Our Favourite Ways to Cook Rice
Did you know there are over 40,000 types of rice? This storecupboard staple has been a key part of human diets across the world for thousands of years. It’s versatile, budget friendly and can be enjoyed with so many of our Fakeaways and main dishes. So WHY is it so difficult to cook?!
We’ve all been there: a saucepan that’s caked in burnt rice and you’re left looking at a pile of sloppy, gloopy mess and wondering why you didn’t just call for a takeaway instead! Don’t panic, we’re here to help; we’re sharing our tips for perfect fluffy rice, every time.
Which rice should I use?
The most popular type you’ll see at the supermarket is long grain white rice, which has long grains that remain firm and fluffy when cooked. We’ve focused on white rice for this article, but there are so many varieties to choose from. Medium grain rice has shorter grains which are better suited to risotto or rice pudding. Short grain rice is stickier, meaning it holds its shape better in food like sushi.
You’ll also commonly find brown rice which has a nuttier flavour, and this takes around twice as long to cook.
How much rice should I use?
One cup (approx 200g) of rice will generally serve two people, so our instructions will use this measurement.
Take note of the rice to water ratio for each method, as this will stay the same if you increase the amount. For example if it is 2:1 water to rice, make sure you always use double the amount of water to rice, even if you’re cooking large batches!
Many of our rice recipes are suitable for batch cooking and freezing for a convenient dinner, like our Dirty Rice.
On the stove
You don’t need any fancy equipment or complicated instructions to cook rice on the stove. You’ll need a lidded saucepan, and that’s it!
A decent saucepan will last for years so it’s worth investing in a good one! We like this one from Amazon:
- Rinse 1 cup of rice under cold water until the water is clear, to remove excess starch. A sieve will make this easier!
- Add to a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of cold water.
- Bring the pan to the boil and give it a quick stir to prevent any rice sticking to the pan.
- Turn down and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, take off the heat. Leave to stand for a further 5-10 minutes with the lid on the pan.
- All of the water should be absorbed so you can fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
Tip: add a stock cube to the cooking water for extra flavour, or colour the rice with spices like in our Nando’s Spicy Rice!
An Instant Pot is one of our essential kitchen gadgets. Not only can you cook a speedy stew or warming casserole in less than an hour, you can also cook rice in it! Some models, like this one, have a built in rice cooking function:
Otherwise, using your Instant Pot for perfect rice couldn’t be simpler!
- Rinse 2 cups of rice under cold water until the water is clear, to remove excess starch. A sieve will make this easier.
- Add to the inner pot and cover with 2 cups of cold water.
- Pressure cook for 12 minutes.
- Allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally.
- Fluff with a fork before serving.
You should always use a 1:1 ratio of water to rice, because the Instant Pot is fully sealed. Unlike a saucepan, there’s nowhere for steam to escape!
Wondering what else you can cook in an Instant Pot? See our article here.
Yes, you really CAN cook rice in the microwave! You can use a covered microwave-safe container and the same water to rice ratio as on the stove top (2 cups water per 1 cup rice), but there is an even easier way!
We use this rice cooker that has a colander built in for easy rinsing, and takes less than 15 mins to cook in the microwave.
It’s inexpensive, simple to use and takes all of the guesswork out of covering and uncovering a bowl of rice.
- Rinse rice thoroughly.
- Add the water according to the guidebook, in this case 400ml water per cup of rice and lock the lid into place.
- Cook for the suggested time.
- Leave to sit for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork before serving.
Leftover rice and food safety
As we all know, you can get food poisoning from eating reheated rice, but, it’s not actually the reheating that can cause issues. It is, in fact, the way that the rice has been stored beforehand where the problem begins.
Rice can contain spores that are resistant to heat and can survive the cooking process.
If cooked rice is left standing at room temperature, these spores can grow into bacteria. At this point, the bacteria can be destroyed by reheating the rice thoroughly.
You should remember to do the following if you’re going to keep leftover rice:
- Cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one hour) then put it in the fridge immediately. You can split larger portions up into smaller batches to cool quicker.
- Reheat and use any leftover rice (stored in the fridge) within one day.
- When you reheat any rice, always check it is steaming hot all the way through.
- Don’t reheat cooked rice more than once.
You can also freeze rice if you pop it in the freezer as soon as it’s cold enough – you can even make your own cost-effective versions of the frozen microwaveable rice that you can get at the supermarket! Pop individual portions into sandwich bags and tip out and microwave when needed. Just be sure to microwave it until it’s steaming hot, and only once.
What are your favourite ways of cooking rice? Tell us over in our Facebook Group! We love to see snaps of your creations, and there are nearly 1m members waiting to inspire, support and motivate you on your slimming journey.