Why soak rice

In this guide, we will address and answer the query, “Why soak rice?” and answer other similar related questions like “What are the health benefits of soaking rice?” and “ What type of rice is good for soaking?”

Why soak rice?

Rice is soaked before cooking to hydrate rice grains. When rice grain absorbs water, the amylopectin and amylose within the granules also absorb water and swell. 

Soaking also shortens the time needed to cook rice. Soaking is a pre-cooking procedure to allow the rice to absorb water and therefore when heated, rice is already soft and takes less time to cook.

Soaking rice also impacts its flavors. A flavor prominent in rice is called Acetyl Pyrroline and is present in many rice varieties. This flavor gives the rice its popcorn aroma. 

Cooking rice without soaking it makes it less aromatic. Soaking allows the starch granules to swell and release acetyl pyrroline resulting in flavorful rice.  

Which type of rice is good for soaking?

The most preferable rice for soaking is short rice. Plain rice is also good for soaking. Rice used for making pilaf such as grain basmati is not preferred for soaking. Their texture and integrity can be affected by soaking them.

Rice varieties differ in size and shape, the fiber content, and the recipe intended to be used. These factors affect the time it efficiently takes to soak each rice variety. 

What are the health benefits of soaking rice?

Soaking rice helps the gastrointestinal tract absorb minerals and vitamins from the rice. According to nutritionists, soaking makes rice more nutritious with a sweet aroma and aromatic taste.

Soaking rice plays a role in eliminating phytic acid. Phytic acid is mainly found in grains and prevents the absorption of minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iron by the body.

Individuals who have a deficiency of calcium and zinc are advised to regularly allow the rice to soak in order to remove phytic acid. Phytic acid is important to grains and legumes while growing since it acts as a storage unit but is not beneficial to humans.

How long should you soak rice?

You can soak for 6 to 12 hours depending on the type of rice. Polished rice can be soaked for five hours while unpolished rice needs to be soaked longer. Rice that easily sticks should be soaked overnight. 

Some varieties of rice such as glutinous rice do not soak well. Whole grain rice also needs to be soaked for 12 hours like the polished rice.

Should you rinse rice after soaking?

Rinsing rice is important as it helps remove the starch coating from rice. Rice that is not rinsed tends to spoil faster and is smellier. 

To rinse your rice, you put water into a bowl and add rice until it covers the water and swirls for some time with your hand until the water that is released is clear.

Rinsing also is a way to rid rice of any foreign matter that flows with the water while rinsing rice.

Does soaking rice remove arsenic?

Soaking rice helps in removing arsenic in different rice varieties, especially in the endosperm. Soaking removes approximately 85% of arsenic from rice.

What is arsenic?

Arsenic is found in rice because it can be absorbed by the plant from the soil and water. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the environment that can be found in air, water, and soil.

 It can also be released into the environment from industrial sources. Arsenic can be absorbed by plants, and rice is known to absorb more arsenic than other food crops. 

There is no easy answer to how much arsenic is safe to consume, as it depends on many factors including a person’s age, weight, and health. However, the World Health Organization has set a maximum acceptable level of inorganic arsenic in drinking water at 10 micrograms per liter.

What makes rice mushy?

Rice becomes mushy when cooked for too long with too much water added. Too much water splits open the rice grains making them gooey and appear squishy.

In case your rice is too mushy, you can make a rice pudding out of it by adding more water.

You can learn more rice recipes here

Other FAQs about Rice that you may be interested in.

Can cooked rice go bad

Can you eat yellow rice with acid reflux?

Can my dog eat rice?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Why soak rice?” We have also discussed “How long should you soak rice?” “What are the side effects of rice water?” and “What rice varieties are good for soaking?”

Hope you found this blog useful, if you have any questions, please let us know