How to Cook Rice in a Microwave

Most people cook rice in a pot or a rice cooker. If you don't have either available, or if you're just looking for an efficient way to cook a small serving of rice, consider using a microwave.


  1. Image titled Cook Rice in a Microwave Step 1 preview
    Before cooking, optionally rinse or soak the rice. This is necessary for some types of rice (especially brown rice, which is much harder than white rice), but it improves the flavor and texture of most types. To rinse, put the desired amount of dry rice in a container and fill it up with cold water. Use clean hands to sift the rice in the water. Drain and repeat. To soak, put the desired amount of dry rice in a container and fill it up with cold water. Let stand for 30 minutes, and then drain.
    • U.S. rice tends to be fortified with vitamins, which can come off in the process of rinsing and soaking. However, these may not be necessary if you already eat a healthy and balanced diet.
  2. Image titled Cook Rice in a Microwave Step 2 preview
    Mix rice and water in a microwave-safe container. A good place to start is two parts water for every part of rice (e.g., 2 cups rice to 4 cups water). You can adjust the ratio through experimentation, depending on how dry or moist you prefer your rice, the power of your microwave and the size/shape of the container.
    • You can use chicken stock instead of water to enhance the flavor of the rice.
    • Make sure the container is big enough to hold the rice after it expands, as well as the boiling water. This means the container should be at least 4 times the combined volume of rice and water.
    • There are also microwavable containers specifically designed for cooking rice.
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    Enhance the rice with flavor. Add salt, vegetable oil, olive oil or butter before cooking. A teaspoon of salt/vegetable oil or 1/2 tablespoon of butter should do the trick for each cup of rice.
    • You can continue to season the rice after it has already been cooked.
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    Stir the rice mixture slowly with a wooden spoon. Combine the ingredients thoroughly. This is especially important if you have added other ingredients for flavoring.
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    Cover the rice. Place in the microwave and set the timer. Here are some suggested guidelines for a 700 watt microwave and white rice:
    • 1/2 cup rice, 9 minutes
    • 3/4 cup rice, 12 minutes
    • 1 cup rice, 16 minutes
    • 1 1/4 cups rice, 20 minutes
    • 1 1/2 cups rice, 23 minutes
  6. Image titled Cook Rice in a Microwave Step 6 preview
    For brown rice, start with three cups of boiling water per cup of rice and cook it for 25 minutes.[1] Adjust through trial and error.
  7. Image titled Cook Rice in a Microwave Step 7 preview
    Let the rice sit in the microwave for five minutes after it turns off. Don't open the door. The steam will complete the cooking process. You might observe that the rice grains start to orient themselves vertically, like they're "saluting".
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    Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.


  • If you are reheating rice such as Chinese take-out, sprinkle a small amount of water (perhaps a teaspoon per cup of rice) onto the rice before microwaving. This helps prevent it from becoming hard again due to dehydration from the heat. Be careful not to put too much water on the rice or it may lose some of the flavor.
  • Alternatively, when reheating rice, you can loosely wrap or cover the rice with a damp paper towel to avoid losing the flavor.
  • You don't need to cover or stir the rice during the cooking process. If you insist on covering it though, do not seal it. The pressure will build and possibly cause the container to explode, making a big mess in your microwave.
  • If you have two bowls, an alternate microwaving method is to put dry rice in the inner bowl. Put the inner bowl in the outer bowl and fill it with water. Cover with the lid and microwave for the specified amount of time.


  • Do not take this "shortcut" when cooking sushi rice.
  • Do not leave rice at room temperature for longer than 1 hour. Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will germinate into bacteria. These bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause vomiting or diarrhea. Reheating the rice won't get rid of these toxins.
  • Make sure to use a large enough container to keep the rice from boiling over. For example, with 1/4 cup rice and 1/2 cup water, even a 1 quart container is barely sufficient.

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