Rinsing rice before cooking removes some of the starch, which translates to lighter, fluffier, and less sticky grains. Skip this step for certain short-grain varieties, like Arborio; the starch in this type is what makes your risotto thick and creamy.
Generally speaking, use 1 to 1 3/4 cups of liquid per cup of white rice. Why the range? If you’re using a small pot or one with a tight-fitting lid, you’ll want to go for the lower end of this range. For a larger pot or one with a loose lid, you’ll want to use more liquid. Got a rice cooker? Every model is different, so it’s best to use the measuring cup and instructions that came with the machine.
3. Rest (and Fluff)
Once your rice is done cooking (about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the type), slip a clean kitchen towel (or a paper towel) between the lid and the pot. The towel will help absorb any condensation that collects under the lid, which can drip onto your perfectly cooked grains and make them gummy. Let the rice rest for 10 to 15 minutes so the grains have a chance to plump up. Remove the lid and towel and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
Nobody likes dried-out leftover rice. To return it to (almost) its former glory, add about 2 tbsp. of water per cup of cooked rice before reheating.