Microwave Rice|Recipes Spots

  • on February 2, 2023
Microwave Rice in a Bowl on a Kitchen Towel with a Wooden Spoon

Microwave Rice in a Bowl on a Kitchen Towel with a Wooden Spoon
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Despite (or perhaps because of) its simplicity, making a pot of fluffy white rice on the stove challenges many cooks. If that’s you, don’t run out and get a rice cooker just yet. You may already have a perfectly fine rice cooker at home: your microwave! 

Why Microwave Rice?

The microwave turns out steamed white rice that’s predictably light and tender, not mushy or crunchy. It also frees up your stovetop for other endeavors. The trickiest part is making sure you have the right microwavable vessel, but there’s some flexibility there. 

Marianne Williams in our test kitchen describes this as “almost too easy! So many people feel intimidated when making rice, or as if theirs is never ‘right’. When using rinsed rice, this method works like a charm.” 

Small Bowl of Microwave Rice, and in the Background, a Larger Bowl with a Wooden Spoon in It
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

The Best Rice to Use

Long-grain white rice is what you want here: jasmine, basmati, or plain old “long-grain white rice”—the most affordable rice option at the supermarket, as it turns out. Sushi rice, which is medium-grain rice, also worked with this method. 

Choosing a Bowl

No need for a single-function microwave rice cooker! Many microwave-safe vessels will work. Whatever you microwave in, it needs to hold 8 cups; anything smaller and the cooking liquid can seep out and make a sticky mess. 

A 2-quart glass or ceramic casserole with a lid (such as Pyrex or Corningware) is perfect. An 8-cup glass measuring cup is a fine choice, too, and some come with microwave-safe lids. If you don’t have a lid, plastic wrap works, but be mindful of steam. A microwave-safe ceramic plate that’s larger than your bowl also works.

For Fluffy Rice, Rinse First

Jasmine Smith in our development kitchen played around with variables to get the best result, and she discovered that the extra step of rinsing the rice was indeed worthwhile. “Rinsing the rice was better. The rice grains were more defined and not as starchy, “ she said.

Small Bowl of Microwave Rice, and in the Background, a Larger Bowl with a Wooden Spoon in It
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

A Short Rest Before Serving

Once the microwave beeps after the final 4 minutes of cooking, your rice isn’t quite ready. The 5-minute resting period before serving is vital to fluffy rice; think of it as more cooking time, even though there’s no active heat involved. The rice finishes steaming in the residual heat and becomes lighter in texture. 

Dress It Up!

  • Finish the cooked rice by stirring in a pat of butter or a handful of your favorite chopped fresh herbs.
  • Use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water. If the stock is on the salty side, omit the salt.
  • For quick cilantro lime rice, add a little lime zest, fresh lime juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Leave Out the Salt…Or Not

Unseasoned rice can taste bland on its own, but if you’re serving it with something salty or saucy, it can be best to omit the salt. 

A Matter of Watts

Not all microwaves have the same power, and this can affect your results—although in the case of this recipe, the differences were slight. We tested this in 1200-watt, 1000-watt, and 700-watt microwaves. All had the same cook time, but the rice in the 700-watt microwave needed a slightly longer rest, about 7 minutes.

Microwave Rice in a Bowl on a Kitchen Towel with a Wooden Spoon
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

More Amazing Microwave Recipes

  • Microwave Poached Egg
  • How to Microwave Corn on the Cob
  • “Baked” Apple Slices in the Microwave
  • Omelette in a Mug
  • Microwave Tortilla Chips

Rinse the rice: 

To rinse the rice, put it in a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Set both in the sink. Run cold water over all of the rice, using your hands to stir and agitate it.

Dump the water out of the bowl when it fills up. It will initially look milky white, but as you continue to rinse the rice, the water should turn clearer. Now the rice is ready.

In the Kitchen Sink, White Rice in a Colander over a Bowl with Water from the Faucet Running for Microwave Rice Recipe
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Combine the ingredients

Stir together the rice, water, and salt (if using) in an 8-cup microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup.

Rice, Water, and Salt in a Microwave Safe Bowl for Microwave Rice Recipe
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 9 minutes:

Leave off the cover and microwave for 9 minutes on HIGH, until the water is mostly absorbed and the edges of the dish begin to appear dry.

Microwave Rice Cooking in the Microwave
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 minutes:

Cover with a microwave-safe lid, plate, or plastic wrap, and continue cooking on HIGH for another 4 minutes until rice is tender. 

Let rest, then serve:

Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

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