How To Cook Long Grain White Rice

This simple method for cooking long grain white rice that is fluffy and tender works perfectly every time. Rice is a foundational recipe – not only do we serve rice as a simple side dish for so many different meals, but it is also added to many recipes as well. This way of cooking rice will give you reliable results.

Cooked rice is supposed to be fluffy, light and each grain distinct. It’s such a simple task, yet why does it so often turn out mushy and over or undercooked? There are a few small secrets that will help make perfect rice a possibility every time. I learned this method from Alton Brown and since then don’t cook rice any other way.

Rice should be one of the basic recipes that every home cook knows how to make really well. It’s so easy to make it on the stovetop and takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Whether you serve it plain with stir fries, sauces and burrito bowls or add some additional ingredients to give your rice more flavor, using this method is the first step to all these variations. It is simple, fool proof and perfect. You don’t need a rice cooker anymore, my friend.

What is the Best Long Grain White Rice?

Long grain white rice is the type that is fluffy when cooked. It is exactly what the name suggests – the rice is long and thin, about 3-5 times longer than it is wide. Most of the time, rice labeled “white rice” is the same thing as long grain white rice. There are also medium grain and short grain rice variations. Those are not as long and they also have a lot more starch in them. The shorter and wider the rice, the more mushy and clumpy it will be when cooked. This type of rice is great for risottos, when you want to have a creamy consistency.

My favorite rice to use when I cook long grain white rice is either basmati or jasmine rice. You can use the plain long grain white rice that is also sold in all grocery stores, but I think the texture and flavor is better when you use basmati or jasmine.

Brown Rice is completely different, so don’t use this method for brown rice. I have an easy recipe for cooking brown rice as well.

How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly

How To Cook Perfect Long Grain White Rice on the Stove

  1. Bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil. You want it to be ready as soon as you start cooking the rice.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then add the rice and salt, mixing until all the rice is coated in the butter and starts to have a pleasant nutty aroma, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the boiling water. It will boil vigorously as soon as it hits the hot rice, so have a lid nearby to cover it right away.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-12 minutes. (It really depends on your stove and the saucepan that your are using.) Turn off the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add more butter, fluff with a fork and serve.  
  6. Store leftover rice in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Why Is My Rice Mushy and Clumpy?

  1. Using the wrong rice. If you use medium or short grain rice, it will be clumpy no matter how you cook it. If you want fluffy rice, you need to use long grain white rice.
  2. Using too much water. Most recipes will say to use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, but unfortunately, this will usually make your rice much mushier than if you use 1 cup of rice and 1 1/2 cups of water. If rice absorbs too much water, it will split and become mushy.
  3. Cooking the rice too long. This is why we bring the water to a boil in advance. When the water starts at a boil, it will be long enough to cook the rice, but won’t cook your rice too long, like if you were starting with cold water and rice. We also turn off the rice when all the water is absorbed and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving, which also helps the rice not to overcook.
  4. Mixing up the cooked rice with a spoon. You need to use a fork to fluff up the rice when it’s done cooking. Even if rice is cooked perfectly, you can still make it sticky and clumpy by using a spoon to mix it up.

Should You Rinse Rice Before Cooking?

Rinsing the rice will help remove any excess starch and give you fluffier rice. However, I have tested this theory many times by rinsing rice and not rinsing rice and for both jasmine and basmati rice, I didn’t notice any difference at all.

I do think that when you use generic long grain white rice that you buy from most grocery stores, it DOES make a difference and the rice is fluffier if you rinse it before cooking.

If you are concerned with how clean the rice is, by all means, rinse if first. However, if you use basmati or jasmine rice, you can skip this extra step and your rice will still be fluffy.

Rice Flavor Variations:

Coating the rice in butter will help each grain of rice be distinct and fluffy. Toasting it also gives it great flavor. You can add many other aromatic ingredients to make endless flavor variations, such as onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, celery, peppers, fresh herbs, lime juice, lemon juice, white wine, etc. Add the vegetables to the butter and sauté until tender then add the rice and continue with the rest of the steps to make the rice.

Cilantro lime is one of the easiest variations, made by simply adding fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice after the rice is cooked and before you fluff up the rice with a fork.

What To Serve With Rice:

  • Baked Steelhead Trout (Seafood pairs so well with rice! It’s one of my favorite side dishes. This is one of the top recipes on my website and gets rave reviews.)
  • Salmon Kabobs – another delicious seafood recipe that is so simple to make and is packed with flavor.
  • Chicken and Rice Pilaf – a one dish rice dinner with the chicken and veggies all cooked together with the rice.
  • Beef Stir Fry – of course, white rice is awesome served with stir fries. My favorite is the beef stir fry, but Velveted Chicken Stir Fry is also wonderful too.
  • Burrito Bowls – start with a bowl of perfectly cooked rice and add your toppings of choice, chicken, beef, pork, grilled veggies, corn, tomatoes, etc. So many options with this one.

How To Cook Long Grain White Rice

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How to cook long grain white rice so it is perfectly fluffy and tender. This is a simple and reliable method for the stove.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 2 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cups boiling water


  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add the rice and salt and stir for about 2-4 minutes, until all the rice is coated in the butter and smells toasted.
  4. Pour in the boiling water, having the lid nearby to cover right away since it will boil vigorously.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-12 minutes. (It really depends on your stove and the saucepan that your are using.)
  6. Turn off the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
  8. Store leftover rice in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.


Flavor Variations:

You can add some onions, garlic, carrots and other vegetables to the butter and cook it until the onions are tender before adding the rice to make it more flavorful.

After the rice is cooked, you can also add some lime juice and fresh herbs to make different flavor variations, like Cilantro Lime Rice, Dill and Chive Rice, Garlic and Parsley Rice, Onion and Rosemary, etc. The possibilities are endless.

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Want to learn how to cook Brown Rice perfectly too? I’ve got you covered. BROWN RICE RECIPE


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