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Chinese Steamed White Rice
Steamed White Rice Header

It’s pretty simple, right. Just 2 Ingredients (Rice & Water) and made even easier if you have a rice cooker. There are also a few ingredients we can add for a bit more flavor, nothing too drastic. Just to add some flavor if that’s what you’re looking for.

Served as a side with numerous dishes, and is a nice filler. Double or Triple for leftovers to be refrigerated and used for Fried Rice. Refrigerate leftovers until dried enough that the clumps of Rice crumble between your fingers when rubbed for Chinese Fried Rice.

Rice Cooker

By far the easiest way to make Rice is with a Rice Cooker. If you don’t have one, you should really go out and purchase one. It just makes everything so much easier. Wash and place the Rice in, add water, and let it cook, that’s it. It takes about 35 minutes.

Chinese Restaurants makes use of Rice Cooker for their Steamed Rice and any Steamed Rice not sold becomes Fried Rice the next day or so using a Medium Grain Rice. Sushi outlets make use of Rice Cookers as well with Short Grain Rice.

What Rice for Steamed Rice

There is no hard rule here with the type of Rice used. It really comes down to preference and what you’re particularly after. They range from Short Grain for Sticky Rice to Medium or Long Grain for Chinese Steamed White Rice and dried out for a day or so for Chinese Fried Rice.

Scented Jasmine Rice

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine Rice is really good. Especially for the Classic or Traditional Steamed White Rice. You want a no scent or lightly scented Jasmine Rice.

Some brands are heavily scented, and you’ll want to avoid those.

Two Cups of Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

Basmati is very nice for a Steamed Rice.

2 Cups of Calrose Rice

Calrose Rice

Calrose Rice can be rinsed well and used to make a Sticky Rice.

Rinsed Rice

You want to get rid of as much starch as you can so that the Rice cooks up less sticky and more fluffy.

Wash the Rice well and a few times by filling a pot up with water and mixing the Rice around and dumping the water out. Do this a few times until the Water is pretty much clear. Then empty the Rice through a strainer, to get rid of excess water. Empty into the Rice Cooker and add your water.

Washed and Strained Jasmine Rice

Rinsed Rice and Strained

Ratio of Rice to Water

Now, this is something I wondered about for the longest time. Right about the same time when I was taking a closer look at Fried Rice and trying to perfect it. The thing that got me was, why was it that the Chinese Restaurant I use to work at would refrigerate Steamed Rice after 20 minutes. If they were using 1 1/2 C of Water per 1 Cup of Rice, it would be too much moisture and over cooking of the Rice. Yet their Rice was bang on. It had to be that they were using less water. So I put it to the test, with astounding results for Fried Rice.

It turns out that for Steamed Rice, you actually want to use anywhere from 1 Cup of Water to 1 1/3 C of Water per 1 Cup of Rice. Depending on how soft you want the Rice and the Type of Rice being used. Resulting in Plump Rice with Bite and the exterior still intact. Whether it used for Steamed Rice or later used for Fried Rice.

To be even more specific for Steamed Rice depending on the Type, use the upper limits of ;

  • 1 1/3 C of water per 1 Cup of Long Grain Rice or less
  • 1 1/4 C of water per 1 Cup of Medium Grain Rice or less
  • 1:1 for Short Grain Rice
  • And as low as 1 Cup of Water across the board, regardless of Rice type. Depending on how firm or tender you want the final Rice to be. 

How long can you keep white rice warm

After 20 minutes, the Rice loses its freshness and starts to dry out. Although I base this opinion while working in a Chinese Restaurant and the practices there. I now believe that if it were to sit any longer it would end up in overcooking the Rice, and it would be no good for Fried Rice.

The Chef would make Steamed White Rice throughout the entire day and only leave it there on warm for 20 minutes. If it didn’t sell. He dumped it into a bucket to refrigerate for Fried Rice and started another batch of Steamed Rice. The Rice Cooker was always going all day.

Traditional Steamed White Rice

With Classic or Traditional Chinese Steamed White Rice, there are no other seasonings that go in. Just White Rice & Water, with the natural flavors of the Rice to be enjoyed. Maybe some sliced Green onions on top to garnish.

Steamed White Rice Seasoning

The addition of Salt, MSG, & Sesame Oil with a bit of White Pepper is very nice if you’re looking for a Steamed Rice that has more flavor. I often bounce between the two, sometimes wanting a more flavorful Rice and other times wanting to enjoy the natural flavors of Jasmine Rice.

Serving Steamed White Rice

Chinese Steamed White Rice can be served on the plate as a side. In a small bowl on the side or packed into a small bowl and flipped upside down on a plate to create a nice pile of Steamed Rice. The rice is still sticky enough that it will hold its shape.

Garnish with Green Onions, Chives and/or Pepper Flakes.

Packed Bowl of Rice inverted on a plate

Bowl of Packed Rice

Freshly Steamed Rice packed into a bowl and inverted on a plate to serve as a side. It just looks nice and is really good with a Saucy Main Course.

Chinese Steamed White Rice

Steamed White Rice

Classic or Traditional Steamed White Rice in a Rice Cooker with just Rice & Water, or with a few additional ingredients to add some flavor.
Servings: 4 portions
Prep5 minutes
Cook 35 minutes


  • 1 Rice Cooker
  • 1 Sieve


  • 1 C Rice
  • 1 C Water - see notes
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt & Sesame Oil - optional
  • 1/2 tsp MSG - optional
  • 1/8 tsp White Pepper - optional


  • Wash the Rice well and repeat until the water is clear. Strain well and place it into the Rice Cooker.
  • Add just the Water for the Classic or Traditional Steamed Rice.
    Include remaining ingredients and mix well for a more Flavorful Steamed Rice. Cook on basic white rice setting, which takes about 35 minutes.
  • Immediately after it is done cooking, open and fluff the rice and either shut the lid to keep warm for upwards to 20 minutes or serve right away.


For Steamed Rice, the water ratio can vary from 1:1 Rice to Water to the upper limits of 1 1/3 C of water used per 1 Cup of Rice, depending on how tender you prefer the Rice and the type of Rice being used. Different types of Rice will have a lower or higher hydration, and you may need to experiment with this. The key thing is just enough water so that the Rice grains can swell up but not burst, remaining fully intact and having a bite to them.
To be even more specific for Steamed Rice depending on the Type, use the upper limits of ;
  • 1 1/3 C of water per 1 Cup of Long Grain Rice or less
  • 1 1/4 C of water per 1 Cup of Medium Grain Rice or less
  • 1:1 for Short Grain Rice
  • And as low as 1 Cup of Water across the board, regardless of Rice type. Depending on how firm or tender you want the final Rice to be. 
The Rice can be emptied into a Tupperware container after it has cooked. Let cool before refrigerating overnight loosely covered until dried enough that the Rice clumps crumble between your fingers easily to use for Fried Rice.  For a more tender Fried Rice, leave the Rice in the Rice Cooker for 20 minutes after it has cooked and then empty out and cool before refrigerating. 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keywords: Chinese Steamed Rice, Flavored Steamed Rice, Steamed Rice, White Steamed Rice
Author: JAH

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