Best Pots to Cook Rice – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

rice and dish served on a table

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Rice is versatile, and pairs well with many dishes. More than a few cultures seem to agree, incorporating rice heavily into their foods, especially in the eastern part of the world. While the preparation seems trivial to some, to others, it is just difficult to get their rice to cook to the perfect level.

You know what I’m talking about. Wet, damp, mushy rice just makes an unpleasant meal. The opposite – dry, flaky rice – while not as bad, also ruins a dinner. So how do you get the rice to cook to just the right amount of moisture, being all fluffy and fragrant?

While it is certainly not the ultimate answer to cooking the perfect pot of rice, the cookware you pick will surely impact the experience, either for the better or for the worse.

In this article, we talk about the best types of pot to cook rice in, how to look for the right one for yourself, and some of our top recommendations. We’ll also end with our tips on how to cook some fluffy rice.


If you’re looking for the absolute well-balanced cookware to cook up to 6 servings for rice, the Rachael Ray Cucina 3-qt saucepan is a great value for money. For an even more affordable option, the T-fal Specialty 3-qt pot is also worth considering.

For a large family, the All-Clad 8-pt stock pot is a highly versatile piece that is also great for rice-cooking. If you’re instead looking for small pieces, consider the Cuisinart 2-qt stainless steel saucepan, the Le Creuset 2.25-qt enameled cast iron piece, or the beautiful Staub (tiny) 1.5-qt pot.

You can also skip here straight to our list of top picks. Or if you need more help deciding which one is right for you, skip here.

What Is the Best Type of Pot to Cook Rice In?

To answer this question correctly, we would have to look at your exact scenario and use cases.

For most people, a 2-quart saucepan is usually the way to go. This size can easily cook for a group of 4, assuming a maximum of 1.5 cup of rice. The size of saucepans are also relatively small and therefore very easy to handle and move around.

If you’re looking for something that’s more versatile, and would allow you to cook more amounts of rice when necessary, you might prefer a stock pot instead. If you’re looking to cook a few cups of rice, most standard stock pots would have no problem handling that.

Apart from these two, there are also options on the market that some would consider pretty niche. Some people like using dutch ovens to cook rice, as they have the surface area of a typical stock pot, without being too tall and bulky if you don’t need the volume.

pink enamel Dutch oven on a surface
Dutch ovens can also be a great piece for cooking rice.

There are also pots out there which are marketed as ‘rice pots’. While they are generally just stockpots rebranded to attract rice-lovers, some manufacturers actually make tweaks to the pots to shape them into something perfect to cook rice, like the Le Creuset one we talk about further in the article.

Unless you see yourself cooking a lot of rice and might benefit from having a cookware used primarily for doing that, we would recommend either a saucepan or stockpot for most. While performing the roles of cooking rice well, they are also versatile in other parts of your cooking routine.

Shopping Guide: Choosing the Perfect Rice Pot for Yourself

If you’re stuck choosing the best pot to cook rice in, what do you do? Read through our shopping guide, of course!

Generally, rice is pretty forgiving and picking a good pot to cook it isn’t difficult. Nonetheless, here are some of the things you should look out for when choosing a rice pot:

Size

The most important factor you should take into consideration first, is the size you’re going for. This could even influence the kind of cookware you should be going for, from a saucepan, to a stockpot, to even pieces like dutch ovens.

To decide on the size you need, first consider your typical serving. For up to four persons, a 2-qt saucepan would generally suffice. If you sometimes cook more than that, a stock pot would provide for more versatility. Note that we’re assuming the usual 0.25 cup of rice to one person, feel free to adjust to your own experiences. If you’re a rice lover like me, it’s closer to 0.5 cup, in which case, a 2-qt piece would only cook for two to three.

Note that rice expands when cooked, even up to three times its original size. For this reason, aim to not fill more than a fourth of your cookware with uncooked rice.

Material

The material for a cookware used primarily for cooking rice actually doesn’t matter a whole lot. I mean, rice doesn’t need very specific heat control or anything, just sufficiently even heat distribution could get the job done and not getting it burnt.

In this regard, aluminum, stainless steel, and even cast iron (preferably enameled ones, to avoid the need of seasoning) would all work perfectly. After all, rice does tend to stick to the bottom of the cookware anyway regardless of material, and it more likely has something to do with the way you’re cooking it. For some tips to avoid this, jump to the bottom of this article.

