Utterly foolproof rice

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins


Serves 4
You can't go wrong with Sara Buenfeld’s foolproof rice recipe

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • a mugful of American long grain rice (about 200g/8oz)


  1. Fill a roomy saucepan with water, bring to the boil and tip in a heaped teaspoon of salt – the water will bubble furiously. Pour in the rice, stir once and return to the boil, then turn the heat down a little so that the water is boiling steadily, but not vigorously.

  2. Boil uncovered, without stirring (this makes for sticky rice) for 10 minutes. Lift some out with a slotted spoon and nibble a grain or two. If they’re too crunchy, cook for another minute and taste again. They should be tender but with a little bite.

  3. Drain the rice into a large sieve and rinse by pouring over a kettle of very hot water. Leave to drain well, then tip into a warm serving dish. Serve the rice as it is, or fork through a little butter and parsley to jazz it up.

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments (27)

Olive_Oyl's picture

It is great to read someone else's recipe that is exactly the same as mine.

Compare this with the recipe - also on BBCgoodfood - from Jane Hornby which relies on the rice absorbing the correct amount of water and then being "forked" to make it "fluffy"!

This is the same as process that happens inside a "rice cooker" and results in horrible rice grains fused together that need "forking" - i.e. physical manipulation - to separate the grains. Absolutely terrible!

patty77's picture

I have always just doubled the quantity of water to rice, then brought to the boil, reduced to simmer and placed a tight lid on. works every time. the rice is cooked when it has absorbed all the water.

lisavalo's picture

Great recipe, I've struggled with rice for ages, trying various different methods, but this is very easy. Will use this every time I do rice from now on.

katckam's picture

I've been using the microwave method for year, nothing else compares. Wash rice if you have time but still fine if not

reema_gupta's picture

This is a very common method to cook rice in India......You could try adding a few green cardamoms to the rice whilst the water is boiling to make it fragrant.....If one is using long grained rice,adding a whole peeled red onion to the pot of boiling water and rice shall result in non-sticky rice,ensure that the onion is removed before serving...

robyne's picture

Having gone to Chinese cookery classes many years ago, this method never fails.

Use a non stick pan, (I always rinse my rice) no matter what amount of rice you put in the pan, always add enough cold water to cover 1 inch above the level of the rice, (no salt added).

With the pot uncovered, heat the rice on medium heat and just when there are bubble holes appearing in the rice, place on a tight fitting lid (that does not have vent holes in).

Turn down the heat for 10/12 minutes, the rice should be cooked with no moisture remaining.

I often make double the quantity of rice for to make a stir-fry the next day, or to put in the freezer for another day.

andycrofts's picture

Ohhh...do I miss Lotus leaves living in Finland. Used to buy them at a Chinese supermarket in Birmingham, and steam the rice in those, using a bamboo steamer.
Went to Asia (China?Indonesia?Philippines? - don't remember) a few years ago when I still lived in UK, and bought a big pack of dried ones. They'll last for donkey's.
Much fun and merriment with Heathrow customs...;-)
Basically, just wash a cupful of rice (soak it, if you want "glutinous"), soak a lotus leaf in boied water for 3 hours, pack the rice in it, fold it up, pop it in a steamer (bamboo's best!), steam it over a moderate simmer for an hour. To die for!

andycrofts's picture

It's the starch that makes it sticky.
If you don't want sticky rice*, simply put it into a sieve (I said 'sieve', not 'colander' ;-)
Stick it under the cold tap and using your thumb on the tap's outlet, form a decent jet. Hold the sieve under the jet, moving it around, nach, until the outflow of water goes from white to clear. The white is the starch. That's what makes it go sticky. Then cook as normal.
*If you DO, see the link below (scroll down a bit). Don't wash, DO stir!
Personally, I used to make "Glutinous rice" wrapped in dried - soaked Lotus leaves in a bamboo steamer. If you're knocking up a bit of Chinese nosh, there's little to beat the aroma. Unfortunately, I can't get them in Finland :(


