Easy Microwave Rice
Microwave Rice is faster than other methods and just as fluffy! Learn how to cook rice in the microwave using a covered bowl or microwave rice cooker. It’s so quick to make, plus cleanup is a breeze!
When you want an effortless side dish, there’s nothing better than microwave rice. It’s fluffy and plump with several awesome benefits:
- Faster than using stovetop methods or rice cookers, with easier cleanup.
- Less likely that the rice will burn or become sticky.
- Budget-friendly by avoiding the need for a rice cooker appliance.
CAN YOU COOK RICE IN THE MICROWAVE?
We often get the question: can you microwave rice? The answer is a resounding yes and it rivals steamed rice with half the cooking time.
HOW TO MAKE RICE IN MICROWAVE
It’s easy to make rice in the microwave if you follow these tips:
RICE WATER RINSE
A rice water rinse is a crucial step that removes excess starch, making the rice less prone to turn out sticky or gummy.
Place the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water. Swish the rice with your fingertips to remove dirt and excess starch. Then drain through a fine sieve. Repeat 1-2 times more until the water no longer turns cloudy (note: a single rinse is sufficient for brown rice).
RICE TO WATER RATIO
The rice to water ratio is important for getting a fluffy texture, and there are two ways to determine it:
- Measuring: For up to 2 cups of rice, use 1 ½ cups of water (375 ml) per cup of rice. For more than 2 cups of rice, use 1 ¼ cups of water per cup of rice.
- Chinese rule of thumb: After adding rice to a cooking vessel, fill with enough water to reach your first knuckle when your fingertip touches the surface of the rice (about 1 inch or 2 1/2 cm). This method works well for 4 servings and becomes less accurate for smaller or larger amounts.
The ratio is identical for microwave white rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice and sticky rice. Microwave brown rice needs more water as outlined below.
MICROWAVE RICE COOKER
The basic microwave rice recipe uses a microwaveable bowl covered with either a plate or ¾ with plastic wrap. Avoid a tight-fitting lid, which the steam could blow off during cooking.
If you plan to microwave rice often, it’s worth buying a microwave rice cooker or microwave rice steamer. This vessel has a vented lid to promote steam circulation. Microwave rice cooker instructions are straightforward and mainly involve adding and removing a lid.
Note: Rice doubles or triples in size during cooking, so use a vessel with sufficient expansion room.
HOW TO MICROWAVE RICE
After you’ve rinsed the rice and added to the cooking vessel, you’re ready to start cooking. Microwave on High Power (100%) for the first 10 minutes. Then use Medium Power (50%) for the remaining time. Do not stir the rice at any time during cooking.
Once the cooking cycle is complete, let the rice rest covered for 3 minutes to enhance the texture. Note there are some additional tips for different types of rice:
- Microwave brown rice: The method is the same but extra water is required and cooking times are longer. For quick-cooking brown rice varieties, follow the package directions.
- Uncle Ben’s microwave rice: This rice cooks much faster, so refer to the package for detailed instructions.
- Microwave sticky rice: For glutinous or sticky rice, soak the rice in water for at least 15 minutes before cooking.
HOW LONG TO COOK RICE IN MICROWAVE
How long to microwave rice depends on the quantity and type of rice. Follow the guidelines in the chart below:
|Yield*||Rice to Water Ratio||How Long to Microwave Rice**|
|White rice or Jasmine rice or Basmati rice||2 servings||1 cup : 1 ½ cups||10 minutes|
|4 servings||2 cups : 3 cups||12 minutes|
|6 servings||3 cups : 4 cups||14 minutes|
|Brown rice||4 servings||1 ½ cups: 3 ½ cups||25 minutes|
|6 servings||2 cups: 4 ½ cups||30 minutes|
Notes: *1 serving is 1 cup of cooked rice. Cooking times reflect the total of High Power (10 minutes) plus Medium Power (remaining time), but exclude resting time after cooking.
How to Cook Rice in Microwave
- 2 cups white rice, or jasmine rice or basmati rice
- 3 cups water, or broth
- Add rice to a microwave-safe bowl or microwave rice cooker. Pour in enough water to cover easily.
- Swish the rice around with your fingertips and drain the water through a sieve. Repeat 2-3 times until the water is mostly clear.
- Add the correct amount of water for cooking and cover (see note).
- Microwave at 100% or High Power for 10 minutes (see note).
- When the cycle is complete, microwave at 50% or Medium Power for 2 more minutes.
- Remove the rice from the microwave and let it rest covered and undisturbed for 3 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and serve.
- Make sure to use a bowl or cooker that’s large enough to allow for doubling in bulk.
- Cover the bowl with a microwaveable plate; a microwave rice cooker will come with a lid that will fit or slide on easily.
- This recipe works for white rice such as basmati, jasmine or sushi rice. Brown rice needs additional water and a longer cooking time.
- This recipe assumes a full-power (1200-Watt) microwave. For a less powerful microwave, add 5-7 minutes more cooking time.
- For each additional cup of rice, add 2 more minutes of cooking time at Medium Power.
HOW TO REHEAT RICE IN MICROWAVE
To reheat rice, simply add the cooked rice to a microwaveable bowl or microwave rice cooker with 1 tablespoon of water per cup of rice. Cover and microwave on High Power for 2 minutes (up to 3 cups of rice) or 3 minutes (more than 3 cups of rice).
How to Reheat Rice without Microwave: Place the cooked rice in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the water amounts above and cook for 5-7 minutes.
More rice recipes:
Editor note: Originally published 8/17/2018 and updated 6/19/2019
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