How to make rice less sticky after cooking (fluffy and not mushy)

By | August 29, 2022

The result of cooking rice may become sticky rice and not as what you expected is a fluffy and separated rice.

If you cook rice before, I think you have probably been facing this problem before.

Rice becomes sticky and mushy, it still can be eaten, but it will give you a bad experience when eating gummy rice, not with pleasure.

You will enjoy fluffy and separated rice, especially when you eat the rice together with curry flavored food.

So how to cook less sticky, fluffy, and separated rice?

Here I am going to discuss things we can do to improve the cooking rice result.


How to make rice less sticky after cooking

If you want to make fluffy rice, make sure you are using the rice type which is not the sticky type, long grain white rice is the not sticky type. Before cooking, wash the rice to remove the starch which can make the rice sticky. Make sure you are putting the correct water to rice ratio, for long grain white rice, put 1 cup rice with 2 cups water. After the rice is done cooking (all water absorbed in the pot), let the rice rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.


What type of rice are you using?

What kind of rice do you use to cook?

Rice contains starch.

There are two types of rice starch, one is Amylose and another one is Amylopectin.

Amylose is a straight molecule polymer and Amylopectin is a branched molecule polymer.

Amylose doesn’t gelatinize in boiling water, rice that contains most Amylose starch would be less sticky, fluffy, and separated,

Amylopectin is responsible for making rice gelatinous and sticky.

Long grain rice contains more Amylose starch, and short grain rice contains more Amylopectin starch.

Examples of long grain rice are Basmati and Jasmine, they are fluffy and separated

Examples of short grain rice are Japanese Sushi rice and short-grain glutinous rice, they are sticky and starchy.

Medium grain rice stays medium between short and long grain rice, examples are japonica medium grain and Chinese black rice.

So if you want less sticky rice, I would suggest you cook long grain rice.


Wash the rice properly to remove starch before cooking

If you observe the rice grain that you just bought from the grocery shop, you will find a layer of starch powder on the rice grain surface.

The starch powder is probably produced during the manufacturing process and rice grains rub with each other during transportation.

If you don’t wash the rice to cook, the starch mixed with boiling water will become sticky.

The rice grains will absorb water and expand, then will get closer together.

Until the rice grains expand to big enough size, they will stick together by the sticky starch, forming clumps.

Check out how to wash the rice here.


Check the water to rice ratio.

Different types of rice have different water to rice ratio.

Refer rice to water ratio for various types of rice here.

If excess water is added to rice, the chance of rice becoming sticky is high.

When too much water is added, the rice will absorb too much water, the rice grain will break, rice texture will spoil, and the rice will become sticky.

For long grain rice (not sticky), 2 cups of water into 1 cup of rice, this ratio is for cooking pot on the stove.

To use a rice cooker, use the designated rice cup (which is provided when you purchase a rice cooker) and follow the scale which is marked inside the pot.

For example, when two cups of rice are added into the pot, add water according to the quantity of rice, add the water till the scale of “2”, you can adjust the water quantity according to the rice type.

There are some traditional ways of measuring the water to rice ratio.

One is using your index finger, place it on top of the rice in the pot, pour water into the pot until it reaches the first line of your knuckle.

Another one if using your palm, spread the rice evenly in the pot, put your palm down, add in the water until it just covers your knuckles.

These are the methods for measuring water to rice ratio, you may try them and find out which work best for you.


Resting and Fluffing The Rice

After the boiling water is completely absorbed by rice, let it rest.

Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for about 10 minutes, with the lid still closed on the pot.

You may take a dry cloth to cover the top of the pot and put the lid back, forming a tight seal.

The dry towel could function to absorb excess moisture and prevent steam condensation dropping to the rice.

For now a day rice cookers, after the rice is done cooking, the rice cooker will change to warm mode, and steam vent to release excess moisture.

When the rice absorbs all the water inside the pot, the rice is unevenly cooked.

Firmer on the top and mushy at bottom, this is not the right time to serve the rice as it will turn sticky.

Resting let the rice absorb excess moisture in the pot and redistribute the moisture more evenly into the rice.

After the rice rests for a few minutes, use the spoon or fork (preferable plastic material) to fluff the rice, to allow any trapped steam released from the rice.


Final Thought

With the above 4 methods (rice types; wash rice starch; water-rice ratio; & resting), I hope they could solve the sticky rice problem that you are facing.

Another suggestion from me, getting yourself a decent rice cooker could really help you to cook fluffy rice.

As cooking rice with pot and stove top involves a number of factors that could affect the cooked rice quality, example like pot size & material thickness, controlling the heat, and etc.

Let’s start cooking!

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