How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) |

If you wanna learn how to cook rice, always ask a Brazilian. Rice is the first thing we learn how to make in the kitchen. It usually goes like this: girl gets married, comes back from the honeymoon and realizes she has to start cooking or both she and her husband will starve to death (down there, men rarely know how to cook!), then calls her mom to ask how to make rice and how to fry an egg. 

But how hard can it be to cook rice?, you might be thinking. Isn’t it just cooking the rice in water and that’s it? And that, my friends, is the reason why you don’t eat rice more often – or everyday, like we Brazilians do. 
How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) |
Rice is a very important part of the Brazilian cuisine and is served at least once a day. The most popular “everyday meal” is rice, beans, beef or chicken, salad and, sometimes, french fries. Oh yeah… We love double starch. Rice and mashed potatoes, for example, is not uncommon. I remember when I first posted on this blog – my grandmother’s stroganoff – and showed the photos (that I naively thought were awesome! lol) to a friend. The first thing he said was: ‘Ew, double starch!’, because I had rice and fries in the same picture. So nowadays I usually choose one carbohydrate for the pictures but then – behind the scenes – I eat the dish with rice. :P
So what’s so special about the way Brazilians cook rice? The way we season it! We add onions and garlic to the rice and it makes all the difference in the world. Just trust me on this one. I dare you try my way and tell me you prefer plain tasteless rice instead. I know (I simply know!) that you will never go back to eating boring unseasoned rice again. 

Are you up for the challenge? Ok, great! Let’s do this! I promise it is not hard. It is a tiny bit more work than what you’re used to, but still not difficult at all.

First, wash your rice! What? Yes! We wash our rice! Unlike risottos, we don’t need the starch here. We want the rice to be fluffy and loose, not clumpy. So we wash it until the water runs clear. In Brazil we have special strainers for rice, but here I just use a plain cheap plastic one and it works perfectly. 

Also, for this type of rice we prefer the white long grain type. Basmati or jasmine will do. I always use jasmine because that’s my favorite. I usually don’t do free advertising here, but I’m a fan of the Goya brand. Their jasmine rice is delicious!

When cooking rice, the right proportion of rice to water is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Always! This is religious! Just kidding… But if you always remember this, your rice will always come out perfect! 

We boil the water separately. Use a tea kettle. While the water boils, you prepare the rest.

In a large pot (rice gains 50%-60% volume after cooked, so choose something with room) heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil (vegetable oil keeps the rice white! Olive oil will tint it slightly!) over high heat and, once hot, sauté one finely chopped onion and 3 minced cloves of garlic until translucent. Add the rice and let it fry really well with the onion and garlic. That seals the grain and also lubricates it, guaranteeing a loose rice at the end. 

How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) | How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) |

Once you’ve fried the rice for a couple of minutes, it will start forming clumps. That is the cue to add the water (that was boiling separately in a tea kettle or saucepan). Add a pinch of salt, stir with a wooden spoon, cover and lower the heat to the lowest possible setting. Now it’s just the waiting game. In about 20 minutes your rice will be ready. A good way to know is way you stop hearing the water boil and you see holes throughout the surface of the rice. 

How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) | How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) |

Turn the heat off, lift the lid slightly and let the rice sit untouched for 5 more minutes.

Fluff it with a fork and serve! 

How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) |

And that, my friends, is how I cook the perfect/fluffiest/whitest rice! Is it on my family’s table almost everyday. And, once you try it, it will probably be on yours too!

This rice will keep fine in the fridge for up to a week. It is important to sauté the onion really well, because if not, the onion will get bad and sour fast and so will your rice. 

You can use this cooked rice for so many other recipes: rice with broccoli, chicken soup, rice cakes, fried rice, holiday rice (coming to this blog later this week!)… But you will probably really enjoy it plain with some Brazilian style beans. :-) 

Scroll down for the printable version on how to cook the perfect rice! :) Enjoy your week, folks!

How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) |

How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!) |

How to Cook Rice (the Brazilian way!)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white (long grain) rice (I use jasmine), washed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt


  • Put the water to boil in a tea kettle.
  • In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. (Be careful not to burn it!)
  • Add the raw washed rice and cook, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn, until it starts forming clumps.
  • Add the boiling water and the salt, cover and lower the heat to the lowest setting.
  • Cook for 20 minutes or until there's no more water in the bottom. (You will see some holes forming in the surface and you won't hear any more water!)
  • Turn the heat off and lift the cover slightly.
  • Let the rice sit untouched for 5 more minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
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