How to Make Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)

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  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: Serve 3-4 people
Ratings (96)

Congee (粥 or 稀飯), is a classic Chinese breakfast dish, though it is also a staple in many other countries including Burma, Indonesia, Japan, and even parts of Europe. Congee is essentially a rice porridge made by boiling rice in a great deal of water until it breaks down into a pudding-like consistency. Congee is a popular food for everyone but is most often served to children and people who are ill or convalescing as it is nutritious and easy to digest. It's also a great way to make rice go a long way when food is scarce. Congee is served with Chinese crullers (youtiao, 油條), which are fried dough, which you dip into the congee.

What You'll Need

  • Basics:
  • ¾ cup long grain rice
  • 9 cups water (or substitute chicken, vegetable, or beef stock)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower, peanut, vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • Options:
  • There are no rules about what you can add to congee. Typically people add meat, fish, vegetables and healthy herbs and you can also add shredded lotus root and gingko nuts. You can also make a sweet version of congee with raising, Chinese dates (jujubes), and a bit of rock sugar. Another wonderful congee includes Shiitake mushrooms, pork mince, and bamboo shoots.

How to Make It

There are several methods for cooking congee, each of which results in a slightly different texture. If at any time you feel your congee is too thick, you can add a little boiling water to the mixture.

Recipe 1:  

  1. In a large pot, bring the water and rice to a boil.
  2. When the rice is boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. Place the lid on the pot, tilting it to allow the steam to escape (the same as you would do when making cooked rice.)
  1. Cook on medium-low to low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice has the thick, creamy texture of porridge (this procedure needs about 1-1 ¼ hours).
  2. Add the salt, taste and add seasonings if desired.
  3. Serve with garnishes such as crushed peanuts if desired. 

Recipe 2: 

  1. Rinse and wash the rice and soak the rice in the water for half an hour then drain the water.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of oil into the rice and mix evenly. Adding oil can help the rice cook quicker and also make the congee smoother and softer in texture.
  3. Boil the water and add the rice.
  4. Turn the fire to medium heat and keep stirring the rice for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the fire to the lowest heat, cover the lid and simmer for 45 minutes. Tilting the lid allows the steam to escape.

Recipe 3: 

In theory, frozen rice cooks faster and produces a smooth, even congee. You may need to experiment to determine if this works for you!

  1. Rinse and wash the rice and soak the rice in the water for half an hour then drain the water.
  2. Put step 1 rice into a freezer bag and freeze for 2-3 hours.
  3. Boil 1 liter of water in a large pot first then add the frozen rice into the boiling water.
  4. Bring it to a boil again and turn to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn off the stove and cover the lid for 15 minutes then it’s ready to serve.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 119
Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 598 mg
Carbohydrates 24 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 2 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)