I just read a few articles about cooking rice targeted at Americans ("take one cup of rice...") and in many comments people mentioned adding butter when they cooked rice. Why? Basic rice is cooked with just water and salt.

  • 1
    "Because everything is better with butter." I actually have heard this on cooking shows in the US a number of times. I also think many Americans would consider plain cooked rice boring in a diet filled with fat, sugar and spices. But seriously, rather than make a general statement regarding Americans, you should add some references to back up your claims.
    – user3169
    Jun 23, 2018 at 6:44
  • @user3169 steamykitchen.com/22048-how-to-cook-rice-microwave.html - five mentions of butter in the comments. reddit.com/r/EatCheapAndHealthy/comments/7lv7a2/… - three mentions.
    – d-b
    Jun 23, 2018 at 7:39
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    -1 As written this question seems more like a dig at Americans than an actual good-faith question about cooking. I recommend editing out "why do Americans do this" and ask instead what benefit butter adds to rice. I suspect the answer for most people who use butter in rice is that they like the flavor butter adds.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jun 23, 2018 at 8:19
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    You're missing a couple of minor things in the sentence "I've never seen butter added to regular rice in any European country, nor on any 'ethnic' restaurant from typical rice eating regions" - the Chinese don't eat dairy in meals as a general rule and because this has been a thing since, well, who knows how long, they never looked for alternative dairy free options for anything, so don't use butter in anything. The Indians do use clarified butter (ghee) in some of their rice cooking (pilaf) and similar recipes exist throughout the middle east Jun 23, 2018 at 9:29
  • 4
    Besides mithrandir's excellent point that many cultures cook rice with butter or other fat, this question has an inherently flawed premise. Some Americans sometimes use butter in rice. In any city of reasonable size you can find Americans preparing rice using any technique you can think of. The Americans running the Mexican or sushi restaurants down the street might take issue with that flawed premise. Jun 23, 2018 at 9:45

2 Answers 2


Well, because they like it, that's it.

In another form, it's like cooking the rice with tomato sauce - it absorbs better the taste compared to adding it at the end, there's no other benefit for the rice itself.

For example, sometimes I prepare whole grain rice with tomato sauce / vegetables broth and some chopped vegetables - it's much better than adding it all at the end of the process.


This is a pretty broad sweeping generalization. Can you clarify your question?

Generally the fats that are used in regional cuisine are determined by availability, cost, and preference. The Pilaf Method for cooking rice (French Method) also incorporates butter into the cooking process but traditional risotto though not void of butter as based more broadly on the use of olive oil.

  • I added references in a comment.
    – d-b
    Jun 24, 2018 at 13:29

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