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On rinsing rice

I have rinsed rice and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and the rice STILL makes the water cloudy. I live in the desert- I hate wasting water, but I don't want to mess up the rice, either. When I've backed off on the rinsing I've not noticed much diffrence, although I admit I still rinse it a lot, just not until the water runs clear, because for God's sake, I want to eat tonight.

Opinions, wisdom, truisms?

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  1. I never rinse it, just bung it into the rice cooker and it comes out great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sal_acid

      I soak and rinse my rice for Sushi, but for other uses, I follow sal_acid's measures. As old as I am, I don't think a bit of elemental arsenic is going to do too much damage.

    2. Rinsing rice only pulls out more starch in the end....the more you rinse, the less time and water it will take to finish. Depending on how you like your rice, you may throw off the 2:1 ratio. I like to include stock for my rice, so I generally just soak the rice for up to 30 minutes, drain with a quick rinse and straight into the rice cooker

      1. There is a problem with arsenic in rice. Rinsing reduces the amount you end up consuming.

        4 Replies
        1. re: law_doc89

          That sounds important, do you have a reference?

          1. re: law_doc89

            Yea I was wondering the same thing.

            I was always taught to be on the lookout for bugs in the rice but never rinsed my rice. Just cooked at a 1.5/1 water/rice ratio and add some evoo and salt to it before cooking.

              1. re: law_doc89

                Here's another link with a little more data. Looks like the amount is low and within drinking water safety limits.

                I haven't been able to find data showing that rinsing accomplishes much to remove arsenic.

                Clearly more facts are needed, but I think I'll keep eating rice.


          2. Different rice require different amount of water for rinsing (until water turn clear). I usually only rinse about 1-2 times with healthy amount of water, at most 3 times. If the water is cloudly, so be it.

            1. I usually rinse three times and call it rinsed even if water isn't totally clear (it never is). This is for absorption cooking methods. If I cook rice pasta-style in a lot of boiling water, I don't usually bother to rinse bc I'm dumping the cooking water anyway.

              1. Here's a link to an article which mentions the FDA's recommendation to rinse rice:


                This works because the arsenic is in the form of water-soluble salts, I have been told. I don't do the four to six changes of water thing — I rinse in a strainer just running water through it for a short time. And I am not using rice from the southeast US.

                7 Replies
                1. re: GH1618

                  Enriched American long grain rice has in the past not required or recommended rinsing. But since this rice is mostly the the SE we have reason to rethink this. But keep in mind that arsenic is more of a concern with brown rice.


                  full sampling data

                  1. re: paulj

                    <But keep in mind that arsenic is more of a concern with brown rice.>

                    That what I heard too, but I have not done any in depth reading on this, just hearing from people.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                      "In brands for which we tested both a white and a brown rice, the average total and inorganic arsenic levels were higher in the brown rice than in the white rice of the same brand in all cases. [...]

                      Though brown rice has nutritional advantages over white rice, it is not surprising that it might have higher levels of arsenic, which concentrates in the outer layers of a grain. The process of polishing rice to produce white rice removes those surface layers, slightly reducing the total arsenic and inorganic arsenic in the grain.

                      In brown rice, only the hull is removed. Arsenic concentrations found in the bran that is removed during the milling process to produce white rice can be 10 to 20 times higher than levels found in bulk rice grain."

                      I think of particular concern is toddler and infant foods that are sweetened with organic brown rice syrup: http://now.dartmouth.edu/2012/02/orga...


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        < it is not surprising that it might have higher levels of arsenic, which concentrates in the outer layers of a grain>

                        Yeah, that is what I heard.

                  2. re: GH1618

                    GH1618, thank you for the Chicago Tribune link. Reading it I noticed:

                    • Switching to Indian basmati or Thai jasmine rice drastically reduces arsenic. Aromatic rice varieties show the lowest levels of inorganic arsenic. Imported basmati and jasmine rices showed about half to one-eighth the level of arsenic as regular rices grown in the Southern U.S.

                    • Brown rice from California and India have much lower levels of arsenic than brown rice from Southern U.S. states.

                    • Rinsing before cooking reduces the total arsenic content by up to approximately 25-30 percent.

                    • Cook and drain your rice as pasta. About 6 parts water to 1 part rice. When done drain off the extra water. The FDA says that studies show rinsing and cooking in excess water (such as: six parts water one part rice) can reduce total arsenic levels by 50 to 60 percent.

                    • More and more water contains arsenic. Even from public water supplies. Check your municipal water report to make sure your local water supply does not have high levels of arsenic. NOTE: I was already aware private-well water arsenic is on the rise.

                    And more...

                    Have been eating brown rice about four meals a month - cheap long grain brown rice from who knows where. I never rinsed rice before or after cooking and will be now I know better. Armed with this new information when consume I will be eating basmati or jasmine more (I've always liked but was more expensive). When I eat brown rice I will take the time to know where it is grown or will not buy. Thanks to you and this thread I have a new rice game-plan here. Basmati from India long grain brown is a personal favorite (comes in an old-school natural-colored burlap bag, 10 & 20 pounds are what I usually see locally). Also like jasmine. Now can justify spending extra for better rice more often.

                    1. re: smaki

                      <I will be eating basmati or jasamine more (I've always liked but was more expensive).>

                      Basmati rice is a bit expensive, but jasmine rice is relatively inexpensive.

                      <"We say to use about 6 parts water to 1 part rice," says Michael Hansen, a senior staff scientist at Consumer Reports. "And then drain off the water after it's done." The FDA says that studies show rinsing and cooking in excess water can reduce total arsenic levels by 50 to 60 percent. ">

                      That sounds so untasty (the part about cooking in excess water).

