How to Remove Starch From Rice

by Michelle M. Kwan

Rice is an essential dietary component of many cultures around the world. Moreover, it is a versatile and viable alternative for people with allergies to other grains. However, rice contains a considerable amount of starch. Nevertheless, there is a way to have the proverbial "'rice' and eat it too." Washing rice before cooking it will remove starch from the rice grains and improve its appearance as well as flavor.

Washing Uncooked Rice


  • Imported rice should be washed because it contains surface starch as well as possible impurities. Most domestic rice varieties do not need to be washed because they have been cleaned prior to being packed.

Pour 8 ounces of uncooked rice into a 32-ounce glass bowl. Pour 16 ounces of cold water into the bowl. The rice should be completely submerged in the water. There should also be plenty of water above the surface of the rice. The water will be cloudy. The aim is to wash the rice until the water is clear. Carefully drain the bowl using a sieve. Do this slowly to avoid losing grains of rice.

Pour another 16 ounces of cold water into the glass bowl. This time push your hand into the rice and swirl it around in a continuous circular motion. Rotate your hand as if you were turning a dial. Do this 4 times. Drain the water. Repeat this process 3 more times or until the water is no longer cloudy.


  • Drain and set the rice aside for 30 minutes to allow the rice grains to retain moisture. The rice will take on smoother texture and better consistency.

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About the Author

Michelle Kwan has been a professional food, wine and travel writer for Gayot, an internationally recognized restaurant and lifestyle publication based in Los Angeles, since 2007. She also blogs for Culture Home, an online travel and lifestyle authority. She is based in New York City. She got her first taste for professional food writing as an incognito reviewer of corporate dining establishments.