Preparation Print E-mail

Choosing the Right U.S.-Grown Rice

There are no hard and fast rules on which type of rice to use in a recipe. It is a matter of personal preference and there are many varieties to choose from. Long grain white and brown rice work well in entrees, side dishes, soups and salads, if you prefer separate, distinct grains. It is perfect for pilafs, stir-fry and Southern favorites like jambalaya and gumbo.  Short and medium grain rice are good choices for dishes that have a creamier characteristic — such as risotto, rice puddings, as well as sushi and other Asian dishes.

Learn more about varieties of rice.

How to Prepare Rice

American-grown rice is a high-quality product that does not need washing or rinsing before or after cooking. Most U.S. rice is enriched with iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid. Rinsing rice, or cooking rice in excess water and draining, results in loss of enrichment and other water-soluble vitamins and minerals. For best results, follow package directions. When directions are not available, use one of these easy methods:

Stovetop Directions

Combine rice, liquid, salt and butter or margarine (see chart) in 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling; stir once or twice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer according to time specified on chart. If rice is not quite tender or liquid is not absorbed, replace lid and cook 2 to 4 minutes longer. Fluff with fork.

Oven Directions

Cooking rice in the oven is an efficient use of energy when other foods are baking and frees up your stovetop when cooking other dishes. Boiling liquid must be used to start the cooking process. Carefully combine rice, boiling liquid, salt and butter or margarine (see chart) in a baking dish or pan; stir. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes for long grain white rice (30 to 40 minutes for parboiled; 1 hour for whole grain brown rice). Remove carefully. Fluff with fork.

Microwave Directions

Rice can be cooked in the microwave oven. Microwave ovens vary in size and wattage. The following cooking times are based on preparation in 1200 watt ovens. For best results, follow manufacturer directions for your oven. When directions are not available you may follow these general guidelines.

Combine rice, liquid, salt and butter or margarine (see chart) in 2 ½ to 3-quart deep microwave-safe baking dish; cover tightly.

For Medium or Long Grain White Rice - microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until boiling; reduce to MEDIUM (Power level 5 or 50% power) and microwave 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes.

For Parboiled Rice - microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until boiling; reduce to MEDIUM (Power level 5 or 50% power) and microwave 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes.

For Whole Grain Brown Rice- microwave on HIGH 5 minutes; reduce to MEDUIM (Power level 5 or 50%) and microwave 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes.


Rice Cookers

Rice cookers make cooking both white and whole grain brown rice easy and foolproof, and keep rice warm. There are many brands, styles, sizes and features available. Care should be taken to follow individual manufacturer's directions. In general, all ingredients are combined in the rice cooker. Turn the rice cooker on. It will stop cooking automatically by sensing a rise in temperature and change in moisture content that occurs when rice has absorbed the liquid and is fully cooked.

1 Cup Uncooked Rice
Cooking Time
long grain
2 cups*
15 minutes
3 to 4 cups
medium grain
1- 1/2 cups
15 minutes
3 cups
short grain
1-1/4 cups
15 minutes
3 cups
Whole grain brown
2-1/4 cups
40 to 45** minutes
3 to 4 cups
2-1/4 cups
20 minutes
3 to 4 cups
Precooked, flavored or seasoned mixes
Follow package directions

* For firmer rice, reduce water by 1/4 cup.
**For parboiled whole grain brown, cook 30 minutes.

If desired: add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine.

Tips for Perfect Rice

  • Accurately measure rice and liquid.
  • Set timer to prevent under or over-cooking.
  • Keep lid on pot during cooking to prevent steam from escaping.
  • Rice triples in volume. Use cookware appropriate for the amount of rice you are preparing.
  • Do not stir. Stirring releases the starch, resulting in rice that is sticky.
  • At the end of cooking time, remove lid and test for doneness. If rice is not tender or liquid is not absorbed, cook 2 to 4 minutes longer.
  • When rice is cooked, fluff with fork or slotted spoon to allow steam to escape and keep the grains separate.
What to do if...
  • Rice is crunchy — add additional liquid, cover tightly and cook until grains are tender.
  • More separate grains are desirable — sauté rice in small amount of butter or margarine before adding liquid.

Purchasing Tips

  • Look for clean, intact grains when buying rice loose.
  • One pound of uncooked rice equals approximately two cups uncooked or 6 cups cooked.

Proportion & Yield


Parts liquid to 1 part rice (by volume) Cooking time (minutes)
U.S. arborio 20 - 30
U.S. basmati 20 - 25
U.S. jasmine 20 - 25
Brown, long grain 40 - 45
Parboiled 2 25 - 30
White, long grain 18 - 20
White, medium grain 20 - 30
White, short grain 20 - 30

Considering the 2:1 ratio, dry rice will triple in volume when cooked. When working with rice it is usually easier to measure the ingredients and calculate portions by volume. For costing purposes and writing recipes, it is helpful to know the correlation between volume and weight measures for rice:
  • 1 cup dry rice = approx. 7 oz. (wt.)
  • 1 lb. dry rice = approx. 2 1/4 c. (vol.)
  • 1 cup cooked rice = approx. 8 oz. (wt.)
  • 1 lb. cooked rice = approx. 1 pt.