How To Season Rice


I never really liked rice. Growing up we would have Chinese takeout at least once a week—usually Friday nights—and the last thing I would touch would be the rice. It always tasted so plain. I even bought a rice cooker and for a year never made rice in it; why would I?


That’s probably because all the rice I had tried was just rice—nothing added to it—and that’s just not good. Add a little seasoning, however, and rice goes from a side dish to a star on the plate.

Seasoning rice is so easy and just requires a few pantry staples. The flavor is similar to the seasoned rice in sushi rolls. And because the sugar makes the rice sticky, it’s easier to eat with chopsticks! I used brown basmati rice because that’s what was on hand, but you can use brown or rice, long or short grain.

How To Season Rice

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar*
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

*Can use white vinegar in a pinch



  1. Heat up the rice in a pot or microwave if it’s not already hot.
  2. Add in the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and salt and mix thoroughly.
  3. Scoop onto plates and serve hot.


Once you’ve mastered making delicious rice, everything else on the plate instantly tastes better, too. You can mix in whole sesame seeds or chili powder for a stronger flavor if you’d like.

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11 Responses to How To Season Rice
  1. Faith @ For the Health of It
    January 10, 2012 | 10:23 am

    This will come in really handy as I start working through the brown rice I bought in bulk – I’m like you and find rice pretty plain and boring (especially when I have the option of other carbs like bread and pasta), but I’m committed to finding ways to make it more exciting!

  2. Kait
    January 10, 2012 | 12:52 pm

    Hmmm…I am really excited to try this. Might have to make some Chinese take-out this weekend!

  3. Amber K
    January 10, 2012 | 2:42 pm

    You’re right, plain rice always tastes so blah. That’s why I stopped going to P.F. Chang’s. They only had one gluten-free vegetarian option – plain steamed veggies and rice. BLAH!

  4. Rebekah @ Making Miracles
    January 10, 2012 | 4:34 pm

    I love rice but usually covered in something with sauce and/or flavor – I will definitely have to give this a try and give rice another shot as a stand alone side dish!

  5. Yvonne
    January 10, 2012 | 5:15 pm

    Thank you! Maybe this way I will be able to get my kids to eat rice!

  6. lynn @ the actor's diet
    January 10, 2012 | 8:11 pm

    i’ve never thought about seasoning rice! growing up chinese, we always just had saucy sides for it to soak up…

  7. Qi Ting @ A Dessert Diet
    January 11, 2012 | 2:53 pm

    I live in Singapore and we make amazing seasoned rice! A few more suggestions: 1) Use chicken stock or leftover chicken soup instead of water to cook the rice. 2) Fry some garlic and onions together till fragrant and add to cooked rice with a tsp of salt. 3) Use coconut milk and a tsp of salt instead of water to cook rice (very popular here!!!).

  8. Jessica
    January 12, 2012 | 12:29 pm

    Could you share (or direct me to) the delicious-looking dish that’s accompanying your rice here?

  9. Melissa
    January 5, 2013 | 10:54 pm

    This is really tasty! I just made it tonight. Whenever we’re a little short on cash, I like to make a bunch of rice to supplement our meals, but I’m always a little disappointed with plain, bland rice. This rice with just a bit of soy sauce and sriracha is amazing!