The One Step I Never Skip for Way More Delicious Rice

published Apr 26, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Cooking rice on the stovetop can be a bit of a moving target. Little changes to the cooking method and ratio of liquid can mean the difference between perfectly cooked rice, and either a mushy mess or a dry, scorched one. Once you’ve found your perfect liquid ratio, timing, and heat level, though, there’s one more step you can take to make your rice extra flavorful: Toast it!

Why Toast Rice?

Toasting is a simple method that works wonders on any kind of rice, and even other grains like couscous and quinoa. In the same way toasting nuts deepens their flavor, toasting rice in a little bit of oil or butter before cooking it in liquid adds a warm, toasty flavor to plain rice. The addition of butter or oil adds even more richness.

But why stop there? You can use this opportunity to bloom spices — like cumin or turmeric, for example — or aromatics (like garlic, finely chopped onion, or scallions) in the saucepan with the rice, adding even more flavor to your rice. 

Credit: Kitchn Video

How to Toast Rice

  1. Rinse the rice. Rinsing is a key step to cooking rice that removes excess starches that can lead to a gummy finished product. The rice doesn’t need to be bone-dry before toasting, but be sure to thoroughly drain it in the strainer and shake off any excess moisture.
  2. Add fat to a saucepan. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat per cup of rice. There should be enough fat to lightly coat the grains of rice. If adding aromatics like scallions or garlic, I like to err on the side of a bit more fat, and if not, a bit less, but choose your own adventure. 
  3. Add aromatics and spices, if using. Add any aromatics or spices to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Add the rice. Add the rice to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until the grains begin to brown slightly at the edges and you can smell a warm, toasty flavor. This usually takes about 5 minutes for me when toasting 1 to 2 cups of rice.
  5. Add liquid. That’s it! Once the rice is toasted you can add water or broth and proceed with cooking your rice as you normally would.

Ways to Use Toasted Rice