how to make chinese white rice

Chinese white rice, steamed rice, or plain rice is a staple in Chinese and many other Asian cuisines. It serves as the perfect base for a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to curries and everything in between. While making Chinese white rice may seem simple, achieving perfectly cooked, fluffy grains requires attention to detail. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through making Chinese white rice that’s light, tender, and restaurant-quality.


  • 1 cup of long-grain white rice (jasmine rice or basmati rice also work well)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Optional: A pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vegetable oil (for added flavour)


  • A medium-sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid
  • Fine-mesh strainer (for rinsing, optional)
  • Measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon or fork
  • Timer


Measure the Rice

Start by measuring 1 cup of white rice. You can use any variety of long-grain white rice, but jasmine or basmati rice is famous for its fragrant aroma and tender texture.

Rinse the Rice (Optional)

Rinse the rice under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer. This step helps remove excess starch, making the rice overly sticky. While rinsing is optional, it’s a common practice to achieve light and fluffy grains. Rinse until the water runs clear.

Combine Rice and Water

Add the rinsed rice and 2 cups of water in a medium-sized saucepan. You can add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vegetable oil at this stage for added flavour. The salt is optional, but it can enhance the taste of the rice.

Bring to a Boil

Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the water to a rolling boil. Stir the rice occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Reduce to Simmer

Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.

Simmer and Steam

Allow the rice to simmer and steam for approximately 18-20 minutes. The exact cooking time may vary depending on your stove and the type of rice you’re using, so it’s a good idea to start checking at the 18-minute mark.

Check for Doneness

  • After the cooking time is up, turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. This steaming step helps ensure the rice is fully cooked and fluffs up nicely.
  • After the 5-minute rest, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork or wooden spoon. Check for doneness by tasting a few grains. The rice should be tender, and each grain should be separate. Cover it if it’s still slightly undercooked, and let it steam for 2-3 minutes.


Your Chinese white rice is now ready to serve. It pairs wonderfully with various dishes, from vegetables and stir-fries to meats and sauces.

Tips for Perfect Chinese White Rice

  • Proportion of Rice to Water: The standard ratio for making Chinese white rice is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. This ratio can be adjusted slightly based on personal preference, but it’s a good starting point.
  • Rinsing the Rice: While rinsing the rice is optional, it’s recommended for fluffier grains. Rinsing helps remove excess surface starch.
  • Simmering and Steaming: Simmering and steaming are essential for perfectly cooked rice. Simmering cooks the rice, and the steaming step at the end ensures the grains are fully tender.
  • Avoid Stirring During Cooking: Once the rice is boiling and you’ve reduced the heat to simmer, avoid stirring it. Stirring can release excess starch and make the rice sticky.
  • Use a Tight-Fitting Lid: A well-fitting lid on the saucepan is essential to trap steam and ensure even cooking.
  • Fluff Before Serving: Use a fork or wooden spoon to fluff the rice before serving. This separates the grains and prevents clumping.
  • Storage: If you have leftover Chinese white rice, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be reheated later in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Making Chinese white rice at home is straightforward and rewarding. With a few simple steps and attention to detail, you can enjoy light, fluffy rice that pairs perfectly with a wide range of dishes. Whether cooking for yourself or preparing a family meal, this homemade rice is a versatile and delicious addition to your culinary repertoire. Enjoy!

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