How much water for 2 cups of rice?

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2 cups of uncooked rice are enough for a family of 4, so the most common question is: How much water for 2 cups of rice? Although there are many factors at play, typically, you should use 4 cups of water for 2 cups of rice (uncooked). 

This will give 6 cups of cooked rice.

How much water for xx cups or rice? The general rule

How many cups of water for 2 cups of rice?

The general rule is literally 1 – 2 – 3; 1 cup of uncooked rice to 2 cups of water gives 3 cups of rice.

Applying this rule: How much water for 3 cups of rice? 

3 cups of rice (uncooked) need 6 cups of water and you get 9 cups of cooked rice. 9 cups of cooked rice should serve 6 people.

You’ll notice I’ve used cups here. Cups are not a universal measurement, but that doesn’t matter. What matters are two things: the ratio and that you measure volume.

If you prefer to measure in millilitres–feel free, but don’t use grams. These ratios work well for volume, not weight.

Cooked and Uncooked Cups of Rice

Cooked rice is approximately 3 times the volume of uncooked rice. So it’s critical when looking at the amount of rice, be it for recipes or cookware, that you know whether it’s cooked or raw rice.

½ a cup of cooked rice will be approximately enough for one person, assuming you aren’t just eating rice!

On the same basis, 1 ½ cups of cooked rice is also enough for one person.

Types of Rice

Which rice you are cooking and what you are cooking it for can make a difference to how much rice you are adding.

The most common rice types, including long grain, basmati, and jasmine all follow the standard rule of 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.

Sushi rice, which is usually a short grain rice and needs to be sticky, not fluffy, uses less water. I suggest between 1 and 1 ¼  cups of water for every cup of uncooked sushi rice. If you use too much water, it will be fluffy, not sticky–which kind of defies the point of sushi

With risotto or wild rice, on the other hand, you need more water not less. I recommend 3 cups of water for every cup of uncooked rice when preparing risotto.

As ever if you have a recipe in front of you, it can be worth following that. Some recipes will use a weight for the rice, making these ratios meaningless. It’s acceptable to weigh rice instead of measuring volume if that’s what the recipe specifies, but not if you are using the ratios in this article.

Rice cooker

Rice cookers are pretty good at retaining water and so might need less water than usual. Check your cooker’s instructions, or with an ultra-modern Japanese rice cooker, follow the on-screen guidance.

If you are specifically trying to prepare sushi, then check out my round up of rice cookers for sushi.


What you might have realized from all this is that changing the amount of water will change the texture of the final result.

Less water can make the rice sticky; more can make it fluffy.

So the first time you are doing it, stick to the recipe or the rules I’ve outlined here. Make sure you can prepare a decent dish of rice before you experiment.

But once you’ve mastered the basics, why not have a play around? Experiment a bit to see if you can get a better result.

Cooking isn’t a robotic process, and everyone will bring their own touch to it.

Over to You

So it’s really simple:

  • If you are just cooking some standard store-bought rice, use 4 cups of water for 2 cups of uncooked rice which will be enough for a family of four.
  • The general rule is 2 cups of water for every cup of uncooked rice, which will feed 2 people.
  • If you have a recipe–why are you here? Follow the recipe.
  • Different rice types and dishes have different water ratios
  • Once you’ve mastered the basics feel free to play around until it works for you.