Despite rice’s place as a worldwide staple, it’s easy to mess up its preparation. To soak or not to soak? To rinse or not to rinse? How much water? How much time? The variables are boundless.
Many turn to an electric rice cooker (or even pressure cookers) to cook rice, but you don’t have to have an appliance to make delicious rice. In fact, if you aren’t eating rice every day, a rice cooker might be impractical.
Fortunately, there are several pans you can use to get perfectly cooked rice.
I like the Lodge Dutch Oven because it’s large enough to cook for several people, has excellent heat distribution, and works on any stovetop.
But there are other cooking pots that are fantastic for cooking rice. I’ve broken down the features of each one so you can find the best pan for your rice-cooking needs.
Which one is the best pot for cooking rice? Keep reading to learn more.
At a Glance
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6 Quarts: Best Overall Pick
Lodge is among the top names in traditional cast iron cookware. This Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven (5.7 liters) is large enough to make at least 8 cups of cooked rice. It comes in a variety of attractive color options.
This pot has a thick base made of cast iron, which is great at retaining heat. The porcelain enamel coating provides a naturally non-stick surface.
This Dutch oven has a tight-fitting lid to hold in moisture. It’s also oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C), so you can use it for other dishes, as well.
Buyers confirmed that rice cooks well because the Lodge pots distribute heat evenly. You don’t have to worry about mushy or crunchy rice. Just fluffy, flavorful rice.
If you have an induction cooktop? No problem. The Lodge Dutch oven is compatible with all stovetops, including induction.
The one drawback to this pan is the durability of the porcelain enamel. It’s prone to chipping, so be sure to avoid metal utensils when stirring or fluffing rice.
As for cleaning, you can put this pot in the dishwasher. I would recommend hand washing for longevity, however.
- Comes in a wide range of colors
- Even heating
- Excellent heat retention
- Oven-safe to 500°F (260°C)
- Dishwasher-safe (hand wash recommended)
- Enamel is prone to chipping
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 7.25 Quarts: Best Splurge Pick
The Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven is the perfect pot for making rice… and so much more. It holds a generous 7.25 quarts (6.9 liters), large enough to cook rice for a crowd.
Just like the Lodge pot, this Dutch oven has a body of cast iron, so heat is distributed evenly throughout the thick bottom.
The enamel coating has a light, sand-colored interior for easy monitoring, while the exterior coating comes in a wide range of beautiful color choices.
The porcelain enamel provides a naturally non-stick coating for easy food release.
The quality of the enamel coating is what separates Le Creuset from other brands. It has unmatched durability, so you can make the perfect rice for years to come.
Cooking rice in this enameled cast iron pot is seamless, due to the superior heat retention and even heating. The tight-fitting lid won’t let steam escape, helping you make the perfect steamed rice.
The best thing? This Dutch oven functions as way more than a rice cooker. It works on all stovetops and is safe for oven temperatures up to 500°F (260°C), so you can use it for all types of dishes.
However, the Le Creuset brand comes at a steep cost. This enameled cast iron Dutch oven is no different. Expect to pay a pretty penny for this cooking pot.
- Variety of beautiful colors
- Large capacity
- Versatile & durable
- Superb heat distribution
- Easy to clean
- Oven-safe to 500°F (260°C)
All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Sauce Pan, 4-Quarts: Best Stainless Steel Pot
All-Clad is a premier name in stainless steel cookware, which is evident by the quality of its offerings. The All-Clad Stainless Steel Saucepan has a capacity of 4 quarts (3.79 liters), enough to cook rice for a small family.
The All-Clad saucepan has three layers of bonded metal construction, with two layers of stainless steel surrounding an aluminum core. It has high, straight sides to limit evaporation and hold in heat.
This saucepan is compatible with all cooktops, including induction. It has a stainless steel tightly-fitted lid that seals in moisture and heat. The bad news is that you can’t monitor the rice during the cooking process.
Still, you can cook rice with ease, as well as put the pan in the oven up to 600°F (315°C).
Buyers were pleased with their ability to cook rice evenly. There were no hot spots with this All-Clad pan. They also enjoyed making stews and sauces with the saucepan.
This pan is on the pricier side, but it’s one of the best stainless steel rice cookers for the stovetop. I especially like this pot for boiled rice.
- Sturdy tri-ply construction
- Great heating performance
- Compatible with all cooktops
- Max oven temp of 600°F (315°C)
- Can’t see-through lid for monitoring
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 4-Quart Non-Stick Hard-Anodized Covered Saucepan: Best Non-Stick Pot
If you’re a fan of nonstick pans, you’ll enjoy using this Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Covered Saucepan as a rice cooker. It has a capacity of 4 quarts (3.79 liters), making it perfect for the home cook.
This Cuisinart saucepan is made from hard-anodized aluminum with a quantanium nonstick coating for easy release. The glass lid allows you to see the rice as it’s cooking to monitor for doneness.
The interior measurement markings are convenient for adding liquid and preventing dried rice. The riveted stainless steel handles stay cool on the stovetop. It’s also safe for oven temps up to 500°F (260°C).
But if you were hoping to put this pan in the dishwasher, you’ll be disappointed. It’s hand-wash only. The good news is that it’s easy to wash, thanks to the non-stick Teflon layer.
Buyers were pleased with the performance of this pot. There were a few complaints about the glass lid, though. A few wished for a vent hole for excess steam, while others said the lid didn’t fit snugly.
Normally lid concerns are not a big deal, but in this case, they could potentially interfere with cooking rice effectively.
Still, the reports were isolated. I suggest using exact liquid amounts and not using extremely high heat to prevent overcooking the rice.
