Add too little water and your rice grains will come out tough and chewy, add too much liquid and they’ll end up mushy and sticky instead of fluffy perfection. To solve these problems, I have developed a step-by-step guide on the correct rice to water ratio using different cooking methods.
There’s no more room for guesswork here as precision is needed. You need to know exactly how much water needs to be added if you want your rice to come out perfectly textured and taste amazing every time. You will also know the different types of rice, how long it takes to cook the rice and their absorption rates.
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Don’t just go about measuring water and pouring it blindly into your rice; take into consideration the type and quality of rice you are using, as well as your cooking method.
Do you want sticky or firm grains? Are you cooking the rice using a pot on the stove, an instant pot, or a rice cooker? These are the questions that will guide you to know the proper rice to water ratio using different cooking methods.
In almost all my recipes, I stick with regular long-grain white rice and sometimes medium grains which most recipes call for. The reason why I choose these varieties of rice is the fact that they don’t take so long to cook; your long-grain white rice should be ready in about 15 to 20 minutes on the stovetop with a perfect result, without becoming mushy or crunchy.
Rice to water ratio for different types of rice
- Rice to water ratio for long-grain white rice
- Rice to water to rice ratio for basmati rice
- Rice to water ratio for medium grain rice
- Rice to water ratio for short-grain rice
Rice to water ratio for long-grain rice
The secret to perfectly cooked fluffy white rice lies in the perfect balance of rice and water. The ideal ratio of water to long-grain white rice is 2:1 and it takes 18 minutes for the water to be absorbed by the grains. That means for every cup of rice you want to cook, you will need to add two cups of water to it. This amount of water ensures your white rice comes out fluffy and well-separated each time.
This ratio of water has been tested on several occasions and I’m still using it today, it always worked so well for me. The rice I used most is regular long-grain white rice which is what I have used in almost all my rice recipes. This ratio is not applicable when using a rice cooker or instant pot but for the stovetop method alone.
However, if you like your rice on the chewy side with a little bit of firm texture like the way most people prefer, you will need a 1:1.5 ratio of rice to water to achieve that. Which means 1 and ½ cups of water for 1 cup of uncooked rice.
Rice to water ratio for basmati rice
Apart from your regular long-grain white rice, there are different varieties of long-grain rice out there such as basmati, and long-grain brown rice which may require a slightly different cooking time and ratio of water. In that case, you will need to add less or more water to it otherwise your rice will become mushy, overcooked, or undercooked.
For basmati rice, you will need 1 and ¾ cups of water per cup of basmati rice when cooking it on the stovetop and it takes around 18 minutes for the water to be fully absorbed following the gentle simmer technique. This measurement also works well for jasmine rice.
If you want to cook more than one cup of rice, just remember to double up on your water ratios accordingly to soothe the quantity of rice you are making.
Rice to water ratio for medium grain rice
For medium grain rice, you’ll want to use a 1:1⅓ ratio of rice to water (Which means for every cup medium grain rice, add 1 and 1 third cup of water to it to cook). Typically, this type of rice takes around 15 minutes to cook on low heat with a closed lid.
Rice ratio to water for short-grain rice
Short-grain rice requires less liquid than long-grain and medium-grain varieties to achieve its signature stickiness and delicate texture. For every cup of short-grain rice, add 1 cup of water to it to cook. (1:1). Simmer the rice on low heat with a tight-fitting lid and you will have those soft fluffy grains ready in 12 minutes.
Rice to water ratios for different cooking methods
- Using the stovetop
- Using a rice cooker
- Using an instant pot
Rice-to-water ratio when cooking white rice on the stove
For perfectly fluffy and tender rice, the ideal ratio is typically 1:2 when cooking on the stove. This means that for every 1 cup of uncooked white long-grain rice, you’ll need 2 cups of water to cook it on the stovetop until tender. Check here: How to cook perfect white rice on the stove.
This measurement is slightly different for medium-grain rice like jasmine rice as this variety of rice requires less water to cook. You will need 1⅓ of water to cook 1 cup of medium-grain rice on the stovetop. While short-grain rice like arborio or sushi rice requires a slightly lower ratio of 1 cup of water per 1 cup of rice to cook on the stove for a total of 12 minutes until tender.
Water to rice ratio for rice cooker
A rice cooker is a unique tool that comes in handy in convenient sizes and it simplifies our lives with its automatic functions like turning off once it senses that all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are ready.
If you’re using a rice cooker to cook your white rice, you are expected to use a 1:1 water-to-rice ratio as most models recommend. However, you may have the type that recommends a 1:1¼ or 1:1½ depending on the brand you have.
This appliance requires less water compared to cooking the rice on the stovetop since the pressure inside the cooker will keep the moisture sealed from evaporating.
Long-grain white rice requires 1 and ¾ cups of water per 1 cup of rice using the American standard cup size of 240 ml.
Medium-grain white rice on the other hand requires slightly less liquid compared to the long-grain so, usually needs a 1:1¼ ratio of rice and water.
Short-grain varieties require even less water, it uses a 1:1 ratio. Which means equal parts liquid to uncooked grains. This makes a lot of sense since these varieties retain more starch and can get gluey if too much water is added.
Basmati rice requires a 1:1.5 ratio (one cup of dried rice needs one and a half cups of water to get cooked).
