Rice is one of the most universally important parts of a multitude of dishes. It is also one of the trickiest foods to cook if you have not perfected cooking it on a hob.
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Kitchen appliances such as a rice cooker are an exceptional addition to any household, as it makes the process of cooking rice much easier.
However, if you have not put in the right amount of water, the rice can be undercooked and can stick to the cooker, or it can be too overcooked and stodgy.
We know the importance of well-cooked rice, so here is how to know the rice to water ratio in a rice cooker.
Water to Rice Ratio
Cooking rice in a rice cooker is undoubtedly easier than cooking rice on a hob, but the water to rice ratio (or rice cooker ratio) is usually where people go wrong.
Rice cookers work similarly to cooking rice on the hob - the temperature will rise to boil the rice until the water has boiled away. The difference is that rice cookers will maintain the warmth with a heating function that will not overcook or burn the rice.
Estimating how much water you need is really important, as too much water can create a mushy mess and too little water will undercook the rice.
There actually is no general rule for how much water you can use to boil the rice, as this depends on the type of rice you are cooking.
Fortunately for you, we have the answers for how much water different types of rice will require to cook properly.
As a general rule of thumb, however, each cup of rice should have around 1 ½ or 1 ¾ cup of water. Do not take this as the gospel truth, however, as sometimes you may notice that more water is needed!
Top Tip: Rinsing Rice in Water
Water is an essential part of cooking rice before it actually cooks the rice, whether that is in a rice cooker or in a pan on the hob.
Rice goes through an awful lot until it is boiled in your home, so it needs to be rinsed and cleaned properly. Bagged rice is also dry, so it needs to be hydrated slightly prior to boiling.
Most importantly, due to the process of making rice and shipping it, each grain will have a starchy residue that needs to be cleaned off.
If you cook rice without rinsing away this starch, the rice will be sticky and stodgy rather than fluffy.
Different Types of Rice
Basmati rice is long and aromatic, and mostly used in Indian recipes.
It is traditionally grown in Pakistan and India. As the rice grains are long and slim, basmati rice does not need as much water as thicker rice.
If you have rinsed the rice prior to cooking, you will only need 1 cup of water for 1 cup of rice.
If you have not washed the rice, you will need 1 ½ cup of water for 1 cup of rice. It should take between 18-20 minutes to cook.
White short grain rice needs 1 cup of rice to 1 ¼ of water, and white long grain rice needs 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water.
It is important to remember that white rice can come in different forms, and as white long grain rice is thicker than short grain rice, it will inevitably need more water.
White short grain rice should take 15 minutes to cook, whilst long grain needs between 18-20 minutes.
As with white rice, brown rice comes in different forms that require different ratios of water to rice.
Brown medium and short grain rice, for example, needs 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Brown long grain rice requires 1 cup of rice to 1 ¾ cup of water.
Brown rice is generally the healthiest option, as it is full of fiber and less processed than other rice types, though it does take a while to cook.
Both brown long grain and short grain need around 40-50 minutes to cook properly.
Similar to basmati rice, jasmine rice is a delicate and aromatic long grain rice. It requires 1 cup of rice to 1 ¾ cups of water, and takes around 15 to 20 minutes to cook.
If your white jasmine rice feels slightly sticky, this is completely normal as it is meant to have a sticky texture.
Brown jasmine rice requires 1 cup of rice to 2 ⅓ cups of water, and takes up to 50 minutes to cook. The texture is slightly more firm than white jasmine rice.
Wild rice isn’t the most commonly kept rice in American cupboards as it is quite expensive, but it does make a lovely change to a dish.
Wild rice, much like brown rice, needs a lot of water and a lot of cooking time. It is recommended to have 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water, and it will take around 45 to 50 minutes to cook.
Rice Cooker vs Hob Cooking
Rice cookers are the easiest way to cook rice, as it literally does it all for you.
All you need to do is to rinse the rice beforehand, measure the right amount of water depending on what type of rice you have, and then the cooker does its magic.
One of the main problems with cooking rice on the hob is that rice can stick to the bottom of the saucepan. This can happen if there is too little or too much water, as the rice will have no choice but to stick to the sides.
Fortunately, most rice cookers come with non-stick pans that will prevent this, making them easy to clean.
Rice cookers also have a handy warming feature after they have finished cooking the rice. This does not overcook the rice, it just simply keeps it at a warm temperature for when you are ready to eat.
So, there you have it! Cooking rice can be daunting to new cookers, but with practice you will begin to understand how much water your type of rice will require.
It does always come down to personal preference, as some people prefer slightly stodgier rice to those who prefer a fluffy and almost crisp texture.
The beauty of cooking rice in a rice cooker is that it does it all for you, with the added benefits of preventing burning and sticking. You may want to try an instant pot, aroma rice cooker, or pressure cooker to cook the perfect rice. Japanese rice or sticky rice would benefit from a slow cooker. My favorite rice recipe uses my electric rice cooker to cook brown basmati rice.
Just make sure to rinse the rice first, and to get roughly the right ratio of water to rice right before turning the rice cooker on!
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