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Rice is one of the most versatile ingredients out there—it’s a mainstay of the cuisine in many different cultures, and it goes well with just about anything! However, it can be a little tricky to cook. Add too much water and it turns mushy, add too little and you risk burning it at the bottom. If you’re scared of cooking rice because of all the ways that it can go wrong, this article is for you. We’ll go over nine different ways to cook rice and cover two of the most popular ones with step-by-step instructions. Rest assured, with these tips, you’ll make perfectly soft and fluffy rice every single time! 

How to Cook Rice: 9 Different Ways

1. Simmer in a Pot

Simmering rice in a pot involves filling a pot with rice, covering it with water, bringing it to a boil, then lowering the heat and letting it simmer. This allows the rice to gradually absorb the water while the steam inside the pot cooks and softens it. We’ll cover the exact steps of this method in bit when we take a look at how to cook white rice. 

2. Boil in a Pot

Boiling rice in a pot is just like boiling pasta. It involves bringing a pot of water to boil, adding the rice, cooking it until it’s done, and draining the excess water. This method is simpler than simmering because it doesn’t require you to use an exact ratio of water to rice. We’ll cover the exact steps when we look at how to make brown rice. 

3. Pilaf

pilaf
Pilaf.  

Pilaf is both the name of a dish and a method of cooking rice. To cook rice using the pilaf method, start by sauteéing the rice in butter or oil, along with some chopped onions. This brings out the grains’ natural aroma and gives them a nutty flavor. Next, add hot broth over the rice, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer on low heat until the rice is cooked.

4. Risotto

Risotto
Risotto.

Just like pilaf, risotto is also the name of a dish and a rice cooking method. It’s also very similar to the pilaf method in that the rice is first sautéed. The only difference is that the broth is added one ladle-full at a time rather than all at once. 

5. In the Oven

To cook rice in the oven, pour rice grains into a deep baking dish, add boiling water, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until all the water is absorbed. This method is similar to the simmering method, but the rice tends to cook more evenly in the oven than on the stovetop. 

6. In a Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker is perhaps the easiest way to cook rice. Simply add rice and water and adjust settings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. That being said, it’s still possible to burn rice in a rice cooker, so it’s not always as foolproof as people tend to believe. 

7. In a Pressure Cooker

Using a pressure cooker is another hands-off method of cooking rice. It also tends to be one of the fastest because pressure cookers work by trapping steam and increasing pressure inside the sealed chamber. 

8. In a Slow Cooker

Cooking rice in a slow cooker can take a few hours, but it’s probably the safest method if you’re worried about burning your rice. Just be sure to give it a good stir at about the halfway point to make sure it cooks evenly.  

9. In the Microwave

If you’re just making one serving of rice, you can cook it in the microwave. Use a large microwave-safe dish, since the rice will expand as it cooks. Depending on how much rice you’re cooking, it can take about 10-15 minutes on a high setting. 

How to Make White Rice

white rice
Source: ​​unsplash
Fluffy, perfectly cooked white rice.

If you’re specifically looking for a foolproof method for how to cook white rice, let’s follow the first option above: simmering in a pot on the stovetop. It’s the most common because it’s relatively quick and doesn’t require any special equipment. 

Step 1: Rinse the Rice

Measure out your rice and use a mesh strainer to give it a good rinse. This will wash away excess starches that can make the rice clump together.

Step 2: Add Water

Transfer the rice into a pot and add water—use 1.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of uncooked rice. It’s best to use a pot with a clear lid so you can monitor the cooking process. At this point, you can add a dash of salt if you’d like. 

Step 3: Bring to a Boil

Place the pot on the stovetop, cover with a lid, turn the heat on high, and let the water come to a boil. Covering the pot with a lid will ensure a quicker boil, but it does mean you have to keep a close eye on the pot to make sure it doesn’t overflow. If you need to step away, leave the pot uncovered. 

Step 4: Simmer

simmer pot
Simmer on low heat. 

Once the water is boiling, make sure the lid is on and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Let the rice simmer for about 15 minutes. The goal is to simmer until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is about 80% cooked.

You can open the lid and scrape near the bottom of the pot to check the water level, but avoid opening the lid more than once or twice, as this lets out steam and prolongs the cooking process. At this point, you can also try a few rice grains. If there’s no water left but your rice is still hard, you can add a bit more boiling water from a kettle. 

Step 5: Turn Off the Heat

simmer pot
Turn off the heat and let the rice steam.

When all the water is gone and the rice is close to done, turn off the heat, and without opening the lid, let the pot stand for about 10 minutes. This will let the rice finish cooking without the risk of burning at the bottom of the pot. 

Step 6: Fluff and Serve

rice
Fluff and serve. 

After 10 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork and serve. 

How to Cook Brown Rice

brown rice
Source: pexels
Warm, nutritious brown rice.

Unlike white rice, brown rice still has a tough outer bran layer, which means it takes a bit longer to cook. While you can absolutely use the simmer method, many people find that boiling brown rice like pasta is a better way to ensure that it’s thoroughly cooked. Let’s take a look at how to make brown rice using the boil method.

Step 1: Boil a Pot of Water

Fill a pot with water, add a dash of salt, and bring it to a boil on high heat. 

Step 2: Add the Rice

Add the rice and give it a good stir. Make sure there’s enough water and room for it to move around freely. Lower the heat to the medium setting.

Step 3: Boil Until Cooked

Keep the pot open and continue boiling the rice for about 30 minutes. You can try a few grains to test whether or not they’re done. 

Step 4: Drain the Rice

Use a mesh strainer to discard the excess water. Return the rice to the pot and let it sit with the lid covered for about 10 minutes. 

Step 5: Fluff and Serve

After 10 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork and serve. 

Will You Be Trying a New Way to Cook Rice? 

So there you have it! If you learned something new, be sure to try it out in your own kitchen. With a bit of practice, you’ll be a rice pro in no time! 

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