Person rinsing rice

HOW TO RINSE STARCHY RICE

From homemade sushi and stir fry to pilaf and wild rice salad, the simple act of rinsing rice before cooking can significantly improve the taste and texture of your favorite dishes. Use this guide to learn how and when to rinse rice and explore delicious rice recipes to inspire your culinary creativity.

WHY RINSE RICE BEFORE COOKING?

Rinsing rice before cooking removes the starch that sits on the surface of the grains and helps to create a light and fluffy end result. Cooking with starchy, unrinsed rice can lead to a gummy, clumpy or sticky texture, which may be undesirable depending on the recipe you’re creating.

DO YOU NEED TO RINSE RICE BEFORE BOILING?

Whether or not you need to rinse your rice depends on the recipe you’re making. If you’re working with basmati, jasmine, sushi rice or brown rice, rinsing is recommended to create a fluffy, separate consistency. 

Dishes like rice pudding, porridge or risotto benefit from the rice’s surface starch to create their sticky, creamy texture.

Water being poured into a grain and rice cooker filled with rice Water being poured into a grain and rice cooker filled with rice

RINSING STARCHY RICE: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Rinsing rice is an easy process that only requires a large bowl, some cold water and a little bit of patience. Follow the steps below to learn how to rinse different types of rice for better-tasting grain dishes.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED 

  • Rice

  • Measuring cup or food scale

  • Large bowl

  • Cold water

PREP TIME 

  • 1 minute
     

TOTAL TIME

  • 5 minutes

STEP 1: MEASURE RICE AND POUR INTO THE BOWL

Using your measuring cup or food scale, measure your desired amount of rice for your recipe. Then, pour the rice into a large bowl.

STEP 2: RINSE WITH COLD WATER

Place the bowl of uncooked rice beneath your kitchen sink faucet, then fill the bowl with cold water. Gently stir the rice in the water with your hands. Once cloudy, carefully pour the water out of the bowl.

STEP 3: REPEAT 

Repeat the previous step three to four times or until the water is clear. Thoroughly drain the rice to ensure that the liquid-to-rice cooking ratio stays balanced.

Bowl of white rice Bowl of white rice

TIPS FOR RINSING RICE

Though rinsing rice is a simple task, you can use a few tips and tricks to help the process run more smoothly.

  • Use fewer dishes: You can give your dishwasher a break by using a pot or rice cooker bowl to rinse your rice, rather than using an additional bowl or strainer.

  • Avoid too much friction: When stirring your rice in your cold water, try to be as gentle as possible. Rubbing the rice too harshly with your fingers may crush the grains.

  • Strain with a mesh sieve: The ratio of water to rice is a delicate balance that can either help you achieve perfectly fluffy rice or turn your dish into a gooey mess. To ensure you’ve completely removed all of the rinsing water from your rice, you can strain using a mesh sieve.

Grain bowl with sweet potatoes and mixed vegetables Grain bowl with sweet potatoes and mixed vegetables

INSPIRING RICE RECIPES

Rice is a versatile ingredient that serves as the foundation for a variety of dishes, from sweet to savory. Use fluffy rice as the base for zesty eggplant mapo tofu, or pair hearty brown rice with roasted winter vegetables to create a satisfying seasonal grain bowl.

You can even use rice to create your favorite sweet treats. Soak pulverized uncooked rice and cinnamon in water overnight and sweeten with sugar to create homemade horchata, or turn the grain into glutinous flour and make mochi ice cream from scratch.

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