From our experience though, rice tends to stick less onto enameled cookware.

aluminum pot on a stove
Aluminum is the popular material for saucepans and stock pots, mainly for its balanced weight and heat conductivity.

Shape

Most cookware used for cooking rice are shaped like a pot, so there isn’t much distinction among all the options out there.

However, if possible, look for pots that have slightly curved sides at where it meets the bottom. This promotes an even circulation of heat and moisture within the pot when cooking, and provides the most even cooking.

If possible, also look for cookware pieces that have a thick bottom. This shields the bottom layer of the rice from extreme heat, and should further prevent it from sticking or getting burnt. (Tip: if you’re constantly burning your pans or pots, check out how to clean them in under 5 minutes)

Our Picks of Best Pots to Cook Rice

While not the ultimate solution to perfect fluffy rice, the cookware you use can affect how easy it is to achieve those results. Here is our list of best stove top pots for cooking rice.

Best Overall: Rachael Ray Cucina 3-Qt Saucepan

If you don’t know who Rachael Ray is, here’s a little introduction: she’s an American celebrity cook that has been on several shows including 30 Minute Meals, and has bagged three Daytime Emmy Awards doing so. We’re usually unswayed by celebrity-branded stuff, but Rachael Ray’s cookware has never disappointed us, and this saucepan continues to hold true to that.

It is shaped tall and narrow, which makes it perfect to cook all kinds of rice. It is especially the best pot to cook basmati rice due to its superior moisture circulation which would prevent the grains from absorbing too much moisture – something that ruins basmati. That being said, it is also well-suited to cook all other kinds of rice as well.

The construction is durable yet manages to stay lightweight, and it comes with a rubberized handle to make gripping it very easy. For those who dislike doing dishes, this saucepan being dishwasher-safe is a plus.

Pros:

  • Tall sides allow for better and more even circulation of moisture and heat – perfect for rice cooking
  • Durable hard-anodized aluminum construction
  • Rubberized handles provide easy and comfortable grip
  • PFOA-free non-stick coating
  • Oven-safe for up to 400°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Not compatible with induction stoves

Best Value-Friendly: T-fal Specialty 3-Qt Handy Pot

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, this aluminum T-fal Specialty saucepan might be for you.

Overall, it’s a really good piece for its price. Its aluminum construction is durable on the outside, but unfortunately, the non-stick coating on the inside seems to have garnered a few complaints. Some have reported it peeling off after a few months’ of usage. Considering the price and the initial experience you get while it’s still good, it’s still a considerable option.

What we especially like about this saucepan is its handle. Shaped ergonomically to fit in your hands, handling it is an ease.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic and heat-resistant handle
  • PFOA-free non-stick coating
  • Oven-safe for up to 350°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Non-stick coating reportedly peeling off after months of use
  • Some complaints of handle coming loose, but can be tightened with a screwdriver
  • Not induction-compatible

Best for Large Families: All-Clad Hard-Anodized 8-Qt Stock Pot

For a large family, going with one of the smaller pots and pans might not be an option. If you need to cook for more than four, a standard 2- or 3-qt saucepan will not satisfy your needs. This is where All-Clad’s 8 quart stock pot comes in.

Being a high-quality US manufacturer, expect the best quality from this pot. One downside of this is, the price tag seems to follow suit too, and is understandably out of budget for some. An alternative for large families would be the IMUSA 4.8-qt caldero, which easily cooks for upwards of 10. It is also one of our top picks, actually, and you can read more about it here.

If you have the bucks to spend on this though, it will be worth every penny. The exterior is durable hard-anodized aluminum which also looks great. The base is stainless-steel bonded which makes it warp-resistant, and the interior is also scratch-resistant with its three layers of non-stick PFOA-free coating.

Overall, it’s just a well-built pot that will last you many years down the road.

