How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice: Answered!

You may be craving a scrumptious rice meal. But the recipe calls for instant rice and all you have is regular rice. It’s an inconvenience for you. You need a solution right now. So, how to substitute instant rice for regular rice?  

If you’re using regular rice instead of instant rice for any recipe, you should half-cook the rice before starting the recipe. However, you should calculate the amount of rice, and adjust the water ratio and cooking time. Also, you should check the texture of the rice. 

You may still remain confused about the whole procedure. So, stick with the article to know the actual process of substituting instant rice for regular rice. Let’s start with the common question.    

How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice. Can You Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice?

You can easily substitute instant rice for regular rice in many recipes. But you need to remember that they’re different in textures and cooking times. Instant rice tends to have a softer texture than regular rice since it’s already been cooked and dehydrated.

It usually takes 5 minutes to cook instant rice, compared to 20 minutes for regular rice. In general, instant rice can be substituted for regular rice in recipes in which texture and cooking time are not critical.

How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice?

How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice

You need to consider some factors when substituting instant rice for regular rice. Let’s find out the factors.

Calculate the Amount of Rice Needed:

You need to check the recipe for the required amount of rice and adjust it accordingly based on the cooking time and texture of instant rice. It is important to know how much instant rice equals to how much cooked rice. 

Let’s find out the equivalency of instant rice for regular rice.   

Equivalency of Instant Rice for Regular Rice 

Instant uncooked rice Regular cooked rice 
1 cup 2 cups
2 cups 4 cups 
3 cups 6 cups 

Now that you know about the rice amount, let’s also clear the confusion of the water ratio.

Adjust the Liquid: 

Adjusting the liquid for substituting instant rice in place of regular rice is quite tricky. Because the water required for cooking regular rice and instant rice won’t be the same.  

Instant rice requires less water than regular rice, so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid used in the recipe you’re trying. Adding excess water can make the rice too sticky. Follow this table to know the perfect amount of water you need for a fluffy finish.    

Regular Rice Needed Water 
1 cup 1 ½  cups 
2 cups 3 cups 
3 cups 4 ½   cups 

How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice. Adjust the Cooking Time:

The cooking time for regular rice may need to be adjusted because it cooks slower than instant rice. It is generally recommended to cook instant rice for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. 

On the other hand, regular rice needs about 18-20 minutes to cook. Before cooking, you should always rinse the rice, as skipping this step may result in the rice smelling weird.

To mimic the instant rice, cook regular rice until two-thirds of the rice is cooked. So, cook it for 12-13 minutes on the stove and drain off any excess water. Then, take a saucepan to cook the main recipe. Or, you can also use a rice cooker for the cooking process. In that case, you just need to know how long it takes to cook.

I hope you have a clear understanding of the substitution process now. Let’s check out a classic recipe for practical experience.

How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice. Recipe to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice

Casserole recipes are perfect to substitute instant rice for regular rice. So, if you are running out of instant rice, you can make casseroles using regular rice. 

Chicken And Rice Casseroles:

Chicken and rice casseroles are very popular. You can make it using regular rice. Let’s find out the ingredients first to make this recipe. 


  • One cup of regular uncooked rice
  • 1 bone-in chicken breast half and 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
  • Cooking spray or 2 tsp. Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided 
  • 1 tablespoon butter & 1 ½ cups fat milk and ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour & 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Now, you’ll get to know the cooking procedures for making chicken with rice casseroles with regular rice. 

Step 1: 

First, cook the regular rice until it’s ½ to ⅔ done. Keep the rice in a pot and preheat the oven. 

Step 2:

Now, place a large saucepan on medium heat. Spray or oil the pan with cooking spray and fry the onion for 5 minutes. Then place the chicken on the pan and fry it until it is browned. Don’t forget to add black pepper. 

Then add the broth to the pan and cook this for 10 minutes. After cooking the chicken, let it sit for 10 minutes, then shred it and keep it in a bowl. 

Step 3:  

At this point, you need to cook the leftover broth until reduced to ½ cup. Pour the broth into the chicken bowl. Then, warm the butter over medium heat. 

Now, fry the squash until it is lightly brown. Then, combine the squash with the chicken mixture, half-cooked rice, and minced rosemary, and gently toss.

Step 4:

Place flour in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add milk and cook it until thick. Now, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 30 seconds. Stir it until it is smooth after adding 1/4 cup of cheese. 

Now to the chicken mixture, add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, salt, and milk mixture. You should coat a ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. 

Finally, top the rice mixture with the remaining 14 cups of cheese and bake at 350° for around 18-20 minutes. After the casserole has been cooked, remove it from the oven.   

FAQs: How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice

What are the differences between instant rice and regular rice?

Compared to regular rice, instant rice contains fewer calories, carbohydrates, and proteins. Regular rice has a firmer, chewier texture whereas instant rice has a softer texture. Regular rice contains more fiber and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, while instant rice may have added salt and preservatives.

Is instant rice safe?

Well, instant rice is safe to eat. Instant rice is made from pre-cooked rice that has been dehydrated and processed for quick cooking. Though instant rice suffers from a lack of protein carbs, there are no health issues related to it. It’s safe to check the ingredients list before purchasing to be sure if there are any harmful ingredients remaining in it.    

Can I make chicken and broccoli rice with regular rice?

Yes, you can use regular rice for making chicken and broccoli rice. You have to half cook the rice before the procedures. Then follow the same cooking procedure you follow for instant rice.

Conclusion: How to Substitute Instant Rice for Regular Rice

The article has tried to answer your query. Hopefully, you’ve found the answer to “how to substitute instant rice for regular rice”.

Instant rice is dehydrated precooked rice that needs to be cooked for a shorter time. So, if you don’t have enough instant rice, you can use regular rice for the recipes that called for instant rice. You can do it and vice versa as well.  

Happy cooking.

Leave a Comment