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If you’ve ever thought rice was a plain-nothing-special side dish, this recipe on How to Make the Best Rice Ever (either in the stove top or instant pot) is for you! It’s the perfect recipe to pair with just about anything, is largely hands-off cooking time and is flavorful thanks to added onion, garlic and toasted noodles. Our LCK Food Editor, Kelli Avila, shares how she came to love and cook this rice weekly.

homemade rice pilafHow to Make the Best Rice Ever

Want to know How to Make the Best Rice Ever? Kelli here, and I know I did after years of eating the rice my husband John, who hails from Colombia (where rice is a staple dish), has cooked for our family. Anybody who has ever eaten it has claimed that it was indeed the best rice they’ve ever had.

His version of rice, also called arroz con fideos is similarly close to a what Americans would know as rice pilaf (or in Egypt is known as bil shareyah). It’s basically rice enhanced with onions, garlic and fried noodles. We use gluten-free spaghetti, and it’s quickly fried in oil that transforms it into something different with a  nice toasted flavor. Over the last few weeks I’ve asked John to cook a few batches so I could watch how he made it. Lexi and I then got in the kitchen to test our own take on it, and are so happy with the results. There isn’t anything difficult to cook in this recipe, but it is all about building flavor with a few tricks to make the best rice ever.

This dish is so good it could be eaten simply on it’s own, or in our family with two toddlers topped with a fried egg and happily eaten as dinner (and then remade into a new dish the next day such as a stir fry). You can also make a really large batch and freeze mini portions of it to take out as needed for a quick dinner side dish. And in the next few weeks we have some new amazing leftover rice recipes we can’t wait to share.

How much salt do you put in 1 cup of rice

Tips on How to Make the Best Rice Ever

  • Start with long grain white rice. Alternatively we also tested this with jasmine and basmati rice and it works similarly with a slightly different flavor profile. Do not use short grain white rice or brown rice for this recipe.
  • Wash the rice REALLY well, like wash it more than you’ve ever washed rice before. This is probably the most critical step when making the best rice ever. Washing the rice rids it of excess starch that can make the final dish sticky. To wash, place the rice in a large bowl and fill it with cold water. Agitate the rice with your hands and then empty out the water. Fill it back up and repeat. You’ll do this several times until the water starts to get clearer, and then you can drain the rice and give it one more rinse until no cloudy runoff remains.
  • Brown the noodles until it is almost burnt. The more you toast the noodles, the more flavor they will impart on the final dish. Just be careful because it can go from toasty, to burnt really fast.
  • Mince the onions and garlic really well. The finer you can mince the aromatics the less bitter and harsh they come off in the final dish. The finally minced onions and garlic almost melt into the background of the dish instead of the rice very clearly having chunks of onion in it.
  • Let the water boil down before you cook it. This recipe calls for boiling down the water until it has completely evaporated below the rice before you reduce the heat and cover. This deviates greatly with traditional recipes, but it results in a more pleasant texture in the final result. You’ll know you let the water boil down far enough once the little bubbles coming up through the rice disappear completely. Then you lower the heat and cover the rice for the remainder of the cooking.
  • After the rice has finished cooking, uncover and let the heat remain on if you wish to get a crispy bottom. The crispy bottom is referred to as the pega. In my husband’s Colombian family everybody fights to get the pega because it’s so tasty. It’s basically a fried rice stuck to the bottom of the pot that is crunchy.

What is the ratio of water to rice?

For long grain white rice on the stove top, the ratio is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. For long grain white rice on in the Instant Pot the ratio is 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water.

What can you serve the Best Rice Ever with?

