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Apr 2, 2004 08:45 AM

Cooking Rice without sticking to pot

  • j

Every time I make rice on the stovetop or rice pilaf in the oven, it always comes out with a layer of rice stuck and burnt to the bottom of the pan. What am I doing wrong?

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  1. If the rice is actually burnt, you are using too high a heat or too little liquid or both. For stovetop cooking the correct ratio for US long grain rice is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of liquid. If the liquid is thick (e.g., tomato sauce) increase the liquid to 2 1/2 cups.

    Bring the rice to a boil, cover, turn to simmer, and cook for 25 minutes (don't uncover the pot to peek). After 25 minutes, remove from the heat, fluff up the rice with a fork, re-cover, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Sometimes when cooking something like a chicken pilau or red rice, the time needs to be extended a little.

    If the rice is just crisped, you have the best part of the rice - what we always called "rice cake," and fought over. A little sticking is normal, unless you are cooking it in a (Heaven forbid) non-stick pan.

    I cook my rice on the stovetop in a cast iron pot, with no problem with burning or scorching. I've never cooked any rice dish in the oven, so I can't help you with that, except that the basic rules should apply if the dish is covered.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sandy

      Agree with above, and I also have found that if you take the pan (keep the lid on and don't peek in - use the package instructions) off the burner five minutes before the "done" time, it will continue to absorb water and "cook" until done without burning the bottom.

      1. re: kc girl

        All the above are great tips.

        The only things I would add are, do not overstir your rice. Once you add your rice to either boiling water, or once you add cold water to the rice--depending on what cooking method you use--just let it be. One of the worst things you can do to rice is keep stirring it to death.

        Regarding the pot cover, when you are first letting the rice achieve boil, the pot should be uncovered. Once you lower the temperature I would cover the pot but not seal it (so some steam can escape.) After the liquid has been totally absorved, and you are rady to lower the temperature again to the lowest possible level then you totally cover the pot.

        Fluffing of the rice before you serve it should be done once, with a fork, and a very lite hand.

        One last thing, some people (including myself) actually like the crispy, golden rice that results when some rice sticks at the bottom of the pot and you let it cook over extremelly low heat, uncovered. I have the opposite "problem" where I do not get rice stuck at the bottom to accomplish this.


        1. re: Maria

          I don't measure out water. I just put rice in my Farberware saucepan (not nonstick), put enough water in it to have about a half inch of water above the rice, add a pat of butter, cover and bring to boil, immediately turn to lowest setting and let simmer for about 10 minutes. It comes out perfect- you don't need fancy cookware or a rice cooker. I'm sure if you follow the ratio, however, all will be fine as well- just add the butter and do the boil then simmer thing.

          1. re: Maria

            And above all else, please don't use converted rice - the finished product is the most un-ricelike thing I know - no rice flavor or texture. And it's so easy to cook good regular rice.

      2. here in britain, lots of people cook their plain rice like pasta--a lot of water, then strain when done. seems to work, though i still haven't gotten around to trying it that way.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kristen

          Cooks Illustrated recommended this method, which they called the "abundant water" method, for rice salads, where you want individual grains separated, rather than clumping together. It should be easy enough to try.

          1. re: kristen

            There's one bbq place here in central SC that cooks their rice that way - it comes out gummy, saltless, and generally vile tasting. Maybe if the water were drained off at once and it were dried out some, it might be edible, but that's a lot of extra trouble to go to since the straight stove-top way is so simple.

          2. I agree with the poster about the way you heat the rice will cause burning of the bottom. When we cook on the stove top we use high high to get the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook till done.
            If you do not want any crisp bottom then buy a rice cooker (Mrs. Yimster loves National brand something know as Panasonic in the US with a non stick insert). You will find they will cook the rice with less crispy bottom.
            With all that said my wife will cook rice in a sand pot in the stove top just to get the burnt rice. If you use extra water you will be mushy rice which we do not like as much but that may not be a problem to you.

            1. It depends on the rice and the method. For long-grain white rice, I put the usual 2:1 ratio of water and rice (plus a little extra water) a pinch of salt, and a tiny bit of butter or oil.

              Turn one burner on high and another turned to low heat. Place the pot over high heat, stirring once in a while until it boils. Place lid over pot and transfer to low heat burner. Allow to simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork. Allow to stand 10 minutes.

              I generally find when I fluff the rice, some of it is sticking to the bottom. After the 10-minute "rest" that has disappeared.

              1. I concur with the others, regarding using high heat to get to a boil, then very low heat once it reaches that. Then, turning the element off altogether a few minutes before (with the lid on) and let it sit for a while.

                One other thing to add, what kind of a pot are you using? A nonstick pot is probably less apt to burn the rice on the bottom.

                But again, the real issue is the level of heat. Just turn it really low once it boils, then take it off when it is close to done. I can't imagine you getting anything burnt on the bottom.

                - Adam