I tried making some Spanish rice the other day and it's turned out really chewy. I can't figure out if I used too little chicken broth or not enough.

It came out really starchy I think - very clumpy, feels like it's sticking to my teeth when I eat it. Basically, not very pleasant!

Here's the recipe I used: - medium grained rice from Albertson's - bag said 1 3/4 cups of water for each cup of rice. I used two cups of rice and so put in 3 1/2 cups of broth. - 1 16oz can of diced tomatoes - I drained most of the juice out before I put them in - 1 sm can of diced chilies - again, I drained out most of the liquid - some salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder

I fried up some chopped onion and peppers in a small amount of olive oil before adding the rice and broth and other ingredients. Then let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes - or until there was no liquid left.

Any ideas?

Thanks, Ross

  • 2
    Did you wash the rice (removes some of the loose starch which can cause it to clump up) or let the rice toast before adding the liquid (which I think keeps the starch from thickening the same way, I'm not really sure what the physical process is for that one)?
    – Joe
    Sep 30, 2010 at 23:58
  • I did brown the rice in the pan before adding the liquid, but I didn't wash it off before cooking. I'll try some variations next time. Oct 3, 2010 at 4:01

4 Answers 4


I don't know that type of rice, but it sounds like it ran out of liquid before it was done. Some types of rice can be done in about 10m, some take over half an hour. My tricks for risotto like dishes are:

  • wash the rice to remove loose starch
  • taste regularly so you can intervene as needed,
  • avoid stirring as much as you can (you can stir a few times to avoid burning),
  • fry the rice with the onions before adding water,
  • add liquid in small batches until it's done.

Try it with a few small batches to get the hang of it. It could very well be the wrong type of rice, so you may want to try other brands.

  • I've found that frying Paella rice before adding water does the trick, also adding water in small batches ensures that the rice doesn't become too gloopy.
    – Pram
    Oct 1, 2010 at 18:31
  • Great advice - thanks! I think stirring too much might have been my problem this time. I didn't realise I wasn't supposed to, and I was worried about it sticking to the bottom of the pan. I'll try it with your suggestions next time. Thanks! Oct 3, 2010 at 4:03
  • If I add the water in batches, do I still not stir in between batches of liquid? I just pour it in and let it settle where it will? Oct 3, 2010 at 4:04
  • I'd stir a little bit after adding more liquid. Oct 5, 2010 at 10:19
  • 4
    Why do you want to avoid burning on the bottom? An authentic paella is supposed to be burnt, and the socarrat (burnt bit) is the most prized. Dec 18, 2013 at 12:01

It sounds like it may have needed more liquid but it shouldn't have been chewy sounds like cheap rice. I have a couple of Hispanic girlfriends I cook with alot they use jasmine rice toasted in a pot with a little oil and add spicy clamato juice and chicken broth for the liquid. I'll get the exact recipe for you tonight. No rice should ever be chewy or sticky unless your making sushi rice.

  • Thanks Heather :-) I thought you might like this place. And I need help. And here all I get is mocked for buying cheap ingredients ;-) Point taken though - I'll try a different brand of rice next time too. But as you'll see above, I think my problem was stirring as well as not enough liquid. Next time will be great I'm sure :-) Oct 3, 2010 at 4:06

If you are talking about Paella, you should not use onion. It's verbotten for paella.

Also, you should use thick grained rice. Before adding the broth, did you stir the rice in the oil? Did you coat all the grains with oil? Did you add the broth hot? Hint: you should.

When you hear (the sizzle) the rice has not enough broth, you can add more. Check how much time is left for the rice to be done.

The rice is done when it's not hard in the center anymore. Don't overcook the rice. My guess is your 'chewy' rice is overcooked. Let the rice rest covered for about 5min before serving.

  • 1
    I liked @iwein's answer, but Paella and Risotto are not the same. Risotto should be stirred, small increments of liquid. Paella should not be stirred after the broth is added, and the broth should be added all at once, although you might add a little more in the end. Oct 2, 2010 at 15:33

That sounds low on liquid to me, though it is hard to be sure from your description.

If rice doesn't have enough liquid, each individual grain will still have a hard little nugget in the center.

If it has too much, the grains will tend to break down and stick together, though that can also happen if you are stirring, or if you are using a variety that is intentionally sticky. (Like arborio, for example.)

Here is my recipe for Arroz Mexicana, which is pretty much the same thing as Spanish Rice. You can use it as a starting point: http://www.herbivoracious.com/2009/12/arroz-a-la-mexicana-mexican-tomato-rice-recipe.html

  • The rice did have a slight crunch in the middle too, so I think I may have two problems - stirring and not enough water. Oct 3, 2010 at 4:04

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