How to cook rice

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How to cook rice


  • 200-300g (or 200-300ml if using a measuring jug) good quality
  • American long grain or basmati rice

Learn how to cook rice with this simple step-by-step picture recipe. This easy skill will transform dinner times. Make sure you cook your rice properly with this guide.

Rice is very easy to cook but to ensure light, fluffy results every time good quality rice is essential. Cheaper rice will be disappointing, soggy and lacking in flavour however carefully you cook it.

Which type of rice should I buy?

There are many different varieties of rice, the most common being American long grain, a good all rounder which holds its shape well.

Basmati is a more expensive aromatic delicate rice and is the classic accompaniment to curries and for making pilaf (rice flavoured with spices).

Both these types of rice can be cooked in the same way ie in plenty of boiling water for 10-15 mins until tender and then drained, or by the absorption method where the water is measured and completely absorbed by the rice.

Brown rice contains more fibre, vitamins and minerals than white because the bran and germ have not been removed. It takes a lot longer to cook (about 40 minutes) and has a chewier texture. It keeps you feeling fuller for longer so is the healthier choice - especially if you’re on a diet.

Black, red Carmargue and wild rice are less common and more expensive, speciality rices. They have a nuttier flavour than white rice and take 20-40mins to cook but their firm, chewy texture and colour makes them ideal for salads.

Risotto (Arborio) rice is a short plump grain, which when cooked softens on the outside to give a creamy texture to risottos but still remains slightly firm in the centre.

How much rice do I need?

Allow 50-75g of uncooked rice per serving. This equates to 50-75ml per person if using a measuring jug which is often quicker than weighing it. Any leftover rice should be chilled quickly and can be stored in the fridge for 2 days or frozen for 1 month.

Reheat in the microwave or in a little boiling water until piping hot.

Now, we'll show you how to cook American long-grain or basmati rice using the absorption method.


Step 1

Measure twice the amount of water to rice ie 400-600ml water for 200-300ml rice.


Step 2

Place in a saucepan, season with a little salt and bring to the boil.


Step 3

Cover with a tightly fitting lid, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for 10-15 mins until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender, American long grain rice will take a little longer to cook than basmati. Try not to lift the lid too often to keep as much steam in the pan as possible.

Step 4

Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 mins before fluffing up with a fork and serving.


Microwave rice
Cooking rice in the microwave is no quicker than cooking it in a pan but it is convenient and gives very good results. Using the same quantities as above, place the measured rice in a bowl suitable for the microwave with twice the amount of boiling water from the kettle. Cover with cling film and pierce it several times. Cook on high for 6 mins then medium for 8 mins. Leave to stand for 5 mins before removing the clingfilm and fluffing up the rice with a fork.

Pilaf rice
Cook basmatic rice as above using vegetable stock instead of water and add 2 crushed cardamom pods, ½ cinnamon stick broken into pieces, 4 cloves and 4 lightly crushed peppercorns.

Spicy tomato rice
Fry 1 onion and 1 crushed garlic clove in 1tbsp olive oil for 3 mins to soften. Add 1/4tsp cayenne pepper and 1/2tsp paprika, stir well then add 200g American long grain rice, a 200g can chopped tomatoes and 400ml vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10-15 mins until tender. Serve with chicken, sausage or pork chops.

Curried rice salad
Cook basmati rice as above adding 1tbsp curry paste to the cooking water. Fluff up with a fork and leave to cool. Stir in 4 chopped spring onions, 4tbsp cooked and cooled frozen peas, 4tbsp raisins or sultanas, and a handful of fresh chopped coriander leaves. Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds to serve.

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