Cooking rice is one of the most notoriously difficult challenges in the kitchen, so when you are out in the wilds, it becomes a lot more pressing. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy a beautiful rice dish when you are enjoying time in nature. You simply need to find the best method to cook rice when camping.
In this guide, we have put together some of our favourite ways to get fluffy, tasty rice every time, even when you don’t have access to a full kitchen.
Rice is a great staple food to take on any camping trip for many reasons. Primarily, rice goes with pretty much anything. If you are doing a campsite BBQ and want a filling side, rice will work. Similarly, it goes well with curries, fish and can even be used to make one of the most traditional desserts we can think of; rice pudding. This is, without doubt, a versatile food.
However, much more than this, rice is easy to take with you when you are travelling thanks to its compact size. It often comes in small bags and a little goes a long way thanks to how much rice expands when you cook it.
Rice is also non-perishable so you can quite easily buy a huge supply and keep it in a cool dry place for years without it’s quality diminishing. For this reason, it is favoured by campers around the world who will simply take what they need on their current camping trip and have plenty left over for next time they go off exploring the world.
If all of that wasn’t enough, you might consider the low cost of rice. This is a product that can be picked for as little as five pounds for 2.5kg.
However, we should point out that as great as rice is, there is a side of this food that a lot of people are not aware of. If you precook rice and take it on an excursion, there is a chance that a very unpleasant bacteria known as Bacillus Cereus could develop. This is known to make you very sick with food poisoning and is the last thing that anyone wants when they are trying to enjoy a camping trip.
For this reason, we would always recommend taking uncooked rice and using one of the many methods below to get a delicious side dish to enjoy while taking in what nature has to offer.
If you absolutely must pre-cook your rice before heading off on an adventure, you should follow some food hygiene best practices to ensure that it stays fresh and fit for consumption. Once the rice is cooked, you should let it cool and then pack it on ice until you are ready to reheat it.
- Reheating the rice can be done using a small amount of water in a camping pot or pan. Bring this to a simmer and then place the rice, breaking it up to allow it to warm through evenly.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Rice When Camping?
Rice typically comes in one of two forms; pre-cooked which you reheat in a microwave and dried rice which must be cooked through. The latter is often favoured by food lovers and campers alike for its quality.
However, when you are camping, cooking rice could prove a lot more challenging than merely throwing it into a pan of water on the cooker top. That being said, there are many viable ways to cook this important staple food, even when you are outdoors.
Using A Rice Cooker
We believe that one of the best ways to cook rice when camping is to use a rice cooker. These devices are made specifically for cooking rice and will always give you an excellent result. The only downside is that they require some sort of power, often mains electricity so you will only be able to use this method if you are on a campsite where there is the option to hook up to electricity.
One of the best things about a rice cooker is that the process of cooking rice is automatic; you set the cooker and allow it to do the rest.
All too often, we find ourselves fawning over a pot of boiling rice, wondering when just the right amount of time has passed to get that beautiful texture that we strive for. This is all eliminated when using a rice cooker. However, it is important to point out that a rice cooker typically takes a little longer than other methods, so you will need to be prepared to wait for your meal.
If you are going to use this method, then there are some things that you should keep in mind because while the cooking does take care of itself, there is still the preparation to consider. Take a look at our tops tips for getting perfect rice when camping through the magic of the rice cooker.
- Your rice cooker won’t do everything for you so do be sure to rinse the rice well before you pop it in. Rice is a very starchy food and this can cause it to stick and become stodgy unless it is rinsed prior to cooking. However, if you like stickier rice, then you can omit this step.
- You should always put the rice into the rice cooker before you add the water. When you add the water, you don’t need to go overboard, just use enough to cover the rice; the same as you would when cooking on the stove at home. As a general rule, you should add 2 ¼ cups of water for every cup of rice.
- If you want a more flavoursome rice, you might substitute the water for a stock of your choice, this will cause the flavours to penetrate the rice during the cooking process. Some people also like to add salt to the rice water for a more subtle flavouring.
