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Do You Need To Wash Rice Before Cooking? Here’s The Science!

Wash Rice Before Cooking

Rice is undoubtedly the staple food for all Indians and is also a global ingredient for most of the iconic dishes that you must have come across. May it be the risottos of Italy or dolmades of Greece, every popular dish has rice in it. 

Even though rice has a universal appeal, every restaurant owner, homemaker, or chef has one evident question in mind: is it important to pre-wash the grains before they can be cooked? Well, let’s take the expert’s advice on it and understand the science behind it! Let’s read along with this article till the end! 

Expert Suggestions on Whether Washing Rice is Important Before Cooking or Not!

Most experts believe that washing the rice is important for reducing the rate of starch within the rice grains, in most of the culinary dishes where separated grains are appreciated by the consumers, washing rice before cooking is recommended. On the other hand, in dishes where there is a need for a sticky or creamy effect out of rice grains, high starch levels must persist. Hence, washing is avoided!

Some of the other factors associated with the type of rice, health warnings, family rules or others, might influence people to wash rice. For you to understand things better, you must know that rice is responsible for 20% of all the energy that humans consume. It is practically more than that of maize or wheat, which are key ingredients of the cornflour and bread. 

Every rice grain consists of important nutrients such as Vitamin B, dietary fibre, and carbohydrates. As rice tends to feed billions of people around the world, scientists consistently run investigations on how various preparation methods are responsible for affecting the final product. 

As per some experts, it is believed that washing the rice before it is cooked might drain some important protein and water-soluble nutrients. But, the washing practice doesn’t deprive rice of its nutrients entirely. It is just that a part of it gets washed away! On the other hand, washing rice has been considered a good practice as it washes away harmful toxins or poisonous compounds. 

What Would Happen If You Are Not In The Habit of Washing the Rice?

There might be certain contaminants in rice, such as lead, cadmium or arsenic, which might cause serious health issues if they aren’t removed from rice before your consumption. These heavy metals make their way to the rice plants through groundwater pollution, which then floods the rice paddies. Industrial wastewater can be a common contributor to this problem. 

Therefore, if you aren’t washing the rice before it is cooked, you might be allowing these metal concentrations to be part of your cooked dish and cause you severe health problems in the long run. When you consume too much of these metals over time, the risk of damaging organs or cancer will increase. Babies or young children consuming metal-infused rice might experience frequent food poisoning. 

Is it Right to Wash Rice Before Cooking?

Scientific research has been done for a long time in history, and experts believe that washing rice is essential for it to be cooked. Yes, it does wash away a few nutrients, but it also eradicates a lot of disease-causing compounds from the rice grains. For instance, apart from metal concentrations, washing rice also removes stones, bugs, or dirt that hides within the grains. 

Moreover, rice washing has also proven itself to be an important practice that makes the grains more fluffier and less stodgy. Now, if you feel convinced enough to wash the rice, the next big question is how long should you wash the rice to retain its nutritional benefits and get rid of the harmful compounds? 

Well, the ground rule is to continue washing the rice until the existing water turns clear. If you can see the individual grains clearly within the cloudy water, stop washing them right away. It might take a few minutes, depending on the quantity of rice you are washing and the pressure at your plumbing fixture. 

You can prefer using a sieve or colander for rinsing the rice, but if you don’t have them, prefer using the pot in which you usually cook rice. Just add clean water and rice to that pot, use a spatula to disturb the grains, let the debris or unwanted concentrations wear off from the grains, and then drain off the water. Keep repeating the process until you see clear water!

As per the scientists, it is stated that even the best basmati rice will need at least 3 to 5 washing rounds before the water runs clear. And for the medium grain variants, at least 2 to 3 washes are recommended. 


This is a brief understanding of whether or not it is ideal for you to wash rice before cooking. Scientific researches say it does more good than bad to wash your batch of rice before it goes onto the stove. 

But remember, you shouldn’t leave the wet rice at room temperature as that’s the perfect stage for bacterial spores to be activated and grow. And then, toxins will be produced, which can’t be killed by cooking the rice or reheating it. 

As a result, these toxins can cause serious health issues, especially gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, as you have educated yourself on adopting the habit of washing rice before cooking, make it a habit to never leave it unattended for long at room temperature.


Category: Ricing Since Centuries