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How to cook rice in the microwave

Don't boil over when cooking rice. There's an easier way!

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Cooking rice on a cookertop isn’t for everybody. There’s a whole art to water ratios, knowing when to take the lid off the pot, the smell of burning rice and the inevitable starchy water clean up. Yuck.

If you want conisistenty great results every time, maybe it’s time to forget the hob and turn to your microwave. With just a few simple steps, you can have fluffy, perfectly cooked rice in no time at all. Here’s everything you need to know to cook rice in the microwave.

Why choose a microwave for cooking rice?

There are good reasons to choose microwave rice. Mess and guesswork aside, it’s really simple. Replace the pots and pans with a microwave proof bowl and a lid. And then there’s energy efficiency. Cooking with a microwave will cost you less than using the gas supply. And since the rice and water are heated evenly in the microwave, you'll never have to worry about burnt rice again. It happens to the best of us.

Here’s some great microwave-safe bowls for rice, noodles and soup.

Types of rice suitable for microwave cooking

While almost any type of rice can be cooked in the microwave, some varieties are better suited for microwave cooking than others. Long-grain white rice, such as basmati or jasmine, is best for microwave cooking as it has a lower starch content and cooks up fluffy and light. Brown rice is also suitable for microwave cooking, but will require additional cooking time and more water. Avoid using short-grain rice, like sushi rice, as it will become mushy in the microwave. And nobody wants that.

Step-by-Step guide to microwave rice

1. Preparing the rice

Start by measuring out the amount of rice you need. 60g is about right for one person. If you don’t have scales, it’s about halfway up a small mug or cup. Place it into a large microwave-safe bowl. A microwave-safe lid or plate can be used to cover the top of the bowl during cooking. Then rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch and means that the rice cooks up light and fluffy.

Once the rice is rinsed and drained, add enough water to fully cover the rice. The general ratio of water to rice is 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.

2. Microwave cooking process

Cover the bowl with the lid or plate and place it in the microwave. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, then reduce the power to 50% and cook for another 10-12 minutes.

If the microwave doesn’t have a power setting, cook on high for the entire cooking time. Do not remove the lid or plate during cooking, as this can release that all important. Microwave plates are at least easy to wipe if there’s a spill.

3. Final steps and serving

After the cooking process is complete, let the rice sit in the microwave for 5-10 minutes to continue steaming. Careful when removing the bowl as it will be hot. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve immediately. We’ve got loads of recipe ideas to give you something to serve your rice with!

Tips for perfect microwave rice

  • While cooking, rice will expand - so use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need to avoid microwave mess.

  • Always check that the bowl is microwave safe and has a lid or plate to cover.

  • Always rinse your rice first to remove extra starch.

  • Stick with the water to rice ratio for the type of rice being cooked.

  • Let the rice steam for a few minutes after cooking to ensure it is fully cooked.

  • Use a fork to fluff the rice once cooked.

Variations and add-ins

Once you’ve mastered the basic microwave rice recipe, try mixing in some additional ingredients for added flavor and variety. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Add a few pinches of salt and a splash of olive oil for a savory side dish.

  • Mix in some chopped herbs, like cilantro or parsley, for added freshness and flavor.

  • Throw in some veggies, such as diced peppers or frozen peas, to make a complete meal.

  • Top with toasted nuts or seeds for some added crunch and texture.

  • All microwaves aren’t the same! Make sure you’ve got the best microwave for the job.

Rice to know!

Did you know that you can safely freeze cooked rice and eat it whenever you want? It makes midweek leftovers really simple. And of course there are other ways to cook rice that aren’t on the hob. Rice cookers are a great shout and let anyone make perfect rice without the guesswork!

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Rice and easy!