Cooked rice in pot

How to Cook Rice the RIGHT Way

Rice, the staple ingredient of many cultures worldwide. From galinhada to risotto to nasi lemak, there are hundreds of thousands of ways to utilize this grain. Although, in more recent years, it’s found its way into the pantries of many Western households.

But did you know that you might be cooking rice the wrong way? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook rice perfectly every time:

1. Rinse your rice

This is not a joke, and even the best chefs know this. The key to gorgeous, fluffy rice starts from the get-go.

Although the rice you bought may have gone through a cleaning process before being packaged, the manufacturing process isn’t perfect. You should rinse your rice just as you would a fruit or vegetable before consumption. This helps ensure that there is no dirt, bugs, debris, or chemicals in the cooked product.

More importantly, you need to ensure that you’re using cold water to rinse your rice. You do this to remove the excess starch on the surface of the grain. Removing that starch will ensure that your rice doesn’t become incredibly sticky and that you’ll end up with delicious fluffy rice!

To rinse your rice, fill up the container holding the rice until the water is about an inch above the quantity of rice. Then, agitate the rice using your fingers, turning the water milky. Drain that water out and repeat until the water is clear. Did you know[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”rnky90s92x” question=”Did you know to rinse your rice? ” opened=”1″][/wpdiscuz-feedback]

2. Know your ratios

The rice-to-water ratio is key to getting the perfect rice. However, there isn’t one magical ratio to rule them all. The real answer? It depends. Also, there’s an easier way.

Some brands will recommend a 1:1 ratio, while the “general” rule of thumb is 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice. But the tried and true tested method approved by most Asian folk worldwide is by using your finger.

Place a clean finger (preferably a middle finger) on the top of the surface of the washed rice and fill the pot up with water until it reaches the first “knuckle” (shown below).

photo of author's hand, indicating top knuckle of middle finger

Please don’t ask us how or why this works. Trust us, it just does.

3. How to cook your rice

Unless you eat rice multiple times a week, you don’t need a rice cooker to cook perfect rice. While it’s the best method, guaranteed, there will be people in some countries who’ll find it hard even to find a rice cooker while others will find it hard to afford one.

Here, we’ll teach you how to cook rice by the stovetop method and by using a rice cooker:

Using the stove

Before starting, make sure that you use a heavy-based pot to ensure even cooking! 

1. Bring the water to a hard boil – leave uncovered for about five minutes, allowing the water to evaporate.

2. When the water level reaches the top of the surface of the rice (when you see holes in the rice), turn the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Set a timer for about 12-15 minutes and leave the rice to steam.

3. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and leave the rice to continue steaming for a further five minutes, untouched. Do not take off the lid until the five minutes are up!

4. Once five minutes have passed, take the lid off, and you’re ready for the next step.

Credit to Australian Masterchef Adam Liaw for the tips here.


Most definitely the most straightforward method because you only have two steps:

1. With the rice in the rice cooker, press the button and wait for the rice to cook.

2. Don’t open the lid once the cooker has gone off. Instead, similar to the stovetop method, leave the rice for a further five minutes before taking the final step.

4. Fluff and let rest

Now that your rice has absorbed all the liquid (or your rice cooker has gone off), you’re going to need to “fluff” it. 

You do this by taking your rice paddle (or a flat wooden spatula, if you don’t have a paddle) and making cutting motions through the rice before turning it over, ensuring that you’re getting the grains on the bottom as well and allowing the steam from the bottom to escape. Make sure you do not flatten it! 

Once you’ve done that, let rest for a further three to five minutes, and that’s it! Now, you’ll be able to enjoy a fluffy bowl or plate of rice every time. Enjoy your newfound powers with your favorite curry or stew!

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