Rice Bubbles When Cooking – Here’s Why & How To Stop It

It’s easy to identify a burner that has had a pot of boiling rice on it. When cooking rice, one thing you’re likely to experience is that it bubbles. More on that, the water that pours over the pot leaves a starchy crust on everything it touches.

You may have gotten used to this natural rice drama, but it becomes a concern the next time you’re boiling rice. Perhaps you have gotten a rice cooker to stop this, but it’s not any different.

I believe you’ll like to know the reason why this happens and how you can stop it. See full details below.

Why does rice keep bubbling over when cooking?

Rice bubbles over when cooking for different reasons. They include:

1. Starch content of the rice

The bubbles you see when boiling rice could be because of the starch content of the rice you are cooking.

When the starch in the rice mixes with the boiling water, it creates a boiling sensation that eventually overflows. This happens when you’re cooking rice on a stove and in a rice cooker.

Rice cookers can help reduce the bubbles and foaming, but when the rice is too starchy, you’ll still get the bubbles in the cooker. And they’ll spill over when they reach the top.

2. Cooking too much rice at a time

Another reason your rice bubbles over when cooking is the quantity of rice you’re cooking. If the pot is too small for the quantity of rice you’re cooking, the rice will bubble over.

Moreover, rice expands as it cooks. When there is more rice than the pot can take, there will be less room for expansion. But the rice expands nonetheless.

The consequent expansion of the rice as it cooks will increase the quantity in the pot.

3. Too much liquid in the rice cooker

If there is too much liquid in the basin of the rice cooker, it could make the rice bubble over. You also should not use too little water or you risk ending up with a pot of burnt rice. Find a balance between the water-to-rice ratio.

How to stop the rice from bubbling over when cooking?

While the presence of bubbles when cooking rice is almost natural, there are several things you can do to reduce this if you can’t stop it completely.

1. Opt for less starchy rice

Rice bubbling over when cooking is more of a rice problem. So, the first thing you want to check is the starch content of the rice you want to cook.

Go for long-grain rice that is rich in amylose but low in amylopectin. Examples of such rice are jasmine rice, basmati rice, and Carolina rice.

2. Rinse the rice before cooking

Rinsing rice before cooking can also help. Make sure you punch the rice lightly to wash off excess starch. While running the rice under water, rub the grains against themselves in between your palms.

You’ll notice that the water will turn milky or cloudy; that’s the starch. Repeat this until you’re satisfied.

3. Go for low heat

Cooking on high heat puts the food and water under more pressure. Consequently, they move faster and are likely to create more bubbles.

For rice, which is a starchy food, your best option is to cook it on low heat. This means a longer cooking time, but you’ll end up with little or no starchy goo.

To prevent a soggy end product, turn off the heat when most of the water in the rice has evaporated.

Afterward, drape a tea towel over the pot and cover the lid. Leave it to stand for up to ten minutes. The towel will absorb the excess starch and prevent your rice from turning mushy.

4. Add oil or butter

This is one of the oldest methods that have helped to contain rice bubbles when cooking. Add a few drops of oil or a knob of butter to the rice before cooking.

The oil will create a barrier between the rice and the water and prevent the bubbles from rising to the top of the pot.

Additionally, this helps to keep the rice grainy by preventing the grains from sticking together. The best oil for this is olive oil because it will not affect the taste of the rice in any way.

5. Soak the rice before cooking

Another way to keep rice bubbles at a minimum when cooking is to soak the raw rice in cold water for some minutes.

When you soak the raw rice in water, the starch will steep in the water. You’ll notice that the water will turn milky or cloudy after a while.

In addition, make sure you turn it occasionally with your hand. When you’ve got a good deal of the starch out, turn the rice into a strainer and rinse it one more time. You can cook the rice afterward.

6. Maintain liquid balance in the cooker

A good liquid-to-rice ratio will save you a lot of mess, especially in a cooker. This works even better when you’re cooking very starchy rice.

If the water in the pot is too much, it’ll bubble over to the top and spill over the rice cooker.

Follow this ratio to get a fair balance:

  • Use 2 parts of water to 1 part of long-grain rice
  • Use 2 ½ parts of water to 1 part of brown rice

7. Use a bigger pot

Since overcrowding a small pot with a lot of rice can make it bubble over when cooking, a bigger one can stop it. Use a pot that leaves up to 50% of the original size of the pot as headspace.

When the rice boils, there’ll be enough room for the bubbles to form without spilling over. Moreover, there will be room for expansion.

When the rice is done, it should have covered up much space in the pot. This method comes in handy if you don’t a better choice than starchy rice.

How long does it take for rice to cook?

How long it takes for rice to cook depends on the type of rice you’re cooking and your recipe.

For instance, brown rice cooks longer than white rice. While white rice will get done between 20-30 minutes, brown rice will take up to 45 minutes. Also, plain rice will cook faster than fried rice or rice pudding.


Why is your rice bubbling like soap?

If the bubbles from your pot of cooking rice look foamy or soapy, it’s nothing to worry about. The foaminess of the bubbles depends on how starchy the rice is.

How do you know your rice is done?

When rice is well-cooked, it’ll look and feel soft, light, and fluffy. The most reliable way to determine the level of doneness of rice is to taste it.

Can you fix overcooked rice?

If you have a pot of overcooked rice, here’s what you can do, drain the excess water using a strainer and rinse if the texture isn’t too mushy yet.

Afterward, you can dry it in the oven or on a stovetop to remove extra moisture. Moreover, you can make rice pudding or fried rice with mushy rice.


Rice bubbling over is one of those reasons why almost everyone stands by the pot of boiling rice. Before the starchy goo cools into a crust, it’s quite a mess and creates a cleaning task.

Your rice is either the problem or the temperature at which you’re cooking. When you find the problem, you can fix it.

Generally, cook less starchy rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop. You can add oil or butter to the water, use a bigger pot, or any of the methods listed in the article.

I hope you found this article resourceful. If you did, you will definitely like to know what causes crunchy rice and how to fix it.

Thanks for reading.

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