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Rice is a grain that, just like wheat, is a member of the grass family. The stalks grow anywhere from 60 to 180 cm (2 to 6 feet) tall, and bloom with flowers that produce the grain as its seed. In Europe, it is grown in Northern Italy, and in some parts of Spain. It is, of course, also grown throughout Asia.

Contrary to popular belief, rice doesn't grow only in rice paddies -- fields flooded with water. Some varieties of rice also grow on hills.

For the most part, rice is described based on the size of its grain, and the degree of processing it has had.

Whenever a recipe or someone refers to "rice", unless they specify a type, what is meant is white rice.

The answer to the question of "how much rice to cook" starts with the debate about what constitutes a serving size. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans people are really skimpy in their allowance. Weight Watchers® is more generous. Still, both probably fall short of what constitutes a serving in real life in people's minds. See the Equivalents section below for the guidelines.

Cooking Tips

When figuring out how much rice to cook, remember that white rice just about triples in volume after cooking.

Here are two standard methods for cooking rice:

Method 1) Per cup ( 8 oz / 200 g) of uncooked rice, bring to a boil in a large saucepan 2 cups (16 oz / 500 ml) of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Slowly pour in (don't stir) the rice; don't dump it all in at once. Stir lightly, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Method 2) Heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour in 1 cup (8 oz / 200 g) of uncooked rice, stir around to coat, and cook until rice turns a bit transparent, about 5 minutes. (optional: you can even cook a bit longer, until the kernels just start to brown, if you want a nuttier tasting rice.) Slowly pour in 2 cups (16 oz / 500 ml) of already boiling water from the kettle, stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, cover, and then cook for 15 minutes.

For either method, if all the water has gone but the rice is not yet tender, add a few tablespoons of boiling water, cover and cook a bit more. If water has remained but the rice is cooked, remove cover and cook a minute or two uncovered to allow water to evaporate until the water is gone.

Unless you are making risotto, don't stir rice while it is cooking, as stirring it will make it sticky. The wider the mouth on your pot, the better your rice will cook.

Or, if you have storage space for a rice steamer, they are inexpensive, and take all the stress out of cooking rice.

To make a soup thicker, throw in a few handfuls of leftover cooked rice towards the end.

When reheating leftover rice in a microwave, add 1 teaspoon of water per cup (150 g / 4 oz) of cooked, leftover rice.


Bulgur Wheat, various Grain Berries, Couscous.


Wholegrain and brown rice are the same grain of rice.

When the rice grain is husked, the rice is brown in colour. This is what is known as wholegrain or brown rice. Further refining to make the white rice removes the brown exterior.

Brown rices are more nutritious than white because the brown layer retains some of the nutrients found in the husk.

Rice has absolutely no gluten.


Rice equivalency notes:

  • While brown rice will double in volume and weight when cooked, white rice typically just about triples;
  • Equivalents below are based on a white, long-grain rice such as basmati.
  • The weights of uncooked compared to weights of cooked are of course more accurate than when volume-style measurements get involved
  • Cup volumes of cooked and uncooked will vary wildly depending on humidity, the type of rice (e.g. risotto rice), how packed down in cup, etc. And weight / volume equivalencies of uncooked rice will also vary wildly as well, depending on the type of rice, whether it is short-grain or long-grain, brown or white, etc. Thus, the equivalencies below won't always jive with each other, especially given whether rounding for kitchen usability for a particular instance was done up, or down. But sacrificing usability for extreme mathematical precision is impractical in a real-world kitchen.

How much white rice to cook

To end up with 150 g (1 cup / 4 oz in weight) of cooked white rice: start with 50 g (1/3 cup / 2 oz ) of uncooked white rice.

  • 75 g (1/2 cup / 2 oz ) is a serving of cooked white rice, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015 - 2020 edition, Appendix 3);
  • 150 g (1 cup / 4 oz ) is closer to the reality of the minimum that people are going to actually have as a serving, according to many other dietary sources. That is also the amount that Weight Watchers® offers up as a default serving size choice (for 5 Weight Watchers PointsPlus®). [1]

We have chosen to work with the more real-world serving amount of 150 g (1 cup / 4 oz ).

See also the entry on Brown Rice for how much brown rice to cook.

Metric equivalents for rice-cooking yields

1 kilo rice uncooked = 2.2 pounds / 5 cups uncooked = 3 kg ( 25 cups / 6.5 lbs) cooked (Will serve 25 people).
100 g rice uncooked = 1/2 cup (3.5 oz in weight) uncooked = 300 g ( 2 1/2 cups / 10.5 oz in weight) cooked [2] (Will serve 2 people)

US equivalents for rice-cooking yields

1 cup rice uncooked = 7 oz / 200 g = 600 g ( 5 cups / 21 oz in weight) cooked [2] (Will serve 5 people).
1 pound of rice = 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups uncooked = 11 cups cooked (Will serve 11 people).

Please note: the above suggestions of how many people can be served are based on the more generous Weight Watchers® allowance, rather than the US Dietary Guidelines. Which is to say, 150 g (1 cup / 4 oz ) per person. Even so, it's still "not much" by today's standards, and does not allow for generous servings, second-helpings, or left-overs.

[1] Caution: Note that even the larger 150 g (1 cup / 4 oz ) serving size might not be satisfactory for someone who is not concerned with weight management. and might seem paltry to them by today's serving standards until they got used to it.

[2] For kitchen purposes, rounding 1/2 cup of uncooked rice to 4 oz / 120 g in weight (1 cup uncooked to 8 oz / 250 g in weight) is usually fine. You can also round it down to 1/3 cup / 2 oz uncooked. Rice measurements, equivalents and yields are very imprecise, being dependent on so many factors. It just depends essentially if you want to err on the side of calorie-control, or generosity.

Storage Hints

You can freeze cooked rice for up to a year. Freeze it in meal size portions, rather than in one huge lump, so that you can haul it out of the freezer for adding to soups or casseroles, or even just to serve on the side.

Store any rice in a sealed container in a dry, cool place. With the exception of brown rice, rice will keep indefinitely.

History Notes

Rice is probably native to both China and India.

Literature & Lore

"Three pound of sugar, five pound of currants, rice... what will this sister of mine do with Rice?" -- Clown. The Winter's Tale, Act IV, Scene 3. Shakespeare.

Language Notes

The Spanish word for rice, "arroz", comes from the Arabic word for rice, "aruz."


Brown Rice Syrup; Brown Rice; Converted Rice; Cream of Rice; Flattened Rice; Hoppin' John; Instant Rice; Long-Grain Rice; Medium-Grain Rice; Paella Rice; Rice Flour; Rice Milk; Rice Pudding; Rice Starch; Rice; Risotto Rice; Risotto; Short-Grain Rice; Sticky Rice; Sweet Rice Flour; White Rice; Wild Rice

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Also called:

Oryza sativa (Scientific Name); Riz (French); Reis (German); Riso (Italian); Arroz (Spanish); Arroz (Portuguese); Chaval (Indian); Gohan (Japanese); Fan (Chinese)


Oulton, Randal. "Rice." CooksInfo.com. Published 01 September 2002; revised 02 February 2016. Web. Accessed 07/30/2016. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/rice>.

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