Ever wondered about cooking a great bowl of rice without a measuring cup? Is it really possible? In reality, how to cook rice without measuring cup is easier than you might think! I shared a few simple secrets, helping you prepare perfectly cooked rice every time. More importantly, without a measuring cup!

The finger test and knuckle method are 2 simple, foolproof approaches requiring no fancy equipment. With these methods, you will have the best rice, whether in a rice cooker or a pot. Moreover, adding water to your preference can easily cook rice without a scale.

Use the described hacks for cooking white rice that is tender but not mushy.

How to Cook Rice without Measuring Cup with 2 Tricks

Cooking rice is a simple and inexpensive staple. But if I ask you to describe a method that doesn’t use a measuring cup to measure water, you may feel hesitant. Here are 2 tricks for you.

Step 01: Soak and Rinse the Rice

Add the rice to a large bowl and pour in freshwater. Then cover the bowl and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Next, strain the water by transferring the rice to a sieve. Now, rinse the rice under running water for at least 1 minute. After that, keep the rinsed rice in a bowl or pot.

  • Why should you rinse rice? There is a lot of advice and debate regarding rinsing rice. Some say rinsing eliminates the vitamins. But I personally believe you should rinse. The prime reason for rinsing is to remove the excess starch and dirt. It makes the rice fluffy and less sticky.

Step 02: Add Water

This is where I will share the tricks for cooking rice without a measuring cup.

  • Trick #01: The Finger Test

Start pouring water into the bowl of rice. At the same time, place your index finger touching the bowl’s surface. Stop adding water when the water’s upper surface reaches your first joint. That’s it; you have successfully added water to cook rice without measuring water.

  • Trick #02: The Knuckle Method

This method Is popular among Koreans. They follow it without hesitation when there is no measuring cup to measure water. It is a simple trick and differs slightly from the finger test.

First, place your palm (left or right, whatever you prefer) on the rice.

Second, open the tap and continue adding water until the base knuckles of all your fingers are covered.

Viola! You have learned how to cook rice without a measuring jug.

Step #03: Cook at High Pressure

Are you using an electric pressure cooker or a stovetop pressure cooker? Here are some points to follow depending on your cooking

For an electric pressure cooker,

  • Close the lid and lock it
  • Set the pressure high

For a stovetop pressure cooker,

  • Close the lid and lock it
  • Bring the pressure high
  • Lower the heat low after a specified time as per the rice type

Wondering how long it takes to cook the rice? It completely depends on the type of your rice. Follow the below chart,

Rice TypeCooking Time (Min.)
Jasmine Rice1
Short/medium/long grain3

Step #04: Follow the Natural Release Method

Once the cooking time has passed, turn the electric pressure cooker off or remove the pot from the stovetop.

Leave the pot for the next 10 minutes. This way, the pressure will drop. Avoid opening the release valve during this time.

Step #05: Release the Lasting Pressure

Open the pressure valve of the cooker after 10 minutes. Thus, the remaining pressure will be released from the cooker.

  • Avoid burning your skin by standing back when steam releases from the cooker
  • Don’t unlock and remove the lid until the pressure has dropped to zero

Step #06: Fluff and Serve

Fluff the rice up using a spatula, fork or spoon. Such an act will release the remaining moisture. The best thing about rice is serving it with meat, vegetables, fish or your preferred item.

How to Cook Rice without Measuring Cup – Classic Asian Method

This section describes the traditional Asian method where the finger test or knuckle technique is not involved.

Step #01: Rinse and Add Water to the Rice

Rinse the rice with fresh water. This will take away additional starch. Thinking, what if I cook rice without rinsing? Starch will make the rice gummy and unappealing. 

How to Cook Rice without Measuring Cup
Rice cooked in a white dish with galangal, lemons, cucumbers, lemongrass, garlic, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce on a wooden floor.

So, it would always be best to rinse the rice minimum of 3-4 times. When the water runs clear, ensure the rice is properly rinsed.

Then add water. Don’t use a finger or knuckle to measure the water level in this case. Add water and avoid overflowing.

Step #02: Start Boiling the Rice & Check After 10 minutes

Put the rice bowl on a stovetop. Keep the heat high. Use a lid to cover the bowl if required. Wait for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes:

  1. Check whether the rice starts boiling. If boiling starts, take a spatula and stir the rice.
  2. Get some rice in the spatula and check if it is properly cooked.
  3. In case the rice still requires time, allow more minutes.

Consider checking the rice every 5 minutes. Remember to keep the heat low during this period. Turn the stovetop off when satisfied and confirm that the rice is cooked appropriately.

Step #03: Release the Excess Water

There will be excess water in the bowl with cooked rice. The water and rice need to be separated. For this, do the following.

  • Get a large fine mesh strainer made of stainless steel.
  • Place the mesh strainer in a large bowl. Make sure it positions well on the bowl.
  • Pour the rice and excess water into the mesh strainer. Excess water will be drained, and the rice will stay on the mesh strainer.

Finally, fluff the rice and serve it.

Warning: Be careful when draining the boiled water using a mesh strainer. Keep your face away from the strainer as much as possible. Otherwise, your skin may damage due to hot water. Also, use a kitchen towel to hold the hot bowl to avoid skin burning.

Do the Tricks Work for Everyone?

One question might have popped up in your mind. Since the lengths of fingers differ from person to person, does the finger test or knuckle method work for everyone?

Yes, it seems workable. These methods have been used for centuries to prepare a good rice bowl.

However, if you are unsure, here is what I recommend: try the methods yourself. Follow each direction meticulously. Hopefully, they will work for you, too, and you can add these secret tricks to your cooking cred.

Summing Up

See, the process of how to cook rice without measuring cup is damn straightforward.

These methods are applicable for jasmine, basmati, brown, wild and short/medium/long grain rice. You won’t have to use any specialized tools. Ensure precautions like using a kitchen towel while dealing with a hot bowl or pot. Also, handle hot water carefully, as heated steam can burn your skin.

So, for perfectly cooked rice without a measuring jug, you can rely on these methods without hesitation.


Oliver aka Arannyk Monon is a versatile content writer, editor, and content strategist. He has been writing for the last 10 years to help people get the actual information that they are searching for on Search Engines. He has proven expertise in Kitchen, automotive, camera, hosting, and other technical topics.

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