There are several ways of cooking rice, and all of them depend mainly on getting the proper ratio of water to rice. The correct rice-to-water ratio differs with the variety of rice and the cooking method, and also, believe it or not, how tight of a lid you have for your pot. A heavier lid holds in more water, so you need slightly less water to start with.
But before we get into all the different variables, we'll talk about the most common way to cook rice — namely, boiled long-grain white rice.
Here's how to do it:
Cooking White Rice
- Start with one cup of uncooked white rice. This will be enough for four regular servings of rice.
- Rinse the rice with cold water until the water is clear. Rinsing the rice is optional, but it will make the rice less sticky. The downside is that it rinses off some of the nutrients, but it does make nicer rice.
- In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, combine the rice and 1 2/3 cups of water (or stock). Also, add ½ Tbsp of butter and 1 tsp of Kosher salt. If you are using stock rather than plain water, you might want to use less salt (or none at all) depending on how salty your stock is.
- Bring the contents to a boil. Once it boils, give everything a stir with a wooden spoon, cover tightly and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. For me, it's usually about 17 minutes, but it may differ for you based on the brand of rice, how heavy your lid is, and so on.
- Test the rice to see if it's done enough. If not, you can cook it for another couple of minutes.
- When the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork to release the steam. This is actually important because the built-up steam can continue cooking the rice and cause it to get too soft.
Note: It might be more accurate to talk about the ratio of rice to liquid rather than rice to water.
It's always better to cook rice with stock rather than plain water, because stock is more flavorful. But sometimes water is all you've got, and that's fine too.
Here are some more techniques for cooking different types of rice: