Helpful Tips

How To Make Rice Less Sticky (You will THANK Me Later!)

When it comes to cooking, there are some recipes and concepts that are easier than others. Whether you are a novice chef or a seasoned veteran in the kitchen, there is one dish that sometimes stumps everyone: rice. Cooking rice, even the instant and minute rice in the microwave, can be a difficult task. 

Whether your rice becomes sticky, mushy or even dry and undercooked, it can be frustrating to have the main side dish not exactly how you had hoped. Rice is the most popular and consumed starch product in the entire world.

It is also the most affordable food item to purchase and incorporate as part of a meal which helps save money as food prices continue to increase. There are a few ways that can help with preventing your rice from not turning out the way you had hoped.

While some of these techniques work quite well, others don’t stop the rice from being sticky or mushy and leave you in the same predicament that you have been having. But, over the last few years, as rice has become known as a healthier option among all starches, an increasing number of tips to making the best rice has hit social media. 

So, what is the best technique to ensure that you make rice less sticky next time? Here are a few ideas to try out the next time you are in the kitchen. Depending on the condition of the rice there is usually a way to help fix the issue at hand. 

Why does rice become sticky or mushy?

Why does rice become sticky, mushy or even hard? Well, that is due to the amount of starch in rice. As rice is cooked the starch comes out of each grain as the water evaporates into the grain and increases the size of the rice.

Depending on the type of rice, the more starch that it may contain. That starch that has released from each grain of rice enters the water and acts as a “sticking agent” that allows for the grains, once fully cooked to remain sticky or even mushy depending on the amount of water involved in the cooking process.

Rinse your rice to prevent stickiness

One way to prevent the rice from sticking together or becoming mushy is to rid the grains from the starch. To do so, rinsing the rice off before cooking is a recommended technique. This is recommended for all types of rice, not necessarily just one type of rice.

Simply place the amount of rice you are about to cook and place it into a sift over a large glass bowl. Then pour water over the rice and use your hands or a small spoon to ensure that all of the rice is rinsed off. 

The rice will create water that looks “cloudy” which means that the starch is being rinsed off all of the rice. You can do this a few times to ensure that the water that rinses off is clear and shows that you have removed all of the excess starch from the rice. This should allow for the rice to be less sticky when it is finished cooking.

How to fix soggy rice

If you are cooking your rice in a pan on the stove and it appears that it is cooked yet very soggy, it usually means that there is still excess water in the pan. Keeping the stove on low  to allow the water to absorb is one technique to fixing this.

Draining the water out of the pan is one way as well as pouring the rice into a strainer to remove all of the water from the water that it is causing it to be soggy. If after both of these techniques the rice is still soggy, then spread the rice into a casserole dish and bake it in the oven, which should firm the rice and extract the water.

Baking the rice at 350 degrees for five minutes should bring your rice to a better consistency. If this happens often when cooking the rice on the stovetop, there is always the option of cooking the rice in the microwave.

This could help dry up the water and make the rice less soggy. Adding a small amount of salt before placing it in the microwave is also an option.

How to fix undercooked rice in oven

There are different techniques that are needed to solve the issue of undercooked rice and it all depends on how the rice is cooked to start off with. If the rice is cooked in the oven, which may not be the most popular way to cook the side dish, there is actually a rather easy way to fix this problem.

If the rice is still undercooked when the timer goes off, first check to see if there is still remaining water in the baking dish. If there is still water left in the dish, put it back in the oven for five minutes and allow it to continue cooking. 

If there isn’t any remaining water in the baking dish, then add about a tablespoon of water to the dish and cover with foil for five to ten minutes. You Can also try by adding a  tablespoon of butter or margarine to the dish before continuing the cooking process.

If this continues to be an issue, try adding an additional small amount of water and place in the microwave, cover the dish with a piece of paper towel and the problem should be solved within a few short minutes. If the undercooked rice is an ingredient in a particular dish or casserole and there are other ingredients in the baking pan as well, that could be a bit trickier issue to solve.

Be careful to read the recipe to see if it calls for cooked or uncooked rice in the casserole. If the recipe calls for uncooked rice, then additional liquid (water or another type of liquid that may be in the recipe, sometimes even a creamy soup) and bake for an additional few minutes, just not too long to overcook the entire casserole.

Mixed in with the other ingredients and additional liquid should help the rice cook more. Covering the baking dish with foil could also help the cooking process as well. It could also help with any possible overflow from the juices in the pan from spilling into the bottom of the oven.

How to fix undercooked rice on stove

If you are cooking the rice on the stovetop and it seems undercooked, then there is a way to fix that as well. If there isn’t any water left in the pan, as with the other techniques, add additional water, place a lid on the pot and turn the stove to low for five to ten minutes maximum. 

