Stovetop White Rice

This is an extremely simple, equipment-lite, and reliable approach to preparing white rice with minimal cleanup afterwards.


  • Rice
  • Cold water


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By far the greatest advantage to this approach to preparing rice is how few pieces of equipment it requires.

I have a rice cooker, but using that requires me to clean several different parts of the rice cooker after use, which is a bit of an inconvenience. With this approach, the only pieces of equipment that need to be cleaned are the pot, its lid, and a spatula.


  1. Fill a pot no more than a quarter way with rice grain. The rice will expand quite a bit.

  2. Rinse the rice grain several times under cold water until the water is mostly clear.

  3. Level the rice by shaking it gently, then point straight down with your index finger and make contact with the top level of the rice grain. Fill the pot with cold water just until the water reaches the first joint of your index finger.

  4. Set the pot on the stovetop and turn the heat up to high. Bring the water to a boil.

  5. As soon as the water boils, lower the heat to a low simmer, then cover the pot with a well-fitting lid. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  6. Turn off the heat, then leave the pot alone for another 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid at all.

  7. Gently fluff the rice with a spatula or spoon and serve.



I always rinse my rice. It helps remove starch, which might make the rice too sticky and gummy.

Finger Test

I like using the finger method for measuring water. It’s simple and is a fairly reliable rule of thumb for getting the right ratio of water-to-rice.

If you want a drier rice, add less water. Alternatively, for a stickier rice, add more water.


In Chinese (and other East Asian languages, such as Korean), there are different words for uncooked rice (米) and cooked rice (饭).