Washing your rice before cooking is a simple but important step to ensure you get the best quality results every time. Here are our favourite tips for washing your rice:
1. Don’t Rush the Process
Be gentle with your rice as you rinse it. Rice grains can break when handled roughly, and broken grains can give inconsistent results when cooked.
2. A Quick Rinse is All You Need
There’s no need to soak your rice. Grains absorb water quickly, and this can lead to inferior cooking results. Simply give your rice a quick rinse.
3. How Many Times to Rinse Your Rice
Different varieties of rice may need to be rinsed once, twice, three times, or not at all. Basmati rice needs a good solid rinse to remove excess starches, but risotto and sushi rice require no rinse at all (or if rinsed, very briefly). Be sure to see the exact instructions for your variety of rice before washing.
The Reason Rice Should be Washed or Rinsed
Washing provides two important benefits for your rice: it removes any natural debris, and it rinses away excess starch.
Rinsing away starch is especially beneficial for varieties like Basmati, that are meant to be very loose and fluffy when cooked. Excess starch can make the grains stick together. Without rinsing, you risk getting gummy or clumpy results.
Exceptions are when you are using varieties to make risotto, sushi, paella, or rice pudding.
For these dishes, you want the “sticky” effect, so it’s best not to rinse or only rinse very briefly so that your rice remains starchy.
How to Wash Your Rice: Step by Step
- Measure out the exact amount of rice you need for your recipe.
- Put your rice in a clean bowl.
- Add water until rice is just covered.
- Stir your rice around in the water several times.
- Drain away all the water.
- For some rice varieties, this process should be repeated two to three more times, until the washing water is no longer cloudy after rinsing.
- Each wash should only take about 10-15 seconds, and the whole process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, even with several washes. This ensures the rice won’t absorb too much water.
- Once your rice is washed, follow cooking instructions as usual. Enjoy!