Recent Rice Fails

Rice has always been a no brainer for me… filtered water in a clad SS sauce pan, bring to a boil, throw in rice, reduce heat to low simmer, stir, and then cover for 20 minutes.

Last few times I’ve made it I had a lot of seriously stuck rice on the bottom of the pan, which is new to me. Other than the rice glued to the bottom of the pan, it was perfectly cooked. Can old rice be the cause for this?

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I read somewhere that the opposite can cause sticking, that rice is supposed to be aged somewhat and that after aging, the grains remain more intact and less likely to stick down to the bottom and burn vs. younger rice. But I doubt there’s any reason to suspect your rice supplier suddenly changed what they were supplying. Weird that this is happening.

ATK had a suggestion to put a probe in (poked through a foil “lid”) and placed just barely above the pan bottom to see if for some reason one was exhausting all the water too soon. A temp spike suddenly past 212°F would indicate no more water at the bottom; you could use this trick to see if for some reason you’re getting rid of water several minutes early in your normal cycle. I guess it still wouldn’t tell you why, though. And if you couldn’t get the foil to seal as well as your regular lid, that would be a confounder.

I have trouble when the refrigerator is running the cooling cycle because I base “low simmer” on what I can hear through the lid (gas stove, lot of carry-over heat from boil phase) and the fridge makes me overshoot.

Edit - here’s the part where Dan talks about testing using a probe. I’ve pinned the video to this time. Earlier he’s got a lot of nonsense (to me) about deciding liquid needed by covering the rice with water “to your first knuckle”.

Also some useful info, for some who might not be aware, why doubling or tripling rice amount does not mean doubling or tripling the water.


Odd thing is this is all from the same bag of rice, and I am at pretty much near the bottom of it (which has taken quite a while) where the sticking has started.

Strange. Maybe what I read was wrong, or only applied to very young rice.

Recent swing up/down in ambient humidity in your house?

Not to be indelicate, but there’s no rice worms, right? They can be small enough so as to be difficult to see unless you spread the dry rice out flat on a plate in good light.

Nothing significant I can notice. It is in a lower pantry drawer.

Critters? I’ll have a look a little later.

If it’s from the bottom of the bag, it could be more coated with starch that has settled to the bottom. Have you tried rinsing it first?


No… but that is an interesting observation. I’ll try rinsing next time and post the results.

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Good thoughts from @jiaozi - also could be a higher amount than usual of fragmented pieces near the end.

Didn’t see this… even when I dislodged from the pan with a wooden spoon (after letting the mess dry a day later). All of it looked like full sized kernels.

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Did you start using different rice or the stainless steel pan got changed?

nope, both of those have been the same.

I don’t know. I had been playing with different temperature and cooking time. I find it the rice actually stick less with higher temperature cooking and shorter time, then lower temperature cooking and longer time. In your case, another possibility could be how extensive you have been washing your dried rice grain before cooking. This will change the amount of starch in the water.

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Me neither. This has been like clockwork for years (until the last three times)… same pan, same lid, same burner, same setting for boil(6), same setting for simmer (LS). So it has got to be old rice, or the starch consideration @jiaozi mentioned.

Note: I don’t normally rinse my rice unless a particular recipe recommendeds it.

None that I can see…

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Two things I see here. 1 - looks clean. 2 - your camera’s a Hella lot better than mine!


Hmm… I see that lighting is bright and air is not dusty. Consequently, he has a larger and a more advance kitchen than mine.


I was never good at rice . Found a rice maker at goodwill. Payed 5 dollars for it . My friend gave me a large bag of basmati rice from Costco . 1 cup of rice rinced in a bowl until water runs clear . Around 5 rinses. Then I’ll put the rice in a seive . Let it drain and dry about a hour . 1 and 3/4 cup water in the rice maker with salt and 2 tablespoons of butter . Into the rice maker until done . Stir when finished. Let stand for five minutes. Comes out great . Not gooey with separated grains .


My similar problem was resolved by using a hint from a cooking class: After your usual cooking time (for me, about 15 minutes), turn off the heat and place a paper towel on top of the pot with the lid tilted, for about 10 minutes. Something about the slow release of steam / rebalance of remaining moisture in the rice releases those grains that were stuck to the pan. And rice is still plenty warm for serving.

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I’ve been cooking rice the same way for 50+ years. Sauté rice grains garlic & onion in a non-stick saucepan. I use butter, neutral oil, olive oil, animal fat depending what’s on hand or the flavor I’m looking for. Then I add liquid, water or stock, in a 2 to 1 ration, bring to hard boil then reduce frame to the lowest setting. Simmer for 20 minutes or a few more at higher heat if you’re looking to form a crusty “socarrat” on the bottom. I use many kinds or rice, short, medium and long grains all work with this method.

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Rinsing the rice is common for the Asians, and I do so most of the time when I am not rushed. I also start rice and half again as much cool water together with a pinch of salt and a tsp. of butter (though they aren’t necessary), bring it to a boil, cover, reduce to lowest temperature and cook for 20 minutes. I think starch is your problem.

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