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How Can I Cook 1/2 a Cup of Rice? – 5 Steps to Success!

How Can I Cook 1/2 a Cup of Rice? – 5 Steps to Success!

Disaster! I had planned a big family meal, except I didn’t cook enough rice!

Having forgotten about cousin Ed, I was about ½ a cup of rice short.

I certainly didn’t want to cook a whole cup of rice or more, so how could I cook some rice for my wayward relative and how long would it take?

Trying to think back to my childhood cooking lessons, I was quite stumped.

I could remember how to prepare rice for four people, but I wasn’t sure if this meant I could just divide that by four for one extra portion.

Grabbing my nan’s cookbooks and my phone for Google, I began to search.

Not wanting this conundrum to happen to others, I’m happily sharing my secret to cooking ½ a cup of rice in several ways, including on a stove, in a microwave, and in a slow-cooker.

How Can I Cook ½ a Cup of Rice?

To cook ½ a cup of rice, you simply need a stove, ½ a cup of rice, and a pot. In the pot, pour 1¼ cup of water. If measuring in ounces, you would require 10 fluid ounces of water. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, you can steadily add ½ a cup of rice. Reduce the heat, simmering the rice for 12-15 minutes, depending on the desired firmness of the rice.

5 Steps to Cooking Small Quantities of Rice Perfectly

While you may believe that all rice cooks the same, you would be surprised to learn the type of rice, where you are located in the U.S., and your cooking method can really influence how fast you can cook any quantity of rice. Luckily, these basic steps will remain the same.

Step One: Preparing the Equipment and Rice

To cook a small amount of rice, prepare a stainless steel or aluminum pot of 3-5 gallons by placing it on a stove at high heat. Add in 10 fluid ounces of water and allow to come to the boil. Select the rice, salt, and colander you would like to use.

Step Two: Rinsing and Measuring Rice

Before cooking, it is advisable to soak and rinse the rice to remove excess starch. It can also help reduce cooking time. So, when I began to make the extra portion for dearest Ed, I rinsed ½ a cup of rice in a colander, using hot water from the tap.

As soon as the rice was rinsed, I let it soak in about a cup of warm water for five minutes. Straining the rinsed rice with the colander, I was ready to get cooking.

Step Three: Boiling Water

By this point, my pot was boiling merrily, and I was ready to add the rice.

A quick note on boiling times in the U.S. When you are closer to the coast, you will require a higher heat to boil water as you are located in a lower atmospheric pressure zone. If you’re located in the Rockies, you will need a lower heat. Adjust your boiling times accordingly.

On average, it takes two minutes to boil a cup of water, but this will vary according to the altitude where you are located. A safer bet is to work on five minutes to bring a cup of water to a boiling temperature of 170℉.

Step Four: Adding the Rice

Once the water is boiling, you can add the rinsed and strained rice. This will temporarily cause the water’s temperature to lower, so you will have to wait a minute or so for the water to start boiling again.

Once the water is boiling again, you can lower the temperature, letting the rice simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Don’t stir the rice as this will release more starch, making for sticky rice.

Step Five: Time and Method of Cooking

Depending on the method you use to cook, your rice will be fully cooked at different cooking times.

Rice on the Stove

Once the water has come to a boil and you’ve added the rice, the cooking time for ½ a cup of rice is 10-12 minutes. Again, this will vary depending on the type of rice, your altitude, and even the water quality.

Rice in the Microwave

In the microwave, it is best to use a special rice cooker, which allows steam to evaporate.

Your average time guide for microwaving ½ a cup of rice is to cook at full power for about 2-3 minutes.

Then you cook the rice at 50% power for an additional 6-8 minutes. Allow to stand for five minutes, stir, and serve.

In the microwave, it is also possible to cook ½ a cup of rice on high for 8 minutes to achieve well-cooked rice.

The challenge is that if there isn’t enough water added, the rice could easily burn or cook overly dry.


If cousin Ed is already on his way, and you know you need that rice and you need it now, you can rely on a pressure cooker or instant pot for speed.

At a ratio of 1:1, you would add ½ a cup of rice and ½ a cup of water to the pressure cooker. After an amazing two minutes, allow the pot to naturally steam down. Open and serve.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cooking Rice

What is the correct way to cook rice?

Whether you cook half a cup or five cups of rice, you should use the same approach. Rinse the rice. Add the rice to a pot with twice the amount of water (so one cup of water to half a cup of rice). Boil for 10-12 minutes, allow to sit for five minutes, and then serve it.

How long do you boil rice for?

Depending on the amount of rice in your pot, a single cup of white rice should be boiled for 12-17 minutes, depending on taste. If you cook half a cup of rice, you would need 8-15 minutes.

How much water to add to half a cup of rice?

When cooking half a cup of rice, you should add twice the amount of water. However, you can cook half a cup of dry rice in a three-quarter cup of water.

The Final Grain

I love cooking rice. While I wouldn’t have even considered cooking rice in a pressure cooker until that day I needed one more portion of rice, I was so happy I discovered how to cook ½ a cup of rice so quickly.