Tried and tested, best and easiest way to cook the perfect rice every time! No more guessing game!
There is a joke in the Philippines as I was growing up in the province that a girl is not allowed to marry until she can prove that she knows how to cook rice!! I think I must have been reminded about this many times that it stuck in my head!
Thankfully, this is no longer the litmus test before one can marry or many would have flunked right away.
But perhaps you are wondering, what’s the big deal with cooking rice?
Well, it is indeed a big deal when you live in a country that eats rice at least 3 times a day! Breakfast begins with rice and certainly any viand for lunch or dinner is never complete without a hot bowl of rice. In fact some even have cold rice for snack (“merienda” or “bahaw”) and we do have many rice desserts, too.
It is indeed the main staple in the Philippines.
So, you can understand why it is absolutely necessary to learn how to cook rice. We simply cannot live without it.
While I now possess a slow cooker where I regularly make my rice, there are still times when I need to cook rice in a saucepan on the stovetop and for those times this is my tried and tested formula.
Now let me say first that this formula works best with Jasmine and Basmati rice – the only types of rice I use for cooking in my household.
This won’t work for sticky rice or wild rice or even brown rice (all of them requiring a bit more water). If you wish to cook with the regular American rice, I suggest using just the ratio of 1:1 – 1 cup of water per 1 cup of rice because in my experience regular American rice has the tendency to be mushy and doesn’t require that much water.
This rice will result in the cooked rice that you will usually find in a typical Chinese restaurant. It would be dry and not moist or watery. Just like how we Asians love it! So it is certainly perfect for your favorite Asian dish.
SHOULD I RINSE THE RICE BEFORE COOKING IT?
To rinse or not to rinse? It all depends on you.
Rinse, if you don’t like rice grains with all the starch in them or when you prefer the grains a bit more separate rather than clumpy.
It is traditional to rinse the rice at least twice in the Philippines. I believe this was always done because, unlike the rice that you can buy packed and ready to cook in the grocery, the ones I grew up with still contained some chaff because back then rice was usually bought freshly milled, and in that process some husks and chaff are not 100% eliminated. To avoid including that chaff in your cooked rice, it was always rinsed before cooking. That is no longer the case with the rice you buy from groceries.
Also, some people say that when you rinse you wash away the nutrients in the rice. Who knows? I just know that we rinse twice in the Philippines because some rice husks and chaff still remain with the grains and we rinse to wash these out.
On the other hand, the packed rice you see in the stores here in the US has been cleaned (no more husks or chaff) thereby eliminating the need for any extra rinsing unless you want to remove the starch. So it’s up to you. The key is, should you decide to rinse, to ensure that the rice is thoroughly drained after rinsing.
The basic formula is 1:1 1/2 cups — 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of rice and for a maximum of 3 cups of uncooked rice for best results. You can use this measurement both for stovetop and rice cooker. It works either way. And if you use Jasmine and Basmati – you’ll have the perfect rice every time. Now, this recipe simply covers the basic rice — plain rice and water — no flavoring added. This is how we cook rice.
We cook without any flavoring because as you know, Asian main dishes are already quite loaded and strong in flavors so there’s no need to dress up the side too much. We certainly prefer it plain. But certainly, you can jazz up your rice but using chicken broth instead or even some butter and citruses, too!
Anyway, hope this formula helps!
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FOR FULL RECIPE & INSTRUCTIONS and to PRINT, SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS FOR How to Cook the Perfect Rice Every Time!
- Rice – preferably Basmati or Jasmine. For this measurement and recipe to work best use the recommended rice. Jasmine (what you get from your local Thai or Asian restaurant) is wonderfully aromatic and is my favorite. Basmati (from India) is a very reliable rice variety for cooking and actually more wholesome and healthier than other types of rice. Other types of rice may be used but you may need to adjust the amount of water because certain types of rice like more water while others do not.
