Can You Cook Microwavable Rice Without the Microwave?

When you buy pre-made rice, it often comes with microwaveable instructions. But is it possible to cook microwave rice in a pan? If you know the right tips, you can learn to cook brands like Uncle Ben's rice without a microwave.

This lets you enjoy the convenience of instant rice when you don't have a microwave. The preparation method just looks a bit different.

To cook Uncle Ben's instant rice without a microwave, add hot water slowly into the dehydrated rice until you reach your desired consistency. (Image: ribeirorocha/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

To cook Uncle Ben's instant rice without a microwave, add hot water slowly into the dehydrated rice until you reach your desired consistency.

Rice With No Microwave

The easiest way to cook rice without a microwave is to purchase an instant pot or rice cooker and buy regular rice. If you prefer more-flavorful rice, you can season it yourself — or purchase pre-made rice and seasoning mixes that can be made on the stove.

If you don't have access to a microwave, there are other options you can use to cook instant rice. Most packets of instant rice (like Uncle Ben's Ready Rice) are precooked, so they can technically be eaten right out of the bag, without heating. That said, they may taste slightly grittier than normal this way.

Uncle Ben's instant rice instructions direct you to heat the bag for 90 seconds before consuming. This will soften the rice grains and make them taste better. You can create a similar effect by boiling water and placing the bag of rice into it until it heats up. You'll have to estimate the amount of time you'd like the rice to cook — but it should heat up within several minutes.

According to USDA's FoodData Central, 1 cup of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice jasmine rice contains 250 calories, most of which come from the 52 grams of carbohydrates. This may sound like a high number for those on a low-carb diet, but eating rice can actually be a useful way to add healthy, all-natural carbohydrates to a meal already rich in fat and protein.

Instant Rice on the Stove

Other instant rice brands, like Minute Rice, have both stove-top instructions and microwave instructions. Minute Rice is also precooked, so it doesn't take more than a few minutes to prepare with hot water, and you don't need a microwave to do this. Simply put the rice in a pot of boiling water and follow the instructions.

When cooking on a stove top, make sure to check the rice's consistency every minute or so to see when it starts to get soft. Once you pull it out of the water, you'll want to fluff it with a fork to remove excess heat, and to keep kernels from sticking.

Technically, eating under-cooked rice won't cause any immediate health problems, so it's not a big deal if you can't get it quite as soft as a microwave would. However, eating rice raw, or severely under-cooked rice, could cause food poisoning or other gastrointestinal issues, according to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand. No matter how you cook it, you'll want to ensure that the grain has been heated and softened.

Bring Rice on the Road

Some online backpacking communities swear by instant rice as an easy meal base to take on a camping trip. According to the National Outdoor Leadership School, instant rice can be rehydrated by adding boiling water until the right consistency is reached. This allows you to cook microwave rice in a pan, without needing any appliances. Just note that you'll have to play around with the water ratio, since you'll be changing up the preparation method on your own.

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