Cooking rice with chicken stock cubes or with any other bouillon cubes or granules is one of the easiest ways to add delicious and authentic flavor to your dish. It is really simple to cook and also makes a great side dish for just about any food.
In this post, I will cover how to use this clever "rice hack" to punch up the flavor and make a bowl of fluffy and tender rice that makes not only a perfect side dish but could be eaten as a meal on its own.
You can use white or brown, basmati, or long grain rice and decide if you would like to add any other ingredients, like chicken, vegetables, or crack and cook an egg or add some butter to it.
Adding a stock cube doesn't really affect how the rice cooks. You could technically just crumble the stock cube in there and carry on with whichever cooking method you have been using before. However, there are few tips at trick I would like to share that will give you the best result and make your dish stand out.
Basic Tips For Cooking Rice With Chicken Stock
1. Dissolve The Stock Cubes First
Typically, when cooking soups or casseroles, you can add a cube directly into the dish. However, when adding it to the rice, it is best to dissolve it in hot water first or at least crumble it up to make sure it dissolves evenly.
The best way to dissolve a stock cube is in boiling water. Bring water to boil, add the cubes, and then stir on low heat until the cubes dissolve. Your stock cubes will come with instructions on the packaging to let you know how much water to use and how many cubes to add.
2. Use One Stock Cube Per One Cup Of Rice
Stock cubes come in different sizes, and some have more flavor than others. However, in general, with popular stock cubes like Knorr, Maggi, or OXO, use one cube for one cup of rice. The manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging will also give you a good idea of how many cubes to use.
If you use granulates, then here is an easy conversion: one teaspoon of granulated bouillon equals one stock cube. (Also, check the manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging).
3. Let The Rice Absorb All The Tasty Liquid
Use the absorption method to cook the rice instead of boiling it in excess water. The absorption method is not only the best for retaining rice's nutrients, but you don't want to strain off any of the lovely flavors from the stock cube.
So, for regular cooking on the stovetop, use a 1:2 ratio, one cup of rice for two cups of water, or you can even use slightly less water than that.
When using a rice cooker, make sure that the water just barely covers the rice when you put it in the basket. That way, there won't be any excess liquid, and all of it will get absorbs by the rice without losing some of its flavors. I have posted a more detailed 'water to rice ratio chart' below.
4. Give It A Good Rinse Before Cooking
Now, there here are two schools of thought when it comes to rinsing your rice before cooking.
Many recipes say that washing the grains before cooking is optional or not needed at all. However, I do believe it is a good practice and strongly recommended.
Since it is quite a big topic, I have written a separate post about it here: 6 Very Good Reason To Rinse Your Rice Before Cooking!
4. Watch Out For Too Much Salt
Broths and stock cubes are notorious for having a high sodium content. Even the low sodium ones can taste quite salty. When using bouillon cubes, you don't need to add any more salt to the rice while you cook. If the rice turns out too salty, you can cut the stock cube in half next time.
You can buy sodium-free chicken bouillon cubes made by Herb Ox, but I have not personally tried these, so I can't say how they would taste or how strong the flavor is. But if you are on a low salt diet, then that is something that could work.
Now that we got the basics covered let's look at 4 different ways you can cook your rice using stock cubes.
1. Cooking Rice With Chicken Broth In A Rice Cooker
If you know that you're going to be making rice regularly, you may want to get yourself a rice cooker. These automated kitchen appliances are designed to boil or steam rice, so you will get perfectly cooked results every time.
Here is how to do it:
Rinse your rice
Before adding your rice to your rice cooker, rinse it under cool water by placing it in a strainer and running it under your faucet. This will ensure that the excess starches are washed away, and you'll end up with fluffy, not sticky rice.
Add all the ingredients to your rice cooker
The general ratio of water to grains in most rice cookers is 1:1 ½, so if you're cooking one cup of rice, you'll need one and a half cups of water and one stock cube. Always check your cooker manual for specific recommendations of what kind of rice you are cooking and how moist you prefer it.
Dissolve the stock cube in one and a half cups of hot water and add it to the rice in the cooker.
Alternatively, you can just crumble one stock cube into the cooker and give it a stir before turning it on.
Close the lid and let the rice cooker do the work
Once you've got all your ingredients in the rice cooker, all you have to do is close the lid and turn it on.
It is as simple as that!
Most automated appliances control the heat and cook time on their own, so you don't have to worry about adjusting various settings.
