There’s something about making rice on the stove that’s very intimidating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my boyfriend to make a pot of rice on the stove and it simply does not go right for him. I’ll always get a phone call asking me how to cook rice on the stove, and he’s always amazed by just how easy it is.
Here’s the thing, cooking rice on the stovetop doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s one of the easiest things there is to do. Well, probably not as easy as using a rice cooker, but if you don’t have one, or don’t have the space for one, making rice on the stove will work out just fine.
There’s a couple of tips and tricks you need to know to make it work, but once you learn them, you’ll be making stovetop rice like a pro!
Learn the Ratios to Cook Rice on the Stove
The magic rice to water ratio for perfect rice on the stove is a simple 1:2. For every part rice you add, add two parts water. In practice, this means that if you’re cooking 1 cup of rice, you’ll need to add 2 cups of water.
Make sure you use the same measuring unit! If you measure out 1 cup rice in a dry ingredient measuring cup, add 2 cups of water using that same dry ingredient measuring cup.
Rinse Your Rice
I absolutely hate rinsing my rice, especially on busy weeknights when I need to get dinner on the table stat. But I rinse my rice anyway, because it only takes a minute, and ensures that I have perfect rice to cook on the stove.
To rinse your rice, place it on a fine mesh strainer and run it through cold water a couple of times, or until the water runs clear. Let the water strain out before adding it to the pot.
Warning: if you don’t rinse your rice, keep in mind your pot might bubble over and leave you with a sticky mess to clean on the stove. Not that I’m speaking from experience on that…
Ok, so you don’t HAVE to toast your rice. But you should. Not only does toasting rice help add a yummy nutty flavor, it also helps to cook off some of the water left over from rinsing the rice.
To toast the rice, heat up a pot and oil (or butter, yum!) over medium heat. Add your rinsed rice and salt, and give it a good couple of stirs. That’s it! You’ve toasted your rice!
Bring to a Boil
Once you’ve toasted your rice, add the water, stir it all together, and bring the mixture to a boil. Increase your heat if you have to, but don’t leave your rice unattended during this time!
But Actually, Cook on Low
Once your rice boils, drop down the heat down to low. I’m talking about super LOW on your stove, people! Watch your rice to make sure the heat drops and it stops boiling. A gentle simmer is what you’re looking for here.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid (or aluminum foil if using a pot without a lid, just poke the foil with a knife for venting).
Don’t Lift that Lid!
Whatever you do, don’t lift the lid off your rice. The rice needs to cook and steam properly, don’t disturb it! Let your rice cook on low for 17 minutes. Set a timer and only uncover your rice to taste it when the time is up. If it tastes done, turn the stove off.
Loosely cover the rice again and let it sit for 5 minutes. You can then fully uncover it, and fluff with a fork.
Note: brown rice takes longer to cook, about 40 minutes.
White Rice with Chicken Bouillon Recipe on the Stove
While I make my fair share of plain white rice, I grew up eating flavored rice cooked on the stove with some chicken bouillon and aromatics thrown in. You can use this rice in place of plain white rice when you want a little bit more flavor imparted, you won’t regret it.
How to Make White Rice with Chicken Bouillon on the Stove
- 1 small yellow or white onion
- 1/2 tbsp canola oil any other oil can be substitued in as well
- 1 small roma tomato
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 cup water
- cilantro for garnishing (optional)
- Dice your onion and tomato into small pieces
- Heat up a small saucepan over medium heat and add the oil, onion and tomato
- Stir your onion and tomatoes for 30 seconds to a minute, everything will start to slightly soften
- Rinse the rice and add to the saucepan containing the onion and tomato
- Add the chicken bouillon and toast your rice, the rice will start becoming a bit transluscent
- Add the water and bring the rice to a slight boil
- Once the rice boils, drop the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid or aluminum foil. Note: if using aluminum foil to over, use a fork to puch a small hole in the foil for steam venting
- Set a timer for 17 minutes and let the rice cook over low heat. Don't touch the lid!
- Once the timer goes off, turn off the heat and taste your rice, it should be done at this point
- Loosely cover your rice for 5 minutes or so to finish steaming, then uncover completelty and fluff with a fork
- Garnish with cilantro (optional) and enjoy!
Useful Tools to Have When Making Rice
While it doesn’t take very much to be able to cook rice on the stove, having the right set of tools in the kitchen always makes cooking a breeze. Below are some of the kitchen tools and ingredients I’ve found incredibly helpful:
- Small saucepan. I prefer to make rice in smaller batches (1-2 cups of uncooked rice at a time) and the right sized saucepan is priceless. I use a 2qt stainless steel saucepan, here are some good options:
- Kosher salt. My life changed forever when I made the switch from cooking with table salt (terrible, I know!) to cooking with this kosher salt. I could write a whole book about why I love cooking with kosher salt, but the most important thing is that it offers you more control when seasoning your food.
- Chicken bouillon. This is the first thing I bought when I moved away from home for the first time. Chicken bouillon adds an amazing flavor complexity to food, and I absolutely can’t live without it. Plus, it’s super versatile, and much cheaper to use in place on store bought stock. This is the brand I swear by, and the one ingredient I recommend everyone have in their kitchens.
- A good spatula or wooden spoon. By now you should know how much I love toasting rice. In fact, I think it’s integral to getting the best possible flavor from simple ingredients. Having a good spatula or wooden spoon to give everything a good stir, or to transfer the rice from the pot to your plate, is absolutely essential.
- A fine, inexpensive but durable mesh strainer like this one. It should be big enough to hold all your rinse while you rinse it under water. The water automatically runs out, and you don’t have to worry about messing up your rice to water ration.