How to Cook Rice

How to Cook Rice Like a Pro

Publish Date May 8, 2024 3 Minute Read

As a staple food in many of our diets, rice is a great accompaniment for a wide variety of dishes and cuisines. Here, we’ll break down the basics of how to measure the correct amount of water to make rice, plus how long to cook both white and brown rice on the stove or in an Instant Pot.

How to Cook Rice

Learn how to get the right rice-to-water ratio every time and get tips for how to cook rice on the stove or in an Instant Pot.

Do You Need to Rinse Your Rice?

Whether or not rice needs to be rinsed is a divisive topic among foodies and bloggers, with many insisting that rinsing rice is absolutely necessary. It’s true that rinsing rice removes excess starch, which helps cooked rice stay light and fluffy. But all in all, it comes down to personal preference and any time constraints. If the possibility of starchier rice doesn’t bother you and you’d rather not take the extra step, you can skip it. But if you’ve got time, it’s worth taking a few minutes to wash your rice. To do so, simply measure your rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse briefly under cold water.

Getting the Rice-to-water Ratio Just Right

The key to perfectly cooked rice is making sure to use the correct amount of water. This ensures that your rice can absorb enough liquid to soften and fluff up without getting soggy. In general, a safe rule to follow is to measure about 1½ to 2 cups of water for every cup of rice when cooking rice on the stove. When using an Instant Pot, you’ll need about 1 cup of water per cup of rice. However, these measurements can vary depending on the type of rice. To get exact measurements for your rice variety, see our handy chart or watch our how-to video.

How to Cook Rice on the Stove

Often, the easiest way to cook rice is to make it in a pot on the stove. This is especially true if you don’t have room in your kitchen for a dedicated rice cooker or Instant Pot, or you only need to make rice occasionally. To start, make sure you have a pot with a tight-fitting lid that’s large enough for the amount of rice you’re cooking. Then, gather your ingredients. In addition to rice and water, you’ll need a pinch of salt and, optionally, 1 teaspoon of butter or olive oil per cup of rice. When you’re ready to get started, follow the steps below.

1. Combine water, salt and olive oil or butter in a saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil.

2. Once water is boiling, add rice. Cover and reduce heat to low.

3. Simmer until all water has been absorbed and rice is soft. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork before serving.

White rice varieties only need to cook for about 15-20 minutes, though sometimes longer if you’re making large quantities. Brown rice needs to cook for at least 45 minutes. You’ll know the rice is done when all the water has been absorbed and there are small holes or indents in the surface of the rice.

How to Cook Rice in an Instant Pot

Making rice in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker is even easier than cooking it on the stove. If your Instant Pot has a rice setting, you can simply add your ingredients, push the button and come back to perfectly fluffy rice. Here are our directions for using the Instant Pot’s rice cooker function:

1. Combine rice, water, salt and olive oil or butter in the bowl of an Instant Pot. Secure lid and make sure pressure valve is closed.

2. Use the rice setting to cook rice. When finished cooking, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes.

3. After 10 minutes, release any remaining pressure and open lid. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Because the Instant Pot’s rice setting is calibrated to cook white rice, it’s not the best option for brown or wild rice. To cook these varieties of rice, follow the steps above but use the manual high-pressure function for 20 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure, open the lid and enjoy your perfectly cooked rice.

Our Favorite Rice Recipes

Jollaf Rice

This version of the West African dish is best cooked slowly, giving the rice time to absorb spices.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Made with your favorite staple ingredients, this recipe is perfect for nights for staying in.

Vegan Mexican Rice

This authentic rice pairs deliciously with enchiladas or tacos for your Mexican dinner night.

Because you can make a large quantity in a single batch, rice is a great option when meal planning or prepping meals ahead of time. Check out our Meal Planning page to get ideas and inspiration for rice recipes, plus explore more helpful how-tos on our blog.

More Rice Recipes