How to Cook Rice Perfectly

In many Asian households, rice is considered a food staple. Its neutral taste goes well with almost anything because it elevates the taste of other dishes really well. But it can be a challenge to get rice to a perfect consistency—not too chewy, not too mushy—and ready for your meal in time.

What is the ratio of water to rice?

Beginners in the kitchen and some of us old-timers may still be wondering about the right ratio of water to rice. The 2:1 ratio tends to make rice mushy.  Instead I go for 1 ½ - 1 ¾ water to 1 cup of dry rice. Rice cookers can be a big help especially since most come with a line guide that will indicate where the water must reach for a corresponding measure of rice.

How do you make perfect fluffy rice?

Typically, the key to getting just the right fluffy rice is getting the proper water to a cup of rice ratio. However, there are other things you may do just to get your rice right and fluffy. Here are my two tips:

- Rinse your rice just before cooking it. This helps to remove the starchy coating, so you end up with less sticky rice. Check the next section of this article for the step-by-step guide on how to do this.

- Let your cooked rice rest in the pan for 20 minutes before serving. Drape a clean kitchen towel over the pan, then put the lid over that so the condensation doesn't drip down into the rice while it sits.

Why does my rice always come out mushy?

Too much water and/or too much heat. The ratio of water to rice is important as well as how long you cook it for. 

How can you tell when rice goes bad?

A safe bet would be to only eat cooked rice that has been kept at 45 degrees or colder, no longer than three days. I would definitely not recommend eating cooked rice after three days. Dry rice is a pantry staple, and in a sealed container, can be used after several months up to a year. After cooking, rice becomes rather fragile and can mold quickly. Sometimes you can't see the mold but you will smell it.

Does uncooked rice go out of date?

Keep dry, uncooked rice in a climate-controlled, sealed container. The shelf life of uncooked rice is pretty much indefinite so it can last for up to 5 years or even more. I'd recommend getting a new bag at least once a year since rice can absorb water from the air and odors from other foods. You deserve fresh, tasty rice.

How do you reheat rice?

The fastest and easiest way is by the microwave. The key is knowing the proper ratio of the water to be added to your cup of rice. The golden rule is that for every cup, just add three tablespoons of water. Use a microwave-safe container with lid or cover the container with another plate before reheating. Stir after every 30 seconds of heating.

Kitchen Tools + Recipe

How to cook rice perfectly?

While making rice is fairly simple, there are a couple of tricks that may help you attain a great pot of rice that you will be happy to serve your guests. In this section, I will be demonstrating how to cook one cup of short-grain rice. Read on to find out about all the tricks that I have up my sleeve.

Materials

Cuisinart 719-16 Chef's Classic Stainless Saucepan with Cover, 1 1/2 Quart

Without a rice cooker, your next best bet is a saucepan and tight-fitting lid. This saucepan has an aluminum base that helps spread out heat evenly, ensuring that your rice will cook perfectly. If you want, you can choose to use rice cooker. If you’re planning to cook Japanese rice, then you will need a Japanese rice cooker, as well. 

You will also need a clean kitchen towel, stirring utensil, measuring cup, your rice of choice, clean, fresh water, and a serving bowl and serving spoon, if desired. 

Guidelines 

Step One:

Rinse your rice. To prevent mushy rice, rinse your rice first. Using a bowl or pan, add cool water over the rice and mix with your hands or a spoon until the water turns cloudy. Drain the water with the use of a wire mesh sieve. Repeat until the water is no longer cloudy.

Step Two:

After draining for the last time, it’s time to add the appropriate measurement of water, which is 1 ¼ cup of water into the saucepan. Stir to distribute rice. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low and cover. This will take about 15 to 18 minutes.

Step Three:

Turn off heat and let rice sit. This step is one of the most crucial ones for this helps prevents mushy rice: Take off the lid and drape a kitchen towel over the pot. Replace the lid over the towel. This is so that the moisture from the lid will not drip onto the rice. Let it rest for another 10 to 15 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.

Added Tips

There are a lot of different types of rice around the world. Basmati rice, Jasmine rice, long grain, brown rice, and even black. Each type of rice goes with different dishes, depending on what flavor you would like to accentuate. Try using vegetable or chicken broth instead of water during cooking to enhance the flavor.

​Final Thoughts

Getting perfectly fluffy rice certainly seems like a difficult job at first glance. However, just remember three keys: First and foremost is the proper water to a cup of rice ratio. Too much water is the number one cause of mushy rice. Second: rinse your rice to get rid of extra starch. Third and last, which is also often the most overlooked step: let your rice just sit and rest off the heat as it absorbs the final bit of water.

There you have it, folks! I hope you enjoyed this article. Should you have any other comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to leave them down below.

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