How to make perfect rice … in the microwave

Why would you want to learn how to cook rice in the microwave? After all, the microwave method is only marginally faster than using the stovetop. But, some think this method actually produces better rice.

Plus, there's the convenience factor. You can microwave, serve, and even eat your rice out of one container, eliminating at least one dish to clean. Plus, you won't have to deal with all of the rice stuck at the bottom of your pot as you do with the stovetop method (although some folks think that crust is the tastiest part!). And you never know — you could be at a vacation rental house and have a shoddy stove, making the microwave a safer bet.

Whatever your reasons, here's how to cook rice in the microwave, step by step.

First, a couple of notes: This method works for both long-grain (like basmati), medium-grain (like jasmine), and short-grain (like sushi rice) varieties of rice. However, the strength and wattage of microwaves differ, and that impacts cooking times. The cook times below are based on a 900-watt, 0.9-foot-capacity microwave. Check the wattage of your microwave — you may need to check your rice at increments and add or subtract a few seconds here or there (more instructions on that below). Our method gives cooking times for cooking 1 cup of dry rice. If you'd like to cook 2 cups of dry rice, follow this recipe instead.

#1. Put rice and water in a microwave-safe dish. 

Measure 1 cup of rice and add it to a microwave-safe dish — you'll want one that can hold at least 1.5 quarts when making this quantity of rice. (We used an 8-by-8 glass baking dish.) Then, add 2 cups of cold water.

#2. Place your rice in the microwave.

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Put the dish in the microwave uncovered, and microwave the rice on the high for 10 minutes. At this point, if small holes have appeared in the rice where steam has escape,d and most of the water has disappeared from the dish, you're ready for the next step. If not, continue microwaving in 1-minute increments until steam holes appear.

#3. Cover the rice, and microwave it again.

When you see steam holes, remove the rice from the microwave and cover the top of your dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave the rice for 4 minutes more.

#4. Remove the rice and let it stand.

Take your rice out of the microwave. Let it stand, still covered, for 5 minutes. At this point, taste the rice. If it's the texture you desire — eat! If it's still a bit crunchy, microwave it more, checking at 1-minute increments for the desired level of doneness.