Different models may vary, though, so always read through your instruction manual to ensure you're using your rice cooker properly.
2. Making Rice On The Stove With Chicken Bouillon Cubes
Don't worry if you don't have a rice cooker. You can still make a perfect bowl of rice in a pot on your stovetop.
When you cook rice on your stovetop, make sure you do not stir it much because stirring will make it sticky.
Using a heavy pot with a thick bottom will help keep your rice from burning while it cooks and distributes heat evenly.
Rinse it first
Make sure to rinse your rice, just like you would if you were going to put it in a rice cooker.
Just dissolve the cube in the correct amount of water, then add your rice
Most rice varieties will use a two to one ratio of liquid and rice, so if you're making one cup of rice, you'll need two cups of water. For brown rice, use slightly more water, about 2 1/2 cups per one cup of grains.
Add two cups of water to the pot, bring it to boil, and dissolve one stock cube in it.
Now add one cup of rice to the broth that you made and bring it to boil.
Cover and simmer
Once your rice and broth are boiling, turn the heat down to low, and cover the pot. You'll want to simmer it until it is tender and fluffy and all of the chicken broth is absorbed into the rice.
Simmer times for different types of rice may vary by variety. Most varieties will cook within fifteen to twenty minutes, but wholegrain brown and red rice will take much longer.
Don't overcook it either. If the grains are already tender, but there is still some excess liquid, remove the lid, fluff it with a fork, turn off the heat, place the lid back on, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This will allow your rice to finish soaking up the remainder of the water,
For the brown rice, simmer for 30-35 mins, then for the last 5-10 mins, leave it well covered to absorb the last bit of broth, resulting in tasty, light, and tender grains.
After it's rested, you can carefully stir it up with a fork to separate it prior to serving.
To avoid burning your rice, make sure that your cooking temperature isn't too high. You want your water to be just below the boiling point or bubbling very lightly.
3. Cooking Rice In The Microwave Using Stock Cubes
Rinse your rice, just like you would if you were going to do with other methods above.
Although I am not a big fan of microwaving any food, this is still a valid method to cook rice. (It's just me).
Cooking it in the microwave is actually very straightforward, and the end result will taste and look exactly the same as doing it on the stovetop or using the cooker.
A ratio of 1 cup of rice for 2 cups of water will work great with the microwave method.
If you like this method and plan to use it often, buying a microwave rice cooker is worth buying, like the one below. It works grate for cooking pasta and vegetables as well.
- Add the rice to the microwave-safe container.
- Cover it with cool water.
- Crumble in the stock cube.
- Cover loosely with the lid, plate, or cling film. Make sure you won't cover it too tight unless the top has steam holes.
- Microwave for 5 minutes on high (900-1200 Watt) and then give it a stir.
- Then microwave for 10-15 minutes at 50% power, stirring it once in 5-7 minute mark.
- Let it rest for another five minutes with the lid on.
- Fluff it up with a fork, check if the rice is tender. If it's still a bit crunchy, microwave it another minute or two.
- Now it is ready to be served.
When microwaving brown rice, the method is the same, but a little extra water is required as you need to cook it about 10-15 minutes longer.
Also, make sure to use a microwave-safe bowl that is large enough to allow for grains doubling in size.
4. Flavouring Instant Rice With Chicken Both Cube
If you're short on time, you could opt for using quick-cooking instant rice.
Instant rice, also known as quick or minute rice, is already dehydrated and precooked, so you can prepare it more rapidly. Instant rice is typically ready to serve in about five to ten minutes.
Many varieties are already flavored; in this case, you don't really need to add a stock cube or anything to it. So let's assume you have plain rice that you want to jazz up a bit.
The instructions on the box will tell you how much liquid you'll need to add to your pot and the recommended cooking time. The instant version is usually equal amounts of rice and water (1 cup of grains needs 1 cup of water).
Here is how to prepare:
Dissolve stock cubes in the boiling water. Add rice, stir, cover, and remove from heat. Wait about 5-10 minutes, or until the broth is fully absorbed, then fluff it with the fork and serve.
It can also be done in the microwave:
- Place water, rice, and crumbled stock cube in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Cover it loosely and microwave it on HIGH for 5-6 minutes.
- Take it out and wait 5 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed, then fluff with a fork and serve.
Now you know several different ways how you can make rice using stock cubes. To master any of these methods, it may require a bit of trial and error to get it right the first time. If it did not turn out perfect on the first go, adjust the amount of water or cooking time in the future.