Just about everything. But if you’re looking for some ideas, here are a few:

If you like this how to, check out these others:

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How to Make the Best Rice Ever (Stove Top and Instant Pot)

5 from 2 votes
If you've ever thought rice was a plain old boring dish, this recipe on How to Make the Best Rice Ever (either in the stove top or instant pot) is for you! It's the perfect dinner side dish to pair with just about anything, is largely hands-off cooking time and is bound to be your new favorite.
Servings 6 cups
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cup dried GF spaghetti, broken into 1” inch pieces (about 40 pieces spaghetti or 1.75 ounces)
  • ½ small onion very fine dice (about ¼ cup diced onion)
  • 1 garlic clove minced fine
  • 2 cup long grain rice
  • 4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter optional


  • Rinse the rice: Place rice in a large bowl and fill with cold water and move the rice around with your hands. Drain the rice and repeat this step until the water inside the bowl is clear.
  • Heat a medium to large pot and add oil. Once hot at the dried pasta and toast, until the pasta is light brown. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the onion and garlic and cooking, stirring,  for 3 minutes until just slightly beginning to soften.
  • Add the rice, salt and water and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until all the water has evaporated below the rice and the bubbles have disappeared, about 10 minutes.
  • Cover and reduce temperature to the lowest heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Once done, fluff with a fork and serve immediately. If you’d like to make a pega (crispy fried rice bottom) you can leave the rice with the low heat for an additional 10-15 minutes.


  1. We really love the flavor of the full 2 teaspoons of salt, but if you prefer you can reduce it slightly to about 1-1/2 teaspoons, though it will be a little more bland.
  2. To cook in the Instant Pot (note the different amount of water added than on the stove top, all other ingredients stay the same):
    1. Rinse the rice: Place rice in a large bowl and fill with cold water and move the rice around with your hands. Drain the rice and repeat this step until the water inside the bowl is clear.
    2. Press saute on instant pot and and add oil. Once hot at the dried pasta and toast, until the pasta is light brown. Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes until just slightly beginning to soften.
    3. Add the rice, salt and 2 cups of water (this amount is different than the remainder of the recipe) and press the rice button (or cook on manual pressure for 12 minutes).
    4. When done use the quick release function.
    5. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately or cool down to use for meal prep.
  3. The rice will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively you can freeze in single serve portions to use for a quick weeknight dinner. To reheat place rice in a medium pot with 2 tablespoons of water and place on low heat with a cover. Cook for about 10 minutes until the rice is completely heated through and the water has been absorbed.
Author: Lexi

Kelli Avila Bio

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m always looking for new twists on making rice. This sounds great! The only thing is you might want to change the Instant Pot version. There is a rice button, which works fine, but then you stated that it could be cooked on manual for 12 minutes. You should probably include that the temp setting would be set to low, or high for 4 minutes with a 10 minute NPR.

  2. 5 stars
    This is what we call pilaf, sans the onions. It goes with almost any and all Armenian dishes, we grew up eating! That’s an interesting ratio of 1 to 2, I’ll try it the next time we make it. We use egg noodles, shaped like spaghetti, for what you’re calling “spaghetti” It’s not as heavy as actual spaghetti. It”s found in middle eastern stores or grocery stores that have a wide variety of noodles. (It’s not in the rural grocery store near us). And it usually comes in a square shaped bag. Also, this is definitely not a healthy dish, so since we’re putting health aside. The more butter you use for the noodles, the better!!! Thanks for sharing. I hope you don’t mind my comments! I make a lot of your recipes!!! As a matter of fact, bell peppers are on the menu for tonight! Bon Apetit!

  3. 5 stars
    No hyperbole! “BEST RICE—-EVER!!” As someone who “cooks for survival, not gourmet efficacy,” I especially appreciate the additional notes for instant pot preparation. The resulting product placed this recipe squarely in the survivalist chef gourmet category.

    Thanks for this gift!


  4. This looks great! Does he have a recipe for arroz con coco?! I’ve been dreaming about it since our trip to Cartagena a few weeks ago.

  5. This looks really great! I think Recipe Note #1 meant to say salt instead of rice. Also, how much is 1/3 cup of spaghetti before you break it? Is there a good way to estimate this? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for catching that, Heather! Edited that typo. Also included some more indicators of how to measure that out (honestly we were trying to figure out what was the easiest, and choose that, but have just included them all). The pasta is one of those ingredients that it is okay to be approximate. But updated to say 1.75 ounces or about 40 pieces of pasta (yes we counted, haha). Hope that helps.