How to Make White Rice 5 Ways

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Learn how to cook white rice on the stove top, rice cooker, Instant Pot, microwave, and slow cooker! Here are the instructions for all 5 ways to make it and end up with perfect results every time. Plus get leftover rice recipes and ideas for what to serve with it.

White Rice – a staple side dish!

Technically classified as a refined cereal grain, white rice is actually a type of grass seed. Because it is inexpensive and easy to grow, it’s a staple in the diet of people all over the world.

White rice can be the base for grain bowls like Beef Burrito Bowls. Spoon dishes like Bourbon Shrimp over the top so it soaks up all of that sauce. Or simply serve it alongside Baked Blackened Chicken Breasts.

Is white rice healthy?

When you cook it using plain water without any butter or oil, there are approximately 200 calories in 1 cup of white rice. The proper portion size is 1/2 cup of cooked white rice.

Unlike brown rice, white rice is milled to have the exterior husk, bran, and germ removed. After milling, polishing takes place, giving the white rice a shiny appearance.

Although not as healthy as brown or wild varieties, white rice is a good source of certain vitamins and minerals. Many manufacturers artificially fortify white rice with nutrients to replace some that are lost in the milling process, including:

  • Calcium – essential for bone strength, and a healthy heart and nervous system
  • Iron – helps with memory retention and focus, as well as general energy. It also helps the body regulate temperature
  • Magnesium – contributes to the overall health of most biological functions
  • Folate – this B-vitamin assists in blood cell production, and it’s an important nutrient for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

Is white rice gluten free?

I cover this topic in-depth in my article Is Rice Gluten Free?, but rest assured that rice on its own is a gluten free grain. Just pay attention to flavored rice mixes that contain gluten and/or other ingredients with gluten in the dish. This may be in the accompanying seasoning packets or sauces.

Some prepackaged side dishes may also be multigrain mixes that have pasta, barley, couscous, freekeh, bulgur, or other gluten-containing grains.

A small white bowl of white rice with the handle of a spoon sticking out.

How to cook white rice

Learning how to make fluffy white rice is very easy to do.

Make white rice using the cooking method of your choosing. For most recipes and cooking methods, you will need 1 and 1/2 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of dry white rice. You can use water, any type of cooking stock or broth, or even milk. Traditionally it is cooked in a pot on the stove. However, modern appliances like the microwave, crockpot, Instant Pot, and rice cooker can make it quicker and more convenient. Choose your preferred method and keep reading for the specific instructions.

Methods

You’ll find instructions below for each of these five methods.

  • Stovetop – the traditional way of making it in a pot which gives you control over the texture.
  • Slow Cooker – a great way to use your crockpot for a hands-off method that cooks itself all day, and you can easily make two or three times as much.
  • Instant Pot – an electric pressure cooker is also hand-off, but do not use this method for instant rice.
  • Microwave – doesn’t require extra pans or equipment and you can serve it in the container you cook it in.
  • Rice cooker – the easiest method because all you have to do is push a button.

Fluff and serve. When the rice has finished cooking, you’ll always want to fluff it up with a fork. Then serve it with many of your favorite meals.

How to Make Rice on the Stove

This is the most straightforward method of cooking white rice. Many people prefer it because it allows more control over the texture of the rice.

  1. Combine 1 cup rice with 1 and 1/2 cups water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer with the lid on.
  3. Cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. If you notice that the water is almost absorbed and the rice is still raw, add another 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
  4. Remove from heat, keep the lid on, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Stovetop Tip

If your stove runs hot, you might find that you need to add extra cooking liquid if it evaporates too quickly before the rice is fully cooked.

Rice Cooker White Rice

This is certainly the easiest method for cooking rice. Simply push a button and the cooker handles the rest of the work!

  1. Add 1 cup white rice and 1.5 cups water to the rice cooker.
  2. Place the lid on the top and turn the cooker on.
Rice Cooker Tip

You really don’t need anything fancy if you don’t cook big batches of rice. There are certainly larger high end rice cookers, but an inexpensive one still does the job perfectly.

Pressure Cooker White Rice

This method works well with any type of white rice EXCEPT for parboiled rice (i.e. Minute Rice).

  1. Add 1 cup white rice and 1 cup water to the electric pressure cooker.
  2. Attach the lid, seal the vent, and set the unit to cook on High for 3 minutes. It will take 5-10 minutes to come to pressure first.
  3. After the cooking ends, use a Natural Pressure release for 10 minutes, then manually release the rest.
  4. Remove the lid and fluff the rice before serving.
Instant Pot Tip

Coating the liner with cooking spray or oil will help prevent any sticking or foaming. when making Instant Pot white rice.

Cooking Rice in a Microwave

When you microwave white rice, you won’t need any extra pans or equipment. Plus, you can serve it in the same dish you cooked it in!

  1. Combine 1 cup of brown rice with 3 cups of water in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Microwave uncovered for 10 minutes on high.
  3. Reduce the power to 50%, cover the dish, and cook for another 20 minutes.
  4. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then fluff and serve.
Microwave Tip

Make sure you use a large enough bowl so it doesn’t boil over and splatter all over the microwave.

Crock Pot White Rice

This method is perfect for when you need to “set it and forget it.” Easily double and triple the amounts to make large batches of slow cooker rice.

  1. Add 1 cup white rice and 1 and 1/2 cups water or cooking broth to the crock. If desired, add a tablespoon of butter or oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Stir to combine, then attach the lid.
  3. Cook on Low for 2 hours, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
Slow Cooker Tip

If your slow cooker is larger than 3 quarts, you’ll want to make a larger batch so that it cooks properly. Use at least 2 cups of raw rice.

minced cilantro on top of a bowl of white rice.

