How to Cook Rice: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Cook Rice: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted by

1. Choose the Right Type of Rice

Before you begin cooking rice, it’s essential to select the right type for your recipe. Common varieties include:

  • Long-grain rice: such as Basmati or Jasmine, which are light and fluffy when cooked.
  • Short-grain rice: like Arborio or sushi rice, which are stickier and more moist.
  • Medium-grain rice: such as Calrose or pearl rice, which fall somewhere in between long and short grain.

2. Measure the Ingredients

For perfectly cooked, the ratio of rice to water is crucial. A standard ratio is:

  • 1 cup of rice: 2 cups of water

Adjust the quantities based on the amount of rice you’re cooking, but maintain the 1:2 ratio.

3. Rinse the Rice

Before cooking, rinse the rice under cold water to remove excess starch. Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve or colander and rinse it thoroughly until the water runs clear. This step helps prevent the rice from becoming too sticky when cooked.

4. Cook the Rice

Now it’s time to cook the rice:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the rinsed rice and the appropriate amount of water. Add a pinch of salt for seasoning, if desired.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  4. Simmer the rice for 18-20 minutes for white rice, or 40-45 minutes for brown rice.
  5. Avoid lifting the lid or stirring the rice while it’s cooking, as this can disrupt the cooking process and result in unevenly cooked rice.
  6. After the cooking time is up, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for an additional 5-10 minutes to steam and finish cooking.

5. Fluff and Serve

Once the rice is cooked, use a fork to fluff it gently, separating the grains and releasing any excess steam. Serve the rice hot as a side dish or as the base for your favorite main course.

6. Tips for Success

  • Don’t lift the lid: Resist the urge to lift the lid and check on the rice while it’s cooking. Keeping the lid on traps steam, which is essential for properly cooking the rice.
  • Use the right-sized saucepan: Choose a saucepan that’s large enough to accommodate the rice and water without boiling over.
  • Let it rest: Allowing the rice to rest off the heat after cooking ensures that it’s evenly cooked and fluffy.


Cooking rice on the stovetop is a simple yet essential kitchen skill that can elevate any meal. By following these steps and tips, you can cook perfect rice every time, whether you’re making a quick weeknight dinner or preparing a special occasion meal.