A rice cooker is more efficient at cooking rice than a microwave for obvious reasons. A rice cooker is made to cook rice. A microwave is made to do various things, particularly if it’s the convection or grill type of microwave.
However, it’s cheaper to cook rice in a microwave. You just need to know how to use it and ensure perfect results every microwave session. So can you microwave rice or not? Keep on reading to find out.
How to Cook Rice in the Microwave
Add the rice on a microwave-safe container. Wash it first then drain it. This involves putting in water, rinsing the grains by hand until the water is muddied to a gray color, and then draining the water afterwards about two times. Don’t worry, you’re not washing away the nutrients this way.
After we’ve tested different methods that delivered inconsistent results, the most dependable one involves using the golden ratio of using 2¼ cups of water for every 1½ cups of rice. So that means 3 cups of raw rice requires 4½ cups of water and so forth.
From there, microwave everything on full power for about 15 minutes at 50 percent power (on a typical 700-watt microwave). Give the rice about 5 minutes of rest before microwaving again.
The Right Ingredients
In order to cook rice in the microwave, you need to gather the right ingredients first. You have multiple rice grain varieties available, which includes short grain, medium grain, and long grain rice. Short grain rice includes Korean rice or Japanese sushi rice.
As for medium grain rice, they’re typical of the jasmine rice variety. Finally, regular long grain rice involves basmati rice. You also need water to wash the rice with and a microwave-safe bowl such as a ceramic bowl, a glass bowl made of tempered thick glass, a plastic pot, CorningWare, or Pyrex.
Related: How to Cook Rice in Microwave
The Secret to Microwaving Rice
Getting the right ratio of water to raw rice is needed to get a perfect result every time. Otherwise, you might end up with dry or crunchy rice worthy of use on a Rice Krispies bar or soggy rice that’s bordering on being soupy. Neither type of rice is any fun to eat.
The golden ratio or proportion for cooking rice is 2¼ cups of water for every 1½ cups of rice. Therefore, 3 cups of rice should have 4½ cups of water added or 6 cups should have 9 cups added. You won’t get to that many though, since this is a microwave.
The Golden Ratio of Microwaving Rice
You need the right amount of water in order to microwave rice correctly. With a rice cooker, the rule of thumb is to add an extra cup of water to whatever number of cups of rice you’ve put in. Do this after washing and draining the rice properly, of course.
The golden ratio we’ve seen is for every cup and a half of raw rice, you should add two cups and a quarter cup of water. As long as you keep your water and rice ratio this precise, microwaving rice should be a breeze.
Further reading: The 10 Best Microwave Rice Cooker
Washing the Rice Correctly for Microwaving
When washing or rinsing the rice, use cool water. The water should be carefully drained in a way that keeps the rice inside the container. You can use a strainer if you want but usually it isn’t required. Just tilt the pot and let the water pour out. The wet rice should stick with the pot.
You can use your hands to cup the rice as you’re draining the water out. Wash the rice 2-3 times and leave a bit of water afterwards. You know you’re doing it right if the water ends up less cloudy by the third time.
Take note that rice is starchy so the water will never be completely clear.
The Power Level or Wattage of the Microwave
Microwave ovens unfortunately differ in terms of peak power and wattage. Therefore, cooking time or overall length of microwaving is affected. 1 kilowatt and over should take faster than 5 minutes on high or perhaps 10 minutes on 50 percent.
You can fix the erroneously cooked rice by cooking it on the stove and watching the rice carefully (dry rice should have another cup of water added to it while soggy rice just requires extra cooking). From personal experience, this usually leads to charred pot bottoms and burned rice.
Also, remember that wild rice or brown rice requires different cooking methods as well. Look up how to cook brown rice elsewhere on the site or through Google.
See more: How to Cook Brown Rice in Microwave
Additional Notes, Tips, and Tricks
1½ cups of rice with 2¼ cups of water serves about 3 cups of rice for 3-4 people. Microwave everything for 5 minutes on high or 15 minutes at 50 percent power. For both instances, let the rice “simmer” for about 5 minutes. Microwave the rice for 1-minute increments if undercooked.
When microwaving the rice, put the lid on. If there’s no lid, use a slightly large ceramic plate to cover the bowl. You can also avail of special lids that have air vents. They enable the steam to escape from the rice as they’re cooked.
Don’t get a microwave pot with a tight-fitting lid. Loosen the lid to prevent pressure from building from the inside of the pot. Also, don’t buy fortified rice. Get your nutrients from vegetables and protein from meat instead of sprays added to your Uncle Ben’s rice during the rice processing stage.
As far as the microwave itself is concerned, you should at 2¼ cups of water for every 1½ cups of rice to be more precise when it comes to your water to rice ratio. This is because you’re using microwave radiation to heat up and cook the rice, which gives you less water level leeway.
Indeed, if you have too little water on your rice, you’ll end up with dry rice. If you have too much water, you’ll end up with soggy rice. Both are barely edible and annoying to eat. They might even force you to recook on the stove.
- “How to Cook Brown Rice in the Microwave“, SteamyKitchen.com, October 1, 2017
- Emily Johnson, “How to Cook Rice in the Microwave“, Epicurious.com, August 4, 2017
- “How to cook rice in the microwave, perfect every time“. SteamyKitchen.com, September 25,