No rice cooker? No problem! Making Baked Rice in the oven is fast, foolproof, and yields fluffy results every single time. This easy, three ingredient recipe is hands-free, so your night just got a little more wiggle room.
Easy Baked Rice is the perfect side dish for hearty fare like Steak Tips with Mushroom Gravy, Easy Beef Stroganoff, or Pork Tenderloin with Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce. For more easy, flavorful rice casserole recipes, from Lemon Rice Pilaf to super special Mexican Green Rice.
Say goodbye to sticky, burned pot bottoms, or al dente grains of chewy, undercooked rice. Even if you've never been all that confident in your rice-making skills, Aunt Tammy and I are here to say, in unison: you can do it!
As long as you have an oven, you can make perfectly cooked rice in about half an hour. Once you master this method, you can flavor the casserole up in a bunch of delicious ways, with spices, bouillon, or lemon zest.
Planning on Baked Rice for a crowd? Just click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What kind of rice for baked rice?
I prefer a long grain white rice for this recipe, such as basmati, American long grain, or jasmine. But in honesty, any rice will work.
If you’re planning on switching up the type of rice, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Keep in mind that brown rice, which takes longer to cook, will also need more baking time in the oven— aim for at least one hour.
Should I rinse the rice first?
No, there is no reason to rinse the rice.
You might be thinking: "I'll rinse the starch off the rice, and then I can back it without butter or olive oil."
I tried that, and in the absence of all fat, rice stuck to the bottom of the baking dish. Rinsing didn't help.
Furthermore, if you're cooking with enriched rice, you'll wash away the nutrients on the outside of the rice such as iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid.
Since rinsing doesn't help with the stickiness, you might as well save yourself the time and enjoy the extra nutrients.
How to make Baked Rice:
- Turn the oven on to 375 degrees. For 2 cups of rice, you will need at least a 2-quart sized baking dish. If you’re cooking a larger amount, size up.
- Next, get the water boiling. While the water heats up, pour the rice, butter (or olive oil) and salt into the baking dish. I love this with 1/2 cup of butter, but you can use half that amount (or sub olive oil) and it's still perfect and delicious.
- Stir the boiling water into the rice and gently mix until the butter is melted. Then cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake at 375 degrees until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender—30 to 35 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, give the rice a few minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving. That's all there is to it!
Making Baked Rice with olive oil:
Oven rice needs some kind of fat to keep the grains from sticking together, but you can make vegan or dairy-free baked rice by using olive oil. Switch out 1/4 cup olive oil for every 2 cups of rice you plan on cooking.
Baked Rice without butter or olive oil:
If you make this recipe without any fat, some rice will stick to the bottom of your baking dish. If you are okay with that, I'm okay with that. You'll probably lose a couple of tablespoons, or maybe up to a 1/4 cup, of cooked rice through the sticking.
Even if you rinse the rice, some of the rice will stick to the bottom of your baking dish. I tested it. That's what happened.
Tips for making the best Baked rice even better:
- Follow the recipe ratios. Ignore the water to rice ratio on the package cooking instructions, and follow a 1:2 ratio of rice to liquid.
- Cover tightly. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to really trap all the steam inside.
- Use broth. Heat up chicken or beef broth and add it to the rice, in place of water. It ups the flavor! Depending on what else you're cooking, you can create a custom rice casserole that compliments the recipe.
- Cooking bag. For zero clean-up, line the baking dish with a cooking bag, which traps the steam inside.
- Bouillon it up. Add a spoonful of bouillon or a sprinkle of herbs, citrus zest, or turmeric to gently scent the rice as it bakes.
- Vegetables and rice. Diced vegetables, especially aromatic ones like celery, carrots, and onions, can steam along with the rice and taste delicious.
Rice and food safety:
Much like baked potatoes, there are some important safety issues surrounding leftover rice. Rice and other grains can carry spores of a common bacteria, Bacillus cereus, that may survive the cooking process. Safe cooling methods prevent this bacteria from thriving and, as a result, making you sick.
Once you cook the rice, it should be allowed to either cool completely, or kept hot throughout the meal. Be careful not to let cooked rice sit out at room temperature for longer than one hour, and never let hot rice cool out on the counter.
Instead, store hot cooked rice in a shallow (3” or less) container and place it in the refrigerator to cool faster. The quick-cooled rice can then be eaten cold in rice salad, or reheated safely for the next 3 to 5 days.
Storing and reheating rice:
- When reheating cold rice, break up any lumps with a fork, then drizzle with a little water or broth, cover tightly, and reheat for 15 to 20 minutes in a 300 degree oven.
- Baked rice freezes well, too. Let the rice cool completely in the refrigerator, then portion out into freezer bags and freeze for up to one month.
- To microwave, for each cup of cooked rice, add 1–2 tablespoons of water to a microwavable container. Place a lid lightly on top to allow the rice to steam.
Most importantly, make sure the internal temperature of reheated rice is at least 165 degrees before eating.
Baked Rice Recipe
- 2 cups long-grained white rice (not instant, no need to rinse the rice)
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) or less, or other fat (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups boiling water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 2-quart or larger baking dish, add rice, butter, and salt.
- Stir in boiling water until butter is melted. Cover and bake until rice the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and cool completely.
- Pack into a measuring cup and measure portions (1-cup, 2-cup, 4-cup, etc.). Pack into freezer-safe bags, press flat, label, and freeze.