Chinese Congee Recipe


Congee, or Chinese rice porridge, is the ultimate comfort food that has been a staple in Chinese cuisine for centuries. One can say that it’s the Chinese equivalent of chicken soup as it’s a warm, soothing meal that’s perfect for breakfast, a light lunch, or even as a remedy when you’re feeling under the weather. Learn how to make Chinese Congee in this article.

Is Jook the Same Thing as Congee?

Yes, it is! In Chinese cooking, rice porridge or congee is referred to as jook or zhou. It is a soft, runny version of steamed rice. In some regions of China, this dish is also called xi fan which means diluted rice. 

Easy Congee Recipe Ingredients

When it comes to the staples of Chinese food, rice porridge is among the top of the list. This is because there aren’t a lot of ingredients needed to make congee. Plain congee only needs rice, liquid, ginger, and some salt. While the basic congee is already hearty and filling, a couple more components can be used to elevate this dish to make it even more flavorful and warming.

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (jasmine rice)
  • 7 cups of water 
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional toppings: soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, chili oil, fried shallots, salted duck eggs, dried shiitake mushrooms, fried dough sticks, Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, sesame seeds, pickled vegetables, roasted peanuts, sliced fish

Basic Congee Recipe Directions

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes

Cook congee in the comfort of your own home by following the steps below. 

  1. Wash rice and drain. Fill the bowl with water until the washed rice is submerged and soak for 20 minutes. Drain the uncooked rice again.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, pour in the 7 cups of water and heat until it comes up to a boil.
  3. Add salt, thinly sliced ginger, and rinsed rice grains to the boiling water. Stir.
  4. From medium heat, reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Periodically check and stir the congee to prevent the rice texture from thickening too quickly.
  6. Let it simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Add more water if you think you have a too thick congee.
  8. Serve the congee hot with the toppings of your choice. You can add green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, salted duck egg slices, fried garlic, fried dough pieces, or cooked meat on top. 

Chinese Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge) Recipe Tips

  • Long-grain rice was used for this plain congee recipe but you can use short or medium-grain rice. Jasmine rice is the best for this recipe but sushi rice works just as well. Do not use basmati rice or arborio rice. 
  • Congee is typically made with white rice but you can also make it with brown rice if you prefer that.
  • Turn this plain congee into a hearty Chicken Congee recipe by using chicken broth or chicken stock instead of water. Adding leftover rotisserie chicken to the pot can also add volume to the dish. 
  • You can cook congee in a rice cooker too. If your rice cooker has a porridge setting, simply add the ingredients to the inner pot and use that cooking preset. If not, then add your raw rice, liquid, and other ingredients to the pot, use the regular cooking cycle, and leave the lid open. Cook for about 45 minutes. Add more water to the congee to adjust the thickness.
  • An Instant Pot can also be used to make congee. Add the rice and water to your Instant Pot, then cover and seal the lid. Select high pressure, and set the timer to 25 minutes. Once done, let the pressure release naturally. Once the pressure has fully released, open the lid and stir your congee to thicken it. Let it sit inside the Instant Pot for a few more minutes before serving.
  • A slow cooker can also be used to make congee but the cooking time will be longer. Add your ingredients to your cooker, cover, and cook for 5 to 8 hours. 
  • Congee is usually a savory dish but some people also top it off with brown sugar. 
  • It’s not recommended to use cooked rice to make congee. Leftover rice is best to use in fried rice instead of congee. 
  • Want to make congee faster? Use frozen rice. When the rice freezes, the ice breaks down the molecules of rice, helping to reduce the cooking time. 
  • The rice-to-liquid ratio of congee is usually 1 cup of rice to 7 cups of water.
  • Store leftover congee in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Final Note

The ultimate Chinese comfort food, Chinese Rice Porridge can warm you up any time of the day. It’s a simple dish but it’s versatile, highly nourishing, and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways by adding a myriad of toppings to it. Enjoy experimenting with different ingredients and making this traditional dish your own!

Eager to cook more rice-based dishes? Take a look at our collection of recipes.