How to Cook Rice Perfectly
This is my absolute favorite method for cooking rice! It always yields perfectly cooked rice that’s not mushy. You can also slightly under or overcook your rice, depending on your preference.
If you ask me, there’s not much that beats a bowl of fluffy, soft, perfectly cooked rice. What I especially love about rice is that it’s not only super filling, but it also takes very little prep. You can serve it plain or flavor it a number of different ways!
Making rice is actually quite easy, but there are a few things to consider to make sure you get the best rice time and time again!
How to make rice:
Rice is relatively easy to make, but there is one tip that I really want to stress when it comes to getting consistently great results: avoid stirring the rice once it’s added to the cooking liquid!
I can’t tell you how much I used to do this, and I’d always wonder “Why is my rice always mushy?!” And when I say “always”, I mean always.
I NOW know that it’s because I was a bit over the top when it came to my mixing. I’d mix rice a number of times throughout the cooking process, which would cause excess starch to mix out of the rice, which then caused my mushy rice dilemma. So if you only walk away with one thing from this recipe, let it be not to mix the rice while it’s cooking!
Other than that, cooking rice can really just be broken down into 3 simple steps:
Rinse, simmer, fluff.
Step 1, involves rinsing the rice very well. Rinsing your rice until the water runs clear before cooking helps wash off a lot of the starch on the outside of the grains. The starch is what makes for mushy rice, so this step helps the rice cook more gradually, without getting overly soft and stuck together! Make sure to drain the rice well before adding it to your pot.
Step 2 is the actual simmering to cook the rice. After you add all your ingredients to your pot, bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer to cook the rice. This allows the rice to cook fully on the inside without overcooking the outside.
Step 3 is where you fluff the rice with a fork to lighten it. Once everything is cooked and ready to go, gently mix and fluff your rice with a fork. While it cooks, the rice kind of packs in on itself, so this helps lighten it up again before serving.
How long to cook rice:
When it comes to cooking rice, I would say there are 2 different questions and 2 different answers:
The first question is “how long does it take for rice to cook?” And the answer to this question is about 25 to 30 minutes total. That covers the time it takes the water to boil, along with another 20 minutes or so of simmering, and finally a 5 minute rest time. A bit more of an objective question and answer.
The second question is “how long should I cook rice?” This is more subjective. This recipe calls for a final rest of 5 minutes, where you set aside your hot pot, covered, to finish off the cooking. This time can be skipped or extended depending on your preference. For firmer rice, skip this step. For softer rice, leave it for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it softens to your liking.
Different rice flavors:
Rice is a wonderful blank canvas. You can have a lot of fun with different add-ins and flavorings! My favorite way to play up plain rice is to sautee some veggies in the pot before adding the rice and water. Onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, and asparagus are some amazing combos!
Another way to boost the flavor in this recipe is to use some stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef) as the cooking liquid! You can also add herbs and spices like thyme, basil, oregano, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, or chili powder.
This rice and vegetables is one of my favorite variations!
What to serve with rice:
Rice can be served with almost anything! It’s especially amazing next to a protein or salad. Here are some of the best pairs to put next to your plate of rice:
• 5-Minute Cucumber Salad: The acidity of the salad goes really well with just plain rice. I sometimes even like to top my rice with the salad!
• Chicken: Really almost any chicken recipe would pair well with rice. My favorites are serving rice with Greek chicken souvlaki or with chicken in white wine sauce.
• Garlic-Lemon Baked Salmon: I’d argue this is the BEST pairing for rice. Seriously, salmon + rice = the perfect couple.
• Broccoli: Broccoli and rice go wonderfully together. Top them both with some garlic butter and you have a winner!
• Sautéed Mushrooms: Keep it light and vegetarian with some mushrooms sautéed in some butter and/or olive oil. You can also add some chopped onion to it for added flavor.
• Spicy skillet shrimp: flavor packed shrimp goes especially well with this simple and plain side
White Long-Grain Rice Recipe
- 1 cup white long-grain rice
- 2 cups cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Measure out your cup of rice and add to a strainer. Rinse over cold water, stirring with your hands to loosen the starch off the rice. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear. Drain well. In a medium sized pot, add your rinsed and drained rice, along with your 2 cups of cold water and salt. Do not stir! * see notes
- Place your pot over high heat, uncovered. Bring the rice to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover the pot leaving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed, again without stirring.
- Move the pot off the heat and let sit covered for another 5 minutes to soften. If you like your rice a bit firmer, you can skip this step. If you like your rice softer, you can leave it for up to 10 minutes covered until it gets to your liking. Once fully cooked, gently fluff the rice using a fork. Serve warm.