Cooking With Rice: Beginner’s Guide

Cooking with rice doesn’t need to be difficult, this beginners guide will cover everything that you need to know to start cooking with rice

Rice is one of those staples that everyone loves.  It is something that is used throughout the world.  It is cheap and it goes with so many different meals.  It will keep your stomach full and makes up a part of the food pyramid.

But I have learned that cooking rice is not always the easiest thing to do. 

Cooking With Rice Beginner’s Guide

In the past I have thrown away many pots of rice and had to restart again. 

Cooking rice is a skill that can easily be mastered.  It does not have to be that difficult.  Learning how to cook a perfect pot of rice will not only add variety to those meals but will boost confidence in the kitchen as well. 

But first, learning how to cook that perfect pot of rice requires getting to know your different types of rice, how to prepare it, and cooking times for each type of rice.

One thing that can be quite confusing is there are so many different types of rice and not all rice is cooked the same way.  Learning the different types of rice will help you know which one you are looking for.

Rice comes in long grain and medium grain, and there are different names for all the rice.  There are different ways of cooking different rice, and some rice needs to be rinsed while others do not need to be rinsed.

Long Grain And Medium Grain Rice

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between long grain and medium grain rice?  I used to think that rice was rice.  I never would pay attention to things like long and medium grain or even the names. 

To me it all looked the same and was cooked the same.  That was my first mistake with cooking rice.

Basically, long grain rice has a firm, but dry texture.  Many long grain rice are the ones that are used for side dishes. 

When it comes to the medium grain rice this is the one that comes out moist and tender, causing it to be sticky compared to long grain rice.

Now you can see why I had a problem cooking a good pot of rice.  In the beginning I failed to know and understand the difference between the two types.

But there is more to know than just the difference between long grain rice and medium grain rice.  There are many different varieties of rice. 

Below is a list of some of the different rice that are common to cook with.

Varieties Of Rice

There is a large variety of rice to choose from.  Some have different ways of preparing and cooking.  Some rice is meant to be rinsed while others do not need to be rinsed. 

Cooking times also vary according to the type of rice that you are using. 

One of the most common rice used for meals and side dishes is white rice.

White Rice

White rice can be found in most stores and is the most popular type of rice that is used by most people. 

White rice is a long grain rice.  Because it has a lot of excess starch attached to it white rice needs to be rinsed before cooking it.  

Otherwise it will result in soggy rice instead of the fluffy rice that it is meant to be.  White rice can be cooked in under 30 minutes.

Brown Rice

Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.  Brown rice is also known to have a chewier texture and a slight nutty taste to it.   Brown rice is also whole grain rice.  Unlike white rice which has part of the grain removed, brown rice is a whole grain with all the parts intact. 

Although it is not necessary to rinse brown rice before cooking, I would recommend it.  It will wash away any dirt or dust.  It can also help improve the texture, making each grain distinct.

Soaking brown rice before cooking will speed up the cooking time.  When soaking brown rice, it is good to soak it for 8 hours, although there are some who would recommend soaking the brown rice for up to 24 hours. 

Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.  Where white rice can be cooked in about 30 minutes, brown rice usually takes about 45 minutes to cook.  Always let it stand for roughly 10 minutes before serving it.

Glutinous Rice (Sticky Rice)

Glutinous rice, otherwise known as sticky rice, has opaque grains with a very low amylose content and becomes very sticky when it is cooked.  This is a very popular rice across Asia.

To ensure that the rice cooks evenly, it needs to be soaked and rinsed before cooking.  Cover and soak the rice for about 6 hours or longer if you prefer.

Steaming sticky rice is the way that it is cooked.  In order to do this, you need to line the steamer basket with non-stick paper to prevent the rice from sticking to the basket. 

Fill with about 3cm of water and place the lid on bringing it to a simmer.  Put the rice in the steamer and cook, keeping it covered for about 35 to 45 minutes. 

Cook until it is sticky and tender and cover it with a damp cloth or parchment paper to prevent it from drying out.

If you do not have a steamer you can still cook this type of rice by using a splatter screen.  Soak the rice for a couple of hours or longer and then drain it. 

Fill a pot with water bringing it to a boil and then place the splatter guard over it.  Turn the heat down to allow for it to simmer and place the rice onto the middle of the screen.  Make sure to place it in an even layer. 

The best rice to use for making sticky rice is Jasmine rice, which can be cooked in a rice cooker or on the stove.

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice is grown in Thailand.  This long grain rice is known for its delicate aroma and flavor.  It has a soft and sticky texture.

Jasmine rice is a long-grain rice but because of it’s sticky texture it is used in making sticky rice.

Jasmine rice is one rice that does not need to be soaked, and it only needs to be rinsed a couple of times.  If you soak Jasmine rice it will cause it to become soggy.

