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.

Tweet This

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.

Other How to Cook Simple Grain Recipes:

Grilled Pork Loin with Brown Rice

Like this recipe? Pin it to your favorite board on Pinterest.

Pin This

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
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian


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


  • 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.

Made this recipe? Post a photo of your delicious creation on Instagram with our hashtag #dinnersolved


  1. YEESSSS, finally brown rice that isn’t a mushy and still watery mess!!!! This came out perfectly, good texture and nice flavor. Thank you so much for this recipe, I’d almost given up on cooking brown rice on the stove and just switch to a rice cooker. Also, you site looks beautiful, looking forward to trying other recipes you have :)

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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 :)

  6. I used a little less water than called for in the recipe (2 cups for every cup of brown rice), and still ended up with way too much water in the pot and the rice still undercooked at 45minutes. Any insights?

    1. Hi! My guess is that you weren’t cooking it at high enough of a temperature. It needs to be at a steady simmer.

  7. HNey could skip all the history and j ust get to the recipe it is very confusing looking for what I need right now for dinner and having to scroll through text that has nothing to do with making brown.

    All I need is the recipe that has ingredients and maybe a few sentences about temperature.

    That would be more helpful.

    1. starting in January there will be a jump to the recipe button, so if you choose to skip the intro, you can get straight to the recipe!

    2. I love hearing the extra detail. I have learned a lot from Bill. It should not affect you, just focus on what you have to say and not mind others.

  8. I have noticed, there are two or three, levels of just brown rice, or degrees of polishing the brown rice, its natural state, meaning, some brands, or style really polish the rice, to aid in water absorption, speed up cooking time, or feel the rice is more attractive, (I hate it) store longer on the shelf, or water absorption. Asian markets for sure, will let you know all about it. (That’s where I learned) I was informed by a good source, (Correct me if i am wrong) but white rice, is polished to the core white center of rice and BLEACHED, to increase shelf life. At this point, there is NO nutritional value to rice, frankly, illegal to sell as is, so low grade vitamins are added to the rice, which soon cooks or washes away. Brown rice, has a much shorter shelf life, but if people ate more brown rice, storage would not be needed. I have never bought a bag of bad rice, not one grain. Thank you

  9. This recipe was perfect for my brown rice. Last time I used the package directions, and it was a mushy mess! Definitely bookmarking this page. Thanks!

  10. I think maybe it is better to use a little less water if you live in a humid place (like I do). Mine would have come out perfect I think with just 1/4 cup less.

Rate & Comment

Recipe Rating