Basic Chinese Congee


Dress up this classic white rice porridge with your favorite savory toppings like bacon, Chinese sausage, or onions. 

Total Time:
1 hr 20 mins
4 servings

Congee, or Chinese rice porridge, is made by cooking rice in a proportionately large amount of water, far more than used to make basic rice. It's cooked until the rice breaks down and thickens the water to a pudding-like consistency. Although it can be eaten any time of day, it's especially popular as a breakfast food, much like oatmeal in the United States, though it's typically served as a savory dish. Because it's easily digested and made with soothing ginger, it's often fed to people when they're ill.

This Chinese congee recipe calls for long-grain white rice, but the type of rice used in China varies by region and availability. It's even made from other grains entirely in some areas; in northern China, for example, rice does not grow particularly well in the colder climate, so grains like barley and sorghum are used instead. It can be cooked until it's fairly thick, or left more on the liquid end of the spectrum, depending on preference.

Congee is usually served as a main dish. Just as there are lots of ways to prepare congee, so too is the variation in garnishes and accompaniments. Here, we top our congee with a simple sprinkling of scallions and soy sauce or sesame seed oil, but feel free to be as creative as you please. Eggs, pickled vegetables, dried shrimp, cilantro, tofu, chile crisp, roasted peanuts, and really any kind of meat or fish are all great options.


  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice, rinsed

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thin

  • Sliced scallions, for garnish

  • Sesame seed oil or soy sauce, for serving (optional)


  1. Basic Chinese Congee

    Diana Chistruga

    Gather the ingredients.

  2. Basic Chinese Congee

    Diana Chistruga

    In a large pot, add stock, rice, salt, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally so that the rice doesn't clump or stick at the bottom.

  3. Basic Chinese Congee

    Diana Chistruga

    Simmer the congee for about 1 hour or until the congee is thickened and creamy. Add salt to taste.

  4. Basic Chinese Congee

    Diana Chistruga

    Serve the congee hot with scallions, sesame seed oil, and soy sauce.

Basic Chinese Congee

Diana Chistruga


As the congee cools, it will become thicker. Add additional stock or water if necessary to make the congee to your desired thickness.

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