How to Cook Rice



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Rice is a staple for more than half the world's population, making it one of the most popular grains and an important part of nearly every cuisine, especially in Asian cooking. The basic characteristics of the different varieties of rice and how to cook and store each one properly are grains of truth every cook should know.

In this article, you'll find a basic primer on rice to get you started. Let's begin with a lesson on the different types of rice available on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Asian Recipes: From Thai food to Japanese fare, you'll find dozens of delicious recipes to try at home when you're in the mood for Asian food in this article.
  • Rice Recipes: Rice is a staple in Asian cooking, but it also goes great as a side with other meals. Find rice recipes on this page.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Types of Rice

Rice is classified according to the length of its grains. Long grain is the most common type of rice and is interchangeable with medium grain rice. Short grain rice contains more starch than long and medium grains, which makes the grains very sticky when cooked.

The following varieties of rice products can be found in most large supermarkets.

Brown rice is the least processed of all rice varieties. Only the hull is removed. The rice has a natural tan color due to the bran layers that are left on the grain. When cooked, brown rice has a nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture.

White rice is also referred to as polished rice. It is completely milled to remove the hull and bran layers. Always read the label to see if the rice has been enriched. Enriched rice contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Over 90% of milled rice in the United States is enriched. If it has been enriched, you should not rinse it before cooking. Rinsing enriched rice will cause a loss of nutrients. This rice has a mild, delicate flavor.

Precooked (quick-cooking) rice is brown or white long grain rice that has been cooked, rinsed, and dried by a patented process. Precooked rice takes only minutes to prepare because it only needs to be rehydrated during preparation.

Parboiled rice is treated in a steam-pressure process before milling. The steaming process causes the vitamins and minerals found in the outer coats to migrate toward the center of the kernel. This process makes the rice extra fluffy without sacrificing any of its nutrients. It takes longer to cook than regular rice, so be sure to read the package instructions.

Hot Tip!
Why isn't wild rice listed? Though it is often classified as a rice, wild rice is actually the seed of an aquatic marsh grass native to Minnesota.

Find tips on cooking rice in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Asian Recipes: From Thai food to Japanese fare, you'll find dozens of delicious recipes to try at home when you're in the mood for Asian food in this article.
  • Rice Recipes: Rice is a staple in Asian cooking, but it also goes great as a side with other meals. Find rice recipes on this page.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Rice Cooking

You don't want to overcook rice. Follow these tips along with our handy chart below as a guideline.
  1. Measure the amount of water specified into a medium saucepan.

  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  3. Slowly add the rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low.
    Slowly add the rice and return to a boil.
    Slowly add the rice and
    return to a boil.

  4. Cover; simmer for the time specified or until the rice is tender and most of the water has been absorbed.

  5. To test for doneness, bite into a grain of rice or squeeze it between your thumb and index finger. The rice is done when it is tender and you cannot feel a hard center.
Guide to Cooking Rice

Grain
Amount
Water
Simmering Time
Yield
Arborio Rice
1 cup
11/2 cups
20 minutes
2 cups
Basmatic Rice
1 cup 21/2 cups 20 minutes 3 cups
Brown Rice 1 cup 2 cups 45 minutes 3 cups
White Rice 1 cup
2 cups
20 minutes 3 cups

Rice Storage

Store all uncooked grains in airtight containers. White rice can be stored at room temperature indefinitely; brown rice can be stored for up to six months.

Store all cooked rice in an airtight container for up to one week in the refrigerator or for up to six months in the freezer.

Now that you have down the basics on rice, you're one step closer to preparing an Asian meal -- or any meal -- the whole family will enjoy.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Asian Recipes: From Thai food to Japanese fare, you'll find dozens of delicious recipes to try at home when you're in the mood for Asian food in this article.
  • Rice Recipes: Rice is a staple in Asian cooking, but it also goes great as a side with other meals. Find rice recipes on this page.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.