Brown rice takes slightly longer to fully cook due to its bran content. This will need 2 and ¼ cups of water per 1 cup of uncooked rice.
Method of cooking rice in a rice cooker
- Measure 1 cup of rice and rinse under a running tap until the liquid turns clear.
- Add the washed rice to your rice cooker and make sure to level off the surface with a spatial for even cooking.
- Add the ideal ratio of water to uncooked white rice.
- Close the lid and press the start button. Don’t be tempted to peek through or open the lid until complete. This trapped steam builds pressure, enhancing flavor absorption and consistency.
- Once the rice is done cooking your rice cooker will alert you with a beep sound, indicating that your fluffy grains are perfectly cooked.
- Press the off button and leave the cooked rice to sit for 10 minutes still covered with a lid before fluffing it up lightly with a fork or the rice paddle.
Rice to water ratio using an instant pot
It truly feels good having this magical tool in your kitchen, you can do many things with it apart from just cooking up a batch of rice. Not only does this method of cooking rice saves time compared to the traditional stovetop or rice cooker methods, but it also ensures consistent results every single time.
The key to achieving perfectly cooked fluffy rice grains is getting the right water to rice ratio. With an instant pot, you can adjust the cooking time and temperature based on the type of rice you’re using.
For an instant pot, the recommended ratio of rice to water is 1:1; for one cup of regular white rice, you will need 1 cup of water to cook it. This measurement allows enough moisture for the rice to get properly cooked under high pressure without becoming mushy or crispy around the middle.
Short-grain requires a 1:1 ratio (1 cup of short-grain rice + 1 cup of water)
Medium grain 1:1 (1 cup of medium grain rice + 1 cup of water)
Basmati 1:1 ¼ (1 cup of basmati rice +1 and ¼ cup of water)
Brown rice 1: 1 ½ (1 cup of brown rice + 1 and ½ cups of water).
Method of cooking
- Add your rinsed rice and the corresponding amount of water into the instant pot and give it a quick stir to give the grains an even layer. (For example, measure one cup of rice with one cup of water into the inner pot).
- Securely lock the lid in place and select the high-pressure mode for six minutes.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow a natural release for at least 10 minutes before carefully releasing any remaining steam by turning your valve from sealing to the venting position.
- Remove the lid and fluff up those perfect grains with a fork and serve. This method of cooking will always result in slightly soft, fluffier grains of rice.
How to prepare the rice before cooking
- Rinsing your rice grains before cooking is ideal for getting perfectly cooked grain every time. Start by rinsing your grains thoroughly with cold water until it runs clear. This will remove any excess starch and dirt that might be clinging to the rice and cause the rice to clump together.
- Once rinsed, you can choose to soak it in fresh water for at least 20 minutes. This step is not compulsory but I always use it when cooking basmati rice. It helps improve the texture of the rice and reduces the cooking time.
- Drain any remaining liquid from the rice using a fine mesh sieve or colander and transfer your rice to a pot with the required amount of water and cook it for the recommended time.
Useful tips for cooking perfect grains of rice
- Just before you start cooking your rice make sure to rinse it with cold water as it helps reduce excess starch that could lead to those perky clumps and stickiness. This also helps to reduce the cooking time.
- Pay attention to the water to rice ratio. Different types of rice may require slightly more or less water. Typically one cup of rice to two cups of water is required to cook long-grain white rice on the stovetop but read the instructions on the packet carefully to help guide you.
- To guarantee evenly cooked grains, use a pot that is just the right size for the amount of rice you are cooking and cook it on low heat. If the pot is too small, too much steam will escape from the pot and there’s always the risk of boiling over. This will result in unevenly cooked grains or burnt rice at the bottom, Similarly, if you use an oversized pot, the grain at the bottom of the pot may end up mushy and overcooked while those on top will remain hard and uncooked.
- Whether you are cooking your rice on the stove, rice cooker, or in an instant pot, don’t forget to add a little bit of salt to the water as it simmers. This adds flavor and helps improve the taste of the grains.
- When cooking your rice, avoid lifting the lid and constantly stirring as this might seem tempting. Every time that steam escapes from the cooker, it messes with the uniformity of temperature needed for perfect results. This can disrupt the process and result in mushy clumps instead of nice fluffy individual grains.
- Let your cooked rice rest covered off heat for about 5-10 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork. This helps to separate the drains individually and prevent them from clumping together.
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How much water do you need for 2 cups of rice?
Knowing exactly how much water to add to your rice grains is dependent on the type of rice and cooking method you’re using. If you are adding 2 cups of water to cook 1 cup of rice. (2: 1), it means that you will need to double this amount of water if you are cooking 2 cups of rice. Note that you might need more or less water depending on whether you’re cooking short-grain rice or long-grain rice.
How do you adjust the doneness of the rice?
If your rice is not yet soft despite the recommended ratio of water, you can easily fix it. Simply drizzle a little more warm water (about ¼ cup or ½ cup of water depending on the rice) into the pot.
Cover it up again and let it simmer for an extra few minutes until the grains have fully absorbed all the excess liquid. It’s best to do this in small increments; too much water can turn your rice into porridge.
Does more water make rice fluffy?
Adding extra water may result in fluffier grains, and at the same time, the consistency of your cooked rice could become mushy and wet instead of light and fluffy. So, it all comes down to the perfect balance between just enough moisture and not too much that can cause overcooking or sticking together.