Rice done right: step-by-step instructions to cook restaurant perfect rice at home

For those nights when you don’t have a chef making your rice, here’s the next best thing: instructions with pictures.

Here’s what you’ll need to make chef-tastic rice at home


  • Small saucepan (aka: small pot) with lid (not pictured)
  • fine mesh chinoise/strainer, and bowl to accommodate
  • measuring cups (liquid and solid)
  • rice
  • onion & garlic (optional but not really)


Prep work for regular, white rice

As opposed to basmati, jasmine, brown, arborio, etc.

The ratio is 2-1. Meaning, two parts water to 1 part rice.

Get the rice into the chinoise, which should be sitting in the bowl and under running cold water.

rice strainer

Make sure that the rim of the bowl underneath is higher than the surface of the dried rice.

Rinse the rice under cold running water for 2-3 minutes, letting excess water drain over into the sink.

In the meantime, small dice an onion. How much? Depends on how much onion flavor you like. If you want to please most people, shoot for the volume of onion to be roughly half the volume of your white rice.

Here’s a quick visual representation for how much that is:

Note: the pen is for perspective; do not include the pen in your rice. It’s fantastic for writing, not eating. 😉

Returning to the rice under running water…Once the water in the bowl appears clear and not cloudy, your dried rice is ready.

Measure the water in a liquid measuring cup. For this method, we’re cooking 1/2 cup rice, therefore, 1 cup water.

As you may have noticed above, there is ever-so slightly less than 1 cup of water in the liquid measuring cup, even though that’s what was called for.  There are two reasons for this:

1) the onions we added earlier are going to leak an undetermined amount of moisture, adding to the liquid being absorbed by the rice.

2) you can always add more water if you get to the end and you think your rice is a little too “al dente” — you cannot, however take water out of rice!

Put a saucepan onto a burner over medium heat.

Add some type of cooking fat to lubricate the pan.  I’m going to use clarified butter (or what all you hip folks are acknowledging as “ghee,”), but cooking oil, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil — any sort of lipid — will suffice.

Sweat the onions.

Add crushed garlic clove.

Add rice. Sauté

Add water. Mix58b85b37-b68e-4b5e-a51a-9985fd164f09-5357-0000044cf60eb52d_file

If you do not care for onions or garlic in your rice…then just put your rinsed rice into the pot, add the water, put it onto the burner set to medium heat and now you’re up to speed…

Put a lid on pot and let it cook — let’s call it eleven minutes.  After it’s done cooking, remove it from the heat source, keep covered for 3-4 minuets.  This is to give any excess moisture inside a chance to be absorbed by the rice, without burning the bottom, if this has already happened.  After the 3-4 min. grace period, remove the lid and check to see if there is still water at the bottom.ded6caa5-5b0c-4809-9034-db140d0f9ecf-5357-0000045214b351c9_file

Once you see all the water has been absorbed, enjoy!

Rice cooking tips from the pro’s:

  • Do not use the same tools to measure solids versus liquids. Use a measuring cup for the rice and a liquid measuring cup for water. Don’t be lazy.
  • The purpose of rinsing the rice before cooking is to rinse it of excess starch on the surface of each grain, that would otherwise lead to it feeling sticky or gummy on the palate.  This is the same principal I’ve alluded to in other posts about soaking diced or grated potatoes in water before cooking: for a cleaner and tidier end result.
  • When your 11-minute timer goes off, take the cover off and taste the rice.  If it seems cooked on the outside of each grain, but with a bit of crunch in the middle (like what actually did happen in the documented example above), put the lid back on the pot and let it sit another five minutes.  The whole point of the (basically) air-tight lid is to keep the water and starch in the same space to absorb appropriately.  With a little bit of heat present, they will achieve harmony with one another.

Tips for storing rice

If you’re not plating right away, let the rice cool for a bit before storing in plastic container.  This is best achieved by spreading the rice out on a flat surface, like a plate or a sheet tray.

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