How to Cook Rice in the Microwave

How to Cook Rice in the Microwave

Do you struggle to cook great-tasting rice in the microwave? Or is this your first time using your microwave for this task? In this article, we’ll show you how to cook perfect rice every time – without a saucepan in sight!

Cooking rice on a hob isn’t always a pleasant experience. Unless you get the ratio of water-to-rice absolutely right, there’s always the chance of a burned pan or the rice coming out watery and unappetising. Plus cooking on the hob means extra washing up – which no-one wants, especially if the pan has been burnt!

Most of the time, cooking rice is also the last step in the process of making dinner. This means it’s likely to be forgotten or given little attention, which makes a mistake more likely.

Fortunately, it’s easy to cook rice in the microwave. And, once you know how to do it, this method takes all the fuss and mess out of cooking rice. The result is also as fluffy and tasty as you’d get from the hob – without the hassle. Some people even prefer microwaved rice to a rice cooker.

So if you’re sick of cooking rice on the hob, here’s our simple method for getting great rice every time.

An example of a meal of cooked rice with vegetables

How to Microwave Rice in 6 steps

Cooking rice in the microwave is a quick and painless process. It can take a bit longer than hob cooking though, so take this into account when planning your meal. Also, the timings below are meant as guidelines only – you’ll need to adjust them depending on the type of rice and your microwave’s power.

  1. Choose a high-quality rice that matches the type of meal you’re cooking. While you might not think rice-quality is important, you would be surprised by the difference in end result.
  2. Thoroughly rinse the rice before you start cooking. This removes starch from each grain, leading to a tastier dish that’s less sticky.
  3. (Optional Step) If you’re using brown rice, you may want to soak the rice for up to three hours. You can also soak white rice, although it’s already naturally softer.
  4. Put the rice in a microwavable bowl. Add two cups of water for every cup of rice and cover. This is the most important step in the process, as the 2:1 ratio of water ensures fluffy rice that isn’t too dry.
  5. Set the microwave to cook for around 10 minutes per cup of rice (in an 800W microwave). You may need to adjust this cooking time depending on your microwave’s power and the type of rice – just keep going until you see the grains are vertical and dry.
  6. Allow the rice to “steam” cook for around 5 minutes. This last step can make all the difference, so don’t skip it.

That’s it! You should now have perfect rice ready to serve with your meal. Just fluff with a fork and serve.

Other Tips

  • Brown rice requires a longer cooking time. You’ll probably want to use trial and error to find the perfect time for your microwave.
  • The key to getting perfect rice from your microwave is the water/rice ratio. If you add too much water, the rice will come out soggy, while too little leads to dry rice. Two cups of water to every cup of rice should be around perfect, but you may want to adjust this ratio slightly depending on your microwave.
  • The soaking step is optional – especially if you’re using basmati rice. We recommended trying with and without soaking to see whether you notice a difference.
  • Brown rice does require soaking though as it’s harder than white varieties. While we said soak for up to three hours, in most cases 30 minutes is enough.
  • Make sure the container you use is large enough to hold all the rice after it expands.
  • To add extra flavour, use chicken stock instead of plain water.
  • You can also add vegetable oil, olive oil or a dash of salt to enhance the flavour further. Make sure you stir thoroughly before cooking though.
  • Don’t worry about stirring the rice when cooking in the microwave.
  • Once cooked, don’t leave the rice sitting for more than an hour. Cooked rice still contains bacteria spores which can multiply and potentially cause food poisoning.


The humble microwave gets a bad rap when it comes to cooking – but in many cases this is undeserved. Rice is an example of a type of food that can be cooked quickly and easily in a microwave. By following the steps in this guide, you’ll have fluffy and tasty rice without worrying about burning your saucepan on the hob.

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