can you cook rice by soaking it in hot water

Imagine a world where cooking rice is quick, simple, and nutritious. Well, that world exists! Have you ever heard of cooking rice by soaking it in hot water? This method has been around for centuries in many cultures, yet remains underrated in many parts of the world. In this article, we will take you through the ins and outs of cooking rice by soaking it in hot water. We will delve into the science behind it, how to cook different types of rice using this method, tips and tricks for success, and common myths related to it. By the end of this article, you’ll be eager to try out this time-saving and nutrient-rich technique!


Cooking rice by soaking it in hot water is exactly what it sounds like – soaking rice grains in boiling water before draining them to create perfectly steamed rice. This method has been used for centuries by different cultures throughout the world – from Thailand’s jasmine rice to Japan’s sushi rice.

The Science behind Cooking Rice

To understand why soaking rice is an alternative cooking method, we have to look at how rice cooks. The primary component of rice is starch, which is a complex carbohydrate made up of sugar molecules. When you cook rice using traditional methods where you boil the rice grains with water until all the water is absorbed, some of these sugar molecules are released into the water.

This results in some of the nutritional value being lost because the vitamins and minerals present in starch are lost along with them when they leach out into the boiling water. Additionally, too much starch makes your cooked dish quite sticky or gummy, depending on how long you cooked it.

Why Soaking Rice Is an Alternative Cooking Method

The big appeal of cooking rice by soaking it first is that when you soak your rice, you soften the starch and allow it to absorb water evenly. This helps remove excess starch from the surface of each grain, which results in a fluffier texture. More importantly, it preserves the vitamins and minerals of the rice within, saving them for your body when you consume it.

What’s the Difference between Cooking Rice by Soaking It in Hot Water and Traditional Cooking Methods?

The difference between cooking rice by soaking it in hot water and traditional cooking methods is substantial and noticeable. The most significant difference comes down to texture, time, and nutritional content.

Time taken to cook rice

Cooking rice using traditional methods takes ranging from 18 to 25 minutes once the water has come to a boil. However, with soaking rice beforehand, the process can be reduced to 10-15 minutes once you add it back into boiling water.

Nutritional content

Cooking rice using traditional methods often results in loss of certain nutrients due to water leaching. On the other hand, soaking rice in hot water helps preserve all the essential nutrition present within the grains.

Texture of Rice

Traditional cooking methods often result in sticky rice because of too much starch releasing into the boiling water. However, soaking rice in hot water allows you to remove excess starch up front resulting in a fluffier texture.

Advantages of Cooking Rice by Soaking It in Hot Water

Saves time and energy

The most significant advantage of soaking rice rather than boiling it is that soaking saves time and energy. Since the process of boiling all that excess water along with your rice takes time, this method equates to faster cook times – not only that but also reducing gas or electricity use. By soaking rice, you let the rice do most of the work without adding additional energy requirements.

Makes rice more nutritious

Soaking rice in hot water yields a softer, fluffier texture while also preserving vital nutrients. This is because of reduced leaching of nutrients during soaking. Therefore, using this method preserves nutritive value much better than traditional cooking methods that boil the rice with excess water.

Reduces the amount of starch in rice

As we mentioned earlier, one of the major culprits behind sticky rice is excess surface starch on each grain. Soaking the rice beforehand removes that excess ahead cutting down the total cost in calories when cooking while ensuring a fluffier texture!

Step-by-step Guide on How to Cook Rice by Soaking It in Hot Water

Selecting the right type of rice

Certain types of rice respond better to soaking than others. Long-grain Basmati or jasmine rice are great choices for soaking because they produce fluffy grains without being too starchy. Always read how to soak and cook instructions specific to each variety before getting started.

Measuring the amount of water and rice needed

You’ll need about 1 and ¾ – 2 cups of water per cup of long-grain Basmati or jasmine rice you plan to make. For a cup of brown or short-grained varieties, you should aim for 2-2 and ¼ cups of water. Use your ratio based on your type you choose then place it in a pot with the measured amount of water next!

