Why Is My Rice Bubbling Like Soap? Quick Tips to Manage The Foam

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Rice bubbling in the pot with a text "why is my rice bubbling like soap"

Rice is easy to cook and flavor to any cuisine. If you cook rice on the stove, you’ll see it bubble like soap. Why does rice bubble?

Rice boiling in a clear covered pot with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Rice bubbles like soap because each rice grain contains starch. Starch bubbles and foams when it boils. To stop rice from bubbling over, rinse it before cooking. Use a tall pot and cook it over medium-low heat.

Is It Normal For Rice To Bubble?

Yes, it’s normal for rice to bubble. Rice grains contain lots of starch. When the starch meets boiling water, it forms bubbles. These bubbles foam and rise to the top of the pot. 

If your pot is small, bubbles will pour out of the top, making a mess on your stovetop. A large pot gives the rice plenty of room to bubble without letting the bubbles escape.  

Close up image of pot covered with it's lid on top of the stove with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Should My Rice Be Foamy?

Yes, when your rice cooks, it looks foamy. The starch bubbles form quickly, creating a foam on the top of the water. 

Close up image of pot covered with it's lid on top of the stove with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Foamy rice is natural and doesn’t mean something has gone wrong with your rice—all rice foams as part of the cooking process. 

How To Stop Rice From Foaming

Rice always creates foam while boiling, but there are a few ways to manage the bubbles. 

On The Stove

Many cooks suggest spraying the top of the water with cooking spray or putting a wooden spoon on top of your pot. Tricks like these are meant to stop your pot from boiling over. But I’ve tried all the tricks and found none that work consistently. 

The number one way to minimize rice bubbles is by rinsing your rice. There are two ways to rinse rice.

  • Rinse rice for at least 30 seconds in a kitchen strainer. Move the rice grains back and forth under the water so each grain gets rinsed. 
  • Cover your rice with water, swirl it around, and pour off the water. Repeat these steps until the water runs clear. It will take several rounds of rinsing before you see clear water. But, once the water runs clear, much of the starch will be rinsed away. 

Here are three more tips to help minimize bubbling over:

  1. Use a deep, tall pot. Give the starch bubbles plenty of room to rise and pop before they spill out of the pot. 
  2. Once your pot boils, reduce the heat to a simmer. If you leave the pot boiling rapidly, bubbles form and escape more quickly. 
  3. Lift the lid periodically to help reduce the bubbles. Lift for 2-3 seconds, just enough for the bubbles to settle. If you lift the lid too often or too long, you’ll let too much steam escape, and your rice will dry out. 
Sarah opening the cover of the pot with boiling rice with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Don’t rinse if you’re using boxed rice in a kit with added seasonings. If you rinse this type of rice, you’ll rinse off seasonings. Most boxed rice is partially cooked, so you’ll change the required cooking time by rinsing.  

In A Rice Cooker

Rice cookers don’t usually foam over. If your rice cooker foams, you either added too much water or didn’t follow the instructions properly. If your rice cooker foams over, check these two things first: 

  • Rinse the rice in one of the ways suggested above. 
  • Ensure the vents and seals are clean without any starch or soap residue. 

There’s no way to stop rice from bubbling–it’s part of the cooking process. Use the tips above to help manage the bubbles. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Rice Smell Like Soap?

Your rice cooker or pot may have soap residue if your rice smells like soap. Rice doesn’t contain any soap. Rinse your cooking supplies well in hot water to remove excess soap residue. 

Why Does My Rice Look Soapy?

Starch bubbles look like soap bubbles. When rice boils, starch on the rice grains creates bubbles that look like soap bubbles. Nothing is wrong with your rice. 

Rice bubbling inside the pot with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Why Does My Rice Have A Film On It?

The film is excess starch that is attached to the rice grains. It’s leftover from the milling process. To remove the film, rinse the rice under running water before you cook it. 

Final Thoughts

Rice bubbles because it contains starch. When starch contacts boiling water, it produces bubbles that look like soap. The best way to reduce bubbles is to rinse your rice before you cook it. 

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