- Now you can pop on the lid and set the rice cooker. Most devices will come with various settings depending on the type of rice you are cooking. This is something that you will need to make yourself aware of depending on the product you are using, but typically this is very clear and easy to understand.
- Once the rice is cooked, the rice cooker will usually alert you. Depending on the product you are using, this could be anything from a light changing colour to the cooker letting out a little jingle; although you’ll probably pay more for this novelty.
- Before you take the rice out and serve it, you should check it to make sure that it is cooked to your liking. If you have used the correct setting, you can feel pretty confident that the rice will be cooked.
- According to cooking experts, you should allow your rice to rest for ten minutes after cooking. This will ensure that you get the best texture possible, it’ll also give you time to finish that beer that you inevitably opened while waiting for the rice to cook!
- When you are ready to eat, you can then serve the rice with any number of dishes. It is also fun to experiment with different seasonings like spices, lemon juice and herbs; let your imagination run wild.
Other Ways To Cook Rice When Camping
Using a rice cooker is a perfectly viable option if you are on a campsite with access to electricity but what happens if you are out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the equipment in your bag? This is where you need to get more creative and while it might feel like a mammoth task, cooking rice in the wilderness isn’t as complicated as you might first think.
Using A Camping Stove To Cook Rice
If you are an avid camper, the chances are that you have some sort of camping stove and this can be an invaluable piece of equipment when it comes to cooking rice. And if you haven’t we’ve done a whole article about Best Camping Stoves that you really should check out.
Not only do most campers have a camping stove but these are extremely easy to use and will allow you to cook your rice in a very similar manner to what you would at home; boiling a pot of water and adding the rice to it.
If you are new to camping and haven’t had a chance to invest in a camping stove, you’ll be pleased to know that they are relatively inexpensive to pick. Even better, they are very versatile pieces of equipment that can be used to cook a wealth of different dishes.
Using A Campfire To Cook Rice
Before we get into discussing this method, we should point out that there are places where lighting a campfire is not permitted. So, before you start preparing to cook this way, be sure to check out local restrictions.
Cooking on a campfire is not only efficient but it is also extremely enjoyable. There is something about this method that takes us back to our roots; cooking over a flame in nature is something our ancestors did for millions of years. We wrote another guide about Best Campfire Tripods to help you out further.
It is simple to cook rice over your campfire. All you need to do is hand a pot of boiling water above the fire and let the heat do its work. Once again, this is very similar to the way you would cook rice on the cooker top at home, only a lot more primal.
Our best tip for using this method would be to make sure that you have a structure for hanging the pot that is strong enough to hold it. The last thing you want is for a hot pot of water to come toppling down, putting out your fire and risking injuring you or your campmates.
Using A Kettle To Cook Rice
If you do not want to carry around too much excess equipment, you might make use of the things that you already have. As you’d expect we have wrote the best camping kettle guide, to help you use this method.
Most campers in the UK will take a kettle with them on their travels; after all, we love nothing more than a good cuppa. But the great thing about these camping kettles is that just as easily as boiling water, you can add rice to this and still get some pretty impressive results.
Depending on the type of kettle you have, you might need to cook the rice differently. The Redcamp kettle holds 0.9l and has some nice features, including a more sensible lid than many and base designed to spread heat more evenly.
For example, there are many iron camping kettles that are designed to be put directly into a campfire for 360º cooking. Alternatively, kettles made from less robust metals will need to be placed on a grill or other structure above the campfire. You can also cook on a fire pit too, which works equally well.
If you have ever spent time in the kitchen trying to get the perfect rice, then you will know that this isn’t’t an easy task. Many people take to search engines every day looking for the answer of how to create the perfect rice and this isn’t just in the kitchen.
When you head out on a camping adventure, it can be beneficial to take some rice as an accompaniment to your campfire meals. This is a versatile food that is easy to carry and affordable.
Using a rice cooker is one of the best ways to get restaurant quality rice every time and if you are at a campsite where you can hook up to the electricity, then this is a great option for cooking rice when camping.
However, if you don’t have access to a rice cooker, there are many other methods you can use that are quick, easy and will produce excellent results.