How Long to Microwave Rice?

How Long to Microwave Rice?

Most people prefer to cook rice on a stove in a pot or a rice cooker. But what if we told you that there was a much easier, quicker, and cheaper method of preparing rice? 

Interested? Well, you can cook both white and brown rice in the microwave!

How long to microwave rice? It’s a simple three-step process: use a ratio of 1-1/2 cups of rice to 2-1/4 cups of water; microwave the rice on high heat for about 5 minutes, and then on half heat for about 15 minutes; let them rest for 5 minutes.

But there are some more things you need to know about cooking rice in the microwave to get that perfect taste and texture. 

Read on to find out!

Why Should You Cook Rice in the Microwave?

First things first, why should you learn how to cook rice in a microwave? Besides, using a microwave is only slightly faster than boiling rice on the stovetop.

Well, here’s a list of the benefits:

  • It’s super convenient – you can cook, eat, and serve the rice in a single dish or pot, eliminating the hassle of having to scrub pots with rice stuck on the base. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any burnt or overcooked rice.
  • It provides an on-the-go solution – what if you’re stuck in a situation where there’s no gas or stove?
  • It requires less supervision – when you’re cooking rice on the stove, you need to continuously monitor the heat and watch out for the water boiling; in a microwave, you set the heat and timer and let the appliance do its thing. 
  • It doesn’t compromise quality and taste – for those feeling skeptical, be assured that microwaved rice is evenly cooked and taste, smell, look and feel the same as those cooked on the stove. Why some experts even claim that they are better than stove-cooked rice!

How Long to Microwave Rice?

Thankfully, all varieties of rice can be cooked in the microwave: long-grain (e.g., basmati), short-grain (e.g., sushi rice), and medium grain rice (e.g., jasmine). 

However, what varies is the strength and power (wattage) of each microwave, which significantly affects the cooking time and the variety being cooked.

So before you begin cooking your rice, always check the power of your microwave. If it’s a high-power candy unit, you might need to check the rice at suitable intervals to make sure they’re cooking well. You might also need to add or subtract the time it takes to cook the rice since a high power microwave will cook the rice more quickly. 

Here are the available times for microwaving different varieties of rice:

How Long to Microwave White Rice/Jasmine Rice or Basmati Rice:

Yield Rice to Water Ratio How Long to Microwave Rice
2 servings 1 cup to 1.5 cups 10 minutes
4 servings 2 cups to 3 cups 12 minutes
6 servings 3 cups to 4.5 cups 14 minutes

How Long to Microwave Brown Rice:

Yield Rice to Water Ratio How Long to Microwave Rice
4 servings 1.5 cups to 3.5 cups 25 minutes
6 servings 2 cups to 4.5 cups 30 minutes

How to Cook Rice in a Microwave

Now that you’re probably convinced to dry cooking rice in a microwave let’s look at the process step by step. 

This method outlines cooking one cup of dry rice in a microwave. The cook times we’ll be talking about are based on a 900-watt, 0.9-foot-capacity microwave.

Step 1: Rinse the Rice

Thoroughly rinse one cup of rice under a running faucet to remove any dust or debris. Scoop the rinsed rice in a strainer and gently shake to remove any excess water. 

Step 2: Add Appropriate Water

When boiling rice on a stove, there’s no limit to the amount of water added. However, for microwaving rice, precise ratios vary. More water will make the rice runny and mushy, whereas less water will leave them dry and chewy.

If you’re using packaged rice, check the instruction on the label. In most cases, the general rule is one part of rice and two parts water.

Step 3: Place the Rice and Water in a Microwavable Dish

Add the rice to a microwave-safe dish, followed by 2 cups of cold water. Make sure your dish is slightly bigger than what’s required because rice expands on cooking, and the extra space will prevent it from boiling over and creating a mess in the microwave.

Step 4: Place the Dish in the Microwave on Highest Power

Place the dish, uncovered, in the microwave on its highest heat setting for at least 5 to 10 minutes. By the end of this period, you should notice small holes within the rice where steam has escaped. Most of the water should also have disappeared. If this isn’t the case, continue microwaving for 1-minute intervals until steam holes are visible. 

Step 5: Cover the Dish with Lid, Microwave Again 

Remove the dish from the microwave, cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid (you can also use a plastic sheet), and microwave again for about 4 minutes.

Step 6: Microwave Again on Low Power

Continue heating for 15 minutes at the lowest heat.

Important Tips

  • Brown rice often takes longer to cook than white rice, so you might need to microwave them for 20 minutes on low heat instead of 15. 
  • Don’t stir the rice between microwave sessions.

Step 7: Let the Cooked Rice Rest

Once the 15 minutes are up, remove the rice from the microwave and let it stand for about 5 minutes, keeping it covered. Be cautious when removing the dish from the microwave. Sometimes water has poured over the dish, so wait for a few minutes and handle the container with oven mitts. Uncover the rice and taste them. If it’s the right texture, add some seasoning and Bon appetite! 

However, if you feel it’s not quite right and feels a bit crunchy, you can microwave at 1-minute intervals until it’s just perfect.

A good tip is to fluff the rick using a fork – this adds texture and enhances its visual appeal.

Can You Reheat Microwaved Rice?

There’s a common belief among foodies that cooked rice must be consumed on the spot and never be reheated. Thankfully, this is not true.

It is possible to reheat rice; however, a few precautions must be taken to ensure it is safe to consume. This is mainly because rice is more vulnerable to bacterial growth than most leftover foods, especially the notorious Bacillus cereus, which can also survive the cooking process. This microorganism often causes food poisoning when we consume reheated rice, and who wants to end up having bouts of diarrhea and vomiting after a delicious and relaxing meal?

However, handling reheated rice correctly can prevent you from getting ill.

Here are a few essential tips to follow:

  • Replace the lid of the container with the rice. For each cup, add at least two tablespoons of water. Replace the lid and place it in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes, allowing the rice to re-steam.
  • Please make sure the rice is piping hot when you reheat it. If you have a food thermometer, now’s the time to use it – the internal temperature should be at 165°F or higher.
  • Serve and eat immediately.


Cooking rice in the microwave is super convenient and is comparable in taste to rice cooked on a stove. Just follow the heating and timing instructions carefully, and you’ll become a microwave-cooking rice expert in no time.