Storing Leftovers

Somepeople are concerned about storing leftover white rice because of the risk of the growth of Bacillus cereus which is a heat-resistant toxin. But as long as you cool it quickly and don’t leave it at room temperature, you will minimize the risk

After cooking, be sure to allow rice to cool before transferring it to a food storage container or Ziploc bag. If you want to cool it quickly, you can spread it in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Then immediately refrigerate the containers and consume or freeze the rice within five days.

How to Freeze Cooked White Rice

Cooked rice freezes beautifully, making it perfect for meal planning and easy meal prep! As a result, you can make a double batch so you have leftovers to freeze for later use.

Again you’ll want to be sure it is cooled before transferring it to the airtight container or freezer storage bag. Squeeze all the air out of the bags, and be sure to label everything because you’ll want to consume it within a month. After that, it starts to dry out.

Thaw the frozen rice in the refrigerator before reheating it.

How to reheat white rice

Cooked rice typically loses moisture in the refrigerator. As a result, before reheating, you’ll want to add a tablespoon of cooking liquid per cup of cooked rice.

  • Microwave: Put the rice in a microwave-safe container and sprinkle the liquid over the top. Cover with a lid, then heat for 1-2 minutes on high power to warm it through.
  • Other cooking methods: Add the rice and liquid to a saucepan and use a fork to break up any large clumps.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook on the stove top on low for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

cooked white rice in a bowl on a wooden table

Make it a Meal

Rice Bowls

Top a bowl of white rice with your favorite protein and maybe some veggies or sauces for a meal in a bowl.

Asian-Inspired Dinner

Rice is a traditional accompaniment to many of your favorite Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese or other Asian meals or those inspired by the flavors of those cuisines.

Simple Sides

Enjoy it with your favorite main dish that cooks quickly enough that you can make it while the rice cooks.

Recipes with Cooked Rice

If you have extra, recipes for leftover white rice are a great way to use it up or for an easy way to make many dishes.

overhead of a grey bowl with chicken fried rice topped with scallions and carrots

Chicken Fried Rice

Make your favorite take-out order faster and healthier with this gluten free chicken fried rice recipe make with colorful veggies and pre-cooked chicken.
Get The Recipe
Zucchini casserole served as a side dish with chicken on a blue plate

Cheesy Zucchini Casserole with Rice

Turn your garden abundance and leftover rice into this easy, cheesy gluten free side dish. Cheesy Zucchini Casserole is packed with veggies and plenty of cheddar cheese, then baked till golden brown and delicious.
Get The Recipe
white rice with cilantro flecked through it in a bowl with a wooden spoon and cilantro and lime as garnish

Cilantro Lime Rice

A simple way to add a bright, fresh flavor to this basic side dish. This Cilantro Lime Rice recipe is easy and versatile, with only a few ingredients! Use it as a base for burrito bowls, or serve it with your favorite grilled dishes or Asian or Mexican meals.
Get The Recipe
Two beef and broccoli lettuce wraps on a rectangular plate.

Asian Beef and Broccoli Lettuce Wraps

Less than thirty minutes and basic ingredients are all that's needed for this healthy dinner idea (or fun appetizer) with bold Asian flavors!
Get The Recipe
Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken and Rice Soup

This chicken and rice soup is chicken breast pieces simmered with vegetables and rice in an herb broth. A quick and easy dinner option!
Get The Recipe
cooked white rice in a bowl on a wooden table

How to Cook White Rice

Learn how to cook white rice on the stove top, rice cooker, Instant Pot, microwave, and slow cooker! Here are the instructions for all 5 ways to make it and end up with perfect results every time. Plus get leftover rice recipes and ideas for what to serve with it.
Prep: 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice
  • water (or another liquid such as chicken or vegetable broth, amount varies based on cooking method)

Instructions

How to cook white rice on the stove

  • Combine 1 cup rice with 1 and 1/2 cups water in a saucepan.
  • Bring contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer with the lid on.
  • Cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. If you notice that the water is almost absorbed and the rice is still raw, add another 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
  • Remove from heat, keep the lid on, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

How to cook white rice in a rice cooker

  • Add 1 cup white rice and 1 1/2 cups water to the rice cooker.
  • Place the lid on the top and turn the cooker on.

How to make Instant Pot rice

  • Coat the liner with cooking spray or oil to help prevent any sticking or foaming.
  • Add 1 cup white rice and 1 cup water to the electric pressure cooker.
  • Attach the lid, seal the vent, and set the unit to cook on High for 3 minutes. It will take 5-10 minutes to come to pressure first.
  • After the cooking ends, use a Natural Pressure release for 10 minutes, then manually release the rest.
  • Remove the lid and fluff the rice before serving.

How to make white rice in a Microwave

  • Combine 1 cup of brown rice with 3 cups of water in a microwave-safe dish.
  • Microwave uncovered for 10 minutes on high.
  • Reduce the power to 50%, cover the dish, and cook for another 20 minutes.
  • Let sit for about 5 minutes, then fluff and serve.

How to make white rice in a slow cooker

  • Add 1 cup white rice and 1 and 1/2 cups water or cooking broth to the crock. If desired, add a tablespoon of butter or oil to prevent sticking.
  • Stir to combine, then attach the lid.
  • Cook on Low for 2 hours, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
Nutrition Facts
How to Cook White Rice
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cups cooked)
Calories 113 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 35mg1%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 2g4%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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