There’s lots of info out there on how to cook rice — perhaps because it’s such a simple and inexpensive staple. But the back of the rice package says one thing about how to cook it, and your favourite blog says something else, you’ve landed on our tried-and-tested guide. We’ll walk you through all the different ways to make different varieties of rice, and ensure it never comes out mushy, gummy, or burnt.
First and Foremost: Always Rinse Rice Before Cooking
No matter how you’re cooking your rice (or which variety you’re making), it’s important to rinse those grains. Doing so removes excess starch. Left on the rice, the starch results in unappealing, gummy results. Some recipes will tell you to place the rice in a bowl and change the water several times, but we think the easiest technique is to rinse it in a fine mesh strainer. Agitate the grains with your hands as you run water over them to shower them evenly. When the water runs clear, you’re done rinsing. Having trouble seeing whether or not it’s clear? Put a clear bowl underneath the water draining off the rice, let any bubbles settle away and then take a look.
Consider Toasting the Rice
Full disclosure: This step isn’t necessary. But if you have the time, it enhances the natural flavour of the rice. Simply heat a teaspoon of butter or olive oil over medium heat in the pot you’re going to cook the rice in. Add the rice and stir it frequently until it starts smelling nutty — a bit like popcorn. If you’re toasting white rice, you’ll see it turn pale tan.
Don’t Forget to Season the Water
Adding a big pinch of salt to the cooking water goes a long way in making your finished rice taste balanced. If you forget and season the rice after it’s done cooking, you’ll notice an unpleasant bite of salt.
What the Heck Does It Mean to “Fluff Rice?”
Many rice recipes conclude with the simple instructions: “fluff rice.” This just means you should stick a fork into the rice and break up any grains that have clumped together. The step literally makes your finished dish fluffier.
How to Cook Rice on the Stove
Read the back of every rice package in your pantry, and you’ll realize that there’s no one way to make rice on the stove. The technique changes based on which type of rice you’re making. But have no fear, we’ve broken down everything below.
The Classic Method
When you think about making rice, this is the technique that probably comes to mind because it’s the most classic. It works fantastically with typical long-grain white rice. If you’re face-to-face with something like a short-grain rice, you can always check the package instructions for how to tailor this technique to the variety.