While you can cook Jasmine rice in a rice cooker, it can also be cooked on the stove.  To cook Jasmine rice on the stove, after rinsing the rice add it and the water to a large pot. 

For 1 cup of rice, cover it with 1 and a half cups of water.  On a high setting bring the rice and water to a boil, and then reduce the heat.

Keeping the rice covered, simmer on low for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes remove the rice from the stove.  While it is still covered let it sit for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes you can then fluff it with a spoon or fork. It is done when the water is absorbed, and the rice is dry.

Wild Rice

While wild rice is sold as a whole grain rice that has been dried it is not rice at all.  Grown and harvested by Native Americans it has become a staple food like real rice for hundreds of years.  

It is the seed of aquatic grass like that of rice, but it is not directly a rice.  Unlike rice, wild rice does not contain gluten.

Wild rice takes longer to cook than regular rice.  If it is undercooked, it will become hard in texture and difficult to chew.  So, it is a good idea to soak it for several hours before cooking it.  If possible, soak overnight.

Wild rice can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 55 minutes to cook.  You need to make sure that it is soft, but not mushy. 

You can cook this rice in a rice cooker, on the stovetop, in the oven or in a steamer. 

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice is a white rice that is grown in the Himalayas, Pakistan, and India.  It is a long-grain rice that has a light nutty flavor.  It can be used for side dishes such as a curry.

It is important to rinse the excess starch and then soak Basmati rice for at least 30 minutes.

Basmati rice usually takes around 15 minutes to cook.  It can be cooked it in the microwave, stovetop, or rice cooker.

Valencia Rice

Valencia rice comes from the Spanish province which is also home to authentic paella.  This rice is gluten free, and a short to medium grain rice.  It is also known as pearl rice or round rice. 

When cooked the liquid is absorbed causing the rice to become tender and moist instead of dry.

This type of rice does not need to be rinsed because it needs the extra starch.

Using about 1 ¾ cups of water bring it to a boil, then stir in 1 cup of rice.  Reduce the heat and simmer covered for roughly 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Risotto Rice

Risotto or the traditional Italian meal is made from a short-grained rice called Arborio rice.  It is starchy, causing it to become soft and creamy.

This rice does not need to be rinsed before cooking it.

To cook bring 2 cups of water and a bit of salt to a boil.  Add the rice, cover and simmer until the liquid is fully absorbed.  The cooking time is usually about 20 minutes.

Japanese Sushi Rice

Japanese rice consists of short translucent grains.  When cooked it comes out with a sticky texture that is easily picked up with chopsticks.  When eaten outside of Japan is becomes labelled as sushi rice.

This is a short-grain variety which is a white rice.  Because of the high amount of starch compared to the other types of rice, sushi rice is sticky.

To cook Sushi rice, first rinse the rice several times and let it soak for about 30 minutes.  Let it cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Is Rice Hard To Cook?

Cooking rice does not have to be hard.  Although in the beginning it will take practice to master it and find the technique that works well for you.

Rice when cooked correctly is relatively easy to do.  Once it is in the pot you really do not have to do anything else.

Do I Rinse Rice Before Cooking It?

One mistake I made in the beginning was not rinsing my rice.  I had no clue about extra starch and the need to rinse rice before cooking it.  Once I learned to rinse my rice before cooking it, I also learned that there was some rice that is not meant to be rinsed.

You will benefit from rinsing white rice for sure.  When you rinse it, you are removing the extra starch that is sticking to the rice grains.  By removing the extra starch, it will not give you that thick pasty layer at the top of your rice and even gives it a better taste.

Should I Rinse Rice With Cold Or Hot Water

While I have not seen any proof that rinsing in hot water will hurt anything, it could potentially start to cook it. 

I have found that rinsing in cold water is the easiest way to be able to swish the rice around making sure that it is getting a proper rinse.  One reason is that I don’t burn my hand.

What Is The Best Way To Rinse Rice?

I have found a couple of easy ways to rinse rice.  Using a fine-mesh strainer just pour the rice in and run under cold water until the water runs clear or mostly clear.

Another way that you can rinse the rice is by pouring it into a large bowl or pot and covering it with water.  Gently use your hands to swirl the rice around being careful not to break up the grains.

Pour the water out and if it still looks murky keep repeating the process until the water is clear or nearly clear.

Should I Soak Rice Before Cooking?

While some rice needs to be soaked, there are others not necessarily needing to be soaked.  In the instance of Jasmine rice, it does not need to be soaked.  Check the package for instructions on soaking.

How To Cook Rice On The Stove?

If you do not have the famous rice cooker, your stove will work just fine if not better than a rice cooker.  There are just a few things to keep in mind when cooking rice of the stove, whether it is an electric stove or a gas stove. 

Which Utensil Is Best For Cooking Rice?

When it comes to cooking rinse there is not much that you need.  A fine-mesh strainer for rinsing the rice is helpful, but if you have a large bowl you can use that for rinsing.

