Make It Monday: I Have Been Making Rice Wrong All These Years...

I make a lot of rice here at the Common Housefly Test Kitchen. I use the common method of bringing the rice to a boil and then turning the heat down and letting it simmer, covered, for a specific period of time. This is called the Absorption Method and it the way most of us Westerners cook our rice.


I will admit, that most of the time our rice is sticky and clumpy - not the fluffy stuff that I envision when we put the pot on the stove. More mushy than fluffy. Maybe you have the same experience.

Well, I recently discovered the reason that my rice was unsatisfactory:

I have been using too much water.

I was taught to use a 2:1 ratio of water to rice. So if I am making 1 cup of rice I would cook it in 2 cups of water. If I am making 2 cups of rice I would use 4 cups of water.

This is wrong.

I have recently discovered the correct ratio is 1:1, plus 1/2 cup of water.

So, now, if I am making 1 cup of rice I use 1 1/2 cups of water. If I am making 2 cups of rice I use 2 1/2 cups of water. And so on.

I have found this works with both white rice and brown rice. The rice cooks perfectly, resulting in fluffy rice with clearly articulated grains.

So, here is my new method for cooking rice:

Basic Rice Recipe

  1. Rinse the rice.

    • Yes - I rinse my rice. You can skip this step if you want to, but it is worth the few minutes it takes to do.

    • Measure your rice into a bowl and rinse it in cold water. Drain and repeat until the water runs clear.

  2. Put the rice in a pot with the water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

    • Use a 1:1 ration of water to rice, plus 1/2 cup of water.

  3. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot.

    • Cook 20 minutes for white rice, 45 minutes for brown rice.

  4. Let the rice steam for 10-20 minutes after the cooking time is up.

    • Leave the pot on the burner with the heat off and the lid on.

  5. Fluff the rice and serve.

recipesMichael Liss