I dedicate this post to my sister. When I was down in Orange County last weekend to support my dad after his knee replacement, my sister mentioned she wanted to buy a rice cooker because she couldn’t cook rice.
I tried and tried to tell her that you don’t need a rice cooker and that cooking rice in a pot is the easiest thing in the world, but she was skeptical. So, I told her I’d do a how-to post for her explaining how to do it. And here I am!
Before we get into it, let’s talk about why you don’t need that darn rice cooker. I have three reasons for you:
3 reasons to skip the rice cooker:
1. It’s just another one-job appliance.
Here’s my personal rule – if the appliance only does one job, and that job can be done by something I already have on hand (like a pot, in this case), the appliance is a no-go.
2. It wastes prime kitchen real estate.
Save the space for something better – like a cookie jar!
3. You don’t have any control over the texture of the rice.
“Set it and forget it” is great – until you want the texture to be a little different from the generic. Sometimes I want it a little crunchy, sometimes mushy. Pots give you control.
Now, I know some of you live and die by your rice cooker. If you have plenty of storage space or the whole set-it-and-forget-it thing really saves you time, then by all means, charge ahead and use your rice cooker. If you’ve already got one, use it.
But, if you are considering buying one, then just give the plain ol’ pot a shot. With the proper technique, cooking rice in a pot is super duper easy – and you don’t need to buy another appliance to get the job done.
How to cook rice:
Step 1: Gather your things.
You’ll need a pot that holds twice the volume of the rice and the water you are putting in it. So if I’m cooking one cup rice with 2-ish cups of water, I’ll want a pot that holds at least 6 cups of water. Make sense?
You’ll also need a measuring cup, some rice, water or broth, and any flavoring ingredients you like. Some of my favorites are sesame oil, butter, or bouillon paste.
Step 2: Calculate.
For every 1 cup of white rice, you’ll need 1 3/4 cups water or broth. Most packages say to use 2 cups water or broth, but I have found this to be excessive for the vast majority of rice I’ve used.
For brown rice, you’ll need 1 cup rice and 2 cups water or broth.
Step 3: Boil.
Bring the water to a boil on the stove over high heat. Add the rice, stir, and return to a boil.
Step 4: Cook.
Once the pot comes to a boil again, put the lid on and turn it down to very low. Most stoves don’t go too low, so you’re probably okay turning it as low as it will go.
Cook white rice for 15 minutes. Cook brown rice for 45 minutes.
Important! During this cook time, do not lift the lid to check on the rice. This lets the heat escape and results in unevenly cooked rice.
Step 5: Let sit.
Turn the heat off and remove to a cool place if necessary (i.e. to a cool burner if your stove is electric). Let sit without removing the lid for 5-10 minutes for white rice and 15 minutes for brown rice.
Step 6: Fluff.
After it’s done sitting, fluff the rice with a fork (not a spoon – it makes a difference, I promise!). Serve! If you are going to let it sit a while longer, let it do so with the lid on the pot.
And you’re done! I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial, and I hope it helps you cook rice without burning it and without having to buy another appliance.
Best of luck in all your rice-cooking endeavors!