How To Cook The Perfect White Rice

Here’s exactly How to Cook Perfect Rice, so you never end up with mushy rice or hard pieces ever again!

Rice is such a staple in my home. If you are a rice lover like myself then you also have to try out my Thai Mango Sticky Rice, Paradise Fried Rice, and Kale and Wild Rice Salad!

Bowl of white rice with chopsticks on the table

Rice was one of those things that took me a while to really “nail.” I tried following recipes on the bags of rice themselves or following the advice of friends and family but I always seemed to end up with a huge pot of mess. I kept asking myself, “Why is my rice mushy?”

Sometimes the rice would still be crunch, other times it was total mush. Sometimes I’d find a pool of water in the bottom of the rice pot, other times the bottom half-inch of rice was a blackened burnt mess.

This method produces tender, fluffy rice like the kind they serve in Thai restaurants. You know what I’m talking about, right? When you can see each individual grain of rice, rather than just a glob of white mush? Yeah, that’s the good stuff. I had to find out how to make rice not sticky.

Overhead view of a bowl of white rice.

Now that I cook rice about 17 times per week, I’ve got the whole thing figured out and figured I’d share it with you!

This method is not just how to cook white rice.  This method will work with long-grain white rice, Jasmine rice, and basmati rice. Don’t try to use brown rice!

The recipe below will make about 5 cups of cooked white rice – enough for a side dish at a family meal.

Since it’s just the husband and me at my house, I like to make this rice and then save the leftovers in the fridge to make Thai-style fried rice.

How to Make the Perfect White Rice

Assemble your ingredients. For exact amounts see the recipe card below.

Bowl or rice and a bowl of water on a table.

Note that it’s an absolute MUST to rinse your rice properly before you put it over heat.

I’ve tried rinsing mine in a strainer with running water, but I’ve found the most effective way is to measure the rice, put it into your cooking pan, then add about an inch of water over the top and use your fingers to swirl the water around. You’ll be able to see the starch coming off of the rice as the water turns murky.

Then, pour the contents of the pot (both rice and water) into a fine strainer to let the water drain off. Return the wet rice to the pan, add another inch of water, swirl again, and drain again. Repeat that process one more time and you’re good to go.

Dirty rice water being strained.

I’m really not kidding about doing it 3 times. It’s essential!

Once you’ve drained the rice for the final time, return the rice to the pan and add the measured amount of water. Stir. Set it on your stove and set turn the burner on to medium heat. Wait patiently as it comes to a boil.

Cooking white rice recipe in a pot.

Don’t make a rookie mistake and turn the heat up to get it to boil faster. That will turn your rice into a mess of mushy nasty grossness. No one likes mushy nasty grossness.

Oh, and another thing. Don’t stir the rice EVER except for the one time you did it when you added the measured water.

Once it comes to a boil, keep an eye on it and wait until the water level dips below the level of the rice. Once you can see a few mounds of rice peeking out above the water you’re ready to use your secret weapon in making the perfect rice!

Well don’t get too excited, because it’s just a regular old kitchen towel.

Lay the kitchen towel over the top of the pot, then put the lid on the pot and ensure the whole thing is as sealed up as it can be.

Lift the hanging edges of the towel up off of the burner so you don’t burn your house down, and fold them up onto the top of the pot lid.

What’s with the towel, you ask? Well, it absorbs the condensation coming off of the rice as it steams so it doesn’t “rain” back down onto the top of the rice, which makes it soggy. SCIENCE!

Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away. Have a drink and peruse my latest pins on Pinterest in the meantime.

When the timer goes off, turn the heat off and set another timer for 10 minutes. Leave the lid on the pot. Do not peek!

When that second timer goes off, remove the lid and the towel and use a fork to fluff the rice into those perfect individual grains.

Voila! Now you know how to cook perfect rice.

Phew! That was kind of a long post to write all about plain old rice. But hey, there’s no point in you making a delicious Panang curry or a fragrant Indian Chicken Korma if you completely botch the rice, right?


How do you reheat rice?

It is quite simple to reheat rice. All you need to do is stick it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and it will be as good as new. In fact, simply adding a few drops of water or even an ice cube can help create steam which will soften up those grains just like when it was freshly cooked.

What is the proper rice to water ratio?

The most common mistake that people make when cooking white rice is to use too much water. When making rice, it is recommended that you use 1 and a half cups of liquid for every cup of rice that you cook. That means if you want to serve four people, you should be using 6 cups of water or stock to get the job done.

Can I use the leftover rice for Fried Rice?

Absolutely! I do this at least one a month. The trick for fried rice is you always want day old rice so this is the perfect recipe to have fresh rice today and the main ingredient for fried rice tomorrow!

What To Serve with White Rice

This delicious (and Vegan!) Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe hits the spot when you’re craving Indian food. Serve it up over rice and garnish it with plenty of fresh cilantro!

This Asian Salmon recipe tops healthy salmon fillets with a boldly flavored Asian glaze of hoisin sauce, garlic, and siracha.

Enjoy this delicious, easy-to-make Thai Tilapia Curry recipe with a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce that adds a bold flavor to a mild fish and to the side of rice.

This Indian Tomato Cilantro Chicken is full of flavor from tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, Serrano chilies, onion, ginger and several spices that will make your mouth water before you even taste this deliciousness!

More Delicious Recipes to pair with this Perfect White Rice

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Got rice problems? Here's exactly how to make perfect rice, so you never end up with mushy rice or hard pieces ever again!

How to Cook Perfect Rice

Got rice problems? Here's exactly how to make perfect rice, so you never end up with mushy rice or hard pieces ever again!
4.5 from 687 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 144kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe


  • 1 1/2 c. long-grain white rice - jasmine rice, or basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 c. water


  • Measure out 1 ½ cup of white rice and pour it into a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Move over to the sink and run some room-temperature water over the top of the rice until it covers the rice by about an inch. Use your fingers to swirl the rice and water around the pan. Drain the water off of the rice using a fine mesh sieve or through your hand if you don’t have one. Repeat the process of adding water, swirling, and draining two more times.
  • Once you've finished, measure 2 ¼ cups of water and add it to the pot. Stir the rice as you add in the water, but do NOT stir it again once you've turned the heat on – ever.
  • Set the pot over medium-heat and patiently wait as it comes to a boil. Let it boil until the water level drops below the level of the rice (the rice will be peeking through the top). Turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible, place the kitchen towel over the top of the pot, and cover the rice with the pot’s lid. Bring the edges of the towel up and twist around the handle of the lid so they aren’t dangling down near the heat element.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away. Once that timer goes off, turn the heat off entirely and let the rice sit for 10 more minutes before taking off the lid. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot.



Serving: 1serving | Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Sodium: 5mg

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  1. I don’t typically have much experience cooking rice and so when I first came across this recipe I was skeptical about the cooking method. I always remember my family constantly stirring rice to prevent it from burning, but WOW, this method worked! I’m in disbelief!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow Linda, followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect!!!! This is now my go to recipe for making “plain” rice, it was so delicious, woohoo. Now to check out some of your other recipes and thank you for posting.

    1. Hi Jennifer, I’m not sure. I’m thinking that maybe your lowest setting is still a little too warm, so next time perhaps keep the rice on the lowest setting for less than 15 minutes. I would try doing it for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.

  3. 5 stars
    I use this recipe every week and would never cook rice another way now – it’s perfect every time. Thanks for sharing!