How to Make Brown Rice:

These days many of us are swapping in brown rice for white in all sorts of ways. Seriously, if you look at the sushi offerings at the Whole Foods sushi counter, almost half of them are made with brown rice, and you know Whole Foods isn’t serving up all that brown rice sushi without a ready group of consumers.

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice on the Stove

And lots of restaurants are offering brown rice as an option, Asian restaurants in particular. And we are making it at home more often – but if you’re just getting started in the brown rice world, you may have some questions, and want some advice on how to make tender brown rice, and make it well.

Because badly cooked brown rice can be grainy and mushy, while perfectly cooked brown rice results in plump, chewy little grains, with loads of flavor, and great texture.  Not to mention a nice nutritional boost.  Here’s a recipe for how to get perfect brown rice every time.


What is Brown Rice?

Brown rice is rice with the inedible outer hull removed, but with the germ and outer layer intact. It is more nutritious than white rice, and has a denier, chewier, nuttier, grain.

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice on the Stove

What Types of Brown Rice Are There?  Which one should you buy?

Pretty much every rice comes in a brown version from long-grain to basmati.  Long or medium grain is best for most preparations, including simple cooked brown rice. Short grain can be stickier, and is sometimes desired for Asian rice preparations.

This is what you need to know to cook perfect brown rice on the stove.

Do you need to rinse or soak brown rice before cooking?

It’s often advised, but I’ve more often than not skipped this.  While rinsing or soaking may help keep the grains more separate and distinct, it’s not going to ruin your pot of rice if you skip it.  See if your package has specific instructions on this.

The best foolproof brown rice recipe: How long to cook brown rice, the brown rice to water ratio, and everything you need to know to get perfect brown rice.

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What is the the ratio of brown rice to water?

The basic brown rice to water ratio is 2 1/2 cups water for every 1 cup of brown rice.  Consider cooking your rice in a light broth instead of water if you want to give it a boost of flavor.  Use vegetarian broth if you want to keep the rice vegetarian or even vegan.

How long does it take to cook brown rice?

Brown rice usually takes about 45 minutes to become cooked and tender, once the water (or broth) comes to a simmer, and then it needs at least 10 minutes to stand before serving.

Is brown rice harder to cook?

Nope. It just takes longer so you need to plan for that. But you can also make it in bigger batches and store in for another time.

How do you freeze cooked brown rice?

Place it in freezer proof zipper top bags.  Pack them into whichever sizes you most likely will want to defrost in the coming months. Press the bag to squeeze out all of the air then seal it.   Label the bag with the date and also write Brown Rice on it.  Really you might think it’s barley or something when you encounter it in its frozen state months later, and you shouldn’t have to guess at what it is! It will keep in the freezer for at least 4 months, up to 6.

Grilled Pork Loin with Brown Rice

What is the difference between brown and white rice?

While brown rice has the outer hull removed, white rice also has the outer layer and the cereal germ removed in addition to the hull.  

Brown Rice Nutrition

As for the nutritional difference, with brown rice more of the grain remains intact. In the process of removing the outer layer and cereal germ of white rice, some vitamins and minerals are lost – when you see enriched white rice that means they were added back in. Brown rice, however has more fiber (this is the biggest nutritional advantage brown rice provides), magnesium, folate and some other minerals. The higher level of fiber keeps you fuller longer.  Some studies have shown a lot of health benefits and associated with the consumption of brown rice and other whole grains.

Which kind of rice has more carbs and calories?

Both white and brown rice have similar amounts of calories and carbs per cup, with brown rice being slightly higher at 44 grams of carbs per cup.

How many calories are in a cup of brown rice?

A cup of brown rice has 216 calories, and 1.8 grams of fat.

How long can you store brown rice?

If a bag is unopened, it will have a “Best Used By” Date on it. Once it’s opened you should transfer it to an airtight container and use it within about 4 months.  The same applies if you bought your rice in bulk.   Because of the natural oils it contains, it can go rancid more quickly than white rice.

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice on the Stove

What to Serve with Brown Rice?

Really anything you would serve with white rice!  Once you’ve made your pot of perfect brown rice you can serve it as is alongside anything from Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables to Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa to Thai Salmon.

Brown Rice Recipes:

And don’t miss: 10 Ways to Use Leftover Rice.

Grilled Pork Loin with Brown Rice

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How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice on the Stove

The best foolproof brown rice recipe: How long to cook brown rice, the brown rice to water ratio, and everything you need to know to get perfect brown rice.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 ½ cups water or broth
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter optional

Directions

  • Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer—if you aren’t in the mood, skip it.
  • Combine the rice, water, salt, and butter (if using) in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat so that the rice stays at a low simmer, and cover the pot. Simmer without lifting the lid of the pot for 45 minutes. Lift the lid and see if the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. If so, remove the pan from the hat, leave the lid on , and let it sit for 10 minutes. If not, and it seems like the rice isn’t quite tender but the water is gone, add a few tablespoons more water or broth and let it cook for another minute or so. If there is just a tiny bit of liquid left, just leave it while you let the rice rest for 10 minutes – and it should absorb.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 136.26kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.54g | Protein: 2.82g | Fat: 2.95g | Saturated Fat: 1.4g | Cholesterol: 5.02mg | Sodium: 376.3mg | Potassium: 163.2mg | Fiber: 1.08g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 58.31IU | Vitamin C: 6.86mg | Calcium: 16.32mg | Iron: 0.77mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for the suggestion about freezing the leftover rice. My daughter and I don’t eat very much at a time and I always have to cook too much. Thanks again.

  2. I’ve tried other basic recipes, but this was the best! I used a chicken broth along with the water.
    Thanks much.

  3. Worked Perfectly! I usually bake my rice but it was a hot day so didn’t want to heat up the large oven. This method the rice came out perfectly. I used broth as suggested for more flavour! thanks!

  4. Following your water and cooking recommendations, I made a double recipe of brown rice for a Spanish rice recipe. Rice turned out PERFECT! Thank you :)

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