Should You Add Butter When Making Rice?

Rice. It's been a primary food source since 2500 B.C. and quickly spread from China to many other countries, like India, Greece, and Brazil, per UC Davis Plant Biology. The world soon took notice of how the grain thrives in dry and wet climates, especially in Saudi Arabia and Southeast Asia, respectively, which aided in its popularity. And aside from being consumed as food, rice began to show up in alcohol, too, as sake relies on fermented rice, per Britannica, and Korean rice wine uses sweet, glutinous rice, via Kimchimari.

Today, rice is an essential part of the human diet and contains complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, and potassium, among many other vitamins and minerals, as noted by Think Rice. Rice also absorbs seasonings like a sponge, enhancing international dishes like seafood paella in Spain, biryani in India, and rice pies in Belgium, according to Goodman Fielder.

But for some home cooks, a pot of plain rice is the epitome of comfort and satiation, serving as a side dish for grilled meats and roasted vegetables. Not much prep is required either since rice just relies on water and either a pot or a rice cooker to become soft and steamed. But why stop there when such tiny pillows of fluffiness can be spruced up from herbs, spices, and maybe even some butter?

How butter enhances rice

Only good things come when cooking with butter, and that goes for rice too. Depending on what type of butter you use, the rice may take on characteristics of tangy, salty, and sweet notes, per Taste of Home, but overall, the rice will be enhanced with rich and buttery flavors. This can be done in one of two ways: toasting the rice in butter or adding butter directly to a pot of rice.

Kitchn discusses the first method, where uncooked rice is added to a pan or pot of melted butter, then stirred together until your kitchen smells of warm, buttery goodness. You can also add in other seasonings and/or spices if you wish, such as Cajun seasoning, garlic, or ginger.

The second method is even easier. All you have to do is take a pat of butter, mix it in with the water and rice, and continue cooking the rice as normal, as noted by The Nest. You can also do this during the cooking process, per Southern Living, as well as after the rice has finished steaming.

Butter is an absolute flavor powerhouse and should be used to make rice taste more buttery and rich, which, in turn, makes other foods on the same dinner plate, taste that much better as well.