Alton Brown's Key Step For Flavorful Rice

If you're looking to balance out a meal with some carbs, you can never go wrong with steamed rice. It's versatile enough to be enjoyed as a side to a variety of dishes, but it can also be spruced up with different ingredients. From frying it with vegetables, to mixing in different spices, or even cooking it in broth, there are plenty of ways to transform rice.

One of the most common, aside from actually adding seasoning, is to simply toast the rice. As the Los Angeles Times explains, many rice-based recipes call for toasting the dry grains in a pan before adding water. In the same way that toasting spices and nuts intensifies their aromas and flavors, toasting rice brings out its natural nuttiness. This extra step is an easy way to give plain rice a depth of flavor, but according to "Good Eats" host Alton Brown (via YouTube), there's one more thing you can do if you want to take that flavor a step further.

A bit of fat goes a long way when cooking rice

Instead of toasting the rice in a pan by itself, Alton Brown adds fat and salt. "By cooking this in fat before we add water, we can up the nuttiness that is naturally in this kind of rice," the celebrity chef explains in a video posted to his YouTube channel. Brown recommends using butter over any form of fat, as the milk solids in it will add another layer of flavor on top of the fat itself. Oil, according to Brown, will also work, but won't yield rice that's as flavorful.

For best results, Brown uses 2 tablespoons of butter per 3 cups of rice in addition to a generous pinch of salt. Per his instructions, sauté the ingredients over high heat, and as soon as you smell a popcorn-like aroma, add water and cook your rice as you normally would. Then when it's time to serve, you'll be able to taste the difference.