Most people have a measuring cup, and this will be needed for measuring out the proper amount of rice and water.

A pot, preferably with a glass lid.  But if you do not have a glass lid that is okay as well.

A wooden spoon to stir the rice in the beginning and a fork to fluff the rice at the end. 

As you can see you do not need a lot of fancy equipment to cook a pot of rice.

When To Add The Rice?

Some people that I know add the rice to the water and then bring it to a boil.  I personally prefer bringing the water to a boil and then adding the rice. 

Cooking Temperature For Rice

When it comes to the temperature, keep in mind that you do not want to cook it too fast or it will be under cooked.  But on the same note, you do not want to cook it to slow or it will be overcooked.

Once the water begins to boil and I add the rice, I will usually cook the rice on medium until it all comes to a boil and then lower the heat to low.

Do I Need A Lid On My Rice?

Yes, you need a lid to cover your rice when cooking. 

While the rice is cooking try to avoid removing the lid, which will cause the excess moisture to go back into the pot.

How Long Do You Cook Rice For?

This depends on the package instructions.  Normally white rice will take around 20 minutes or until the water is all absorbed.

Some rice may take longer, some may take less.  This is where practice comes in.  You learn as you go.

Should You Let Rice Sit?

One of the mistakes I used to make is that I would serve up the rice immediately.  It is important that once the rice is finished to let it sit for about 15 minutes with the lid still on.  The steam will continue to cook it without having to worry about it burning.

Why Did My Rice Turn Out Soggy Or Sticky?

There are many different reasons that your rice turned out soggy or sticky.  It could be too much water, it was left on the heat for too long, or the excess starch was not rinsed off.

Should I Stir My Rice?

When you first add the rice, you will need to stir it a couple of times.  After that once it is cooking, I would recommend not stirring it.  It could damage the grains, causing them to release more starch which will give you soggy and sticky rice.

So, try to avoid excessive stirring while the rice is cooking.  Once you stir it in the beginning just leave it too cook.  And once it is finished cooking and you have let it set for about 15 minutes fluff it with a fork.  If it has been cooked properly it should fluff up nicely.

How Much Water Do You Use To Cook Rice?

Read the package and look at what is recommended.  But with white rice the ratio is usually 2:1. This means 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.

Using too much water will give you overcooked rice, leading it to become soggy.  Not using enough water will cause it to become undercooked and could eventually lead to it becoming burnt.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Rice?

The cooking times vary depending on the rice you are using.  The best advice I can give is to see what the package recommends.

How Do Tell If Rice Is Cooked?

Rice is cooked when the water is absorbed.  Taste a grain and you will be able to tell.  If the rice is tender but not too soggy it is cooked.  Another way of telling if it is cooked is that it will not be crunchy.  Crunchy rice means that it is not fully cooked.

How To Tell If Your Rice Is Overcooked?

You can tell easily if rice is overcooked.  One way of telling is that it looks clumpy.  Rice is also overcooked if it becomes soggy or sticky.

If you add more water than what the package recommends it will take longer to absorb all the water and this will pose the risk of the rice becoming overcooked.

Cooking Methods For Rice

When cooking rice there are several ways of cooking it.  Some ways are cooking rice in the oven or microwave. 

You can cook it in a pressure cooker or a steamer.  And of course, the most popular way of cooking rice other than the stove top is in a rice cooker.

So, with a variety of ways to cook rice you will certainly find a way that works well for you.  I would suggest cooking it different ways until you find what works best for you.  Make it work with your time and your taste buds.

How Do You Store Rice?

If you have left over rice you can store it in the refrigerator.  Let it cool and then put it into a container and place in the refrigerator.

How Long Do Rice It Keep In The Refrigerator?

Typically, cooked rice can last in the refrigerator for at least four days.  But I always look at it and quickly smell it to make sure that it still looks good.  I normally will not eat it after four days, but that does not mean that the rice is necessarily bad.  This is just my own preference.

Can You Freeze Rice?

Yes, you can freeze cooked rice to eat another time.  It is best to freeze it after cooking and when it has cooled down.

Final Thoughts

Cooking rice does not need to cause stress or panic.  While it is definitely a skill cooking the perfect pot of rice, it can be done.  If I can learn how to do it, anyone can.

Practicing will allow you to work out a technique that works for you.  Making mistakes are okay to. Mistakes will show you what you need to change the next time that you are cooking a pot of rice.

The more that you cook rice the better it will become, and you will have the perfect rice.  It took me awhile to find my own technique that worked well for me.  Give yourself time to find your own technique.  Don’t stress over the mistakes, it is just you learning.

Hope you found this article “Beginner’s Guide: Cooking with Rice” helpful.  Please share in the comments any tips or advise you may have when it comes to rice.

Happy Rice Cooking!!!

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