How to cook rice – a beginner's guide

You'll need to know how to cook rice if you're a curry fan, love a chili or a midweek stir fry. Use our simple guide to find out how to cook perfectly fluffy rice

How to cook rice for vegan chilli with beans and cauliflower
(Image credit: Getty)

Knowing how to cook rice is a must if you're determined to master the basics of cooking. Cooking rice is really simple – but it is easy to go wrong. What you're aiming for is light and fluffy – slip up and it might become sticky and clumpy. Burn it in the bottom of the pan and the whole batch will be ruined. 

How to get it right? Follow our guide. For more food advice and recipe ideas, see our dedicated hub page.

What is the best way to cook rice?

We think the best way to cook rice is in a rice cooker. Why? Get the measurements rice and you'll get perfect fluffy rice every single time. has its own rice cooker and it's seen years of faithful service. 

1. Add one cup of basmati rice and double the amount of water to a colander and rinse under a cold tap. Doing so removes the excess starch which can make rice a bit sticky when cooked.

2. Now add it to the rice cooker. Add a pinch of salt to taste. One cup of rice is around 60g to 80g, depending on your appetite.

3. Put in the microwave on full power for eight minutes. 

4. If you're using your microwave for the first time to cook rice, check the rice at about six minutes to ensure there is still a little water left to steam the rice. Do not stir it.

How to cook rice on the stove top

No microwave or just want to do it the old-fashioned way? It's vital to get the measurements right and not to let the pan dry out – rice can burn very quickly and the burnt flavour will speedily work its way through the entire pan. 

1. Measure out one cup of basmati rice into a colander. Put the kettle on to boil.

2. Run the rice under cold water to rinse it. Shake out the excess water.

3. Add the rice to a pan, add double the amount of boiled water to rice (so if you put in one cup of rice, put in two cups of water). Stir the rice.

4. Bring the rice to a boil, then put the lid on and reduce the heat so that the lid stays on without clattering.

5. Boil for eight minutes (10 if you added cold tap water to the pan rather than boiled water from the kettle). Do not be tempted to remove the lid during this time! 

6. Turn the heat off after the cooking time has finished but don't remove the lid. Instead, let the pan sit for up to 10 minutes to allow the rice to continue to steam. 

7. Turn the rice out into a heated serving dish and fluff with a fork. Or, fluff it in the saucepan. 

How to cook brown rice

Brown rice needs to cook for longer than white rice. It also needs more water. Follow the instructions on the packaging, but expect it to take up to 45 minutes to cook through and to need an extra quarter cup of water per serving (so two servings of rice would need four and a half cups of water). 

Soaking brown rice in cold water for half an hour or so before cooking will help it cook more quickly. 

How to cook other rice

If you're cooking rice for puddings, a paella or for risotto the method is different. Basmati rice is long-grain, and is boiled in water as we've given you the steps for above. Pudding, paella and risotto rice, however, is short-grain, and needs a different approach – in other words, it's cooked within the sauces/stocks that the dishes require. Follow the instructions on the packaging for these and do not rinse the rice first – it needs that extra starch to give the dishes their traditional consistencies.