Pros:

  • Large size makes it extremely versatile, also great for soups and stews
  • Durable hard-anodized aluminum construction, including an steel-reinforced warp-resistant base
  • Three layers of PFOA-free scratch-resistant non-stick coating
  • Induction-compatible
  • Oven-safe for up to 500°F (without lid)
  • Dishwasher-safe although hand wash recommended

Cons:

Best for Mexican Rice: IMUSA 4.8-Qt Traditional Columbian Caldero

Here’s one for a very specific niche: to cook traditional yellow rice. This is one of the best pots to cook Mexican rice (also known as Spanish rice), which also makes it the best pot to cook Puerto Rican rice, a variant of the former.

The reason it is an efficient Spanish rice pot is because of its traditional design and construction. It is made of cast aluminum in Columbia, and is a traditional caldero (meaning cauldron) design. Not only ideal for rice, it also cooks foods like beans, braised meat, stews, and soups very well.

In terms of actual usage though, it does miss a few things like non-stick coating and induction-compatibility. There were also a few reports of the lid not fitting tightly. This is, to sum it up, a very simple and affordable pot, without any bells and whistles.

Pros:

  • Very affordable for its size
  • Can be used very nicely as a serving dish
  • Oven-safe excluding the lid, although temperature limit was not specified

Cons:

  • Quite a few complaints of the lid not fitting properly
  • No non-stick coating so seasoning may be required
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Not induction-compatible

Best Stainless Steel: Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 2-Qt Saucepan

Can you cook rice in a stainless steel pot? Some may say that stainless steel is too thin for rice-cooking and may too easily burn the rice, but it is definitely possible. If you do decide to go this route simply make sure the steel material is thick enough. This saucepan is exactly that.

Made with high-grade 18/10 stainless steel, it also comes with an aluminum encapsulated base for optimal heating. The handle is long, and stays cool even when cooking. The straining lid has two sizes of draining holes, so you’re able to adjust to whatever you’re cooking.

There have been some reports of the bottom of the saucepan turning dark after only a few uses. This actually has no effect on the cooking, but understandably frustrating for a new cookware.

Pros:

  • Durable 18/10 grade stainless steel
  • Straining lid and pour spouts for easy draining
  • Long and stay-cool handle
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Not compatible with induction stoves, even though the description might state so!
  • Reported black marks after several uses, while does not impact the cooking experience, is a cosmetic annoyance

Best Enameled Cast Iron: Le Creuset 2.25-Qt Rice Pot

Coated with durable enamel on the outside, this French-made cast iron pot is durable and resists chipping and cracking. The interior is black satin and specially formulated for higher temperatures, to enhance cooking performance.

Very little can be said about this pot, except that it does everything very well. One thing that might not be immediately apparent, it also comes with an inner stoneware lid, in between the outer lid and the pot. It is designed with steam vents to prevent boil over.

In case you were wondering if enameled cast iron needs seasoning as with their bare counterpart, no it does not! Cooking rice in enameled cast iron is also an easy experience because it’s less likely to stick.

Pros:

  • Looks extremely good, easily acting as the centerpiece of your kitchen setup
  • Tall sides allow for good heat retention and convection as well as moisture circulation for evenly cooked rice grains
  • Lid knob is made of stainless steel and is not capped at any oven temperature, which most pots are limited by
  • Compatible with induction stoves
  • Safe for use with metal utensils
  • Oven-safe for up to 500°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Priced at a premium!
  • Heavy for a small piece, at around 4.5 pounds
  • Sized rather small for its high price

Best Aesthetic: Staub Petite 1.5-Qt French Oven Stovetop Rice Cooker

If you have a thing for collecting the most aesthetic cookware pieces to build out the perfect-looking kitchen, this one’s for you.

One downside of this pretty piece is it sacrifices usability for looks. Not that it’s bad quality or anything – it’s actually really well-built – but the size is too small for cooking more than 2, maximum 3 servings. This is assuming about 0.5 cups of uncooked rice for one serving.

Back to the build quality, this piece is fantastically-built. Not only do the design and material finish look stunningly modern, the construction is also durable and holds up well to regular use. The lid has Staub’s signature Chistera drop structures on the lid, which promotes great moisture circulation by ensuring continuous condensation throughout.

Because of its great appearance and portable size, it can easily be used as a serving piece at the table.