Continuing to cook the rice on low and occasionally stirring should be enough time for the rice to finish the cooking process. If you are looking for a quicker way to finish cooking the rice and not risk burning the rice on the bottom of the pan, then using the microwave may be the better option to resolve this issue. 

Simply place the rice and some water in a microwave safe bowl and cover with one or two pieces of paper towels, enough to cover the top of the bowl. Then microwave for just a few more minutes until the rice is soft and the water has evaporated.

How to make rice fluffy and not sticky

If you are looking to make your rice light and fluffy and not sticky and congealed, there is a way to perfect it. The first step is to rinse the rice in the method mentioned above.

Place the rice in a strainer and rinse it off until the water runs clear and it appears that all of the starch has been removed before starting the cooking process. Cook the rice with your desired method and time and then comes the most important part.

Remove the rice from the oven, stovetop or microwave and let it sit for five to ten minutes before serving. Doing this step will allow for the rice to be moist and fluffy and at the right consistency that you are looking for.

Why did my rice turn out mushy?

Did you cook your rice at the correct time and it still turned out mushy? This is most likely due to there being too much water or cooking it on a lower power for the wrong timing. If this occurs more than once, then decreasing the amount of water would be recommended.

While cooking on the stove always be sure to put a lid on top and and and mid to high heat. While cooking rice in the microwave, always cover with a paper towel to prevent direct heat onto the dish of rice. 

Placing plastic wrap tight over the bowl of rice when cooking in the microwave is also not suggested because it can cause the cooking process to be uneven and can even cause the plastic wrap to break and end up in the rice.

Can you fix mushy rice?

Fixing undercooked rice is sometimes a much easier fix than fixing mushy rice. But, finding a solution to fix the mushy rice is much better than the alternative which is throwing it away. There are a few things that you can do to fix the mushy rice.

Try to drain any excess water from the pan and if it was on the stovetop try the microwave for additional time.  Adding just a dash of salt to the rice could also help absorb some of the excess water from the rice.

As with the sticky rice, placing the mushy rice in a baking dish and placing it in the oven for five to ten minutes can also allow it to become more firm. If neither of these techniques is possible and you are flexible with turning your mushy rice into another dish there is another way that you can fix this issue.

If the rest of your meal allows for it, turning the mushy rice into a fried rice is a quick fix. Place the rice in a frying pan with a little vegetable oil, add vegetables if you want and allow for the rice to become firm and flavorful unlike the mushy rice.

And, it’s an easy solution to a problem that could possibly disappoint as a side dish. The fried rice is also a way to spice up the meal and try something different that you and your family may just turn out to love.

Mushy rice hack

When it appears that you have run out of options when it comes to fixing the mushy rice, there is one more option to salvage it. As someone said – “turn lemons into lemonade”, this hack would turn mushy rice into rice pudding. A classic dessert that is not that hard to make and even more delicious to consume. 

Take the mushy rice and put it into a large pot on the stovetop. Add milk, a teaspoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of sugar and continuously stir on low until all ingredients are combined. Now you have salvaged that mushy rice into delicious rice pudding.

You can then top the rice pudding with a dollop of whipped cream and some cinnamon and have a delicious dessert to enjoy after your meal.

Benefits of cooking rice with a rice cooker

Whether you have tried cooking rice in the microwave or on the stovetop and haven’t had the best success or are just looking for an alternative way of doing so, a rice cooker may be the way to go. 

If you aren’t familiar with a rice cooker, it’s similar in shape and size to a crock pot and is not only an easier but some say healthier way of preparing rice. Which will help cut down on the hassle of cooking rice that is too mushy or even hard and undercooked.

A rice cooker allows you the convenience of just putting the rice and water in and simply turning it on. The rice cooker works well with all types of rice whether it’s Jasmine Rice, brown rice, or white rice, all will cook to perfection without any assistance from you.

Some rice cookers are so high tech that they allow for proteins and vegetables to also be cooked in the small appliance as part of a dish. Not only will it assist in the lingering issue of cooking rice but, it will also help save time as you are making dinner.

In terms of price, small rice cookers can be purchased for under $30 each but the rice cookers that are much bigger and are capable of doing other things besides just cooking rice can be sold for over $100. It is worth the investment if you’re looking for a nearly foolproof way to cook rice.


Cooking rice doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. There are many ways to prevent rice from being overcooked or even too mushy. Whether you use one of the tips above or find out what works best for you and your kitchen appliances, there is almost always a way to fix the problem.

Whether that includes taking a few minutes to pop it in the oven or maybe change course and create new recipes with the rice to fix the issue. 

That way next time you are cooking the rice you will make a delicious side dish that is not only of the desired consistency but also looks great and tastes great too!

Originally posted 2022-05-20 13:24:54.