Use this calculator to figure out the amount of rice and water you need to cook steamed rice in a pot using the absorption method. Scroll down for the science behind it.
Does your rice always look like this?
If not, READ THIS POST. It’s really fucking easy and turns out perfect every single time.
The science of cooking rice
I’ve written about how to cook rice properly, which is the easy part. Now let’s take a look at what are the two things that can make it go terribly wrong: the rice to water ratio and the cooking time.
Knowing how much time a specific rice takes to cook is the first and most important step when cooking it. Since it can range from 1 to 60+ minutes, either you get it right or end up with horrible and inedible rice.
So, what’s the secret?
Read the fucking package! It’s all there, and if it isn’t ask the person who’s selling it to you. If it says 12-14 minutes then do 12 if you like it al dente, 14 if you like it soft and 13 if you don’t care.
It’s that easy.
As a reference you can use this table, but since every type of grain and brand are different, their information will be more accurate.
|Type of rice||Time to cook|
|Precooked rice||< 10 minutes|
|Short, basmati, jasmin rice…||10 to 12 minutes|
|Long white rice||13 to 16 minutes|
|Brown rice||17 to 30 minutes|
|Wild or black rice||30 to 60 minutes|
If you just want to boil the rice you don’t need anything else, just boil water, add the rice and cook it for the specific amount of time you’ve discovered.
Now, if you want the perfect texture and fluffiness of the rice, you’ll need to take a look at the next step: the rice to water ratio.
Rice to water ratio
Knowing the rice-to-water ratio is crucial if you want to cook rice using the absorption method (steamed), which is the absolute best way of cooking plain rice.
What happens if you don’t get it right? Well…
- Too much water will make it mushy and sticky. We don’t want to just boil it, we want to steam it.
- Not enough water will end up in burned or undercooked rice
Okay, so now, how much water does my rice need?
All types of rice need to absorb 1 size of water for every 1 size of rice to be perfectly cooked.
Does that mean that we’ll always use 1 to 1 ratio?
No (unless you can cook it in a perfectly sealed environment). And the reason is because of the evaporation. As we cook, some of the water evaporates, so we need to add extra water to compensate for the part that evaporates. Makes sense, right?
So, how can you know how much water evaporates?
Well, it basically depends on three things:
- The pot/cooker and the lid that we’re using: depending on the shape of the pot and how tight is the lid, the amount of evaporated water will change.
- The heat of the stove: more heat = more evaporation.
- The time it takes to cook: more time = more evaporation.
This means that there isn’t a single ratio that fits for every situation, but since the pots and lids are usually quite similar and the heat will be always the lowest, we can estimate pretty well how much water will evaporate over time and that’s what this calculator does.
Note that if your heat source makes the water boil instead of simmer in the lowest position or if your lid fits loosely, you may need to add more water (usually up to 1/4 cup or 50 ml) than the calculated.
The final ratio will depend mainly on the time a rice needs to cook and it will be 1:1 + the extra water to compensate for the evaporation.
But what happens if you want to cook twice the amount of rice?
Let’s use an example: Ratios for a specific brand of long white rice that takes 15 minutes to cook.
1 cup of that rice – 1 and 1/4 cups of water (1:1 + 1/4 cups that will evaporate)
2 cups of that rice – 2 and 1/4 cups of water
3 cups of that rice – 3 and 1/4 cups of water
As you can see, we do not double or triple the ratios, once we know how much water will evaporate we use a 1:1 ratio + the extra.
Just to be clear: The extra depends on the time, not the amount of rice.
Discover the time that the rice you’re using needs to cook.
Forget about 1:1.5 or 1:2 ratios. The ratio will always be 1 part of rice to 1 part of water + the extra water (to compensate for the evaporation).
Use the calculator to find out the total amount of rice and water you need.
Never double or triple a ratio that works for you. The ratio is always 1:1 and the evaporation depends mainly on the time it takes to cook, not the amount of rice.
Found it useful?
Share it with your friends, colleagues, flatmates, partners, co-workers, teammates, cousins, teachers, your favourite bartender, the cashiers of your supermarket, a nice old lady in the street, everyone but your enemies. Not with them. They’re bad and don’t deserve this.