How to Cook Rice
Learn how to cook rice on the stove. This easy method makes perfect fluffy and tender white rice, every time!
Cooking rice on the stove is so simple, yet it’s all too easy to end up with mushy or gummy rice or a mess from a bubbled over pot. With this easy recipe, your rice will turn out perfectly cooked and fluffy, every time.
You’ll love this recipe because there’s no guesswork, fancy steps or special equipment needed. While I love cooking rice in the Instant Pot, I’ll admit that I prefer the texture of stove top rice just a bit better. And compared to cooking it in the microwave or oven, rice cooked in a pot on the stove cooks more evenly and has the best texture.
When you need a simple side dish to go with your meal, rice is easy, affordable and versatile. Now let’s cook some rice!
How to Cook Rice on the Stove
In just a few simple steps and less than 5 minutes of active prep time, you’ll have a pot of fluffy white rice ready to serve and enjoy.
- Rinse the rice. Rinsing the rice removes any possible dirt or grit, as well as excess starch that could cause your rice to turn out too sticky. Put the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it well under cold running water, then let it drain.
- Bring the water to a boil. Measure out your water and add it to a medium saucepan, along with a teaspoon of butter or olive oil. The butter adds flavor and also helps to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the rice, cover and simmer. As soon as the water starts to boil, stir in the rice. Then immediately cover the pot and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. You want the rice to cook at a very low simmer. Simmer the rice for 15 minutes, leaving the lid in place the whole time. No stirring or peeking!
- Let it rest for 10 minutes. As soon as your 15 minute cooking timer goes off, remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes, without lifting the lid. The rice will continue to steam cook during the rest time until it’s nice and fluffy. Then fluff and serve!
This cooking method works for almost every type of white rice, including long grain white rice, such as basmati or jasmine, medium grain white rice and short grain white rice. To cook brown rice, see How to Cook Brown Rice.
Rice to Water Ratio
The rice to water ratio for perfect fluffy white rice is 1 cup uncooked rice to 1 1/2 cups water. I know you may have heard that you should use 2 cups of water for every cup of uncooked rice, but that is too much water and will give you gummy, mushy rice. Using less water and cooking at a very low simmer, followed by steaming with the lid on the pot creates soft and fluffy rice.
One cup of uncooked rice will yield about 3 cups of cooked rice.
White Rice Recipe Tips
- Don’t use too much water or your rice will turn out mushy and gummy. You need 1 1/2 cups water for every 1 cup of uncooked rice. Measure carefully.
- Cook at a very low simmer. Turn the heat on your stove to the very lowest setting while cooking the rice. The pot should hardly look like it’s boiling – you should just see a few bubbles now and then. Keeping the heat very low gently cooks the rice until it’s perfectly fluffy without evaporating too much of the liquid. It also prevents the pot from bubbling over and creating a mess.
- Keep the lid on. Resist the urge to lift the lid to peek or stir. You want all of the steam to stay trapped in the pot throughout the cook and rest time.
- Add a bit of butter or olive oil. This is both for flavor and to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot
- Should you add salt? This is a matter of personal preference. I don’t find that rice needs salt added, but feel free to add some salt to the cooking water if desired.
To Store, Freeze & Reheat
It’s important to refrigerate or freeze rice promptly after cooking. Rice left out too long at room temperature can pose a food safety risk.
- Refrigerator: Store cooked rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Some sources say you can store it longer in the fridge, but I err on the side of caution.
- To Freeze Cooked Rice: Let the rice cool completely (you can speed up the process by spreading the rice out in an even layer on a baking sheet). Then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I like to freeze rice in portion sizes that are just enough for one meal.
- To Reheat: Leftover rice should be reheated to steaming hot before consuming. This can be done in the microwave, on the stove top, or even in a dish in the oven, covered to trap in the heat and steam. If your rice has dried out you can add a bit of water when reheating.
When it comes to what to serve with rice, the possibilities really are limitless. Serve it with a Chicken Stir Fry or Asian dishes like Sesame Chicken. It’s a kid-friendly side dish for proteins like Baked Salmon, Pork Tenderloin or Air Fryer Chicken Breast. In the summer, we love grilling up Kabobs or Cilantro Lime Chicken and serving over white rice.
Or try one of these ideas:
- Layer rice, chicken, black beans and other toppings to make a burrito bowl.
- Make fried rice with leftover rice.
- Stir in lime juice, lime zest and fresh cilantro to make cilantro lime rice.
- Serve it with recipes that have a lot of sauce or gravy, like Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken or Smothered Pork Chops. Rice is perfect for soaking up extra sauce.
- Make a grain bowl with rice and roasted vegetables.
More Rice Recipes
- Brown Rice
- Instant Pot White Rice
- Instant Pot Brown Rice
- Instant Pot Mexican Rice
- Baked Chicken and Rice
How to Cook Rice
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon butter or olive oil
- Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well under cool running water. Drain and set aside.
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan or pot. Add the butter or olive oil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- As soon as the water starts to boil, stir in the rice.
- Immediately cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low (you want the heat to be as low as it can go). Cook for 15 minutes, without lifting the lid on the pot. The pot should be at a very low simmer while the rice cooks.
- Remove the pot from the heat and without lifting the lid, let the rice rest for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork, spoon or spatula, and serve.
- This recipe works for almost every type of white rice, including long grain white rice, such as basmati or jasmine, medium grain white rice and short grain white rice.