In high school I ate rice every day. It's cheap, it's one of the best side dishes there is and it never gets old when you swap your recipes. You can add kimchi, spices, soy sauce, Sriracha, pickled vegetables, roasted sesame oil, wilted spinach – the possibilities are endless. But the basis of a good rice bowl is, you guessed it, rice.
So what's the best way to cook rice? You can use your instant pan, a special rice cooker, the stove or even a microwave. All of these give different results. The first question to ask yourself if you are planning how to cook rice is "what do I want from my method?" The right approach to speed differs from the right approach to perfect texture. Fortunately I tested them and I have the tea on what makes the best rice.
(A quick warning: rinse your rice a few times before using one of of these methods. Starch that makes your rice sticky and too sticky. It is also a common misconception that rinsing of rice is washing away nutrients ̵
The lightest rice with the most consistent cook comes from high-quality rice cookers such as the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy. These things are expensive – a capacity of 5.5 cups Neuro Fuzzy goes for just over $ 200 on Amazon – but they produce consistent, high-quality results. The only thing you do is throw in a cup of rice and fill the pot with water to the right line. Press "cook" and you will get perfect rice in less than an hour.
That is of course the problem with the Zojirushi – unlike the steep price tag: it takes about 45 minutes to cook rice. Quality has a price.
Best for personalization
On the stove
Tyler Lizenby / CNET
Read an article about cooking rice online and then scroll down to the comments. Half of them will be people who share their secret rice cooking methods. There is a reason: perfect rice is a kind of holy grail for many people, and the hob offers the most flexible method to search for that price. Moreover, it is free (assuming you already have rice and a pot with a lid). Generally 2 cups of water per 1 cup of American white rice and 1.5 cups of water per 1 cup of Japanese short grain rice or Basmati rice is the standard ratio. I soak my rice for 20 minutes, bring it to the boil and turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting. This, in contrast to instant pots and rice cookers, cooks the rice thoroughly and evenly .
Throw a laurel in the mix and you are in business.
Tyler Lizenby / CNET
I love cooking rice on the stove – there is even something therapeutic going on – but when dealing with other dishes, a cheap rice cooker is always the best choice. Put the rice in, fill the pot with water to the correct mark on the inside, put the lid on and press "cook". The rice should be done between 12 and 25 minutes, depending on the cooker and the portion size. Rice cookers are easy to use and perfect for individual portion sizes: that is where the Instant Pot struggles to achieve even cooking and stove preparation feels like a waste of time.
You can find a special rice cooker with reliable results for $ 15 or $ 20, which is a real bargain if you want to integrate the grain into your normal diet.
Tyler Lizenby / CNET
An instant pan is not the ideal tool for cooking rice, but it is also not bad, especially if you have limited time. The process is simple: just load equal parts of rice and water into the pot and press "rice". The rice often turns out to be a bit uneven, especially with smaller portions. It is too picky in some sections and somewhat slimy in others. But with larger portions and after fluffing to redistribute moisture, cooking rice in an Instant Pot achieves solid results. Plus, it's the fastest method of the bunch, clocking in around 12 minutes.
So if you like rice but have little time, grab an Instant Pot and start cooking.
The worst way to cook rice I have ever tried mainly consists of students), and the results were about what you would expect. After many attempts with largely inedible results, I found the best (in the absence of a better term) results: the rice was a bit crunchy and too sticky.
I can imagine few examples where I would use a microwave to cook rice – perhaps if I was stranded in a tundra with only a functional microwave and a bag of uncooked rice on hand – but if you find yourself in such a situation the method is at least fast. Just throw a cup of rice in a microwave-safe bowl with the same proportion of water that you would use for cooking on the hob. Microwave for 10 minutes, remove the bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap for 3 minutes.
Boom, your science experiment is complete and you have edible food.