The Gentle Boil Method for Cooking White Rice

Heather says:

For whatever reason cooking white rice seems to frustrate some people.

My favorite way to cook rice is to use a 2:1 ratio, water to long grain, white rice. I add a small amount of salt to the water, bring it to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. I then cook it over low heat for 20 minutes, keeping it tightly covered the entire time. *This is key, never lift the lid to stir or check the rice, this lets the steam escape.* The pot is then removed from the heat and allowed to stand for 5 minutes, before the rice fluffed and served. Remember, for this method to work you must use a pot with a thick bottom and a tight fitting lid. If the steam escapes you’ll end up with crunchy rice. The thick bottom helps prevent scorching.

I should note, some people use a 1.75 : 1 water to rice ratio. The theory behind this is that modern rice may not be as dry as it used to be.

Another option is to use a rice cooker or steamer, both of these work well.

Finally, there is the gentle boil or pasta method which is quite easy.  Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add the rice, and adjust the heat to keep the water at a simmer. If you need a quick refresher course, I’ve previously written about the difference between boiling and simmering. Boiling the rice will break some of the grains, changing the texture significantly.

After 12 – 15 minutes, strain the rice through a colander and serve. Higher elevations may need slightly longer.

This method is slightly less nutritious than the standard preparation, but healthier in most cases than the drive through.

Good luck.





10 Comments

  1. Johannah on May 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    What a joy to find such clear thinking. Tahkns for posting!

  2. Lexi on January 6, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Let me tell you about the absolutely easiest way to cook rice. I never ever fail at this, nor do I burn the rice and it always (!) turns out perfect.
    I usually add a little oil to my pot and (what I suppose is called the pilaf method here?) fry the rice a little but that is absolutely optional and can be left out.
    I also use the 2:1 ratio, 1 cup rice, 2 cups water. I never add salt as that will make the rice a little bit harder than if you omit it. I use a little broth in my water but that’s cause I like the taste. (With every tbsp broth I add, I reduce the same amount of water)
    I then let the rice+water get to a boil (under lid) then lift lid and stir, this is the only time you will lift the lid and it’s only to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom. Now reduce the heat to create a simmer. I have marks from 1-6 where 6 is a hard boil and 3 is a simmer.
    Let it simmer under the lid for 10 minutes. After ten minutes turn the heat off and let it stand there for an additional 10 minutes.
    When those 10 minutes are over you can finally lift the lid and separate the rice with a fork (this will fluff it up).

    This is a sure fire, can’t fail, method. I always used to burn my rice to the pot and end up with a mess that was either over boiled or hard.
    When it’s done, if you want a more saltier taste add the salt. I never do because the taste is so wonderful.

    That’s my 2 cents, and since this is my first (or second?) time as a commenter I must add I love this site. I absolutely love it!

  3. casey on January 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I can't remember the last time I made rice – I've been going to the lazy way and using Uncle Ben's ready rice.

    But I spent last week with my brother & SIL, she made red beand and rice one night and messed up the rice (so she says, it tasted fine to me) so this is a perfect post for her.

  4. Anna on December 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    For whatever reason, my rice is often finished hard boiling in around 12 minutes.

  5. dearmommybrain on December 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you!! I even have a rice cooker and still can't make rice. But I'm a compulsive lid opener from years of poorly cooked rice. I guess that's my trouble. That and my stove is less than consistent…

  6. Michael Carnell on December 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    We cheat. We have a microwave rice cooker. 2 to 1 water to rice in it, then 20 minutes in the microwave. Done! We can't push my cooking skills too far you know.
    My recent post A Thought For Christmas

  7. Keter Magick on December 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I've found that the "best method" for rice cooking varies a lot according to the variety of rice. The same method will not work equally well for Jasmine, Long-grain Indian Basmati, and the Texas A&M version grown in the Southern US. Each must be handled a little differently. That said, I have developed a great fondness for Zafrani Aged Long-grain Indian Basmati. If cooks very evenly and has an interesting flavor. What's more, it's CHEAP.

    Pilaf method works best with smaller, firmer rice grains, like the Southern US type. I like to brown my rice more than most people because I like a bit of smoky taste. Browning rice in cast iron yields a different flavor from browning it in stainless steel, too. Try both and see which you like better. (I use cast iron for some recipes and stainless steel for others, taking this taste difference into account.)

  8. Joyce on December 29, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I learned in Hawaii to use an electric rice cooker — perfect rice every time, particularly with oriental type rice but it works just as well for regular long grain.

  9. @madbadger2742 on December 29, 2010 at 8:25 am

    My most successful method is pilaf — sautee the rice, then hard boil with broth and reduce to a simmer until broth is mostly absorbed. But for brown and sushi rice, I mostly use my pressure cooker. Works great! 🙂
    Thanks for the tips on the soft boil method. I rarely get it to work, but I'll try it again now.

    • HeatherSolos on December 29, 2010 at 8:36 am

      I like the pilaf method, too. I use it for the rice and peas, chicken pilau, and Spanish rice recipes that are on this site. I need to get my version of Rice-a- Roni posted, too.

      In college I had a roommate that didn't like the flavor packets from Top Ramen, he just liked the noodles. I used to use his leftover packets to flavor my rice which I cooked with the pilaf method. I shudder to think of how poorly we ate in those days. Live and learn, right? Not that I had the budget back then to afford much else, but. . .
      Great tip!

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