If you’re like me, you enjoy eating rice. Like, a lot. And what’s not to love? Rice is satisfying in both flavour and texture, not to mention inexpensive and filling. It’s also bland enough to be a vehicle for anything saucy or soupy (think coconut curry, chicken stew, or meatballs in cream sauce). It’s shelf-stable, so you can buy it in large quantities and make a little bit every few days. You can turn rice into a lovely dessert (rice pudding!) and even use it leftover for the most amazing fried rice. Rice is pretty much the perfect food that can accompany nearly every meal with grace and girth. Rice makes most meals better but you want to learn how to cook perfect rice every time right?
How To Cook Perfect Rice
But the truth is, it can be hard to make GOOD rice at home. Sure, anyone can boil rice to death and get some sort of mushy mesh to go with your chicken kabob. But you’re not anyone, right? You’re a discerning home cook. And discerning home cooks pay attention to details because we know the little details can be the difference between a “filling” meal and a “mind-blowing Tuesday night experience.” And the best way to cook perfect rice with the smallest amount of effort is to use a rice cooker. Most of the world figured this out years ago, but some of us in the West are still learning about this ingenious device and how it can completely change our rice-cooking game.
So how do you make the perfect rice in a rice cooker? Well, that’s why I’m here to help you out with basic home cooking techniques that, if mastered, can dramatically increase your enjoyment in the kitchen. Let’s get started!
Always Check The Manual
Each rice cooker will be slightly different from model to model. It’s always a good idea to start by getting out the user manual that came with your rice cooker and follow the basic instructions for cooking rice. Don’t have a manual? Try using a search engine, and see if you can find it online. Following these basics instructions is always the best place to begin when it comes to using your rice cooker for the first time. It will arm you with the basic knowledge you need to make the perfect rice in your rice cooker.
Set It And Forget It (The Rice)
Here’s the fun part – a rice cooker is a perfect companion to the busy home cook who wants great food without a ton of effort. Sure, the occasional food project can be fun sometimes, but for many of us, that’s what we do on the weekends. When we need good, wholesome, homecooked food on a weekday evening after a long day at work, the rice cooker is always here for us. You can have perfect rice in about 20 minutes, or the same amount of time it takes to chop and saute some veggies and chicken to place on top of that perfectly cooked rice.
Most rice cookers will have a simple on/off button, and it’s as easy to use as placing your rice in the rice cooker, along with some water, closing the lid, and turning the rice cooker on. That’s it. About 20 minutes later, you’re ready to eat another batch of perfectly cooked rice.
Two Pro Tips For Perfect Rice
Before you add your rice to the rice cooker, put it in a sieve and give it a good rinse under running water. Doing this will rinse off any extra starch on the rice grains, which leads to mushy or clumpy rice. If you want perfectly cooked, individual rice grains, rinsing is for you. Don’t have a sieve? Place the rice in a deep bowl, and rinse it a few times with fresh water until the water begins to look a little more clear (not milky).
Once your rice cooker finishes cooking the rice, let it sit for 10 minutes. Letting the rice rest for a bit will ensure the most evenly cooked rice, every time. This gives every rice grain an opportunity to absorb that last bit of steam, which produces the most pleasing rice to eat. I know it’s hard to wait to eat, especially once you start smelling the lovely rice aroma that we all adore, but don’t skip this step. It will ensure perfectly cooked rice.
Don’t Forget To Clean It
Once your meal is over, and your rice is now in your belly, you’ll want to maintain the life of your rice cooker by cleaning it. The easiest way to do this is by removing the inner pot and washing it by hand with warm, soapy water. Just be sure to use a soft sponge or cloth, so you don’t damage the inside of the rice canister (especially if it is non-stick!).
Master Rice Cooker Recipe
- 1 cup white rice (basmati, jasmine, sushi, or Arborio rice – any white rice will do)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
- Strainer, sieve, or deep bowl
- Measuring cup, for rice and water
- Rice cooker
- Wood or rubber spatula (not metal)
Measure out the rice and place it in a large strainer, sieve or deep bowl, and rinse it thoroughly under cool water. As you rinse the rice, the water will turn cloudy at first, but will then become clearer, especially as you rinse longer. If doing this in a bowl, place the rice in first, and then fill the bowl with water. Stir the water and rice around for a few seconds, and then carefully drain off the water, taking care to keep the rice from draining too. Repeat this process 2-3 more times, until the water isn’t as cloudy. You’re basically rinsing the excess starch off the surface of the rice, which will give you a better texture after cooking the rice. After rinsing, if you still notice a little bit of cloudiness in the water, that’s just fine. Also, there is no need to dry the rice before cooking.
Using the measuring cup, measure out the water, and place both the water and the rinsed rice in the rice cooker. Add in the salt if using, and stir to combine.
Turn the rice cooker on. If necessary, choose the appropriate cooking option according to the manual of your rice cooker. Once the appropriate cooking option has been selected, the rice cooker will do what it’s built to do: it will cook the rice automatically, and turn off when it’s done cooking. Check your rice cooker manual for approximate cooking times (these can vary from rice cooker to rice cooker ). For most rice cookers, this will take 15-20 minutes.
Once your rice cooker lets you know the rice is done cooking, let the rice rest, undisturbed, for another 10 minutes or so. Keep the lid on while the rice rests. This helps prevent the rice from being undercooked, and allows it to absorb any remaining water, to give you perfectly cooked rice. Additionally, you can leave the rice in the cooker for up to 30 minutes (possibly longer, just check your manual), until ready to serve. Rice cookers do a great job of keeping rice warm, without over cooking it.
Using a rubber spatula or rice paddle, gently fluff the rice in the rice cooker. Serve the rice immediately or transfer the rice to a serving bowl or directly to individual plates or bowls. Enjoy with anything that goes well with rice.
How To Cook Perfect Rice: Recipe Notes
You can use this method for any white rice. If you fancy cooking other types of rice, such as brown rice, just check your manual first for specific water-to-rice ratios and cooking times.