The 6 Most Common Mistakes You're Making with Rice

Conde Nast Digital Studio
Conde Nast Digital Studio

By Hunter Lewis & Janet McCracken, Bon Appetit

Over a billion people depend on rice as a food staple. But surprisingly, there's some confusion about how to cook it. Do you stir it? Should you let it boil the whole time? What's the proper liquid-to-grain ratio? Do you cook white rice the same way as brown? We asked our food editors to clear up the questions surrounding this starchy staple. Find their advice for making the fluffiest rice, below.

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6 Common Rice Cooking Mistakes

1.Following Directions on the Package
"The directions given on packaging are usually wrong, even from reputable producers. If you're using a new bag from a company that you're unfamiliar with, use this technique: Make a small pot using 1/2 cup rice and 1 cup of water (for brown rice, change that to 1/2 cup rice and 1 1/4 cup water). You're looking for fluffy rice where each grain is tender and holds its individual character. If you don't add enough water, the rice will be underdone and likely burn on the bottom before it's done gently steaming. If you add too much water, the rice will be sodden, mushy, and overcooked. So cook it, taste it, and adjust your rice-to-water ratio accordingly for larger pots of rice the next time."

2. TreatingBrown Rice Like White Rice
"When cooking brown rice, use 1/4-1/2 cup more water per cup of rice than you would for white rice."

3.Not Letting It Steam
"Let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes after it's done cooking. Then fluff it with a fork."

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4.Stirring It
"NEVER stir your rice! Stirring activates starch and will make your rice gloppy. That's what makes risotto so creamy."

5.Not Adding Salt
"Rice is like pasta--you have to salt the water, or else you'll have bland rice. I put a 1/2 tsp. to a tsp for each cup of rice."

6.Cooking It at a High Temperature
"Start with a boil, then bring it down to a low heat. If you cook rice too quickly, the water will evaporate and the rice will be undercooked. Low heat keeps kernels intact."

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