Michael Symon's Toasting Technique For Perfect Rice Every Time

Ah, rice: so many ways to cook it, so many things that can go wrong, and so many things that could be done better. Rice is one of those things that you'd find in both a broke college student's dorm room and a Michelin-star kitchen. As long as you get over the first few hurdles that involve choosing the right type of rice, deciding between giving it a rinse or not, and nailing the water-to-rice ratio, rice is incredibly quick and easy to make. But that also means that are tons of things that you can do to make the humble starchy grain a whole lot better.

Food Network recommends salting rice while it's boiling and fluffing it with a fork once it's cooked, and BuzzFeed says that you stop the rice from sticking as it cooks but putting oil in the water. Staring out with cold water can help rice cook more evenly on the stove, and adding herbs and spices to the water can go a long way toward boosting the oomph factor. If you were to ask the "Symon's Dinners Cooking Out" host Michael Symon, he'd tell you that the trick for cooking plain rice to perfection each time is to toast it first.

Toasting rice can bring out its nutty flavor

In a video posted on Twitter, Michael Symon suggests toasting basmati rice in fat and aromatics before simmering it in water and covering it with a lid. And as it happens, Symon isn't the only chef who swears by this kind of approach. In a video posted on his Youtube channel in 2020, Alton Brown told his viewers that cooking the rice in fat before the water comes into play would increase the nutty flavors that are naturally present in the long-grain variety he used. Brown went with butter because he felt milk solids add a flavor that oils simply wouldn't. He sauteed the grains until they gave off a popcorn-like aroma.

Redditors also seem to agree with the idea of toasting first when it comes to Mexican rice. "Came across a Mexican rice recipe that called for toasting the rice in garlic-infused oil. Had never toasted rice before in my life. BEST RICE EVER," wrote one user. Another said that toasting rice greatly affects its texture for the better. According to MyRecipes, cooking hot toasting rice in water has the added benefit of making the water boil faster. The site also suggests experimenting with the choice of fat: think sesame oil, coconut oil, and other flavorful fats. Perhaps one could even try herb-infused butter.