How many cups is in a pound of rice?

Rice is a staple food for nearly half of the world’s population. It’s versatile, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. When cooking rice, it’s helpful to know how much uncooked rice yields after cooking. One common way to measure uncooked rice is in pounds. But most rice recipes call for measurements in cups. So how many cups are in a pound of rice?

Quick Answer

In general, one pound of uncooked white rice yields about 2 cups cooked rice. However, the exact amount can vary slightly depending on the type and quality of the rice.

Here’s a quick rundown for some common types of rice:

  • Long grain white rice: About 2 cups per pound
  • Medium grain white rice: About 2 1/4 cups per pound
  • Short grain white rice: About 2 1/2 cups per pound
  • Brown rice: About 2 1/4 cups per pound
  • Wild rice: About 3 to 3 1/2 cups per pound
  • Basmati rice: About 2 1/2 to 3 cups per pound

So if a rice recipe calls for 3 cups of cooked rice, you’ll need around 1 1/2 pounds of uncooked white rice. For brown or wild rice, use 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds.

The Details

Several factors determine how much a pound of uncooked rice expands when cooked:

Rice Variety

The variety of rice affects the number of cups per pound. Long grain rice varieties, like jasmine and basmati, tend to expand the least. Whereas short and medium grain rices, like Arborio and sushi rice, puff up more when cooked. Brown rice and wild rice also yield more cooked cups per pound than white rice.

Grain Size

Grain size also matters. Smaller grains like short grain rice take up less space per pound than larger grains like basmati and jasmine rice. After cooking and absorbing water, the smaller grains expand more compared to large grains.

Grain Shape

The shape of the rice grain impacts cup yield too. Long slender grains don’t expand as much width-wise as shorter plumper grains like Arborio rice. The irregular shaped grains of brown and wild rice also result in greater expansion when cooked.

Rice Freshness

Older rice grains tend to dry out and shrink over time. So fresher rice expands more when cooked compared to older rice from the back of your pantry. For maximum cup yield per pound, use rice within 6 months of purchase.

Cooking Method

The cooking method affects how much rice expands. Rice cooked in excess water, like when boiling, absorbs more water, causing it to puff up more. Rice cooked in just enough water won’t expand as much. For example, rice cooked in a rice cooker or absorbed cooking methods like baking won’t yield as many cups per pound as boiled rice.

Water Ratio

The water to rice ratio also impacts the final cooked volume. More water absorption equals greater expansion. So make sure to use the recipe’s recommended water amount for optimal yield. Too little water can result in undercooked, crunchy rice.

Cooking Time

Letting rice simmer until all the water is absorbed ensures proper hydration and full expansion. So be sure to cook rice for the full recommended time, especially for firmer varieties like brown rice. Removing rice from heat too early can yield fewer cups per pound.

Cup Yield by Rice Variety

Here is a more detailed breakdown of approximately how many cups of cooked rice different varieties yield per pound:

Rice Type Cups per Pound
Long Grain White 2 to 2 1/4
Jasmine 2 to 2 1/4
Basmati 2 1/2 to 3
Medium Grain White 2 1/4
Short Grain White 2 1/2
Arborio (risotto) 2 1/2 to 3
Paella (Valencia) 2 1/2 to 3
Sushi 2 1/2 to 3
Glutinous (sticky) 2 1/2 to 3
Brown Rice 2 1/4
Wild Rice 3 to 3 1/2
Red Rice 2 1/4 to 2 1/2
Black Rice 2 1/4 to 2 1/2
Wehani Rice 2 1/4 to 2 1/2

As you can see, short and medium grain rices yield more cups than long grain varieties. Brown rice also produces more cooked cups than white rice due to the extra fiber and bran. Wild rice expands the most from its uncooked state.

Measuring Tip

It’s tricky to perfectly measure sticky rice varieties like Arborio and sushi rice by volume. A scale gives you the most accuracy. But if you don’t have one, here’s a tip:

Gently spoon the grains into your measuring cup without packing or shaking it. Then level off the top surface using a straight edge like the back of a knife. This will yield the approximate cup measurement needed for the recipe.

Converting Ounces to Cups

Rice can also be measured in ounces instead of pounds. Here are some handy conversions:

  • 16 ounces = 1 pound
  • 8 ounces = 1 cup
  • 1 ounce = 1/8 cup

So if a recipe calls for 6 ounces of uncooked rice, that’s equal to 3/4 cup. And 24 ounces is the same as 3 cups of rice.

Knowing these simple rice conversions can help you accurately measure your grains for perfect fluffy rice every time.

Weights of Common Rice Servings

Here are the approximate weights in both pounds and ounces for some typical cooked rice serving sizes:

Serving Size Pounds Ounces
1/4 cup dry 0.03 0.5
1/3 cup dry 0.04 0.75
1/2 cup dry 0.06 1
3/4 cup dry 0.09 1.5
1 cup dry 0.12 2
2 cups dry 0.25 4
3 cups dry 0.37 6

You can use these handy measurements for scaling rice recipes up or down.

Standard Rice-to-Water Ratios

To cook rice properly so it fully expands, use the right amount of water. Here are some general rice-to-water ratios by volume:

  • White rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water
  • Brown rice: 1 cup rice to 2 1/4 cups water
  • Wild rice: 1 cup rice to 3 to 4 cups water
  • Risotto: 1 cup rice to 3 to 4 cups broth

The packaging instructions on your rice may vary slightly, so always check. But these are good standard water amounts for full absorption and fluffy, hydrated grains.

Helpful Rice Cooking Tips

To maximize the number of cooked rice cups you yield per pound, follow these handy tips:

  • Rinse rice before cooking to remove excess starch
  • Use fresh rice stored no longer than 6 months
  • Follow recipe cooking times and water ratios
  • Allow rice to steam after cooking for 5 minutes
  • Fluff rice with fork before serving
  • Avoid packing measuring cups tightly
  • Use slightly less water for firmer rice grains

Rinsing the rice and allowing it to steam ensures every grain fully hydrates and separates properly. Fluffing with a fork releases trapped steam to keep rice light and fluffy.


Knowing approximately how many cups of cooked rice are in a pound is useful for meal planning and prepping the right amounts. In general, white rice yields 2 to 2 1/4 cups per pound, while brown and wild rice produce around 2 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups per pound depending on the variety.

Factors like grain size, shape, freshness, and cooking method all impact the final cup yield. Following the recommended water amounts and cooking times produces the maximum number of fluffy, tender cups of rice from each pound. With these tips, you’ll never wonder how much rice to cook again!

Leave a Comment