Should You Saute Rice Before Cooking?

Sauteeing rice before cooking is one of those tricks that once you learn it you’ll want to do it every time! Rice is one my go to staples. I always have short grain brown rice and jasmine rice on hand at all times. Having a stainless steel rice cooker makes prep even quicker. I absolutely love my rice cooker, I don’t know how I managed before I had one.

Anyway, enough on that and back to answering the question “should you saute rice before cooking?”

Rice is one of those staples that may not have a lot of flavor on its own, but try this method for toasting rice before cooking, and you’ll be hooked! Rice that has been sauteed will have a nuttier flavor and a firmer texture. It will also be less likely to stick to the pan, making it easier to clean the rice pot.

To saute rice, heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the rice and stir frequently until it is evenly coated and the rice begins to brown. One of my favorite oils for toasting rice before cooking is coconut oil. You can even do a blend of mostly coconut oil with a touch of sesame. Coconut flavored rice with 2 tablespoons of Braggs liquid aminos added at the end is simply amazing. Whenever I make this dish the aromas of coconut, nutty rice, and umami fill the house. YUM! My partner always says “that smells amazing!”

Toasted Rice –  Step by Step

Anyway, once the rice is toasted, add it to your rice cooker and proceed with cooking as you normally would. I love using Braggs liquid aminos instead of soy sauce.

It has less sodium than most soy sauces and doesn’t contain any processed ingredients or wheat like most brands of soy sauce do. Also, Braggs liquid aminos contain 16 amino acids, which is why they can give you a deep umami flavor.

Have you got a favorite way of making rice? Do you saute it first? What oil do you use? I usually toast my rice in a bit of coconut oil or sesame oil before cooking it.

I wouldn’t recommend using olive oil for this specific purpose as it can have a pretty strong flavor and does not have a high smoke point.

How to Saute Rice Before Cooking

saute rice before cooking - basmati rice about to toast in a saute pan
Rice Before Cooking - basmati rice toasted in a stainless steel pot in coconut oil
Saute Rice Before Cooking - basmati rice completely cooked in a stainless steel rice cooker.

Step 1 to Saute Rice Before Cooking

Get your best saute pan out and heat the pan over medium heat.

Step 2

Add 1-2 TBS of your favorite oil. I prefer coconut oil because it gives a fantastic flavor to the rice, but you can use any oil you like.

Step 3

After the oil is hot, add your rice.

Step 4

Stir the rice frequently until it is evenly coated and starts to brown.

Step 5 – Final Step to Toast Rice Before Cooking

When the rice is toasted, add it to your rice cooker and proceed with cooking as you normally would. You can also cook your toasted rice right in the saute pan; just make sure you have a tight-fitting lid. These 5 steps will help you saute rice before cooking. Just remember if you are wondering how long do rice cookers take? sauteing first will increase the prep time.

Toasted Rice – Using A Rice Cooker

Note: you can also toast the rice right in the rice cooker. Turn the rice cooker on, add the oil, and then add the rice. Once you have toasted rice, add the water, cover, and let the rice cooker do its magic.

However, some smaller rice cookers do not have a large enough bottom to saute the rice before cooking correctly. It takes under 5 minutes to saute the rice in a good saute pan, and then just add it to your rice cooker with the proper amount of water.

Saute Rice Before Cooking - basmati rice completely cooked in a stainless steel rice cooker.

Can you toast soaked rice?

You can toast soaked rice. However, the rice will be wet and take longer to toast. It will take longer, but the sticky rice may give off some steam which causes some of the rice not to toast. I would recommend toasting the rice dry for the best result. If you saute rice before cooking it and use a dry rice you will kill off any pathogens that may be attached to the rice as well.

What happens if you don’t rinse rice?

If you do not rinse rice, your rice maybe a little stickier/gummier, depending on the variety. Rinsing rice helps clean it since sometimes the dried rice is stored in places where rodents scurry through the bags of rice. More importantly, rinsing rice also helps remove some starch and heavy metals.

If you make basmati rice and do not rinse it, then nothing much will happen because the basmati variety of rice does not tend to get sticky. However, if you have short-grain white rice, it is best to rinse it to avoid gummy when you begin the cooking process.

If you toast rice before cooking it, you will also remove some of the dirt, bugs, rocks, and starch without rinsing it. When you begin sauteing rice before cooking it, the friction of tossing the rice in a hot oiled pan will remove the starch. I did not rinse my jasmine rice.

Instead, I decided that toasting the rice before cooking was enough. Our photo below shows that the rice came out nice and fluffy with no gummy texture. Before cooking it, some of the starches were left behind in the pan when I toasted the rice. Therefore if you saute rice before cooking the process will remove some of the starches.

Toasting rice before cooking will remove some starch which can, in turn, help you avoid hard rice. This is because you will lessen the chances of it boiling over since there will be less starch.

Rice that sticks to the pot? Here’s how to prevent it.

If you saute your rice before cooking, the toasting process will add a flavorful oil to the rice. The slightly oily rice will prevent it from sticking to the pot. The best way to saute rice before cooking it is to use a small amount of coconut oil.

Why fry rice before cooking?

If you saute rice before cooking, it will allow you to experience a deeper flavor profile. Frying rice will also help remove some of the starch, dirt, and grime that is probably attached to each grain.

Bonus Recipe Coconut Umami Rice with Fresh Grated Ginger

Ingredient list

One 1/4cup uncooked white rice or brown rice (make sure to saute the rice before cooking), one tablespoon coconut oil, one can of coconut milk, one small fresh piece of ginger, Braggs liquid aminos, & water.

  1. Saute the rice in a pan using our step-by-step method for sauteing rice before cooking.
  2. Grate one whole piece of ginger. (and save the ginger juice that accumulates too)
  3. Add the dry sauteed rice to a rice cooker pot.
  4. For one 1/4cup of rice, add one can of coconut milk, 1/4 a cup of Braggs liquid aminos, 1/2 a cup of water, all of the grated ginger, and its juice.
  5. Taste the rice when it’s done cooking; if the texture is good, then you are done!
  6. If the texture is a little hard, add some water and let the rice cooker do its magic.

This coconut rice dish pairs well with a sauteed piece of tofu or salmon.

If you want to cook rice in a new way, and learn to saute rice before cooking, check out these tips. You’ll be able to experience the deep flavor profile that frying your rice can have and may be surprised with how it turns out each time!

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