Pros:

  • Our favorite in terms of appearance. Looks really modern and aesthetically-pleasing
  • Perfect moisture circulation thanks to Staub’s signature Chistera spikes on the lid
  • Sized (and designed) perfectly to act as serving dish
  • Works on induction stoves
  • Safe to use in the oven, although no temperature limit was mentioned

Cons:

  • Smallest one on this list, albeit with a high price. Even more expensive than the Le Creuset considering the quart-per-dollar you’re paying here
  • Not dishwasher-safe

How to Pick the Right One For Yourself?

That was quite a few recommendations, and if you’re still confused, we don’t blame you. Here, we lay out exactly how you would choose the perfect rice pot for your use case.

First, if you’re using induction stoves only, the All-Clad, Le Creuset, and Staub are all fantastic choices. Among these three, choose the 8 quart All-Clad stock pot if you need to cook for a big family, Staub if you prefer an aesthetic piece, and Le Creuset for the best balance in usability and size.

For readers that are not confined to only induction stoves, options are aplenty.

If you regularly cook a large portion, the All-Clad stock pot is still one of the best options. It easily cooks up to 16 servings (if you ever need it), and the value-friendly IMUSA 4.8 quart Colombian cauldron cooks up to 10. Note though, the IMUSA has a few shortcomings so if you are able to, definitely go for the All-Clad as it would be money well-spent.

On the other hand if you’re looking for a more portable option, the Staub petite 1.5 quart french oven, Le Creuset 2.25 quart rice pot or the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 2 quart saucepan would be better picks. Staub and Le Creuset both look really good, but are expensive options. Although both are worth every penny, the Cuisinart would be the best choice for an affordable option. The T-fal Specialty 3 quart pot is also a great choice here, even snatching our title of ‘Best Value Pick’.

If you don’t have any specific requirements though, and don’t want to spend too much on a rice pot, the Rachael Ray Cucina 3 quart saucepan is our top pick overall. The only thing missing is induction-compatibility. Other than that, it’s a really fantastic piece!

Best Way to Cook Rice in Pots

While there might arguably be many ways of cooking rice, the tips and methods outlined here have served me well over the years.

The first and most important step, and which many tend to overlook, is to rinse and wash your rice! Not only does it remove any debris in the grains, it also takes away the surface starch that would cause the grains to stick when cooking.

rinsing rice in a pot
Some don’t agree, but washing rice is a crucial first step in my personal experience.

To do this, simply fill water in your pot until it fully covers the rice, and run your finger through the rice, in a circular motion. The water will start to turn cloudy, and when it turns too cloudy to the point where you can’t really peek in anymore, pour it away and refill the pot with some water. Repeat this process for two to three times, but don’t stress getting the water to completely clear up.

Then, add water that is twice the amount of your rice, e.g. 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cover the pan with a clear lid so you can see what’s going on.

Check back around 15 to 25 minutes, and when the water is completely absorbed, turn off the heat and take it away from the heat surface. Leave the lid on and let it sit for another 10 minutes, as this allows for the moisture to circulate and for the bottom grains to unstick if they were previously stuck.

After which, remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and enjoy!

Wrap Up

To sum up, the best type of pot to cook rice in depends primarily on your typical portion. For most, a 2-qt saucepan can cook up to 4 persons, and a 3-qt can prepare for 6. If you have a large family or often cook more though, a stock pot is a better bet.

Most rice pots are aluminum, but all kinds of materials generally work well cooking rice.

Our top pick for most people who only cook up to 6 servings, is the Rachael Ray Cucina 3-qt saucepan. It’s a perfect piece, and the only thing missing is induction-compatibility. If you need to be able to use induction, the only ones from our list are the All-Clad stock pot (which is also a top pick for big servings), the Staub French oven, or the Le Creuset rice pot, all of which are on the expensive side of things, but offer fantastic quality.

For an affordable option, the T-fal Specialty saucepan is a good entry. But if you can, don’t hesitate to spend more to get the Rachael Ray or the Cuisinart stainless steel saucepan, as they offer better longevity. If you cook Spanish or Mexican rice a lot, the IMUSA is a nice little traditional Colombian cauldron that does great for this purpose.

If you’re also looking for other types of cookware other than a new rice pot, check out the best carbon steel woks, or even induction ones if you need those. With the cookware material quickly becoming even professional chefs’ favorites, it might also be worth your time checking out the top carbon steel pans.


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