How to Cook Rice in a Steamer

Jasmine rice in a  bowl on wood table
A large bowl of white rice. (Image: bennyartist/iStock/Getty Images)

Steamed rice adds toothsome, nutty -- and, importantly, gluten-free -- substance to health-minded meals. A rice cooker is the ideal tool to cook rice to fluffy perfection, but a resourceful cook has other options: both new-school electronic steamers and decidedly old-school bamboo steamers do the trick brilliantly. In each of these devices, hot, moist steam completely surrounds the grains of rice inside, cooking them to perfection. Busy cooks, take note: both types of steamer also stack, allowing cooks to steam three or four different foods over the same simmering water.

Using an Electronic Steamer

Step 1

Check your user manual. These instructions are applicable to most electronic steamers, but some vary -- sometimes, widely -- from this process. If you've lost your user manual, run an Internet search for your device's name and model number.

Step 2

Measure the amount of rice you plan to cook into the large bowl.

Step 3

Pour enough cool water into the bowl to cover the rice by a couple of inches.

Step 4

Wash your hands.

Step 5

Reach in and massage the dust, dirt and excess starch from the rice. The water will quickly become thick and milky.

Step 6

Carefully pour off the starchy water.

Step 7

Repeat this process until the water runs almost clear.

Step 8

Rinse and dry the rice bowl accessory that came with your steamer.

Step 9

Measure two parts water to one part rice and pour each into the rice bowl.

Step 10

Fill the steamer's water reservoir to the "max" line.

Step 11

Place the drip tray under the base.

Step 12

Place the rice bowl inside the lowest steaming bowl if your steamer is multi-level.

Step 13

Firmly fix the lid on the rice bowl.

Step 14

Turn on your steamer.

Step 15

Steamed white rice will be ready to serve in 20 to 25 minutes. Brown or wild rice should steam for about 45 minutes.

Using a Bamboo Steamer Basket

Step 1

Measure the amount of rice you plan to cook into the large bowl.

Step 2

Pour enough cool water into the bowl to cover the rice by a couple of inches.

Step 3

Wash your hands.

Step 4

Reach in and massage the dust, dirt and excess starch from the rice. The water will quickly become thick and milky.

Step 5

Carefully pour off the starchy water.

Step 6

Repeat this process until the water runs almost clear.

Step 7

Rinse and dry your bamboo steamer.

Step 8

Cut and fold your parchment paper to create a liner for the bottom and sides of the bamboo basket. The liner will prevent the rice from falling through the seams in the woven bamboo.

Step 9

Pour your well-rinsed rice into the lined steamer basket.

Step 10

Cover the steamer basket snugly with its lid.

Step 11

Make sure your steamer basket sits securely in the wok. Take note of where in the wok the bottom of the basket sits.

Step 12

Move the basket out of the way.

Step 13

Add filtered water to the wok until the water level is about halfway to the line where the steamer basket bottom will sit.

Step 14

Dial the stovetop to high heat, bringing the water to a boil.

Step 15

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Step 16

Seat the steamer basket into the wok. Ensure that the bottom of the basket is not submerged in water.

Step 17

Check the water level every few minutes, adding more every time the level drops by half.

Step 18

Test the rice after 20 minutes, continuing to do so every five minutes until the rice is cooked to your liking.

Things You'll Need

  • Rice

  • Filtered water

  • Electronic steamer

  • Rice bowl accessory, built to fit your steamer

  • Drip tray accessory, built to fit your steamer

  • Bamboo steamer with lid

  • Parchment paper

  • Scissors

  • Large wok

Tip

To add subtle flavor to rice cooked in a bamboo steamer, use alternative materials to parchment paper to line the bottom and sides. Experiment with banana, pandan, grape, cabbage and shiso leaves. Corn husks can also be used.

Use broth or another liquid to infuse even more flavor into your rice.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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