Should you wash rice?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Should you wash rice?” We will also discuss the type of rice that should and should not be washed and whether we should wash brown rice before cooking. Moreover, we will also talk about why it is important to wash rice before cooking.

Should you wash rice?

Yes, you should wash rice before cooking it. Washing rice before cooking not only helps to remove all the dirt from the rice but it may also remove any toxic substances like arsenic that may be found in some rice varieties. Also, washing rice before gives you a fluffier texture.

There are different varieties of rice grown all over the world and each variety has its properties, what may work for one may not be the same for the other. Although it is hygienic to clean all types of rice before cooking, some varieties of rice are better cooked unwashed.

Usually washing fortified rice may cause it to lose some of its nutritional value under some circumstances. It is advised to check the label to see if the rice has been fortified with micronutrients before you decide whether you should wash the rice or not. 

You shouldn’t wash fortified rice as it will result in the loss of the additional nutrients intended to compensate for the micronutrient deficiencies. These nutrients appear as a dusty white powder on the rice. Washing the rice will also wash away all these nutrients making your rice less nutritious.

Likewise, washing or not washing the rice also depends on the type of dish you’re using the rice for. Washing short-grain rice is not advised if you want to make a dish like risotto because the starchy layer of the rice contributes to the dish’s creamy texture. 

What type of rice should be washed?

Usually medium- and long-grain rice should be washed before cooking. Washing these types of rice will not only remove debris and other dirt particles from the rice but it helps to remove different chemicals that may have been used during the milling process. 

Putting rice in clean water for a while or soaking them also removes the surface starch that might cause it to stick together or have a gummy texture. Moreover, some of the rice varieties may give a rotten smell if they are not washed properly before cooking. Also, these types of rice are more likely to spoil faster if they are cooked without washing.

Some people may confuse washing and soaking the rice, but it is important to understand that while both washing and soaking the rice are important precooking procedures for different varieties of rice, both of them serve different purposes. The former is important more for hygienic reasons while the latter speeds up the cooking process.

For example, rice varieties like the Indian basmati usually require both washing as well as soaking pre-cooking procedures to cook them to the best of their form. Not following these procedures before cooking the basmati rice may result in a disappointing dish.

Should you wash brown rice before cooking?

While washing white rice is a must for many important reasons, you need not necessarily wash the brown rice, it depends on your preference. It is believed that brown rice needs no washing at all.

Brown rice is simply rice whose outer layer is milled off. Since the outer layer is still present, washing brown rice or whole-grain rice does not have the same impact as white rice. Therefore, washing whole-grain rice has a little practical benefit other than getting rid of any rice fragments or hulls that may have escaped the milling procedure.

For more details on the differences between white rice and brown rice, please click the link here.

Why should you wash rice before cooking it?

The main purpose of washing rice before cooking is to remove all kinds of dirt, impurities, and toxins from the rice as well as to make the rice less sticky. White rice typically consists of a layer of starch on the outside as it has been milled. Additionally, the rice itself has some surface starch. 

This surface starch on the rice sort of separates from the rice when you wash it before cooking. All the starch is accumulated in the water. White rice gets less sticky after you wash, rinse, or soak it. Additionally, the rice separates and becomes fluffier as it cooks. 


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Should you wash rice?” We have also discussed the type of rice that should and should not be washed and whether we should wash brown rice before cooking. Moreover, we have also talked about why it is important to wash rice before cooking.


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