You can never have enough easy rice recipes, right? Rice is a simple side dish, so it's nice to have a few recipes for flavored rice on hand for variety. Plus, you can use rice in one-pot meals and casseroles for a hearty dinner.
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Types of rice
The most common rice used in family kitchens is long grain white rice, but many like Minute Rice because it cooks so quickly. Other prefer long grain brown rice. There's also specialty rices like jasmine rice and basmati rice. Cuisines like Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, and others tend to use basmati rice.
Different between white rice and brown rice
The main difference between white and brown rice is that brown is a whole grain, where white is processed to remove the bran and germ. White rice also cooks faster than brown rice.
Brown rice has a slightly nutty flavor and is more chewy, compared to light, fluffy white rice. Kids tend to prefer white rice, sort of like with white vs. wheat bread.
Research has shown that whole grains like brown rice can help lower blood sugar levels. But white rice can also be party of a healthy diet even with lower fiber, since it's easier for some people to digest.
When eating rice as a side dish, 1/2 cup cooked is a healthy portion size. If rice is the main dish, aim for 1 cup per person.
When we have rice in the fridge, I love using it to make soups more hearty. I tend to make my soups with no carbs in them (like pasta), so my husband and I can control the amount. With leftover rice, I can put a portion size in the bottom of a bowl, then fill it up with soup for dinner.
Can you freeze rice?
If you don't plan to eat the rice within those 3-4 days, you should freeze it. There's a bacteria called bacillus cereus that can lead to food poisoning if rice is left out too long at room temperature. Freezing is a better option than refrigerating, plus it's so easy to reheat cooked rice. Just use the microwave, and make sure is hot and heated through. Avoid repeated reheating.
I like how handy it is to have rice ready-to-go in my freezer, especially brown rice, since it takes so long to cook in the first place. I put mine into gallon zipper freezer bags, then store it flat so it doesn't take up a lot of space. Frozen rice lasts about a month in the freezer.
How to cook rice
There are many ways to cook rice, like on the stovetop in a pot with a tight lid. You can also use a rice cooker or Instant Pot. As long as there's enough liquid, you can even cook rice within a one-pot meal or casserole. Or, include raw rice right in the soup recipe, like this Slow Cooker Turkey Soup With Rice.
I often use my pressure cooker to cook brown rice in bulk at the beginning of the week. Then, we have it available for dinnertime. My kids also love taking beans and rice for a hearty lunch.
How much liquid do you need to cook rice? That depends on the method of cooking. These amounts are general–you'll want to follow the package directions for stovetop or the appliance instructions for a rice cooker or pressure cooker.
Stovetop: 1 part rice to 2 parts water/broth, such as 1 cup rice with 2 cups water
Rice Cooker: 1 part rice to 1.5 parts liquid
Pressure Cooker: 1 part rice to 1-1.25 parts liquid
And of course, this can also vary depending on the type of rice you use: long-grain, jasmine, basmati, etc. For me, it took a couple of tries in my pressure cooker to get my brown basmati rice the texture we prefer. Now, it's easy!
Why make homemade rice dishes?
While using a boxed rice mix is super convenient, they often have preservatives and other additives plus a lot of sodium. Making your own flavored rice dish at home not only costs less, but it's healthier. You can control the ingredients, which is helpful if you're cooking around allergies or avoiding things like MSG.
How much does one cup of rice make?
Generally, one cup of uncooked rice will yield 3 cups of cooked rice. The rice absorbs the cooking liquid and expands during cooking. You may find that basmati rice yield slightly less, about 2 3/4 cups cooked.
More easy rice recipes
Many of our family recipes here at MoneywiseMoms include rice, like Instant Pot Mexican Rice. Here are more to enjoy. These are all one-pot recipes, which makes them easy!
This Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto is everything you could dream of in a savory recipe. Made with wild mushrooms, butter, arborio rice, shallots, and some other rich ingredients, this recipe is easy and perfect for a weeknight dinner with the kids.
Jambalaya is a classic one-pot recipe filled with chicken, sausage, shrimp, and rice. Completely irresistible, this easy recipe includes all the classic flavors of true Cajun/Creole cooking like Cajun seasoning and starts with finely diced onion, bell pepper, and celery – the holy trinity of Cajun cuisine. Learn all about this representative New Orleans dish, including how it’s made below!
This kimchi-bacon fried rice recipe is a delicious, comforting side dish with tons of umami flavor. It is easy to cook and clean up afterwards because the entire dish is cooked in one wok or frying pan!
Mediterranean chicken and mushrooms is a super easy weeknight meal that's good enough for weekend company! Only one pan is needed, but everyone will think it's a gourmet dish you slaved over all day long!
This one-pot vegetable rice is a kids' absolute favorite dish. A simple and easy recipe that can be served on its own takes only 15 minutes to cook, uses only one pot, and is a healthy rice dish for the family.
One Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice is an easy chicken skillet recipe made with pantry staples. Rice and chicken breasts are simmered in salsa broth, then finished with gooey cheese and served with avocado.
Are you ready to be whisked away to a tropical island with this Hawaiian inspired Instant Pot Chicken and Rice recipe? Easy and delicious Chicken and Rice with sweet and slightly tangy pineapple and dried apricots is ready to serve in about 30 minutes.
One scoop of this hearty Cheesy Mexican Chicken Skillet will lead to many more! It's filled with all your favorite taco night ingredients, all prepared in just one pan. It can also be easily modified for different dietary needs and is great for meal prep.
This is the perfect Mushroom Rice (Mushroom Pilau) Recipe if you are after a fluffy, vibrant, and aromatic rice dish to serve with your curry. Fragrant and delicious, this Indian mushroom rice is ready in just 45 minutes.
Chicken pulao is a quick and easy one-pot meal that is ready in 20 minutes. This Indian-style chicken and rice casserole is gluten-free, delicious, and perfect for weeknight dinners. With perfectly cooked rice, tender chicken, and subtle flavors from the whole spices, this dish will please the entire family.