If all you need is a simple bowl of fluffy rice to serve with dinner, this is the easiest, most foolproof method that I know.
You don't need measuring cups, a recipe, or even a specific water-to-rice ratio -- fill a pot with water, add the rice, bring it to a boil, then simmer until the rice is tender. Drain the rice, return it to the pot, and let it steam in its own residual heat until you're ready to serve.
Super easy, right? It's nothing fancy, but I promise that it gets the job done.
What Kind of Rice Does This Make?
This method makes rice with distinct, individual grains and a fluffy texture, best eaten with a spoon or fork.
I first learned this rice-cooking method in culinary school. As someone who always seems to burn the rice at the bottom of the pot no matter what recipe I follow, learning this way of cooking rice was a lifesaver. I've used it ever since, whenever I want a simple, un-fussy bowl of rice.
The Best Rice for This Method
This technique works best with long-grain white rice, like basmati, Texmati, jasmine, or long-grain brown rice. You can also use it to cook short-grain rice (or barley, farro, or other grains, for that matter), but you'll lose the unique textures and sticky, starchy properties that come from cooking those grains using other methods.
How Much Rice to Cook
Will this recipe work for multiple servings? Yes. You can cook any amount of rice you like, one serving or ten servings, as long as you use a big enough pot. One cup of dry rice will make about four cups of cooked rice, so just scale up or down depending on how much you need to make.
What Is Considered a Serving Size for One Person?
One serving is about one cup of cooked rice. One cup of dry rice will make about 4 servings.
How Much Water to Use
You also don't need to measure out an exact amount of water or remember any water-to-rice ratios. Just fill a pot with water and add the rice -- the rice should be covered by several inches of water and have enough room to bob up and down. It's like cooking pasta!
If the lack of precision makes you nervous, use roughly three or four cups of water for each cup of rice.
Ways to Use This Rice
Think of this as your "everyday rice." It's great as a side dish for chicken or seafood, sheet pan suppers, or any weeknight meal. If you're in the market for something a little fancier -- like what you might serve at a nice dinner or when trying to impress a date -- go for a rice pilaf or something like this Cilantro Lime Rice.
Tips for the Best Fluffy Rice
- It's best to undercook your rice ever so slightly at the boiling stage. You want it to be tender, but still a touch more firm than you usually like it. It will continue to cook as it steams. (If you wait until it's perfectly cooked before draining, then it might become mushy or overcooked as it steams.)
- If you strive for individual, distinct grains, try rinsing the uncooked rice a few times before cooking. This washes away the excess starch from the grains. You can also toast the rinsed grains in a little butter or olive oil before adding the water, or toss the cooked rice with a little butter or olive oil when you transfer it back to the pot for steaming.
A Few More Tips
- You can save the liquid from cooking the rice and use it to thicken soups, use in baking, or even drink on its own. Just remember when it's been salted, so you'll want to adjust the salt in the recipe where it's used.
- Scrub and clean your strainer right away after using, so the starch from the rice doesn't have time to dry on the strainer. Trust me, dried rice starch is very annoying to clean.
More Ways to Cook Rice
- How to Cook Rice on the Stovetop
- How to Cook Brown Rice
- How to Cook Instant Pot Rice
- A Guide to Rice Cookers
Love Rice? More Rice Recipes to Keep It Interesting
- Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
- Dirty Rice
- Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts
- 5 Ways to Use a Pot of Rice All Week
Easy Boiled Long-Grain Rice
- 1 cup or more long-grain white or brown rice
- Salt (optional)
Fill a pot with water and add the rice:
The rice should be covered by several inches of water (use a 1:4 ratio of rice to water if you're nervous). If using, add at least 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of rice. Stir a few times to make sure the rice and water are mixed.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer:
Let the water come to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat until it maintains a gentle bubbling simmer.
Cook the rice until barely tender:
White rice will cook in roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Brown rice will cook in roughly 20 to 30 minutes. Stir the rice a few times during cooking, when you remember. Taste it as you get toward the end of cooking to test its doneness. It's ready when tender and no longer crunchy, but still a touch too firm for your liking.
Drain the rice:
Set the strainer over your sink or a large bowl and strain the rice and cooking liquid. (The cooking liquid can be saved for other cooking projects.)
Shake the strainer a few times to fully drain the rice.
Return to the pot, cover, and let stand:
Immediately after straining, while the rice is still hot and steamy, transfer the rice back to the pot and cover with the lid. Let stand off the heat, for 10 to 15 minutes. The steam from hot rice trapped in the pan will finish cooking the rice and help give it a perfect texture.
Fluff and serve:
Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork, and serve.