Here are your go-to rice recipes for how to cook this healthy whole grain! Includes basics, side dishes, and how to make it into filling main dishes.
Looking to eat more whole grains? Here’s the world’s most popular one: rice. Rice is eaten all around the globe in almost every cuisine! It’s easy to make, full of nutrients, and shelf stable for years. But it can also be botched: cooked to be too gummy, too watery or too crunchy. With rice, you can end up with a sloppy mess.
Here are all the best go-to rice recipes so you can cook it perfectly every time! This list includes basics like how to cook white rice, brown rice and basmati rice, including how to cook it in the Instant Pot. It also has ways to make rice into a tasty side dish, and at the end: how to take rice and turn it into delicious and tasty healthy dinner recipes. Ready to get started?
Let's start with a knock-out side dish rice recipe: Southwest rice salad! It combines long-grain basmati rice with black beans in a protein-packed side dish. The rice is seasoned with cumin, garlic, and cider vinegar, then mixed with colored bell peppers, green onions and rice. It's a great healthy lunch idea or dinner side dish. And it's plant based, vegan and gluten free, so it works for a variety of diets!
And, rice as a main dish recipe: dress it up as fried rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Usually we make fried rice on the fly without a recipe. But after years of tinkering, we wanted to share our master method. Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: it tastes just like takeout from your favorite restaurant!
Next up: let's talk basics. Here's a white rice recipe that comes perfect every time! Have you ever over-cooked rice and ended up with a glue-y mush? Under-cooked it to where it’s crunchy? Gotten it stuck to the bottom of the pan? Any way you can think of to botch rice, we’ve done it! Until, we met the perfect way to cook rice…and our lives changed forever. (Really!)
Ever wanted to cook brown rice, until you saw the 1 hour cook time? Who has 1 hour to cook rice on a weeknight? Here's the “fast way” to cook brown rice. It’s not instant, but it cuts down the time investment for sure. In just 35 minutes, you’ve got a big pot of nutritious brown rice that cooks perfectly every time!
Did you know an Instant Pot is also a rice cooker? Here’s how to cook the best Instant Pot rice, including both brown rice and white rice. It’s a little faster than the stovetop, but the biggest plus: it's totally hands off. And it works perfectly every time!
Wild rice is actually not technically rice! It looks like rice, but it's not the same as white and brown rice. It's actually a seed from a water grass that grows in lakes and rivers. But since it's treated like rice, we've included it in our rice recipes, too! This wild rice soup is impossibly creamy, packed with flavor and full of tender veggies and hearty rice. White beans and cashews bring a creamy body and loads of plant-based protein. Everyone asks for the recipe—it’s that good.
This Spanish rice and beans is a a pantry-staple sort of meal that works as a healthy vegan and vegetarian dinner or a hearty side! Flavored with salsa and adobo sauce, the Spanish rice is filled with tangy roasted red peppers, beans, and herby cilantro. You won't be able to stop eating it!
Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole that’s cozy and all about whole foods! Why relegate this healthy whole grain only to wild rice soup? There are plenty more ways to serve it, and this one is truly spectacular. It’s broccoli cheese flavor: perfect wild rice flecked with savory bits of sauteed broccoli, gooey white cheddar, and a creamy easy-to-make filling. It's a crowd pleaser!
Here's another fantastic side dish rice recipe: black beans and rice! Here long-grain rice is jumbled with black beans and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. It’s the a great side to serve with tacos or any Latin-style meal, or as a lunch idea (it saves well for eating throughout the week).
This rice recipe can be a main dish or a side: rice casserole! You can use any variety of rice here, but we used red rice, which has a vibrant bright color. Combine it with the elements of everyone's favorite dip: spinach, tangy artichokes and mozzarella cheese. It comes together into a hearty, savory casserole that's total comfort food.
Here's a great way to make rice into a healthy meal: as a grain bowl! This bowl is full of goodness: starting with short grain brown rice cooked with turmeric so it has an electric yellow color. Top that with seasoned broccoli, kale, and chickpeas, and a drizzle of zingy Tahini Sauce. It's a seriously satisfying lunch or healthy dinner. Another great option? Mediterranean Rice Bowls.
No list of rice recipes is complete without fried rice! This one is straightforward and delicious, featuring leftover brown or white rice cooked up with scrambled eggs and a clean-out of pantry veggies. The best part? Garlic and ginger add an aromatic undertone, and the hot pan gives it the perfect crispy crunch. See also: Three Onion Homemade Fried Rice.
Another classic rice recipe: risotto! Risotto is a traditional Italian dish where short grain arborio rice is cooked in broth. Adding the broth gradually makes the grains plump up and become creamy. Here's our base Parmesan risotto recipe, with a hint of truffle oil for some elegance.
Last but definitely not least in our rice recipes: paella! Paella is a traditional rice dish from Spain. It's easy to make at home and a great dish for entertaining or celebratory meals. This one features shrimp and artichokes, cooked on a bed of arborio rice that's seasoned with turmeric and smoked paprika. It's a showstopper! See also: Simple Vegetarian Paella.
More rice recipes
Need more recipes? Here are a few more recipe ideas starring this grain:
What’s the breakdown of white rice vs brown rice? Is brown rice healthier? When you have time to make it, brown rice has a lot of nutritional benefits. Brown rice has an impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and beneficial compounds because it is less processed than white rice. Here’s a breakdown:
Brown rice is less processed so has more nutrients. White rice has its hull, bran and germ removed, but brown rice has only the hull removed and keeps the nutrient-packed bran and germ. As a result, brown rice retains the nutrients that white rice lacks such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Brown rice has more fiber. 1 cup of cooked white rice has 0.6 grams fiber, but 1 cup cooked brown rice has 3.2 grams of fiber, 13% of your daily need. (Source)
Wild rice vs. brown rice
Did you know that wild rice is not actually rice? (You did if you read about our wild rice soup above!) It’s the seed from a grass that grows in lakes and streams. But since it looks a lot like rice, most cuisines treat it like rice.
Rinse the rice. Pour 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then add the uncooked rice, stir to combine, and return to a boil. Cover pan, and reduce heat as low as possible. Simmer without opening the lid for 15 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. (Or, use our Stovetop White Rice or Instant Pot White Rice methods.)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, black beans, chopped red and yellow peppers, and scallions, and toss to combine.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, cumin, garlic, salt, and black pepper, Whisk thoroughly to combine, then pour over the rice mixture. Toss gently to coat, then either serve immediately or keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Reprinted with permission from Husbands That Cook: More Than 120 Irresistible Vegetarian Recipes and Tales from Our Tiny Kitchen by Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin