Warm, fluffy white rice is the perfect side dish to many a meal. Whether you’re topping it with sticky chicken or covering it in a crockpot chicken, this is how to cook white rice perfectly.

a dish of long grain white rice

The first time I cooked rice on my own it came out gummy. It was no bueno. So just in case you’re out there googling, here’s how to cook white rice. You got this, my friend.

Rice is one of the most universal grains out there. You can turn rice into anything, a casserole, a side dish, or even a soup. You’d think that would make it a well made recipe but instead it can be a bit tricky.

Have you ever had any of these issues?

  • Burnt bottom of the rice
  • Gummy/pasty rice
  • Undercooked crispy rice
  • Overcooked bloated rice
  • A skin on or under the rice
  • BLAND rice

Yeah, I’ve done them all. Let me tell you EXACTLY How to Cook White Rice.

The secret to a good white is in the lid. It’s all about when it goes on, when it stays on and when to take it off.

Trust me on this one.

Let’s go over the basics first then scroll to the end for a bunch of FAQ on white rice.

Brown Rice vs White Rice

Rice is not all created equal. Follow along for a quick rundown on rice.

  • Brown Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain. It’s a heartier rice that will have more of a chew and is a healthier rice option than white rice.

  • White rice

White rice has had the bran and germ removed, which are the most nutritious parts of the grain. Because of this it leaves white rice with very few essential nutrients, which is why brown rice is usually considered a much healthier choice than white rice.

a dish of long grain white rice

Long Grain- Medium Grain- Short Grain

You’re going to use a different type of rice for different recipes. So it really isn’t white vs brown, it’s so much more.

  • Long Grain Rice

Long grain rice is inclusive of Jasmine, American, Brown and even Basmati rices. It’s a longer, thinner grain of rice and because of their chewier texture it’s the best rice for casseroles, sides, and pilafs.

Basmati Rice- This rice is an Indian rice and is great to serve with curries etc.

Jasmine Rice- Unlike plain white rice which is also long and thin, this rice has an aroma that lends to more flavor in dishes. It’s great for stews, slow cooked dishes and with grilled meats.

  • Medium Grain Rice

Medium grain rice will be shorter and wider than Long Grain Rice. You’ll find medium grain to be labeled as Arborio for example.

This grain of rice is what you look for to make Paella or Risotto.

  • Short Grain Rice

Last, but not least is our little friend, short grain rice. It’s about as long as it is wide and is known to be a sticky rice.

Ahhhh, now you know what I’m talking about, right!

Short grain rice is made into sushi, puddings and salads.

How Much Water for Rice

You’d think this would be an easy answer but it all depends on how your lid fits, how much rice is in the pot etc. You see, you can’t double the rice and just double the water. Instead you have to test until you find how your pot works. You could have 2 cups rice and only need 3 3/4 cups of water and not 4.

But typically…

You need a 1.5:1 ratio of water to long grain white rice.

Short Grain Rice= 1:1 water ratio

Medium Grain Rice= 1.5:1 water to rice

a dish of long grain white rice

How to Cook Long Grain Rice

  1. Bring a pot of the proper amount of water to a boil.
  2. Add salt and butter if desired.
  3. Add the rice and stir to combine.
  4. Place the lid on and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Allow to cook for 18 minutes then remove from the heat but do not lift the lid.
  6. The pot should sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

How Long to Cook Rice

  • Long Grain White Rice- 16- 18 minutes
  • Medium Grain Rice- 20 Minutes
  • Short Grain Rice- Start with 5 minutes to bring to a boil then cook for 10 minutes on low, do a quick 30 seconds on high heat then  remove to steam for 10 more minutes.

How Do You Know When Rice is Done

Open the lid and you should see an even layer of rice with vent holes all over from the steam.

Taste a piece of rice and it should be soft. If it is chewy add a little more water and 3-4 more minutes of cooking.

a dish of long grain white rice


Why is My Rice Mushy?

You may have had too much water or your lid wasn’t fitting properly. In cooking rice, you cannot just double the water when you double rice. You may only need 1.5 times the water depending on how your lid fits.

Again, you need to do some testing.

How to Cook Rice in the Microwave

  1. Pour the rice into the microwave-safe container or pot. Fill the pot with water so it just covers the rice by about an inch.

  2. Cover with a microwave safe lid.

  3. Microwave on high for 9 minutes. Let rest covered (no peeking!) for 3 minutes before fluffing.

How to Cook Rice in the Instant Pot

  1. Measure out dry rice, set aside.
  2. Measure out the same amount of water, a 1:1 ratio, then add it to Instant Pot’s inner pot.
  3. Add the rice.  (Never fill your inner pot past the half-way mark when cooking rice.)
  4. Place the inner pot into the cooker base.
  5. Close the lid, and set the valve release to the “Seal” position.
  6. Select your pressure cooking time.
    • The “Rice” button automatically sets the time for white rice only.
    • For other types of rice, use the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” Smart Program on High and use + and – to set the correct time= 3 minutes for white, 22 minutes for brown. 

Is Rice Good For You?

Brown rice is better for you than white rice but there are some benefits:

  1. It can help stabilize blood sugars.
  2. White rice is easier to digest so those who are struggling with health issues might be able to eat white vs brown rice.
  3. Gluten free for those with celiacs or intolerances.

Do You Need a Rice Cooker to Cook Rice?

You do not need a rice cooker to cook rice. A regular saucepan or stockpot with a lid is the perfect way to cook rice.

How Long Will Rice Keep?

Rice will keep longer uncooked than cooked.

Uncooked brown rice doesn’t last as long as the other varieties, you’ll notice it drying out and going bad before white rice as it only lasts 3-6 months.

Putting rice in the fridge will help it to last 6-12 months and 12-18 in the freezer.

White rice will last 4-5 years if stored properly and sealed.

If cooked white rice will last in the fridge 5-7 days or 6 months in the freezer.

How to Cook White Rice

5 from 1 vote
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes


How long to cook rice and how much water for rice is all answered here for perfect white rice!


  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 Cup White Rice


  • Start by bringing the water to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat.
    1 1/2 Cups Water
  • Add the butter and salt.
    1 Tablespoon Butter, 1 Pinch Salt
  • Pour the rice into the water, stir before you doing anything else and bring back to a boil.
    1 Cup White Rice
  • Add the lid to the pot and turn the heat down to medium low, allowing the rice to cook at a simmer for 18 minutes. Do not uncover.
  • When you open the lid you should see holes in the rice where steam was escaping.
  • Remove from the heat, place the lid back on and allow to steam for another 10 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and serve!


You can cover and store rice in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 41mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 87IUCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 200+ Easy Side Dish Recipes Every Mom Needs
Cuisine: American

a dish of long grain white rice