- Non-stick cooking surface
- Durable hard-anodized aluminum construction
- Easy to clean
- Interior measurement markings
- Glass lid to monitor rice
- Max oven temp of 500°F (260°C)
- Complaints about the lid
- Hand wash only
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Chef’s Pan with Lid, 3 Quarts: Best Budget Stainless Pick
This Cuisinart Stainless Steel Chef’s Pan is the second Cuisinart item on the list, but it’s not from the same line.
This Chef’s pan has rounded sides, as opposed to the straight sides of a saucepan. It’s a smaller pan, coming in at 3 quarts (2.84 liters).
The walls are made of stainless steel, while the aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and helps with even heating.
You won’t get the same performance from this pot as you would from the All-Clad’s fully-clad pan, but it will heat more efficiently than a plain stainless steel pot.
The measurement markings make this Chef’s pan easy to use, while the flavor lock lid helps seal in moisture and helps rice steam more quickly.
The cool-grip handles are stainless steel and provide a safe, solid grip. You can put this pot in the dishwasher after use, too, so clean-up is easy.
Buyers were overall pleased with the Cuisinart pot. They liked that it’s lightweight and easy to handle. Some had problems with overheating and food sticking.
I recommend using low or medium heat to help avoid sticking. I also recommend using this for boiling rice over steamed or fried rice.
- Multi-clad base
- Interior measurement markings
- Easy to clean
- Problems with food sticking
Michelangelo 3-Quart Non-Stick Copper Saucepan with Lid: Best Value Pick
For a great value pick, there’s the Michelangelo 3-Quart Saucepan (2.84 liters). This little pot gives you a big bang for your buck.
It has a ceramic and titanium non-stick interior to easily release food. The body is made of an aluminum alloy for fast, even heating.
The Michaelangelo saucepan is compatible with all stovetops and can handle oven temperatures up to 450°F (230°C), giving you maximum versatility.
Customers gave rave reviews about the Michaelangelo saucepan. They loved using this pot to make rice. Not only did the rice not stick, but they were pleased with their results.
The only, slight drawback is that it doesn’t have the largest capacity. So if you’re cooking for more than four people, it might not hold enough. But if you’re cooking for 2-3 people, this pot is tough to beat.
It has a very affordable price tag, so you can cook rice while keeping within a tight budget.
- Max oven temp of 450°F (230°C)
- Non-stick performance
- Pretty copper-colored interior
- Not a large capacity
Best Pot to Cook Rice: What You Need to Know
How to Get Perfectly Cooked Rice On the Stovetop
When you get down to it, all rice is either boiled or steamed. Whichever method you choose largely depends on what type of rice you plan to cook. The major difference between boiled rice and steamed rice is in the amount of liquid used to cook the rice.
Steaming rice involves letting trapped water vapor soften the grain. This method results in stickier rice and is well-suited for sushi or other short-grain rice dishes.
Some instructions advise rinsing the rice prior to cooking. The rinsing process removes excess starch and delivers more distinct grains that don’t stick together.
To properly rinse rice, place the rice in a mesh strainer. Run cold water over the grains until the water is no longer milky and runs clear.
For a softer texture, you can soak rice for 30 minutes before cooking it. Soaking preserves some of the aroma and flavors and is ideal for grains like jasmine rice.
Once you’ve prepared your rice, you’re ready to cook it. For medium or long-grain white rice using the standard stovetop simmer method, use 2 parts water to 1 part rice. For instance, a cup of uncooked rice needs two cups of water.
Bring the water to a boil and add the rice, salt to taste, and butter or oil, if desired. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or according to package directions. Remove the pot from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
For short-grain or stickier medium-grain white rice, follow the same steps but with a lower water-to-rice ratio of 1.25-to-1. Instead of 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, add 1.25 cups of water.
To cook brown rice, you’ll need approximately 50% more water and at least double the cooking time. It typically takes me close to an hour to get brown rice steamed to taste.
If you’re not interested in taking 45 minutes to prepare rice (because who is?), you may find the boiling method a better choice.
Boiled rice is fully submerged in boiling liquid during the entire cooking process. Boiling results in a firmer grain texture and is better for long-grain varieties like Basmati rice.
To boil rice, add heavily salted water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice and continue to boil until chewy, about 20-25 minutes for brown rice and 10-20 minutes for white rice, depending on the grain.
Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer, and you’re ready to eat!
How Much Rice Should I Cook?
If you’re preparing rice as a side dish, you should estimate 1/2 cup of cooked rice for each person. If the rice is the base of the meal, you can approximate 1 cup of cooked rice per person.
Remember that rice swells to about double its size uncooked, so measure accordingly. For instance, if you want to prepare 1 cup of cooked rice, measure 1/2 cup of uncooked rice.
Can You Cook Rice in a Stainless Steel Pot?
Stainless steel pots are an excellent choice for cooking rice. This material is durable and retains heat for a long time.
They are more prone to sticking, so you will have to monitor your rice closely to avoid scorching. Use lower heat for cooking rice to avoid a burnt mess.
If your stainless steel pot has rice “marks” on it after cleaning, simply treat the pan with Bar Keeper’s Friend or another similar product.
What to Look For in a Pot for Cooking Rice
If you are forgoing an electric rice cooker, you want to make sure the pot you use is up to snuff. The first and most important consideration for a rice pot is even heat distribution.
Heat retention is also essential for an effective rice pot. The best pan will hold in heat as the rice expands from the evaporation or boiling water.
Best Pots for Cooking Rice: My Recommendation
What’s the best pot for cooking rice? My recommendation is the Lodge 6-Quart Dutch Oven. It’s the best pan for cooking rice, as well as a host of other dishes. Plus, it has glowing customer reviews.
If you want a good steal, go with the Michelangelo Non-Stick Saucepan. The customer reviews were among the best, and it’s the best pan for those who want healthy cooking with non-toxic cookware.