It’s certainly not unheard of to have issues with rice sticking to pot – it’s so easy to burn a pot of rice, or miscalculate how much water should be in there. In this guide, I’ll be covering everything you need to know to make the perfect pot of fluffy rice – all the ‘how to’s’ will have my best tips and tricks for getting it right. In addition to this, all your questions on using different pots and pans will be covered, as well as queries on different types of rice. So lets get right into it!
Table of Contents
- Can You Fix Overcooked Rice?
- Why Is My Rice Sticking To The Pot – The Most Likely Culprits
- General Guide On Keeping Rice From Sticking
- Detailed Guide On How I Keep Rice From Sticking
- Addressing Rice Sticking to Containers
- Biggest Takeaways To Keep Rice From Sticking
- Rice-Sticking Scenarios: FAQs
Can You Fix Overcooked Rice?
As prevention is key when it comes to …non… sticky? Yeah, sure.
Non-sticky rice, it’s kind hard to save your rice after the downfall… But, you can turn your dish into a different one!
Side-step and start following a creole rice recipe to turn your sticky rice into something with a little more pizzazz.
If rice is sticking to only the bottom of the pot (a little got scorched) you also have the option to… Just eat it. Of course, this depends on you and your diners’ personal preferences and just how burnt the rice is.
Still, this ‘bottom of the pot’ rice (aka scorched rice) is greatly appreciated in some cultures! Just look up pega, pegão, guo ba, tahdig, tutong, socarrat, gratin, mamri, or nurungji and you’ll see what I mean! You might even get a fun new recipe to use your burnt rice in.
Why Is My Rice Sticking To The Pot – The Most Likely Culprits
Main Reasons Your Fried Rice Sticking To Pan
You’re Not Rinsing It
Using unwashed rice is a huge setback when you’re trying to make fluffy rice. This is because unwashed rice is naturally coated with starch (like potatoes, or pasta).
While this starch is excellent for thickening pasta sauce, it’ll also make your rice stick a LOT. To give your rice a better chance, rinse it until the water comes out clear.
Check out the detailed guide below on making rice to learn how to wash your rice.
You’re Using Hot Water
When you use already-boiling water to cook your rice, you’re not taking into account the same starch we just talked about.
Starch blooms in hot water, meaning the grains get sticky. Yes, this will eventually happen at some point when making rice, but the problem is that it blooms for far longer when using hot water from the get go, resulting in sticky rice. It also makes the cooking time more unpredictable and may cause your rice to cook unevenly.
For the best results, skip to adding cold water and boiling it with the rice.
You’re Not Using Enough Water
Rice may stick to the bottom of the pan when there isn’t enough water to cook it the whole way through.
This is because the water is completely absorbed halfway through the allotted time for your rice to cook, leaving the bottom of the pan to heat up. This eventually causes your rice to burn, and consequently stick.
Now it’s all well and good knowing the why, but how do you keep rice from sticking in the first place? My general guide has the TLDR version of how to make fluffy rice, but I’d recommend reading the full, detailed version if you’re looking to learn every trick there is with clear, guided steps.
General Guide On Keeping Rice From Sticking
How To Keep Rice From Sticking To Pot
There are a number of steps you can take to keep rice from sticking to the pot, but it’s important to note that they are all preventative and need to be done before/while actually making the rice, not after.
To keep your rice fluffy and loose, make sure to thoroughly rinse off your rice, fry it in oil or grease your pan, use a transparent lid to check the rice without taking it off.
Most importantly to use the right amount of (COLD) water for the type of rice you’re making.
How To Stop Rice From Sticking Together
Generally, you can stop rice from sticking to itself using the same precautions used for keeping it from sticking to the pan.
The best of these is to make sure the grains of rice are completely (LIGHTLY) covered in oil when frying. This will make it less likely for the rice to stick to itself as the starch from the individual grains won’t be in contact.
Also, like keeping the rice from sticking to the pot, make sure you don’t use too much water.
Detailed Guide On How I Keep Rice From Sticking
Stage 1 – Getting Prepared
The first step to making fluffy, loose rice is to choose a pot suitable for the amount of rice you plan to make.
You want your rice to be (at least) just under the halfway point of your pan when fully cooked. Use less and it wont cook evenly, use a great deal more (over 2x more) and the same happens. It can also help to select a pot with a thicker bottom – if it’s too thin, your rice has (once again) a higher chance of cooking unevenly, leading it to stick to the over-heated bottom and burn. Also make sure to use a transparent lid.
The next step – and this one is important – is to rinse your rice. You don’t have to scrub out the starch the same as you would for Vegas rolls, but make sure to give it a good wash.
Use a rice strainer if needed, or a sieve.
Stage 2 – Frying Rice
After washing your rice, heat the pot by itself on the stove. Add in the oil when it’s half-way to hot and let the oil heat up too. It’s best to use an oil with a higher smoke point – for example, use pure or lower grade olive oils instead of other types of olive oil (smoke point info here). This will keep your oil from burning and your food from tasting scorched.
You’ll be able to tell when the oil is ready as it’ll shimmer and be slightly runnier. At this point, you can sauté garlic and onions in it, or add in other ingredients.
Then…. Simply fry your rice!
