Is it 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water?

Quick Answer

The standard rice to water ratio is 1 cup of uncooked rice to 2 cups of water. However, the exact amount can vary based on the type of rice being cooked. Long grain white rice typically uses a 1:2 rice to water ratio. Short grain rice like Arborio rice for risotto requires more water and uses a 1:3 ratio. Brown rice and wild rice need even more water and use a 1:2.5 or 1:3 rice to water ratio. Other factors like cooking method and personal preference can also affect the ratio. Using too much or too little water will impact the texture and taste of the finished rice.

Measuring Rice and Water

When following a rice to water ratio, it’s important to use standard measuring cups for accurate results. The standard 1 cup measure for rice is based on 180-185 grams. For water, 1 cup equals 237 milliliters. Different types of cups or scoops could alter the measurements. The standard ratios are also based on using uncooked rice. So measure rice before cooking and use the same cup for both the rice and water measurement.

Ratio for Different Rice Types

Long Grain White Rice

Most long grain white rice like basmati and jasmine rice use a 1:2 rice to water ratio. For every 1 cup of rice, add 2 cups of water. The extra water allows the rice grains to absorb enough moisture to become tender. This ratio works for stove top and rice cooker cooking.

Short Grain Rice

Short grain rice requires more water due to its higher starch content. The standard ratio for short grain rice like Arborio is 1 cup rice to 3 cups water. The extra water enables the rice to become plump and tender during cooking, while allowing the starch to create a creamy texture. This ratio is ideal for cooking risotto or sushi rice.

Brown Rice

Since brown rice maintains the fibrous, oily bran layer, it needs more water during cooking. Use a 1:2.5 rice to water ratio, or 1 cup rice to 2.5 cups water. The extra water helps hydrate the bran layer and allows the rice to become fully cooked. This ratio works for most long, medium and short grain brown rice varieties.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is an aquatic grass grain, so it requires ample water to simmer and soften during cooking. Use a 1:3 rice to water ratio, or 1 cup wild rice to 3 cups water. The excess water will get absorbed into the grains to ensure they become tender. This ratio works well for most wild rice blends.

Rice Medleys

For multi-grain rice medleys, it’s best to follow the ratio stated on the package instructions. Since medleys contain a mix of rice varieties, the suggested ratio balances the different water needs. Typically the ratio falls between 1:2 to 1:2.5 cups rice to water. Follow the stated instructions for foolproof results.

Adjusting the Ratio

The standard 1:2 rice to water ratio is a starting point that can be adjusted based on preferences. Here are some reasons you may want to modify the ratio:

  • To cook firmer rice, use less water – try 1:1.5 rice to water ratio
  • For softer, mushier rice, use more water – try 1:2.5 or 1:3 rice to water
  • If cooking at high altitude, use less water due to lower boiling point
  • For rice with mix-ins like veggies or meat, add extra water
  • For drier rice dishes like fried rice, reduce the water

The ratios can be adjusted up or down by 0.5 cups of water until you find the texture you prefer. Monitor rice as it cooks and adjust water amounts in future batches until the rice is perfectly tender and moist.

Cooking Methods


Most types of rice can be cooked stovetop using the standard rice to water ratios. For white rice varieties, combine 1 cup rice with 2 cups water in a saucepan. For brown, wild or short grain rice, use the specific ratios above. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed. Then remove from heat and let sit covered for 5-10 minutes to steam. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Rice Cooker

A rice cooker makes perfect rice easy. Simply add the measured rice and water to the cooker pot based on the ratios above. For white rice, use 1:2 and press the white rice button. For brown rice, use 1:2.5 and press the brown rice setting. Let the rice cooker do the work of bringing to a boil, reducing to a simmer, and switching to warm when done. The rice will turn out consistent each time.

Absorption Method

The absorption method is often used for rice pilafs and rice dishes cooked in broths. You start by sautéing rice in oil before adding a flavorful cooking liquid like broth, tomatoes or coconut milk. Simmer over low heat covered until the rice absorbs all the liquid and becomes tender, about 20 minutes. The additional liquid provides needed moisture so you don’t have to be precise with a rice to water ratio.

Baked Rice

Baked rice calls for specific ratios unique from stovetop. Combine 2 cups liquid with 1 cup rice and bake at 350°F covered for 25 minutes. For chewier texture you can also soak rice for 15 minutes before baking. Since rice cooks in the oven using steam, the ratio of rice to liquid needs to be exact for best results.

Tips for Cooking Rice

– Rinse rice by placing it in a fine mesh strainer and running cold water over it. This removes excess starch for fluffy grains.

– Combine rice and water in a pot with a tight fitting lid. The lid helps retain moisture and heat.

– Bring rice to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer until water is absorbed.

– Don’t lift the lid while rice is simmering. This releases steam needed for perfect texture.

– When rice is done, remove from heat and let stand 3-5 minutes to finish steaming.

– Fluff rice with a fork just before serving to separate the grains.

Solving Common Rice Problems

Problem Cause Solution
Mushy rice Too much water Use less water for firmer rice
Undercooked rice Not enough water Increase water by 0.5 cup increments
Burned rice Heat too high Lower heat after coming to a boil
Sticky rice Improper rice variety Use long grain rice for fluffier results


While the standard rice to water ratio is 1:2 cups, the exact ratio can vary based on rice variety, cooking method and personal taste. White long grain rice does well with the basic 1:2 ratio, while more water is needed for brown, wild or short grain rice. The ratio can be adjusted up or down to find the desired doneness. With the right ratio, rice can turn out perfectly tender and fluffy every time. Proper measuring and cooking techniques also impact the end result. Mastering the ideal rice to water ratio elevates rice from an average side dish to the star of the meal.

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