· Food & Recipes · Should You Rinse Your Rice? (It Actually Makes A Difference)
Food & Recipes · Should You Rinse Your Rice? (It Actually Makes A Difference)

Should You Rinse Your Rice? (It Actually Makes A Difference)

Finally, a clear-cut answer about whether or not we should rinse our rice before cooking it!

To rinse, or not to rinse? People have been asking this very question about rice for years! And I hope to provide a definite answer to it in today’s post! 🙂

By the end of this post, you’ll not only know whether you should rinse your rice before cooking, but why it makes a difference. What you learn today will arm you with all the tools you need make your best rice ever!

Should I Rinse My Rice Before Cooking It?

This common query has a relatively simple answer: yes! Taking an extra minute or two to rinse rice can make a big difference in the texture of the final product, especially with long-grain varieties.

While rice is being processed, packaged, and shipped, the rice grains are constantly moving around and bumping against each other. The friction produces a fine, starchy powder that coats the surface of the rice, and it can cause real problems if it isn’t removed before cooking! (not to mention rice water – the starchy water left behind after rinsing your rice – has benefits for skin and fermented rice water is great for your hair!

The Problem With Cooking Unwashed Rice Grains

When most of us cook rice, we add just enough water to the pot so that it will all get absorbed as the rice cooks. If the rice grains are still covered in that layer of starch when you start cooking it, the starch has nowhere to go but back into the rice.

The extra starch can produce rice that’s extremely sticky, clumpy, or even gooey. But if you wash rice two to three times before cooking, you can remove that troublesome starchy coating to help ensure it turns out fluffy and delicious with just the right texture.

But that doesn’t just go for white rice—brown rice should be rinsed too, along with grains like farro, barley, and quinoa. Quinoa also has a natural coating of saponin, which can give it a bitter taste if it isn’t rinsed off. (Some brands pre-rinse their quinoa before packing it, but as you’ll see below, washing it yourself is so easy that you might as well rinse it yourself just in case!)

How To Wash Rice

  1. Pour your rice into a bowl and cover it with a few inches of water, then use your hand to move the rice around to remove the excess starch.
  2. Use a fine mesh strainer or sieve to strain the cloudy water away from the rice, then return the rice to the bowl. (If you don’t have a strainer, use your hands to keep the rice in the bowl while you gently pour the water out.)
  3. Cover the rice with clean water and stir again.
  4. If the water runs clear after the second rinse, you can strain it and begin cooking. If it’s still quite cloudy, repeat the washing and straining process once more before cooking.

You can save yourself a step in this method by using a bowl with a built-in strainer. These rice and grain washer bowls are designed for soaking and rinsing foods, and feature an elevated strainer on one side so you can easily drain the water.

Oh, and one more thing—wait to wash your rice until you’re ready to cook it, because it won’t keep well afterward. And don’t soak your rice in water for longer than a minute or so in total, or it will likely turn out mushy.

A Note About Arsenic In White Rice

Inorganic arsenic, a well-known carcinogen, can be found in small amounts in many of our favorite foods today, including white rice. In a 2012 article from Consumer Reports, an analysis of arsenic research data from Johns Hopkins University showed that people who reported eating one rice food item had 44% greater arsenic levels in their urine than those who hadn’t.

According to the Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products Risk Assessment Report published by the FDA in 2016, rinsing rice thoroughly (with 4-6 changes of water) may reduce overall arsenic levels by 28-60%. However, the report also states that aggressive rinsing can wash away some of the rice’s beneficial nutrients, so that’s another important thing to consider.

What’s your favorite way to eat rice?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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