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How to Cook Rice in Microwave – Ultimate Guide

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Have you ever tried to cook rice in the microwave? Learning how to cook rice in the microwave is simple, fast and produces consistent rice compared to when cooked on the stovetop. 

From wild rice to jasmine rice, any type of rice can be cooked, reheated, and even defrosted in the microwave to get the fluffy and delicious taste without loosing its nutrients. 

How do you cook rice in the microwave? Rinse the rice thoroughly with running water and soak it at least 30 minutes to overnight prior to cooking. 

Put 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Be aware that water ratio to rice may vary depending on the type and amount of rice being cooked.

Cover the dish with a vented lid and microwave on high power for 5 minutes or until small holes appear where the steam starts to escape. Then, lower the to medium heat to cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes. 

Let the rice stand for 10 minutes covered in the warm microwave to allow the carry over heat to finish steaming the rice. Fluff with a fork, season to taste and enjoy!

Rice is microwaved, served, and consumed in the same container, thus no need to clean extra dishes or pots, and microwaving takes the shortest amount of time to cook compared to stovetop, rice cooker, or instant pot. 

In addition, the rice does not stick at the bottom as it does on the stovetop. 

The microwave method is perfect for long-grain rice such as basmati, medium-grain such as jasmine, and short-grain such as sushi rice. 

If you are looking the best way to cook rice in the microwave for flavorful and fluffy rice, read no further. We are going to discuss our personal tips and answer frequently asked questions about the method to make all types of rice in the microwave. 

Can you cook rice in the microwave?

Yes, you can cook rice in the microwave. In fact, it is the most convenient in terms of time consumption and reduced kitchen cleanup. 

The advantage of cooking rice in microwave compared to stovetop is once the timer goes off, the microwave turns off, and the rice is ready to be served depending on the cooking instructions. As opposed to the stovetop, which the rice as to be watched until the water boils, adjusted to lower heat and manually turned off. 

With stove, sometimes the rice overcooks, which creates a burnt, or it makes the rice stick at the bottom of the pot, making it difficult to scrape out later on.

When cooking rice in the microwave, it’s recommended to cook the amount of rice corresponding to the water ratio. Adding too much water to the rice makes it soggy and overcooked, while conversely a small amount of rice makes it dry out.

All kinds of rice do not cook the same in the microwave. Cooking rice in the microwave varies depending on the microwave wattage and type of rice. 

Is it safe to cook rice in the microwave?

Yes, it is 100% safe to cook rice in the microwave. As long as the rice to water ratio is followed, and the grains are boiled until plump, it is completely safe to cook rice in the microwave.

Regardless of the rice type, rinsing, draining, and soaking for extensive time is required to remove dirt and eliminate arsenic. Furthermore, to keep the rice moist throughout the cooking process and does require less water.

In terms of health aspect, microwaved rice is safe for consumption. If the rice is cooked with the appropriate amount of water and proper timing, the rice is allowed to steam, and then it’s safe and delicious to be consumed. 

However, recooking or reheating rice in the microwave, is not safe. Raw rice has spores of bacillus cereus, which is a bacterium causing instances of food poisoning. 

The spores thrive in transitions through temperature danger zone conditions, which produces toxins that lead to food borne illness such as vomiting and diarrhea.

What is the ratio of water to rice in the microwave?

Water and rice ratio plays important role when it comes to cooking in general. The ratio is great indication to guide you to cook the rice evenly, however every kind of rice does not work with the same ratio of water to rice.

The water requirement may vary based on the cooking method, grain size, farming practices and dry storage conditions:

  • Long grain: 2 to 3 cups of water
  • Medium grain: 2 to 2½ cups of water
  • Short grain: 1½ to 2 cups of water. 

Characteristics of the different kinds of rices:

  • Long grain rice is known to be dry and require more water to cook, this includes basmati and jasmine rice. 
  • Medium grain is perfect for creamy moistness without starchiness such as brown rice. 
  • Short grains are known to be sticky and starchy clumps that require more rinsing and longer overnight soaking, like sushi rice. 

Microwave rice for one

When looking to make rice for single serving, microwave is best tool to cook instead of using stove or rice cooker. And if you are using microwave rice cooker, one serving is measured and cooked very easily. 

The appropriate rice serving for one person is ½ cup of uncooked rice. When ½ cup of raw rice is plumped and cooked, it results to 1 cup of prepared rice. 

  • Rinse ½ cup of rice in a running water repeatedly until the liquid is clear. 
  • Depending on the type of rice, soak 30 minutes to overnight prior to cooking if needed.  
  • Place the rinsed rice in a microwave-safe dish and add water depending on the rice-water ratio.
  • Set the microwave on the highest power function and run for 5 minutes covered with a vented lid.
  • Adjust the microwave to medium power and run for additional 10 to 15 minutes depending on the rice type.
  • Let the rice stand for 10 minutes covered to make the grains absorb the steam to plump even more. 
  • Fluff the rice and serve immediately.

