How to Master Cooking Rice in a Saucepan

Rice is deceptively simple to prepare, but the smallest adjustments mean the difference between mediocre and amazing rice. Today, we’ll help you master two easy techniques so your rice will turn out perfectly delicious every time.


Before You Get Started

First, always give your rice a rinse before cooking. This cleans away any natural debris and also washes away excess starch that can interfere with achieving the best results.

To wash your rice, simply pour rice into a colander or any container that will make it easy to drain the water from the rice. Add enough water to cover the rice and then stir the rice to make sure every piece is rinsed. Then drain away the excess water.

Depending on the variety of rice used, rinsing once may be enough. For other varieties, two or three washes is recommended.


Two Methods for Preparing Rice in a Saucepan

There are two simple ways you can prepare rice in a saucepan: the absorption method and the rapid boil method.


The Absorption Method

This method is ideal for retaining the nutrients in your rice. It also avoids the extra step of draining the cooking water from the rice.

Exact instructions like water to rice ratio and cooking time can vary between rice varieties. In this example, we’re using Basmati rice. Please check the instructions that come with your rice, and adjust water and cooking time as needed.

Basmati rice is a long-grain rice with a distinct earthy aroma, and it’s a favourite in Indian and Pakistani dishes. Here’s how to use the absorption method to cook your Basmati:

  1. Rinse your Basmati twice.
  2. Add rice and water to a saucepan, using 1 1⁄2 times the amount of water to rice
  3. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Use high heat and leave the saucepan uncovered.
  5. Once the water reaches boiling point, reduce heat to medium.
  6. Cover the saucepan and allow the rice to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed.

Note: the amount of water used is critical for the best results using the absorption method. Too much water and your rice may become gummy or mushy. Too little water and your rice may turn out too hard or may burn.


The Rapid Boil Method

Using the rapid boil method, there is less risk of your rice burning. However, since you drain away the excess water (similar to preparing pasta), you may be pouring nutrients down the drain.

Remember, exact cooking times can vary between varieties of rice. Follow the cooking times recommended for your specific variety. We’ll use Basmati for this example as well.

Here’s how to prepare your rice using the rapid boil method:

  1. In the rapid boil method, you use 6 times the amount of water to rice.
  2. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. On high heat, bring the water to a boil.
  4. Reduce to medium heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  5. Drain the rice with a sieve or colander.
  6. Avoid cooking for too long, or your rice will turn mushy.

Using either of these methods, your rice will turn out amazing every time. Add your rice as a side dish or as an ingredient in stir-fries, curries, and more.