Yes, You Can Cook Rice in the Microwave. Here’s How.

Relish in one less pan to scrub tonight

steaming white rice in a brown bowl
This cooking hack is easy and foolproof.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The microwave gets a bad rap. I’ve had a number of people tell me that they think it’s useless — an appliance to make quick, convenient, uninspired meals, the lazy man’s stove. I couldn’t disagree more. 

There was a seven year period when I lived without a microwave because the apartment I was renting simply didn’t have one. And I survived. It was no big deal to reheat leftovers in a pan or boil water for tea over one of the burners. But when I moved into an apartment that had a microwave, it was like I was rediscovering the tool. No need to dirty a pan to prepare leftovers or pull out an extra pot to soften things like butter for baking. 

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You can even cook wholesome meals in the microwave. Take it from Priya Krishna, a cookbook author and New York Times staff writer, who praises the microwave for its ability to consistently cook perfect rice. In a recent article for NYT Food, Krishna writes that the microwave isn’t just a convenient, hands-off way to make rice, but it’s also pretty foolproof. We’ve all lifted the lid off a pot of rice to find the bottom scorched (which isn’t always a bad thing, so long as it’s crispy and not burnt), but that won’t happen in the microwave. According to the article, the electromagnetic waves “vibrate water molecules in the food to create heat,” which cooks the rice from all sides, rather than just the bottom. And you most likely already have a microwave in your kitchen, meaning you don’t need to spend money or counter space on appliances like a rice cooker or multi-cooker.

So how does one make perfect rice in the microwave? Krishna has figured out the formula, and it couldn’t be simpler. Rinse the rice thoroughly, and add double as much water to the bowl of rice (let’s say one cup of rice and two cups of water). Then microwave uncovered for 15 – 25 minutes, depending on the wattage of your appliance. For example, in Krishna’s 700-watt microwave, it takes 22 minutes. This will take some trial and error, but once you get it right, it’s a foodproof hack that means one less pan to scrub at the end of a meal.


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