Temperature of the water used for soaking

When boiling your pot temperature should be high enough to boil aggressively; this will help to remove the surface starch. After the starch has been removed, simply turn down to medium heat and cover tightly. Allow rice to continue cooking until it becomes nice and fluffy.

Differences in Method Based on Different Types of Rice

Long-grain vs medium-grain vs short-grain rice

When you’re cooking rice, different types require different measurements, soaking times, and levels of water. For example, long grain Basmatic or jasmine varieties benefit for a 30-minute soak while short-grained varieties may only need a ten-minute soak adjusting water ratios accordingly

Some Cooking Instructions:

  • Jasmine or Basmati: Rinse 1 cup of rice and add it to a pot with 1 ¾ cups of boiling water. Let it simmer for around ten minutes on low heat and for an extra five minutes after turning off the heat.
  • Brown Rice: Rinse a cup of rice then add it to boiling water 2 cups of water and let it simmer on low heat for about an hour or until fully cooked.

Brown rice vs white rice

When it comes to brown rice versus white rice, brown rice requires more water than white rice(so an extra ¼ cup). Brown rice may also need more steam time depending on what brand or type you have. Remember with Newer lines of brown rice will have advantages such as lower cooking times by specifically testing out instructions if available.

Tips and Tricks for Better Results When Cooking Rice by Soaking It in Hot Water

Adding seasonings and spices

Add herbs and spices like curry powder or turmeric directly into your boiling water to infuse the rice with more flavor. Doing so will give your rice layers of depth to match your meal!

How to avoid burning the bottom layer of the pot

Scrape the bottom of your pot after you start boiling, so you don’t end up with a burnt bottom layer. It’s always good practice to keep checking rice every few minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, making sure any escaped grains get pushed back down into the hot water.

Special equipment needed

You don’t need any special equipment when cooking rice by soaking it in hot water. Any old pot on your stove or hot plate will do!

Common Myths Related to Cooking Rice by Soaking It in Hot Water

Myth 1: This method is only good for certain types of rice.

This myth could not be further from the truth. While some types of rice respond better than others (like Basmati or jasmine), soaking rice in hot water can produce perfectly cooked grains for almost all types of rice as long as you adjust time and ratio levels accordingly.

Myth 2: The texture will always be mushy

People believe the misconception that soaking rice beforehand results in more starch leaching followed by stickiness and mushiness. However, this may sometimes happen only if either ratio or time level is not adjusted properly depending on what type of rice you’re using!

Myth 3: This method requires specialized equipment

Cooking delicious soaked rice does not require special equipment. It is possible to cook it just like regular rice on a regular stove with a pot and some boiling water.


Cooking rice by soaking it in hot water is an easy and nutrient-rich way to make perfectly cooked rice. It is a fast, simple, and energy-saving method that results in fluffier grains of rice that are packed with more nutrition than traditional boiling methods. By following a few tips and tricks, debunking common myths, and adjusting ratios and simmer times for various types of rice – you can achieve delicious results with just about any pot and stove-top!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it possible to cook rice by soaking it in hot water?

Yes, it is possible to cook rice by soaking it in hot water. This method is called hot water soaking and it is an effective way to cook certain types of rice such as basmati, jasmine, and white long-grain rice.

2. How does hot water soaking work?

Hot water soaking works by hydrating the grains of rice and softening the outer layer, making it easier to cook. This method allows the rice to absorb the water more evenly which leads to fluffy, tender grains.

3. What are the benefits of cooking rice using hot water soaking?

Cooking rice using hot water soaking has several benefits. Firstly, it helps to reduce cooking time as the grains are partially cooked during the soaking process. Secondly, you will end up with fluffy and evenly cooked rice without any clumps or burnt bits at the bottom of the pot. Finally, hot water soaking allows you to achieve perfect results every time.

4. Can I use this method for any type of rice?

While hot water soaking is best suited for certain types of rice such as basmati, jasmine, and white long-grain rice, you can still try this method with other types of rice such as brown or black rice. However, keep in mind that these types of rice have a tougher outer layer which might not soften completely during soaking, resulting in a slightly chewy texture.

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