How To Cook Rice Without a Rice Cooker


Fluffy rice is a versatile side dish that many people around the world love to pair with nearly every meal. Because it’s such an everyday staple, the digital rice cooker has become a kitchen essential for many households, simplifying the process and giving us perfectly cooked rice effortlessly.

However, a rice cooker isn’t necessary to cook perfect rice, and you can make your own pot of steamed rice using the tools you already have available at home. With a large pot, some fresh water, a stovetop, and rice grains, you can cook rice perfectly and just as easily. Here’s how to cook rice without a rice cooker.

Can You Cook Rice Without a Rice Cooker?

Because the rice cooker has become the preferred method for cooking rice in many households, at this point, you may think it’s the only way to cook yourself some perfect rice. However, rice does not need any fancy equipment, which is one of the main reasons rice is so commonly eaten in various cultures and cuisines. 

Whether you’re cooking brown rice, white rice, long grain rice, medium grain rice, or short grain rice, you can easily learn how to cook rice without a rice cooker and make a pot of great rice on the stove, very similar to the pasta method.

How to Cook Rice Without a Rice Cooker

  1. Measure however much rice you want and put the rice in a pot. Cover the uncooked rice with about 2 inches of water and let the rice soak for 15-20 minutes on the counter. Rinsing and letting the rice rest will remove the excess starch.
  2. After you have let the rice sit, drain off the remaining water it was soaking in. 
  3. Add a similar amount of water as you did cups of rice (this step will depend on the type of rice you’re cooking). 
  4. Put the pot over the stove on medium-high heat. If your pot lid isn’t clear, cook uncovered until it reaches a simmer or right below the boiling point. 
  5. Before it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to maintain a gentle simmer. Let the rice cook undisturbed for a cook time of 10-15 minutes for white rice and 20-25 minutes for brown rice. Keeping the heat low will prevent your rice from burning on the bottom in case you let it go for too long.
  6. Once the rice looks done, check that the bottom of the pot is dry by inserting a rubber spatula along the side of the pot so you can see if the bottom of the pot is dry. If the bottom of the pot is dry, but the rice is still crunchy, sprinkle a little water evenly over the rice, cover it, and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve while it’s still warm.

What type of pot should I use for cooking rice?

When you’re cooking without a rice cooker, using a heavy bottom pot with a tight-fitting lid like a non-stick or cast iron pot will be best. A heavy-bottomed pot will ensure a more even heat distribution, which will result in fewer chances of burning and uneven cooking. 

A tight-fitting lid is important in keeping most of the moisture in the pot, and a clear glass lid is a bonus so you can see the progress of your rice without having to open the pot. If you don’t have a lid, you can cover it tightly with foil.

What is the ratio of water to rice?

Whether you’re cooking with or without a rice cooker, a good pot of rice comes down to the water-to-rice ratio. It will vary depending on how much rice you’re cooking, what consistency you’re looking for, and what kind of rice you’re cooking. Here is a list of the recommended rice-to-water ratio ranges for different types of rice.

  • Basmati rice: 1 cup rice to 1 ¼–1 ¾ cup water
  • Jasmine rice: 1 cup rice to 1 ¼–1 ¾ cup water
  • Brown rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water
  • Wild rice: 1 cup rice to 3–4 cups of water
  • Medium grain white rice: 1 cup rice to 1 cup water
  • Brown rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water

You can also use anything from vegetable broth, chicken stock, or coconut milk to add more flavor to your plain rice while still keeping your rice moist. If you’re still unsure how much water to cook rice in, start on the low end as you can always add more water in order to avoid soggy rice. If you do end up making some mistakes while cooking, there are some ways you can fix imperfect rice.

How do you rinse rice?

Although rinsing rice isn’t an absolute must, it is highly recommended, as it washes away grime and starch that may otherwise make your rice sticky or gloopy when it should have a fluffy texture. 

There are different simple methods to quickly rinse the rice in your kitchen sink. You can fill a large pot with rice and water, swirl it around to loosen up the excess grime, and then pour out the dirty water. f you’re looking for a quicker way to rinse rice, a large, fine mesh sieve will make things easier. Simply rinse the rice for a minute or two under running water, using your hands to jostle the rice.

How do I cook white rice without a steamer?

Cooking in a pot with boiling water produces firmer rice and works best for long grain varieties like basmati rice. On the other hand, steamed rice is stickier and works best for shorter grain varieties like jasmine rice. 

If you’re looking for that softer steamed rice texture without a rice steamer, all you need to do is cook your rice on the stove as instructed above by boiling it over medium-high heat and then turning it down to a gentle simmer. 

Afterward, turn off the heat but let your rice sit in the pot with the lid on. This will allow steam to accumulate and give you that perfect rice texture without overcooking your rice.

How Do You Reheat Cooked Rice?

Place rice in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge to preserve it. To reheat cooked rice in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle a bit of water on top, then drape a damp paper towel over the top before heating it, to make up for how the rice dries out in storage. To reheat rice in a pot, give it a generous sprinkle of water and heat with the lid on over low heat, stirring and fluffing frequently.

How do you make fried rice?

Another way to eat leftover rice is to turn it into fried rice. In fact, fried rice is best cooked with older, cold rice as it is much firmer. Firmer rice is better than softer rice for stir-fries as it doesn’t get mushy over the cooking time. 

All you need is a frying pan or wok over medium heat, splash a bit of oil, cook some garlic until it’s fragrant, drop in your rice and stir frequently, and add salt for flavor. You can find even more recipes like this one on our site.

Final Note

Learning how to cook rice without a rice cooker is an essential skill for people who eat rice regularly, as you may need to know how to in situations when a rice cooker isn’t around. Being able to cook perfect rice in a simple pot is so simple, and we know you’ll be able to do it even just the first time around. Now you’re ready, try this beans and rice recipe.