Measure Rice-To-Water Ratio Using Your Finger

Measure Rice-To-Water Ratio Using Your Finger

Rice needs the right water-to-grain ratio to come out perfectly fluffy and delicious. You can use your finger as a measuring tool to make it easy.

The Kitchn calls it the “first knuckle method,” and I was delighted to come across it, because it’s something my mum taught me when I was little. As the site explains:

It’s simple: pour the rice into the pan you’re going to cook it in. Level it out and place your index finger so that it is touching the surface of the rice. Add enough water so that it comes up to your first knuckle — I usually use the crease on the palm-side of my finger.

To be clear, this is the first line of your finger from the top. It doesn’t matter how much rice to you use, the idea is to make sure the water reaches that line of your finger. They mention that it’s puzzling that this can be a universal method, because everyone’s fingers are different. But I’ve seen most everyone in my family use this method, and I’ve recommended it to others when cooking rice, and the rice always comes out the way it’s supposed to. It’s not soggy, and it’s not undercooked. It’s fluffy and slightly sticky. Depending on your dish, you don’t always want this consistency. I grew up using this method for Chinese and Thai dishes.

Granted, it’s probably better to measure everything out precisely, but when you’re a lazy cook like me, this method works surprisingly well. You can check out the full post at the link below.

Cooking rice: Do you use the first knuckle method? [The Kitchn]


  • I used to do this as a kid, but it’s a bit redundant now that most rice cooker bowls come with measurements on the side (like the one in the pic).

  • What if the rice level is up to the second knuckle? Do I still just add water up to the first knuckle?

    • Yes it doesn’t matter how much rice, it is the water level that goes to the first knuckle starting from the top of the rice

    • your tip of the finger should be on the level of the rice, not to the bottom of the cooker

    • “place your index finger so that it is touching the surface of the rice”

  • Got to be honest, I prefer mine not to be too fluffy – a little bit of texture rather than a fluffy blob.

  • Sounds like a hell of a lot of water but ill have to see what my current 1:1 + a bit more lines up at, maybe it’ll stop the dried, stuck together rice biscuit at the bottom of the rice cooker.

  • Way too much thought here. Just boil heaps of water (pan almost full), throw in the required amount of rice, boil for 11 minutes, strain and rinse with boiling water. No need for a rice cooker, no need for rinsing rice beforehand.

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