How to cook rice in a microwave without a lid

If you don’t have a lid that has a vent on it, cooking rice in the microwave is still possible. Instead of lid, cover the bowl with an inverted microwave safe plate, dish towel or loosely cover with microwaveable plastic wrap.

  • Put the desired amount of rice and water in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a makeshift microwave cover using an inverted plate, clean dish towel or loosely fitted plastic film.
  • Boil the water and rice on a high-power function for 5 minutes.
  • Reset the microwave to medium-power operation to simmer the rice for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Check the water level because some types of rice absorb water quickly.
  • Stir the rice to fold the top layer to the bottom to prevent the top layer from drying out.
  • Dip a spoon down to check the water level to avoid the rice sticking or burning at the bottom.
  • Lastly, let the rice sit for 10 minutes with the cover in place so it can continue steaming and fully absorb the water content to keep its texture fluffy.

Tips for microwaving rice

Cooking every kind of rice in the microwave is possible. Be aware that the different rice types require varying cooking methods and water ratios to get the proper taste and texture. 

To help you achieve perfect cooked rice in the microwave, here are microwave tips that we have been found through trial and error:

  • Use microwave-safe bowl and a lid with a vent on it. If the lid is not available, substitute with an upside down plate, clean dish towel or microwaveable plastic wrap
  • Start with full 100% power level and change to 70% power to cook rice in the microwave.
  • The general ratio of rice to water is 1:2 for one cup and 2:3 for two cups. However, every type of rice requires slightly different water ratio based on the length of grain and a handful of varying factors.
  • Always rinse and drain with cold running water until liquid runs clear. 
  • For better texture, give at least 30 minutes to overnight soak in water prior to cooking.
  • Stirring is necessary when cooking uncovered rice to prevent the top layer from dry out. 

Best way to cook rice in the microwave

From rice cooker to stovetop, there are many ways to cook rice to prepare a meal. But with limited cooking time on busy weekdays, microwave is the best choice to get the job done quickly.

Generally, rice needs to be rinsed and drained multiple times before cooking. Placing in a microwave-safe bowl to cook with a vented lid provides the best results.

Furthermore, allowing it to sit extra 5 to 10 minutes to carryover cook before serving is needed to make the rice continue absorbing the steam to achieve a plump texture.

However, not every kind of rice requires the same microwave cooking method. Here are ways to cook each rice type in the microwave: 

  • Basmati rice: Soak basmati rice for 30 minutes before cooking in the microwave. Put 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water in a bowl. Microwave on high power for 15 minutes uncovered. Cover the dish and microwave for 5 more minutes. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes covered before serving. 
  • Brown rice: Wash and drain 1 cup of brown rice. Transfer the rice into a microwaveable dish with 3 cups of water. Uncover the dish and cook on high heat for 10 minute. Lower the power to 50% and microwave for 20 minutes. Settle the rice for 5 minutes before fluffing to consume.
  • Jasmine rice: Rinse jasmine rice well and add 1 cup of rice and 1½ cup of water onto microwave-safe bowl and close with a lid. Cook on high power for 10 minutes, and then in medium power for 5 minutes. Let the cooked rice sit for 5 minutes.
  • Sushi rice: With running water, rinse and soak the sushi rice for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup of sushi rice and 1½ cup of water to a microwaveable dish and cover the lid. Microwave on high power for 10 to 12 minutes. Leave the rice for 10 minutes to sit on the counter.
  • Wild rice: Use cold running water to wash wild rice thoroughly. Place 1 cup of wild rice and 3 cups of water into a heatproof bowl. Cover the dish and microwave on high powerful 5 minutes, and then change to medium power for 30 minutes. Allow the cooked rice to sit for 10 minutes and drain any excess water left in the cooked rice prior to serving.
How to cook rice in microwave

Microwaving Rice: Conclusion

Microwave makes cooking all kinds of rice magically easy and straightforward. Also, does prevent from being left with a sticky bottom and spilling the boiling water over while cooking.

Even though microwave is quick to cook any kind of rice, it does require specific water and rice ratio to accomplish fluffy and plump rice to enjoy.

In addition, rinse and drain multiple times is required to remove dirt, dust, and eliminate arsenic as much as possible. In certain rices, 30 minutes to overnight soaking is needed.

Place 1 cup of uncooked rice and 2 cups of water in a microwaveable container. The water to rice ratio may vary based on the length of the grain, so do not put less or too much water where as it can result in undercooked dry rice or overcooked mushy rice. 

Without a lid, microwave the rice on high for 10 minutes, and then cover with a lid to microwave for 5 to 15 more minutes. Ensure the lid is still covered and allow the cooked rice to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the carryover heat to finish steaming the rice. 

Once 5 minutes is passed, carefully remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer the rice into a serving dish and enjoy the fresh cooked rice.

There you have it! Cooking rice in the microwave is extremely quick and easy. Cook 1 serving of rice or enough to feed the family, choice is yours in this versatile method.

However, avoid to reheat rice more than once due to risk of bacteria growth. With this in mind, safely cook rice in the microwave and enjoy while it’s hot.

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