How to Do White Rice

Cooking white rice is a fundamental skill in the culinary world, and it’s a staple in many cultures’ diets. Whether you want to prepare a side dish, a base for a stir-fry, or as an accompaniment to a main course, knowing how to cook white rice perfectly is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through step-by-step instructions on cooking white rice using the absorption method, one of the most common and reliable techniques.

Ingredients and Equipment

To get started, you’ll need the following ingredients and equipment:


  • White rice (long-grain, medium-grain, or short-grain, depending on your preference)
  • Water
  • Salt (optional for flavor)


  • Saucepan or pot with a tight-fitting lid
  • Measuring cup
  • Fork or rice paddle
  • Timer

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to cook white rice perfectly:

Measure the Rice

Measure the desired amount of white rice using a measuring cup. A standard serving size is typically around 1/2 to 1 cup of uncooked rice per person, depending on appetite and accompanying dishes. For this guide, let’s assume you’re cooking 1 cup of white rice.

Rinse the Rice (Optional)

Rinsing rice under cold running water before cooking can help remove excess starch and prevent it from becoming too sticky. This step is optional and can be skipped if you prefer stickier rice. To rinse the rice:

Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer or fine sieve.

Rinse it under cold running water, gently stirring with your fingers until it clears. This can take 30 seconds to a minute.

Measure the Water

The water-to-rice ratio is critical for successful rice cooking. As a general guideline:

For white rice: Use 1.5 to 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. The exact amount depends on your desired rice texture (firmer or softer) and the specific type of white rice you’re using. For this guide, we’ll use a 1.5:1 water-to-rice ratio.

Combine Rice and Water

Place the rinsed and drained rice in a saucepan or pot.

Add the measured water to the rice.

If desired, add a pinch of salt for flavor. This step is optional but can enhance the taste of the rice.

Bring to a Boil

Place the saucepan or pot over high heat and boil the water and rice mixture.

Reduce to a Simmer

When the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. This is where the absorption method comes into play. Cover the saucepan or pot with a tight-fitting lid.

Cook the Rice

Allow the rice to simmer for 15-20 minutes for most varieties of white rice. Cooking times may vary slightly depending on the specific type of rice and your desired texture. Check the package instructions for more precise timing recommendations.

Let It Rest

Once the cooking time is complete, remove the saucepan or pot from the heat, but leave the lid on. Let the rice rest for 5-10 minutes. This resting period allows the rice to finish steaming, resulting in a better texture.

Fluff and Serve

After resting, gently fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle, separating the grains. Fluffing helps prevent clumping and ensures a light, fluffy texture.

Your perfectly cooked white rice is now ready to serve as a side dish, as a base for various recipes, or as part of your favorite meals.

Tips for Perfect White Rice

To ensure your white rice turns out perfectly, consider the following tips:

Use the Right Pot: A heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid works best for even cooking and to prevent steam from escaping.

Avoid Stirring: Once the rice is simmering, avoid stirring it. Stirring can release excess starch and make the rice sticky.

Maintain Consistent Heat: Keep the heat steady during the simmering phase. Too high heat can cause the rice to boil, while too low heat may result in undercooked rice.

Experiment and Adjust: Different brands and varieties of white rice may have slightly different cooking requirements. Don’t hesitate to adjust the water-to-rice ratio and cooking time based on your preferences and results.

Flavor Variations: For added flavor, consider using broth instead of water or infuse the water with herbs, spices, or a dash of oil or butter.

Use a Timer: Set a timer to ensure you don’t overcook the rice. Overcooking can lead to mushy rice.

Leftover Rice: Leftover white rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheated later. To reheat, sprinkle a little water over the rice and microwave it, or reheat it in a covered pan with a bit of extra water.


Cooking white rice using absorption is a straightforward process that consistently yields excellent results. Perfecting this essential cooking skill is well worth the effort, whether you’re serving it as a side dish or using it as a base for various recipes. With practice and attention to detail, you can confidently prepare delicious, fluffy white rice to complement your favorite dishes. Enjoy your freshly cooked white rice as part of a well-rounded meal!

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