How to Add Flavor to Boil-in-bag Rice (10 Ways)

Boil-in-bag rice is a convenient way to enjoy rice if you don’t have a dedicated rice cooker. Although handy, some may find the rice to be bland and would want to know how to add flavor to boil-in-bag rice.

In this article, I’ll go through how to add flavor to boil-in-bag rice either during or after the boiling process. You can choose the method that best suits you and the flavors that you want to go for.

How to Add Flavor to Boil-in-bag Rice During Cooking

Photo by Mgg Vitchakorn on Unsplash

If you want your rice to soak up flavor from the start, then adding flavor as the rice boils is the way to go.

You can cook boil-in-bag rice in the liquids listed below, or you can cut open the bag and empty the rice into the pot to cook directly without the bag. You can get delicious tasting rice with either method, so the choice is yours!

Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Using stock is an easy way to flavor boil-in-bag rice because you simply replace the water with stock. Like you usually would with water, the stock gets discarded if you are boiling the rice in the bag.

Unless you are keeping the cooking liquid, it is probably more cost-effective to use a bouillon cube for making the stock. If you are boiling rice directly in the pot (without the bag) then the liquid doesn’t get discarded, so you can also add extra seasoning like garlic salt to add more flavor.

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To start with, follow the cooking instructions for your specific brand of bouillon cube to make the stock and then make adjustments to taste (add more water to make the stock less dilute or add more stock cubes to make it stronger). The amount of stock to make will depend on how much rice you are boiling.

Season the Water

For a more subtle flavor, you can season the boiling water with your favorite seasoning. The amount of seasoning to add will depend on how strong you want your rice to be flavored and the amount of seasoning you are willing to throw away along with the water.

Salt, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and herbs are common ingredients that you can use to flavor your boil-in-bag water. Other ingredients that also work include onion powder, paprika, thyme, and parsley.

If you are cooking rice directly in the pot (without the bag) then you won’t need to worry about discarding the liquid and you can use as much seasoning as you like.

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Coconut Water

Cooking rice in coconut water instead of plain water gives your rice a subtle tropical flavor that pairs well with exotic dishes, such as those from South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Coconut water gives your rice a slightly sticky texture and is a lighter version of coconut rice made from coconut milk. The delicate coconut flavor works well with spicy foods and comes through best when coconut water is cooked with white rice.

How to Add Flavor to Boil-in-bag Rice After Cooking

It is just as easy to flavor boil-in-bag rice after cooking as it is during. In some ways, it gives you more freedom to try other flavors as your ingredients will be better mixed with the rice instead of being discarded in the boiled water.

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After cooking, empty the rice from the bag and fluff up the rice with a fork so that any excess moisture can evaporate off. This helps to make the rice less wet, which helps any added seasonings stick better to each grain.

Apart from the usual salt and pepper, there are other flavorings and seasonings that you can try:



Butter is a simple and delicious ingredient that adds heaps of flavor to boil-in-bag rice. If you find plain rice to be bland, then adding butter will transform it into a richer-tasting dish.

Soy sauce combined with butter is a delicious mixture. Soy sauce mixed with butter is commonly used in Japan where it is added to rice and vegetable dishes.

Soy Sauce

Plain soy (or sweet soy) sauce is a popular rice topping. This savory sauce pairs well with scallions/green onions. Your rice becomes particularly fragrant if you first warm-up chopped scallions in butter before mixing.

Garlic Powder/Salt + Herbs

I’m a big fan of garlic if you can’t tell. Garlic powder or salt can be added to almost any savory dish to elevate it (in my opinion).

Simply add your desired amount of garlic powder (use less if you are using garlic salt) and mix until the rice is flavored to your liking.

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Better yet, lightly fry minced garlic in butter and toss through your rice. You can also add your favorite dried or fresh herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary, or thyme to add more flavor to your rice. Don’t forget the salt and pepper though.

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From a jar, or made from scratch, salsa is another simple condiment that packs plenty of flavor. Combining mild or spicy salsa with cumin can give your rice a Tex-Mex feel.

Hot Sauce/Sriracha

Adding Sriracha or other hot sauces is an easy way to flavor rice. Perfectly balanced on its own, Sriracha is a simple condiment that you can use to flavor rice without needing to use lots of other seasonings.

Other Spices

Other spices like cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom also work well with rice. These spices should generally be toasted in a pan before being incorporated into your rice. This helps to make your rice more fragrant and gives it an Indian feel.

Fry it

If you have time, then you can add a lot more flavor by frying off the rice with other ingredients. Minced onion and garlic are easy add-ins that pack loads of flavor into plain rice. Fry in either sesame oil or butter for a more fragrant dish.

Egg and rice also go really well together. Frying minced onion, peas, and eggs together with rice and soy or oyster sauce will make delicious fried rice.


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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.