How to pan-toast rice

Add nutty flavor to your next rice dish

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You’ve probably heard plenty of TV's top chefs recommend toasting your rice before cooking it. Toasting gives it a nuttier flavor and adds richness to any rice dish. If you’ve always thought toasting the rice is one of those steps only gourmet chefs have the time and talent to take, you’ve been cheating yourself.

Not only is toasting rice easy, it only adds a few minutes to your prep-time. Taking this one extra step will give your rice dishes greater depth -- whether you're using regular rice, instant rice, arborio or basmati.

How to toast rice

You can toast almost any kind of rice, making it nutty and delicious. Toasting rice heats the exterior of the grain and prevents breakage, which seals in the natural starches.

To toast most rice, heat a nonstick or cast-iron pan to low heat. When the pan is up to temperature, pour in the rice. You don't need to add any fat, though some recipes do benefit from a little dab of butter or grease. Just don't overdo it. You aren't trying to sauté the rice, just dry-toast it.

Stir the dry rice in the pan constantly for up to 10 minutes. When it's done, it should be pearly rather than browned (you'll also start to smell the nutty heat). Remove the rice from the heat and allow it to cool.

How to use toasted rice

You can use toasted rice in a variety of ways. Toast instant rice to toss into a rice cooker. Toast arborio rice before making the perfect risotto. Toast brown rice to amp up the nutty-ness. No matter what rice dish you're making, toasting the rice first will add an extra layer of depth in only a few short minutes.

Use toasted rice in these recipes

Tuna skillet recipe
Savory ground turkey & rice recipe
Jamaican red beans & rice recipe

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix the Fish. You can follow her on Twitter @HireHeather.