Storage, Preparation & Cooking Tips



Uncooked Rice

Milled rice (white, parboiled or pre-cooked):
If stored properly, milled rice will keep almost indefinitely on the pantry shelf. Once opened, rice should be stored in a cool, dry place in a tightly closed container that keeps out dust, moisture and other contaminants.

Whole grain rice (brown, red or black):
Because of the oil in the bran layer, this rice has a shelf life of approximately six months. Refrigerator or freezer storage is recommended for longer shelf life.

Cooked Rice

Cooked rice may be stored in the refrigerator for three to five days or frozen up to six months. The USDA recommends cooling to 70°F within two hours and from 70°F to 40°F within an additional four hours. Hold cold rice at 41°F or below.


Choosing the Right U.S.-Grown Rice

There are no hard and fast rules on which type of rice to use in a recipe. It’s a matter of personal preference and there are many varieties to choose from. Long grain white and brown rice work well in entrées, side dishes, soups and salads, if you prefer separate, distinct grains. Long grain rice is also perfect for pilafs, stir-fry and Southern favorites such as jambalaya and gumbo. Short and medium grain rice are good choices for dishes that have creamier consistencies, such as risotto or rice pudding, as well as sushi and other Asian dishes. Learn more about the many varieties of U.S.-grown rice.

How to Prepare Rice

American-grown rice is a high-quality product that does not require washing or rinsing before or after cooking. Most U.S. rice is enriched with iron, niacin, thiamin and folic acid. Rinsing rice, or cooking rice in excess water and draining, results in loss of enrichment and other water-soluble vitamins and minerals. For best results, follow package directions. When directions are not available, use one of these easy methods:

Combine rice, liquid, salt and butter or margarine (see chart) in 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling; stir once or twice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer according to time specified on chart. If rice is not quite tender or liquid is not absorbed, replace lid and cook two to four minutes longer. Fluff with fork.

“How to Cook U.S. Rice on the Stovetop” video:

Cooking rice in the oven is an efficient use of energy when other foods are baking, and it frees up your stovetop when cooking other dishes. Boiling liquid must be used to start the cooking process. Carefully combine rice, boiling liquid, salt and butter or margarine (see chart) in a baking dish or pan; stir. Cover tightly and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes for long grain white rice; 30 to 40 minutes for parboiled; 1 hour for whole grain brown rice. Remove carefully and fluff with a fork.

Rice can be cooked in the microwave oven. Microwave ovens vary in size and wattage. The following cooking times are based on preparation in 1200 watt ovens. For best results, follow manufacturer directions for your oven. When directions are not available you may follow these general guidelines:

Combine rice, liquid, salt and butter or margarine (see chart) in 2½- to 3-quart deep microwave-safe baking dish; cover tightly.

For Medium or Long Grain White Rice – microwave on high five minutes or until boiling; reduce to medium (power level 5 or 50% power) and microwave 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand five minutes.

For Parboiled Rice – microwave on high five minutes or until boiling; reduce to medium (power level 5 or 50% power) and microwave 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand five minutes.

For Whole Grain Brown Rice – microwave on high five minutes; reduce to medium (power level 5 or 50%) and microwave 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand five minutes.

Carefully remove hot dish from microwave oven using oven mitts.

“How to Cook U.S. Rice in the Microwave” video:

Rice cookers make cooking both white and whole grain brown rice easy and foolproof, and they keep rice warm. There are many brands, styles, sizes and features available. Care should be taken to follow individual manufacturers’ directions. Generally, all ingredients are combined in the rice cooker. Turn the rice cooker on. It will stop cooking automatically by sensing a rise in temperature and change in moisture content that occurs when rice has absorbed the liquid and is fully cooked.

Uncooked rice type (1 cup)

Regular-milled long grain

Regular-milled medium grain

Regular-milled short grain

Whole grain brown


Precooked, flavored or seasoned mixes


2 cups*

1½ cups

1¼ cups

2¼ cups

2¼ cups

Follow package directions

Cooking time

15 minutes

15 minutes

15 minutes

40 to 45** minutes

20 minutes



3 to 4 cups

3 cups

3 cups

3 to 4 cups

3 to 4 cups


* For firmer rice, reduce water by ¼ cup.
**For parboiled whole grain brown, cook 30 minutes.
If desired: add one teaspoon salt and one tablespoon butter or margarine.

“How to Cook U.S. Rice in a Rice Cooker” video:

Tips for Perfect Rice

  • Accurately measure rice and liquid
  • Set timer to prevent under- or over-cooking
  • Keep lid on pot during cooking to prevent steam from escaping
  • Rice triples in volume, so use cookware appropriate for the amount of rice you are preparing
  • Do not stir—stirring releases the starch, resulting in rice that is sticky
  • At the end of cooking time, remove lid and test for doneness; if rice is not tender or liquid is not absorbed, cook two to four minutes longer
  • When rice is cooked, fluff with a fork or slotted spoon to allow steam to escape and keep the grains separate

What to Do If…

  • Rice is crunchy: Add additional liquid, cover tightly and cook until grains are tender
  • More separate grains are desirable: Sauté rice in small amount of butter or margarine before adding liquid

Purchasing Tips

  • Look for clean, intact grains when buying loose rice
  • One pound of uncooked rice equals approximately two cups uncooked or six cups cooked

Proportion and Yield

Rice type

U.S. arborio

U.S. basmati

U.S. jasmine

Brown, long grain


White, long grain

White, medium grain

White, short grain

Parts liquid to one part rice (by volume)


Cooking time (mins.)










Considering the 2:1 ratio, dry rice typically triples in volume when cooked. When working with rice it is usually easier to measure the ingredients and calculate portions by volume. For costing purposes and writing recipes, it is helpful to know the correlation between volume and weight measures for rice:

  • 1 cup dry rice = approximately 7 ounces (weight)
  • 1 pound dry rice = approximately 2¼ cups (volume)
  • 1 cup cooked rice = approximately 8 ounces (weight)
  • 1 pound cooked rice = approximately 6½ cups (volume)