
Just follow these tips to ensure your cooked rice stays fluffy and perfect; it’s a simple and quick process that can be easily mastered by even a first-time cook.


Rinse the rice to remove excess starch

Before cooking white rice, rinse the rice first to remove excess starch from it 2

Measure out 1 cup of uncooked rice and rinse it in a fine mesh strainer under a running tap until the water turns clear. This step is crucial because it removes excess starch that can make your rice clumpy.

You can always double or triple the amount of rice if cooking for more people.

Add the right ratio of water

Ratio of water to rice for cooking rice on the stove

Add 4 cups of water to a pot along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, gently pour in the washed rice and stir to spread it out evenly. Use a 4:2 ratio of water to rice and if you are cooking 1 cup of rice, simply reduce the water by half. Also, you can also add a teaspoon of oil or butter, or olive oil to the water for added flavor.

The amount of water you use when cooking your rice can have a big impact on its texture. Be sure to measure carefully.

Simmer until the water is fully absorbed

How to make white rice on the stove 4

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat before reducing it to low and simmer for 18 minutes until all the water has been absorbed by the grains. Do not lift the lid or stir throughout the cooking time as this may disrupt steaming and can lead to undercooked or mushy.

Most types of white rice will absorb all their required liquid within 15 to 20 minutes however, other types of rice such as brown or wild rice may take a bit longer.

Remove from and rest it

Cooking white rice on the stove 8

Once the time is up, check on the rice to see if it is soft, once you are happy with the doneness turn off the heat and remove the pot entirely from the stove. Don’t stir the rice yet, and don’t add extra liquid to it again. Let it rest for another 5 minutes with the lid on.

Fluff with a fork and serve

How to make white rice on the stove perfectly 7

Fluff up the grains gently with a fork before serving hot. Fluffing up your cooked white rice just before serving ensures even distribution throughout every grain while releasing any remaining moisture.

A bowl of fluffy and perfectly cooked rice that is sure to impress everyone at dinner. Now, say goodbye to soggy or uncooked rice.

What to eat with white rice

There are endless sides that go well with cooked white rice, and some of my favorite ones include

Do you have to wash rice before cooking?

The reason for washing rice before cooking is to help remove excess starch or any debris that could give your cooked rice a cloudy appearance as well as make it taste a bit gummy. When you first rinse the grain, you are sure to end up with fluffier and non-sticky rice, which is exactly what you want. To wash your rice perfectly, place it in a fine-mesh strainer and run cool water over it while rubbing the grains against your palm until the water runs clear. Then drain it completely and transfer the washed grains into your pot with the appropriate measured water.

Do you boil water before adding rice to cook?

One of the tips for getting perfectly cooked rice every time is to first get the pot of water boiling before adding the rice. After you have rinsed the rice, measure the right water ratio into a pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Once the water starts to boil, add the rinsed rice and stir gently to prevent it from sticking together. Reduce heat and let it simmer until the water is dried up.

How long does rice take to cook on the stove?

White rice usually takes about 15-20 minutes to cook when simmered on the stovetop. However, the ratio of water to rice and the type of rice may affect the timing. If you’re making brown or wild rice, it could take longer to cook, let’s say from 30-40 minutes due to their thicker husks and higher fiber content. My go-to tip for ensuring perfectly fluffy and cooked rice every time is never to lift the lid or stir during the cooking process as it disturbs its absorption capabilities. Instead, leave it alone until all the liquid has been absorbed.

What to add to white rice for flavor?

You can certainly flavor your cooked white rice for a more complex taste. Instead of using plain water to boil your rice, replace that with chicken stock or vegetable broth for an extra boost of savory deliciousness. Add a touch of salt and a spoonful of butter or olive oil for added richness. Try squeezing on fresh lime juice right before serving your cooked rice. You can also throw in some herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves for extra flavor before bringing it to a boil. Sometimes, I turn my plain white rice into this delicious rice pilaf dish by adding extra seasonings and spices to boost the overall taste.

Should you salt rice before cooking it?

Salting your rice before cooking not only adds flavor to the bland grain but also helps bring out its natural sweetness. If you want more flavorful cooked white rice, go ahead and add a little bit of salt to the boiling water before adding the rice to it. You just want enough salt to improve the taste, but not so much that it overpowers the entire dish.

Why is my rice sticky and mushy?