                      1. re: smaki

                        EPA has strict arsenic standards for municipal water supplies.

                    2. All I can do is speak from personal experience.... I do not rinse at all, and my rice always turns out nicely. And I haven't died yet.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: juliejulez

                        I would have to agree! I'm still alive and I assume everything nowadays is a carcinogen so I refuse to panic and extra clean everything!

                        I have heard too much rinsing is bad cause it washes away nutrients, but never looked into that. Same way I was taught never to add cold water to freshly boiled pasta.

                        1. re: Lorry13

                          Minimizing one's intake of toxins and pathogens is not a "panic" reaction, it is just prudence. Obviously eating unwashed rice is not going to kill you, or no one would be eating it. Nevertheless, arsenic is a known poison and there is no reason to consume more of it than necessary.

                          1. re: Lorry13

                            The nutrients are added to "enriched" rice. Check the packaging of your rice to see if it has added nutrients.
                            Years ago most bulk rice was coated in talc, and the rinsing was to remove that or any other impurities (stones, dirt, 6 legged critters, etc) that were commonly found in bulk rice.
                            Today's rice is much cleaner, but some brands still use talc or a similar coating.

                            1. re: Lorry13

                              I have a friend who is a professional sushi chef in a fancy Japanese restaurant. He always soaks the sushi rice in cold water for a hour then rinses it. I use this basmati rice and I rinse it quickly once.
                              Caution! Off topic:
                              The reason pasta should not be rinsed in cold water after cooking is you don't want to wash away the starchy surface. You want to keep it so whatever sauce you are using, if you're using one will adhere better to the hot pasta.
                              Generally I'm no fan of M. Stewart but some years ago she had a NY pasta chef on demonstrating how the chef made "the best pasta in NY city.
                              Basic pasta 101 to start: Big pot of boiling salted water. Hand full of good pasta. When the boil resumed he turned the heat down so the pasta water was still boiling but not a 'hard boil' IYNWIM. When pasta was 'just' el dente he used tongs to remove the pasta into a large preheated dry sauté pan. Then he added a small ladle of the hot pasta sauce and gently started folding. As the pasta absorbed the sauce he added a little more sauce and a few ounces of the pasta water all the time very gently folding the pasta/sauce. The genius part next: The pasta was looking, at least to me a bit 'gummy'. He said this is what he was trying to achieve. He said to Martha: "The key is to 'listen' to the pasta. When it gets just to the perfect texture and makes that sort of 'gloopy' sticky sound in the pan it's ready to serve. The pasta is always the star and the sauce is always only to add extra flavor". I don't always make pasta this way b/c I like lots of sauce but I've had it served this way many times throughout Italy. It's really easy to turn the pasta into a 'gloopy' mess if you're not carful. Just be ready at all times to add some hot pasta water. And keep the heat to medium never hot or you'll mess it up. Enjoy.

                            2. I don't rinse anymore. I let the rice soak in warm water for 10 minutes. It works great.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Kalivs

                                I've done that too, before, during, and after i've rinsed it several times. Doesn't seem to make much diference in how cloudy the water is.

                              2. I live in the rainforest and never have to pay for water couldn't care less about wasting it-never have I rinsed rice and never have I had any kind of issue.

                                NOTE-My main Rice Squeeze is Basmati-generally Tilda-a faithful old gal.

                                1. I never rinse anymore and don't notice a difference.

                                  1. I fond discussions like this odd. It is a very easy and quick thing to rinse the rice. There are some putative health advantages to doing so, yet so many people find it a bother and don't. Since I enjoy cooking, any step in the process is fine with me. I assume most of us don't live in the desert and don't have water constraints.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                      I don't find rinsing rice to be any bother. I'm curious whether anybody has noticed a difference in the results, because I haven't, the cloudiness of water seems to be variable depending on type or brand of rice, but it always comes out exactly the same no matter how many times I rinse and/or soak it and wondered what a sampling of opinions would turn up.

                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                        I didn't notice any real difference until I mixed soaked and un-soaked together once when I realized I didn't have enough soaked rice.
                                        I tossed another handful or so of dry rice into the pot and cooked. When we ate it later there was a slight but noticeable difference in the firmness of the grains. It was pretty nice to have that slight contrast.

                                    2. We stopped rinsing rice back when Moby Dick was still a minnow...Today we toast it in a hot pan with just a little P-nut or olive oil...or both. Straight out of the pan into the cooker.


                                      1. My method of rinsing. Put rice in a large bowl (~2-3 qt), add water to almost cover, using fingers of right hand, swirl the rice in the water for 15-20 seconds, or swirl ~20-30 times, change water repeat, change water repeat. After the third time the water is clear, if the water wasn't clear, I would increase the number of swirls. I would guess that I use a quart of water to wash 2 cups of rice.

                                        FWIW, my brother does not rinse (my family calls it "washing"), my father does.

                                        edit: in the olden days, rice used to come in cloth bags, the bags were labeled: "contains talc" or something similar, I don't see the on the bags of rice I buy now. Looking at a bag of rice, there are no instructions to wash/rinse, and the ingredients are: milled rice, no mention of talc.

                                        1. Rice tastes fresher when rinsed. There is a stale taste otherwise. Salt masks it to some degree, but if you cook it without salt you can really tell the difference.

                                          1. Some rices tastes terrible if you don't rinse it. With japonica rice you're supposed to rinse it to take off the excess starch. You don't have to rinse it until the water is completely clear, but it shouldn't be milky anymore.

                                            1. I only use basmati rice from India, but I always rinse it, altho' the rinse water never really is clear. Then I soak it for 1/2 hour in lightly salted water, drain well, toast in some butter or ghee, then proceed with a slow/low cooking. Always turns out perfectly (Madhur Jaffrey technique).