Should You Salt Your Rice? The Great Debate Answered!

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Rice in a bowl with salt bottle spilled on the wooden board with a text "do you salt your rice"

Rice tastes bland if you don’t season it. Many different spice and herb combinations bring out the natural flavors in rice. But should you add salt to your rice?

Adding salt to your rice is one way to enhance the flavor. It’s better to salt the cooking water rather than the rice grains. The salt dissolves and distributes more evenly if you add it to the cooking water before you cook your rice. But you don’t have to add salt to your rice if you prefer. 

Are You Supposed To Salt Rice?

You can salt rice, but you don’t have to. If you are on a low-salt diet or need to avoid salt for another reason, you can flavor your rice with other seasonings.

Some cooks believe It’s better to salt your cooking water than your rice grains. Add one teaspoon of salt to your cooking water before you add your rice. Stir to combine, and then pour in your rice grains. If you salt your cooking water, you’ll ensure your rice is salted evenly. 

Salt from the shaker spilled and written on the counter.

Other cooks prefer to salt their rice until after it’s cooked. They argue the hard rice grains won’t soak up the seasoning when they are hard. They believe their rice absorbs the salt better once it’s cooked. But adding salt doesn’t interfere with the cooking process. 

Why Do People Put Salt In Their Rice?

Salt enhances the flavor of rice. Salt has many benefits for your body. It’s a primary source of sodium and chloride ions. Sodium helps

  • Your nerves function correctly.
  • Your muscles contract and relax.
  • Maintain the right balance of water and minerals.

At What Point Do You Put Salt In Rice While You Cook?

When you cook rice, you can add salt:

  • To the cooking water.
  • After the rice is cooked but before you fluff it.

I prefer to salt my cooking water. If I add salt to my cooked rice, I often get one spoonful of salty rice followed by another spoonful of bland rice. 

Sarah holding a scoop of salt above the pan with water with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

If you prefer to add salt after your rice is cooked, mix it well. Otherwise, you’ll get pockets of overly salty rice. 

Do I Have To Salt My Rice?

No, you don’t have to salt your rice. Many cultures, including Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese, don’t usually salt plain table rice. 

Soy sauce bottle and bowl against white background.

Typical sauces like soy sauce and fish sauce contain large amounts of salt. Other countries fry their rice in oil or butter before cooking it. Oil and butter give flavor to rice without salt. 

How Much Salt Should I Add To My Rice?

A good ratio is one-half to one teaspoon of salt per cup of rice. So, if you’re cooking two cups of rice, add one or two teaspoons of salt. 

The exact amount of salt is up to you. I usually add closer to one-half teaspoon of salt per cup of rice, but that’s my preference. Experiment with your rice until you find the amount of salt you like. 

What If I Forget To Add Salt While Cooking My Rice?

If you forgot to add salt while cooking your rice, there are a few easy ways to remedy your mistake. 

  1. Add salt to your rice after it cooks. Mix it in well and serve. 
  2. Sprinkle salt on your rice and mix. Put the lid back on your pot and let it sit for 10 minutes so the rice absorbs the salt. 

My favorite way is to mix salt and broth into my rice. The moisture from the broth helps the salt dissolve, so my rice doesn’t taste salty. I add one-half teaspoon of salt and one-quarter cup of broth per cup of rice. 

A spoonful of salt dropped from above.

Final Thoughts

Salting your rice is up to you. Salt enhances the flavor of rice, but many cultures choose to add sauces instead. Experiment with different amounts of salt and decide what you like best. 

Sarah Pearce Avatar


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