5 Tips for How To Cook Rice Perfectly Every Time

Jan 31, 2020 | Cooking Tips

I can’t count the number of times people have told me about all the problems they have cooking rice. It’s too wet. They burnt it. The rice is crunchy. To some people, rice is the easiest thing to cook, but for some reason, others have a lot of trouble. This post is for the others. Today, I am going to show you how to cook rice perfectly every time with five simple tips. Are you ready to master rice? Let’s take a look.

5 Tips For Cooking Perfect Rice Every Time

Number 1 – Choosing Rice

There are over 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice out there, so choosing the right one for your needs can be difficult. There are only 3-4 varieties you need to think about in everyday cooking. They are basmati rice, brown rice (usually whole grain basmati), sticky rice such as sushi rice, jasmine rice, and arborio or carnaroli rice, which are both used to make risotto.

Though both basmati and jasmine make good all purposes rice, I prefer basmati as it is generally a bit cheaper, more readily available, and I find cooks a bit better. If I am making sushi, fried rice, or other foods from Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, or Vietnam, I typically use sticky rice, which will be labelled as sushi rice. If I am making risotto, it is either arborio (which I find easier to find) or carnaroli, which I prefer of the two. Brown rice I use if I feel I need a bit of a healthy boost, but this is rare for me though it is excellent in burrito bowls and the like.

Typically, I will have at least 2-3 of the above varieties of rice on hand at any given time. Notice how I didn’t list minute rice in there. To be blunt, I think minute rice is garbage. All of the flavours have been taken away in the name of convenience. White rice usually takes around 17-25 minutes to make from start to finish. While it’s cooking, the rest of the dinner can be prepared. I honestly see no reason for minute rice.

Number 2 – To Rinse or Not To Rinse

It is a good idea to rinse rice until the water runs clear for two main reasons. First of all, rinsing removes dirt and grime. Second of all, to rinsing takes away any excess starch. One key thing to keep in mind is that the rice must be drained very well after rinsing. Any excess water left from rinsing the rice may lead to the rice being soggy or mushy when cooked.

If you feel as though you are not getting enough water out of your rice, cut back the amount of water you are adding when cooking the rice by a tablespoon or two. This should compensate for the over-saturation.

Number 3 – Sauté the rice

Sautéing or toasting the rice in oil prior to adding the water can add an additional depth of flavour to the rice. Adding almost a nutty flavour and aroma. This can also help keep the grains of rice from sticking together.

To sauté or toast the rice heat a pot over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon or two of oil to the pot along with the rice. Cook the rice for 1-2 minutes or until it gets a pearly appearance rather than being solid white. Add the water as you usually would, bring to a boil, and cook as directed. This technique is especially useful when making risotto to get a more complex flavour and when making rice pilaf.

Number 4 – Rest The Rice

Though the ratio of rice to water and the timing may change, the standard procedure for making rice is pretty much standard across the board. There are exceptions to this, such as with dishes like risotto and paella. The basic rice procedure for making rice is as follows. Put the rice in a pot with the correct amount of water. Bring the water to a boil. Put a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer the rice for a set amount of time. Remove the pot from the heat and let the rice stand for a set amount of time. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Many, many people that I know tend to get impatient and skip the ever so crucial resting time when cooking rice. The resting period is usually only between 5-10 minutes and is worth every second. The rest gives the rice time to let off some steam and expel any excess moisture. Resting provides the rice with a better overall texture and allows it to hold it’s structure better when fluffed.

Number 5 – Read The Instructions

I’m not trying to be condescending here, I mean this seriously; when in doubt read the instructions. Different brands may process their rice in different ways leading to different cook times and different ratios of water to rice. It is essential to follow these instructions as carefully as possible to get perfect rice. There are occasionally issues with the package instructions. If you notice that you followed the directions to the letter, but the rice didn’t work out, you may need to adjust a few things the next time you make it. For example, if the rice is still very wet at the end of cooking, you may need to add a little less water. If the rice is mushy, you may need to cook it a little less and so on.

Bonus Tip

One complaint I hear from people is that they don’t like rice because it is boring. I think that is the fault of the cook, not the rice. Good quality rice actually has a lot of flavours, subtle as they may be. Flavourings may also be added to rice reasonably easily. Adding a bay leave and star anise to the cooking water when making rice will add a tonne of flavour. Herbs like thyme and rosemary can be added to the water too. Parsley or cilantro with lemon or lime zest can be folded into the rice once it is cooked. And the cooking liquid can be substituted for chicken, beef, pork, fish, mushroom, or vegetable stock, or even coconut milk.

There are thousands of ways to add flavour to the rice, and almost none of them are complicated or require much time. If your rice is boring, it is your fault, not the rice.


I eat way more rice than I do potatoes or pasta. I love it. It is easy to eat a lot because there are so many variates and flavours possibilities. Whether I’m making Mexican food, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, or anything else rice has a place on the table.

I hope that these tips have helped you feel a bit more confident cooking rice. If you do use some or all of these tips you may also notice that you are enjoying rice more. It isn’t just this bland, plain thing served on the side at Chinese Restaurants. It can be delicious on its own.

Thank you for reading the post. If you liked it, remember to share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter by clicking the icon to the left of the right of the page. Did you know that Chefsnotes.com has almost 400 posts just like this one? Imagine all the great tips, tricks, and recipes you’ve missed. Don’t miss any more! Subscribe to Chef’s Notes by putting your email address in the subscription box at the top right of the sidebar. You will be notified of every new post. And if you would like to know more about me, click the link below to read my story.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!