ashankli's picture

I was taught a similar method many years ago by a Cajun cook. Instead of salt, though, she added a tbsp vegetable oil and a tbsp vinegar. The rice is rinsed thoroughly after it is cooked, so any extra starch is drained/rinsed off. (Basmati and jasmine rice are starchier, so might want a bit of a rinse beforehand). Turns out beautifully every time. I was told to cook it for 16 minutes. Not sure why, and I expect it varies with altitude, but as Cajuns live close to sea level, that should be about right for much of the UK. Test it sooner and stop cooking if it seems ready before 16 min. If sodium is an issue for you, then this approach might be preferable to adding salt.

careywilkinson's picture

I use the Delia method with Basmati rice and it never fails to produce non sticky boiled rice with absolutely no trouble. Put a measured amount of rice into a large saucepan and add twice the volume of cold water. Bring to the boil, stir once to separate the grains, cover and turn cooker down to lowest simmer for 15 minutes.
Do not lift the lid. After 15 mins exactly, lift the lid and tilt the pan. If any liquid is present put lid back on and cook for another minute or two. Turn off heat and cover pan with cloth for 2 minutes.

abbie123's picture

best rice I have ever tasted, didn't bother to wash the rice just followed the recipe, Thanks

withfrecklesandlove's picture

We didnt realise how wrong we were doing it before we found this recipe! Now we get perfect rice everytime!! THANK YOU! x

jameskennedy's picture

No! Never pour boiling water over cooked rice! It'll be swollen, loose and rubbery like the 'quick cook' stuff they sell in supermarkets.

Rinse the rice before it's cooked if you don't want sticky rice (why wouldn't you want the rice to be sticky?) For good results, use a rice cooker or a microwave and it's guaranteed not to burn.

Ideally, use a pan, a low heat, the perfect amount of water so it's not wet and doesn't burn to the pan. Use a tight a lid; you can leave it to steam like this for a while if needed - you should get 'holes' on the surface of the rice when it's cooked. Don't open it too early! Then eat it - without sieving, without washing with boiling water and without adding butter.

Pasta: High heat in a filled, open pan with salt
Rice: low heat, just enough water, no salt and keep it closed until it's cooked!

tornadruhn's picture

I've been making it this way at least twice a week for so many years, I can't remember where I got it from. I only use basmati rice, never wash it and have never had a failure.

moirak2's picture

I wash the rice then bring water to a boil turn heat off and I have perfect rice not sticky at all

tracyworsley's picture

If you want to make a perfect rice in the microwave then follow this recipe it always works for me.
Wash Rice, and place in a pirex dish or microwavable dish and fill with the rice. cover the rice in boiling water until it has covered the rice completely and fill until the water is an inch above the rice. Add a knob of butter and stir once.
Cover in clingfilm piercing the top for ventilation and cook on fill power for 12 minutes (in a 800wat oven) add another 2 minutes if using a lower wattage microwave.
when cooked remove clingfilm and leave for 1 minute.
Rice is now ready to serve and tastes beautiful,

2bornot2b's picture

I usually wash, and then drain and let dry basmati or long grain which ever rice I am using, I then put a teaspoon of veg oil in the saucepan, heat it, then add the rice and gently turn into the oil, add double the quantity of boiling water, cover and bring back to boil, turn down to lowest heat for ten minutes, turn off heat, remove lid and cover with folded tea towel, replace lid and leave for a few minutes for steam to be absorbed by the tea towel, then fluff up with a fork. You can add salt at the time of adding water if liked, but I opt for the healthy choice.

stephrea's picture

Brilliant... brilliant... I would alway use boil in the bag rice, and it is normally sticky.. i tried these tips out and my rice was perfect!! Thank you!

keira_x3's picture

I don't usually have a problem cooking rice, but i'll give it a go and see if there's any difference. :-)


Questions (0)

Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved…

Be the first to ask a question about this recipe…

Tips (0)

Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe…