Help me fix my rice!

I bought a fancy fuzzy logic digital rice maker hoping to make perfect rice every time… The problem is, it always turns out as a mushy lump with the rice sticking to each other like crazy. What am I doing wrong? I’ve used 2 kinds of white rice, as well as brown rice and it always seems to turn out the same. Why can’t I get a nice rice that has distinct, individual grains?! I’m rinsing the rice and following the directions on the rice container (rice+water+salt into rice cooker, set to White Rice, and walk away…). Help?! :dubious:

I thought rice was supposed to stick together. How else to you eat it with chopsticks?

What you’re getting sounds perfect to me. I’ve never been able to make unsticky rice except with some type of minute rice.

Well, not all “white rice” is the same. For a little less stick you might try Jasmine or Basmati. No need to add salt, that I can see.

Add rice, then as much water as the first fold of your index finger, or roughly an inch of water above the rice.

Start with long grain white rice.

Step 1. Rinse.
Step 2. Rinse.
Step 3. Rinse.
Step 4. Put in rice cooker.
Step 5. Add water.
Step 6. Start cooker.

If you’re still having sticky, mushy problems, start reducing the amount of water. If you get to crunchy rice before getting what you want, you live too close to a temporal/spatial anomaly and should consider moving.

My wife makes me make the rice because I can always make perfect rice, it’s never sticky or mushy. Sticky rice may be good for some things, but I prefer delicate, individually grained rice for things like gravies and gumbos and shrimp creoles and etouffees. All you need to do is first boil some water. Put in some rice. ( I never measure any of it, but I fill a pot almost to the top with water, then cover the bottom with rice about half an inch thick of uncooked rice.) Then you wait. After about ten minutes I taste it. If it’s still crunchy, I let it go for about ten more minutes. Once it’s reached it’s perfect tenderness, you take the pot off the heat, and dump the rice into a strainer (collander) and let the water drain out. Then you take the collander and put it on the top of a pot with just enough water in it to keep the rice warm as it boils. The key is to not let the rice sit in water too long. My wife refuses to use the step with the collander and her rice always winds up mushy and unrecognizable. And my rice does not come out like the bland tasteless rice that is served at cafeteria’s with ice cream scoopers. It comes out really good and tender. It’s simple, you just have to keep an eye on it. And of course, this is for when you are not using a rice cooker.

See my sig.

Delia’s method always works for me.

Best way to avoid sticky rice. But you could saute short or medium grain rice in oil/butter/fat of some description, pilav style, prior to adding liquid for a similar result.

I’ll second basmati rice. It’s practically foolproof and has a great flavor.

Yeah, you probably need to use long grain rice. You shouldn’t need to use any method of cooking other than your rice cooker; mine handles sticky and non-sticky rice both just fine with no difference in method.

Just as a troubleshooting question: It’s a Japanese model, right? When it instructs you to add cups of rice, are you using a regular American cup to measure the rice and water out, or are you using the actual measuring cup that came with the cooker, presuming there was one? The rice cooker should be designed to work with that particular measuring cup, which is significantly smaller than an American cup. If you use your normal measuring cup, that may throw off the proportions.

If it’s a fuzzy logic one, it shouldn’t phase it. As long as the ratio of Water:Rice is correct it can figure it out for any amount.

Have you tried rinsing the rice first? Sounds to me - the guy with a Zojirushi rice maker that never lets me down- like there’s a wee bit too much starch in the mix.

I’ve made Basmati rice. Korean sticky. Long grain. And so on. Sounds weird, what you are getting. Try rinsing it first to cleanse powdered starch.

Also- are you starting with cold water? I wonder if the rice is being cooked in warm or hot water, and in doing so, altering how the entire batch of rice is cooked.


I usually don’t use a rice cooker unless I’m busy doing something else in the kitchen.

Rinsing the rice and using long-grain is definitely what you need to do, but if you have an electric stove, there is no reason you can’t have perfect rice without using a cooker.


  1. Rinse rice. Again and again and again.
  2. Use roughly double the volume of water as rice. For a three person family to have leftover rice, I usually make 2 cups of rice/4 cups of water.
  3. Dump rinsed rice and water into the pot. Cover. Boil. As soon as you hit a rolling boil, turn off the heat.

If you have an electric stove, this works perfectly: leave the pot on the hot burner and let it cool on its own. The burner will still be warm long enough to cook the rice up, which takes maybe twenty minutes for normal white rice. You get a feel for it after fifty pots or so. :slight_smile:

Well, mine has the following procedure: Use the cup to measure out the rice, then fill the cooking bowl up to the correct line. Used 2 cups, fill to the line marked 2. The lines are calibrated assuming the cup that came with the cooker, not the larger American measure. So if you use 2 American cups, then fill to the line, you wouldn’t be getting enough water in with your rice.

I use a Zojirushi rice cooker and always get perfect results if I follow exactly the directions, i.e., use the plastic cup that came with the cooker and fill precisely to the correct line on the inside of the pot. Make sure that the pot is sitting on a level counter when you eyeball the water volume.

I did get somewhat poopy results once when I put the rice and water in and then used the time function so that it turned itself on much later in the day. The rice was far too clumpy, as in it stuck together in one big clump. I deduce that the day-long soak before the cooking started caused this.

I’ve eyed rice cookers in the store but never quiet grasped the concept. Rice. Pot. Tight lid. Done.

Are rice cookers a boon for those with limited stove space? Do they make rice better than on a stove? Assuming the pot and lid can go in the dishwasher, are rice cookers even easier to clean?

I loves me some kitchen gadgets (patting my new mandolin), but I don’t necessarily go for them just because they’re gadgety – so what gives: are rice cookers worth it?

Here’s a fun tip for rice I picked up from a Thai cookbook: put the rice in first, and fill it with water. When you can touch the rice and the water reaches the first knuckle on your pointer finger, that’s the perfect ratio of water:rice.

You make it sound so easy. I’ve wasted so much rice and time trying to make a decent batch on the stove, and it never came out right. The rice cooker involves far less effort on my part for much better results. And I know for people who can do it on the stove, it doesn’t take very much effort either, but I was constantly having to struggle with undercooked or overcooked rice and trying to ‘fix’ it.

The cooker allows me to focus on the other parts of the meal, knowing I’ll ‘just have’ the rice ready. The cooker also keeps it at a nice warm temperature once it’s done cooking, so I don’t have to worry about having everything done at the same time.

I’m sure it’s more than possible to get by without the cooker, but I just don’t have that much time to spare to get decent at it and be able to cook other things competently. It took me a long time just to get to where I wasn’t spending half the night making chicken edible.

And the great thing about rice cookers is that you can forget about them, come back and hour later and voila! you still have perfect rice.