- Water – yes, this is all that you need for typical Asian rice. We don’t add any flavors to our regular rice because the main dishes that accompany rice, whether it be pork, beef, chicken or vegetarian, are always full of flavor already and plain rice works best with them.
HOW TO MAKE the Perfect Rice Every Time!
- Rinse the rice twice (or leave unrinsed if you’re not bothered with the starch). Use your hand as a rake as you rinse it. Use a fine strainer and dry thoroughly. Return the rice into the saucepan.
- Add the measured water. Heat uncovered using medium to high heat. Allow to boil. Once it is vigorously boiling adjust the heat to the lowest setting. Cover and cook until the water has dried up between 15-18 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Do not remove the cover but let it stand for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Serve on a platter immediately. If there are left-overs, chill in the fridge and use it for fried rice the next day!
- Are you cooking more than 2 cups of rice? Then the above measurement won’t work. However, for that, you can use the finger method which works best when you intend to cook a large amount of rice. Rinse the rice as usual (2x) then drain well. Level it out and place your index finger so that it is touching the surface of the rice. Add enough water so that it comes up to your first knuckle on the palm side of your finger. That’s it! The more rice you cook the less water you need. This is good for cooking both in the rice cooker and stovetop. Cook as instructed above until the rice is tender.
Yield: 6-8 Servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 05 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.
Total time: 20 mins.
Tags: Rice, Asian Food, Recipe, Gluten-free, Side Dish
How to Cook the Perfect Rice Every Time!
- 2 cups Rice, preferably Basmati or Jasmine
- 3 cups Water
Rinse the rice twice (or leave unrinsed if you’re not bothered with the starch). Use your hand as a rake as you rinse it. Use a fine strainer and dry thoroughly. Return the rice into the saucepan.
Add the measured water. Heat uncovered using medium to high heat. Allow to boil. Once it's vigorously boiling adjust the heat to the lowest setting. Cover and cook until water has dried up between 15-17 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Do not remove the cover but let it stand for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Serve in a platter immediately. If there are left-overs, chill in the fridge and use it for fried rice the next day!
Are you cooking more than 2 cups of rice? Then the above measurement won't work. However, for that, you can use the finger method which works best when you intend to cook a large amount of rice. Rinse the rice as usual (2x) then drain well. Level it out and place your index finger so that it is touching the surface of the rice. Add enough water so that it comes up to your first knuckle on the palm side of your finger. That's it! The more rice you cook the less water you need. This is good for cooking both in the rice cooker and stovetop. Cook as instructed above until the rice is tender.
TIPS & TRICKS
Do you have any left-over rice? This is the easiest way to make fried rice.
Fancy making your favorite takeaway Chinese fried rice? Get the recipe here.
Very interesting – I usually do 1:2, so 1 part rice to 2 parts water or even 2.5 sometimes. I've never tried it with 1:1 or 1:1.5 as you suggest. I will definitely give it a try and see how it goes. Thanks for the tutorial
Thanks, Julia! It sometimes depends on the kind of rice you use as some rice want more water than others. Jasmine and Basmati don't require much water in cooking and also because we prefer a dry rice and not a moist one because most Asian dishes have sauces to moisten the rice.
Thank you for your sharing your expertise in this skill. For truly perfect rice, you have to have the right rice and the right technique!
That is so true! Thanks Amanda!
I have a hard time getting my rice just right. I'll have to follow this and see if it gets it right.
Hope it works for you Pam! Thanks!
We love rice. It's so affordable and versatile. Plus many are gluten-free. I always cook mine in either an Instant Pot or my Ninja but I do recall the first time I cooked it on the stove my ratio was slightly off.
I cook mine all the time in the rice cooker but for those times when only the stovetop will do, this works well.Thanks!
Super important to know the trick on how to cook perfect rice. I love that you are using long grain and that looks perfectly at dente. Cooking rice is no joke =)
Yup, it can be tricky for some so I hope this helps somehow. Thanks!
