How to Make Basic White Rice

Basic White Rice
The Spruce
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 (1/2-cup) servings rice
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
34 Calories
0g Fat
7g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 (1/2-cup) servings rice
Amount per serving
Calories 34
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 180mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 9mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

You don't need a rice cooker to make rice. Use this recipe to make basic white rice in a saucepan on the stovetop. It's easy and will come out perfectly every time, if you follow a few simple steps.

There are several keys to cooking perfect rice. First is the ratio of water to rice: For plain white rice, use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of uncooked rice. This will result in 3 cups of cooked rice. Second is the temperature. You want to bring it to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat so it simmers for the rest of the cooking time. Don't walk away until that's done. Finally, timing is important. Use a timer to ensure you're cooking the rice for the exact time required.

Plain white rice is an excellent inexpensive side dish for nearly any meal. It's also a blank canvas to which you can add countless ingredients for extra flavor. Once you discover how well this method works, you won't hesitate to cook rice for dinner.


Click Play to See This Perfect Basic White Rice Recipe Come Together


  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • (Optional) 1 tablespoon butter
  • (Optional) 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    How to Make Basic White Rice - ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Drain in a colander and set aside.

    Rinsed and strained white rice.
    The Spruce
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt, stir, and then add the rinsed and drained rice. Stir with a fork.

    White rice is a pot with water.
    The Spruce
  4. Reduce the heat, cover the rice, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Check it after 15 minutes to see if all the water has evaporated. If it has, the rice is ready. If not, replace the lid and let the rice simmer an additional 5 minutes. 

    Cooked white rice in a pot.
    The Spruce
  5. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and turn out into a serving dish.

    You can also stir in 1 tablespoon of butter or add chopped parsley or other herbs to the pot before serving.

    Basic white rice with parsley.
    The Spruce
  6. Serve and enjoy.


  • The exact time required to cook rice depends on your stove. Even switching to a different pot can affect how long it takes to cook.
  • When you find the ideal time, the stove setting, and the pot that works in your kitchen, write it down. Follow that formula exactly every time you cook rice.
  • It also helps to take the rice off the heat and let it steam with the lid on for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • This method can be adapted to different types of white rice. You may have to adjust the amount of water and cooking time.

Recipe Variations

  • For a hint of flavor, use stock instead of water.
  • Add one tablespoon of butter or oil to the water once it comes to a boil.
  • In the serving dish, top the cooked rice with finely chopped green onions or chives.
  • Add frozen peas to the cooked rice while it's still in the saucepan and let the residual heat from the rice thaw the peas.