There are many reasons why you always end up with sticky and mushy rice every time. Most likely, it has to do with the type of rice you used, the amount of water you added, or how long it cooked for. Too much water can leave your rice drowning in liquid while too little can result in crunchy grains that aren’t quite cooked enough. Another reason may be you didn’t rinse your rice thoroughly enough before cooking it, the excess starch on its surface will make it stick together.

Can you freeze cooked rice?

Freezing cooked rice is an excellent option if you want to do a quick meal prep or have leftovers that need storage. To store it, allow your cooked rice to cool down completely then transfer it into ziplock bags or freezer-safe containers. Be sure to press out any excess air before sealing the bags tightly. Store the rice in your freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to eat, defrost overnight in your refrigerator. Heat it up on low heat on the stove or in the microwave with a few splashes of water until heated through.

How long does white rice last in the fridge?

Cooked white rice can last up to 5 days in the fridge without losing its texture or flavor, making it an easy meal prep staple.

What should I do if I put too much water in my rice?

If you have put too much water in your rice, here is what you can do to fix it. Turn off the stove immediately and drain out any excess water from the pot then place a tight-fitting lid over the pot. Place the rice back on the stove for about 5-10 minutes to steam until fluffy and the remaining liquid is fully absorbed. Another thing you can do to fix watery rice is to transfer the rice into a sieve or strainer and run cold tap water over it to wash away some of the starch until well-drained, shake off any excess water, and place the rice back into the pot. Cover the pot and let it cook on low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed by the grains.

Types of rice for making white rice

Rice comes in a variety of forms, from long-grain to short-grain and everything in between. The perfect way to cook rice depends on the type you’re using.

  • Long-grain white rice– We have a different variety of them and the three basic ones include your regular long grain used for fried rice and Spanish rice, basmati rice, and jasmine rice. These varieties are best cooked using the absorption method where the rice is boiled on the stove and then simmered until all the water has been absorbed. Basmati rice is known for its fragrant aroma. When cooking with it, I like to soak it for a short period, let’s say 20 minutes to hasten the cooking time. Both basmati and jasmine rice use the same method as the regular long long-grain variety.
  • Arborio rice and short-grain Japanese style– These can be very tricky to make because overcooking them can lead to a mushy rice dish and when undercooked, the grains turn out hard, and unappealing. This is why it is important to rinse the rice more frequently before cooking to remove excess starches that could make it sticky or soggy before being cooked. The cooking time for this variety is about 13 to 15 minutes with the precise water-to-rice ratio for a perfectly fluffy result.
  • Brown rice and wild rice– When using brown rice for boiling, it is important to use a little more water than usual. For instance 2 1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of brown rice and let it cook covered for about 35 to 40 minutes till all the liquid is absorbed. You don’t need to stir the rice during this process as that could rupture the grains turning them into a mushy mess. Brown rice needs more water and takes longer to cook than their white counterparts, so don’t be afraid to add extra cups of water and cook at least 20 minutes longer than the usual time.

Methods of making white rice

  • Stovetop- The most common method of cooking rice is on the stovetop. This involves boiling water in a pot with a pinch of salt and adding your pre-washed rice to cook until the water is fully absorbed and the rice turns fluffy and perfectly cooked.
  • Rice cooker method– Using a rice cooker to prepare rice is also a good method, especially for those who prefer convenience, it takes all the guesswork out of preparing perfect rice every time. Using a rice cooker is by far one of the easiest and fuss-free ways to cook a delicious batch of rice. After rinsing the grains, add the required amount of water to the rice. Then simply turn your cooker on and let it do its job which is essentially just boiling the rice until the water evaporates. Some machines even have settings for different types of rice such as brown or long grain varieties so pick according to what you are looking for.
  • Baking– Of course, you can bake your white rice in the oven with or without spices and ingredients for an interesting twist just like the traditional stovetop method.
  • Pilaf method of making rice– This involves sautéing your uncooked rice in some oil or butter until it becomes lightly browned and aromatic, then, add in some hot liquid (usually water or broth) and simmer everything together until the liquid has been fully absorbed by the rice. This allows each grain to become fluffy and tender without getting mushy or sticky.
  • Microwave– This method of cooking rice works best with pre-cooked instant rice, it requires only a few minutes for perfect fluffy grains.

This perfect cooked rice recipe is easy to make yet yields amazing results every time, I hope you try it out and leave your thoughts down below in the comments.

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