I cook rice almost everyday, i use my pressure cooker most of the times and some times cook it in open pan. I know many who struggle with the right quantity of water to get it fluffy 🙂 A very useful post!
Thanks! I love rice a lot too!
How can you cook rice in open pan ? Will not the heat goes off without sufficiently boiling the water to soften the hard grains ? We in India always use either covered pots or rice cookers commonly everywhere.
Have you read the recipe? I am asking because I think you missed the part which stated that the pan should be covered after it has started to boil. I don’t cook it with an open pan. That would dry up. Anyway, thank you for stopping by and asking this.
Now I want to take a better look at my rice next time I cook it! 😉 I have never rinsed rice, but I might give that a shot to see what the difference is!
Sometimes, I rinse and sometimes I don't especially if kids are looking so hungrily at me!! So its up to you.
I love steamed white rice and love when it comes out perfectly. Getting the right quantity is key for sure. Great article.
Rice is a must in our everyday meal and I hate to eat a mosh mash of it. Your tip is excellent and we cook rice similarly 🙂
That's good to know! Thanks!
This is such a great post! Definitely a post I'll come back to over and over again. It's a great technique to learn! Pinning 🙂
Thanks Christine for the kind pin! Glad that it may come useful to you someday!
My husband only eats rice.. lol.. and even with a rice cooker her still struggles to get the "perfect rice". I would have def share your tips with him.
Thanks and hope you both like it!
Great tip! I always want my rice to turn out perfectly every time and sometimes it's not quite there. Not bad, but not perfect either. I have a rice cooker(steamer) that doesn't do a bad job. I do rinse rice, depending on what kind I buy. I'm following your advice.
Thanks Marisa and hope it works well for you.
Where has this been my entire life .. I am constantly overcooking rice .. thank you for my new Go To rice post to save on my phone 🙂
Thanks for this thorough tutorial and for all the tips! I usually use a 1:2 ratio but will have to give this a try!
Jasmine and basmati are my choice when I make rice! I noticed the water:rice ratio is different from what I normally do. I'm guessing your recipe will come out a bit moister than what I've done in the past.
How delicious it looks! I will try your recipe. Hope the cooked rice will be as delicious as the images.
Carol: Will ratio and time work well with Brown Rice?
No. Brown rice requires more water and cooks longer than white rice. This only applies to white rice.
Awesome tip! Everyone likes to have their cook turn out perfectly every time and sometimes it’s not quite there. I have brought a cooker to make it easily. I do rinse rice, depending on what kind I buy. I would follow your tips. Thanks
I bake my converted rice 1:2 and it’s always perfect but doesn’t work well with Jasmine. I’ll try this tip for that. Thanks.
I love rice very much after reading your article I got some good idea about rice cooking. Its help me to cook the rice perfectly.
Thanks for such an informative post.
So glad to know that Lily! Enjoy and do check out our cookbook (see Our Cookbook page) with many delicious rice recipes.
A bowl of perfect rice can make delicious the lunch or dinner. I got some very good ideas about cooking rice perfectly. Hope now I can cook my rice easily also cook some delicious recipe according to your cookbook.
Thanks for your great tips.
good morning! i am kalahating and rice is part of practically every meal. I was taught to rinse. Rinse. Then rinse again! Put in your rice and the same amount of water. Then, a little bit more water. Like, run the pot under the faucet real quick. Works every time! 🙂
I am Peruvian and all our dishes are also with rice. Usually at home we prepare it in a rice cooker. We put a little oil and fry a couple of minced garlic. Then the rice (well washed) and if you made 5 cups of rice it is 4 and 1/2 of water, we add a pinch of salt and that’s it, we like grained rice, not sticky.
Great tips for cooking the perfect rice every time! Thanks for sharing.
I’ll have to try this, but I have a glass-top electric stovetop, so I’ll switch burners when it says to put it on the lowest heat. My burners don’t exactly cool down very quickly..
Hope it works for you!