How to Cook Rice With a Rice Cooker, On The Stove and Freeze It for Later
Rice is a gluten-free and hypoallergenic—making it an excellent grain alternative for those with food allergies. I’m here to teach you how to cook rice with a rice cooker and on the stove. Find out how much water to use for perfect rice (every time). Learn how you can freeze rice and easy make-ahead meals that will save you a lot of time, as well as prevent waste.
Without a Rice Cooker: On The Stove
Don’t write rice off your list of choices just because you don’t have a rice cooker. Even though there are some very affordable options, you can cook rice just fine without a rice cooker. All you need is your stove-top and a pot with a lid.
- 2 cups water, cold and filtered if possible
- 1 cup rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Cooking it on the Stovetop:
- Gently rinse the rice under cold running water.
- Drain off excess water.
- Bring the water to a boil in a pot.
- Stir in rice, salt and butter.
- Bring the water back to a boil.
- Stir, reduce heat to low, and cover.
- Simmer for 18-20 minutes.
- Stir occasionally to prevent burning and sticking.
- Remove from heat, keep covered and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork.
With a Rice Cooker
If you thought cooking rice on the stop top was easy, then you haven’t tried a rice cooker yet. Cooking rice in a rice cooker is even easier. The best part is the rice will stay warm for your enjoyment hours later. That’s something a stop top doesn’t provide without the need for a quick nuke in the microwave.
Cold rice doesn’t even compare to warm rice, so just his alone is enough to warrant a rice cooker. And if that’s not enough to persuade you, then add on the convenience of being able to cook the rice while you step out of the house should be enough to convince you.
To make rice using a rice cooker, you’ll need
- Cold water, 2 cups
- Rice, rinsed and drained of excess water
- ½ teaspoon salt
Using a rice cooker to make rice
- Dry the outside of the rice cooker pan with clean towels.
- Mix the water, rice and salt together in the pan.
- Give it a quick stir.
- Push the “White Rice” button if you have one. If you only have one button, just push it to turn it on.
- When it’s ready, the rice cooker will stop cooking and automatically switch over to stay warm.
- Let the rice set for 10 minutes. Then fluff he rice with a clean fork.
How to Cook Brown Rice
Many people ask how to cook brown rice in a rice cooker. Chances are they’ve tried it before, and the rice came out really hard (almost like it wasn’t cooked properly). The truth is, it wasn’t cooked properly. Or rather, it wasn’t cooked long enough.
Brown rice is no different from white rice. You use the same amount of water to rice ratio. The only difference between cooking brown rice and cooking white rice is the cooking time. Brown rice requires almost double the cooking time. If you’re using a rice cooker with a brown rice setting, make sure to use that built-in feature.
How to Make Sticky Rice in a Rice Cooker
Sticky rice/glutinous rice is no different. Although it is traditionally steamed, you can still achieve incredible results with the ease of a rice cooker. Although, if you just cook it the same way you prepare sticky rice/brown rice, you’ll find it lacking. While edible, it just isn’t as soft as the stuff that is prepared and cooked correctly.
I’ll admit though, to get good sticky rice, it’s going to take a little more effort. The first thing you need to do (and that is different) is you have to soak the uncooked grains in cold water overnight. This helps the grains absorb water and achieve that soft texture.
The second thing you need to be aware of is rinsing (more about it below). Don’t rinse it too much. If you like the stickiness of sticky rice, a quick rinse is all that’s needed.
The third thing, and most important when it comes to cooking sticky rice, is the rice to water ratio. For white rice and brown rice, the water ratio is 2 part water and 1 part rice. For sticky rice, it needs to be at least a 1 to 1 ratio. I recommend a 2 ¼ to 2 ½ to 1 ration. For everyone one cup of rice, you should use between 2 to 2/12 cups of water. The exact amount depends on your rice cooker, so a little experimenting with perfection is in order. Start with 2 ¼ cups of water if this is your first time.
There’s a lot of different opinions on both sides about this. Some argue that there is no point in rinsing the rice. Others might even say you’re basically “washing away all the nutrients.” My opinion is they’re both wrong.
Rinsing is indeed optional, and nothing dire will happen should you rinse it (or not). I do recommend rinsing the rice though. Rinsing the rice before cooking it will get rid of excess starch—resulting in a better tasting an less sticky rice. You also wash away other particles that may be in the rice. Yes, you won’t get all of it. But you still get some of it out, and that’s good enough for me.
How Long Can You Keep it in the Fridge
Cooked rice can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow the rice to cool down to room temperature uncovered first. Once it has cooled down, you can cover it in a clean container and keep it in the fridge.
Uncovered rice will harden. If you forget to cover it, don’t toss it out just yet. A little bit of water and a quick steam will save it. Otherwise, they’re perfect for making fried rice.
Can You Freeze Cooked Rice?
Cooking rice is already easy enough, but it can be easier. You can cook rice in larger batches at once and freeze them in the freezer. Use freezer ziplock bags. Fill with just enough rice, flatten the bag for an even thickness and then remove excess air. Stack them up in the freezer until you’re in the mood for some rice.
Thawing frozen rice should be done overnight in the refrigerator. This helps maintain the taste and texture. If you’re finding that your rice is too mushy after tawing appropriately, try a little bit less water when you’re cooking rice bound for the freezer.
When heating up rice that has been thawed, sprinkle it with a tablespoon or two of water. This will help keep the rice from drying up too much during heating.
Cooking rice is easy (whether you’re making it with a rice cooker or on the stove). Rice can also be frozen with little loss in quality or texture. Not only is it delicious, it’s also hypoallergic and easy to make. The next time you’re looking for a gluten-free grain alternative, give rice a try.