While there are many reasons to fry rice before boiling, the one that most applies here is to keep the rice from sticking. Adding rice to a greased pan and frying it for thirty seconds coats the rice in oil. This makes it more likely to retain flavors from seasoning and less likely to stick – both to itself and the base of the pan. Keep your heat on medium while frying, then follow the instructions for boiling.
Stage 3 – Adding The Water
Now all that’s left is to add in the water!
Don’t add it just yet though, as I have some more tips under Stage 3. Lots of people find this part tricky, but it doesn’t have to be – there are a few things you can keep in mind that will help.
I’ll go over them now:
Short grain rices need less water, while basmati, Jasmine, and other long-grains need more.
As I tend to make Brazilian-style rice, I’m used to cooking with white long-grain. The rule for these rices is to pour in enough water above the rice to cover the first digit of your finger.
Alternatively, you can use a 2:1 ratio as a guide – so two cups water for every one cup of rice. However, this only works for white long-grain rice. Short-grain rices, like the Japanese short-grain rice used for sushi, needs to be thoroughly washed and only needs a 1:1 ratio of water to rice.
Stage 4 – Beginning To Boil
Regardless of the rice you’re cooking, use COLD water! Using already boiled water makes it harder to tell when your rice will be ready (I learnt that the hard way).
Once you put the water in, give your rice a quick stir to mix everything up. Then put the lid on, leaving it slightly skewed off so some air can escape.
After this, DO NOT TOUCH your rice while it’s cooking. Either with your spoon or by taking the lid off – just look through the lid to see how the cooking is going.
Once your water is in, start adjusting your heat! Keep it on medium-high until it starts to boil, then immediately switch it to medium-low. And by that I dont mean low, I mean in between medium low.
Cook your rice in batches when needed, and take care not to overcook the rice.
Stage 5 – Finishing Up
Once your rice has been boiling for a while (10 minutesish) and you stop hearing the boiling sound, quickly take the lid off.
Check to see if the water is gone by making a hole with the butt of your spoon – if there’s still some, cover your rice up again and let it continue cooking.
If your rice seems just slightly undercooked once finished, don’t worry – just put the lid all the way on and let it rest for 10 minutes. The steam will cook it the rest of the way.
When your rice is done, immediately ’fluff it’ up. Use a fork to gently rake through your rice to seperate it and keep it from clumping. This will result in a loose, non-sticky rice.
While it’s virtually impossible to keep your rice from taking the shape of the container it’s in (especially when refrigerated), doing this straight after cooking will make it easier. Serve it alongside fresh-cooked beans, fried eggs, or fridge leftovers like salad with salad oil.
Addressing Rice Sticking to Containers
How To Keep Rice From Sticking To Stainless Steel Pan
Because stainless steel pans tend to be more prone to sticking, it’s imperative to keep your pan well oiled when making any food, not just rice. Even if you don’t want to actually fry the rice, be sure to give your pan a light greasing to prevent burning and sticking rice. Rinse your rice very well when cooking in a stainless steel pan, as the starch will make sticking more likely. If possible, cook in a stainless steel pan with a thick bottom.
I’ve linked this pan as an example, as it has a good thick base and reviews mentioning it’s suitability for cooking rice.
Electric Rice Cooker Rice Sticks To Bottom
A lot of people find rice cookers easier to use than saucepans when making rice. Even then, however, there can be some problems. Ironically, the good thing about rice cookers is that they also work for making sticky rice.
The most common consensus I found for resolving sticky rice cooker rice after making it was to let it rest for around 20 minutes. The idea is that the moisture will redistribute itself, and in turn end up ’unsticking’ the bottom. This works best for non-stick rice cookers, so be sure to follow my tips on cooking rice with stainless steel if needed.
How To Prevent Rice From Sticking To Bottom Of Instant Pot
To keep your rice from sticking in an instant pot, make sure your rice was very well-rinsed, before making sure to give it a good mix with the water.
Afterwards, turn the warm function off and use natural release instead of instant release when the rice finishes cooking.
How To Avoid Rice Sticking To Clay Pot
For cooking rice in clay pots – for example, if you’re making biryani – make sure that you have a good quality (or well-maintained) pot to use. Making biryani in a bad clay pot will not only make it more likely to stick, but will also likely lead to rice getting stuck in the porous surface of the pot, making it hard to clean.
To avoid this, make sure that your pot is coated with non-stick, heat resistant glazing. If you find rice is still sticking to the pot, let it rest for ten minutes before serving.
Biggest Takeaways To Keep Rice From Sticking
Rice is a staple in so many cultures and cuisines, and so it’s difficult to find a universal fix for this issue.
While you may have to change up some old recipes to make them work for you, what’s important is the end result.
With that in mind, here are the top three least invasive ways to keep your rice from sticking. Grease your pan, use the right amount of water for the rice you’re making, and cook on medium-low heat with minimal disturbance.
These tips should serve as a solid foundation for the rest of the guidelines.
Rice-Sticking Scenarios: FAQs
Why Does My Spanish Rice Stick To The Pan?
Spanish rice is generally the same as other long-grains when it comes to sticking. Use the same preventative measures of rinsing, frying in oil, putting the right amount of water in, and cooking for the correct amount of time for it to come out fluffy.
Can You Fix Burnt Rice?
It’s hard to save your rice after it scorches, but you CAN eat crispy rice!
Why is my Rice Sticking?
You may not have rinsed it well, activated the starch with hot water, or overcooked it.