How To Cook Brown Rice

How to Cook Brown Rice

Transitioning your family from white to brown food (rice, grain, sugar) can be a little bit difficult on the taste buds. When we’re used to the white stuff, the brown stuff may seem a little heavy at first. I know I’ve heard the opposite from some of you, but transitioning my family from white rice to brown was actually one of our easier transitions when we were on our healthy eating journey.

But first I had to learn how to cook the stuff.  Brown rice cooks a little differently than white rice. And it takes 45 minutes? Really?

One of the things I’ve learned throughout our healthy eating journey is that whole foods may take a little longer to prepare, but that doesn’t mean that they are more difficult to prepare. I just have to plan ahead just a little bit better. Yes, brown rice takes 45 minutes to cook. But do I actually have to watch the pot and babysit my rice? Absolutely not. Start the rice a cookin’, set a timer, walk away and come back 45 minutes later.

Long story short:  Cooking Brown Rice is SO Easy.

Here are the basics of Brown Rice Cooking:

  • Use exactly twice as much liquid as rice. (For instance, use 2 cups of water with 1 cup of rice.)
  • The rice will absorb all the liquid, so if you cook one cup of rice in two cups of water, once the rice is cooked, you will have two cups of cooked rice.
  • Don’t bother your rice while it’s cooking. It will get grumpy. (Actually it will get sticky, and you may get grumpy.)
  • Sea Salt is your friend. Rice is a little bland without it.
  • We LOVE our rice cooked in Chicken Broth. The broth gives the rice excellent flavor and has really helped us transition to the taste of brown rice!

Here’s how to cook brown rice:

  1. Begin by boiling your water or broth. Remember, use two cups of liquid for every one cup of rice.
  2. Once the liquid has come to a full boil, pour in the dry brown rice.
  3. Give the rice a stir. Turn down the burner to a simmering heat level.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid.
  5. Set a timer for 45 minutes.
  6. Do not stir the rice or even bother with looking at the rice until the timer goes off.
  7. Remove the rice from the heat.
  8. Salt liberally, or mix your cooked rice into your desired recipe.

I took several pictures to create a tutorial for you, but in just about every picture, the steam from the pot fogged up my camera lense. It would have been a lovely tutorial.

See?  Look at the wonderful boiling broth. With steam. This was the least foggy of all the pictures.
Don’t you just feel like you learned an awful lot by looking at it?

Sorry for the lack of tutorial photos. Really though, even without pictures to look at, I do believe you can easily cook brown rice.   Then use it to make Rice and Veggie Stir Fry or Spanish Rice…or even add butter and salt and eat it plain!

Does your family like brown rice? How do you like to eat your rice?

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  1. says

    We love brown rice – we cook it in Organic vegetable broth – YUM!!!! Thank you for sharing how you do yours – so fun to see how others are making their rice :).


  2. Tracy Caldwell says

    We also love brown rice. But I usually bake it in the oven with chicken broth. YUM!


    Hillary Reply:

    How do you bake your rice? I would love to try this!


  3. Kim Blair says

    I just love your site. I read it along with my devotionals everyday! I just wanted to say on the rice cooking – funny how the hardest part is to leave the lid on and leave it alone.


  4. Betsy says

    We’ve given brown rice a try a few times. Guess we need to try it again.


    Briley Reply:

    Hi all. I know this is an older post, but if you soak your brown rice in water for 1 to 3 hours before cooking, you’ll be shocked at how soft and fluffy it gets. These cooking directions are perfect, just soak it first. :) Also, rice cookers are an excellent investment. You don’t heven have to set a timer. If you get busy cleaning or (like I so often do) tackling laundry, no worries. It stops when it is done and stays warm. :)


  5. Tracy says

    I have started trying to move to brown rice so I started with the instant brown rice. Is that any better than white rice?

    Thanks for the cooking tips.


  6. Alana says

    I cook large batches of brown rice in our crockpot and then freeze it in sandwich size ziplock bags so that I have ‘instant’ brown rice whenever I want it. I do the same with wild rice, lentils, barley, beans, etc. I love my crockpot, and my freezer!


    Dee Reply:

    I would like to ask you how long each rice or beans
    or graisn are cooked in the crockpot.
    I am new at Vegetarian and purpse to start off right!

    I think you for you time,


    Alana Nystrom Reply:

    Unfortunately I don’t really keep track of the time. I usually just throw something in after breakfast and keep checking the texture by taking a taste every hour or so. Also depends upon how much you’re cooking, and if you’re cooking it on high or low.


  7. Kesha says

    I have a question: Is Minute Rice less healthy since it only takes 10 minutes to cook? Do I really need to buy the 45-minute kind instead?


  8. says

    Mmmm, that looks very moist – I’ll have to try your chicken broth tip! We like the taste of brown rice, thankfully, but I bet that makes it even better!


  9. Bethany says

    All I use is brown rice-the white stuff is actually kinda yucky to me now. I love it just like you made it-with chicken broth and some salt. Then I may add some garlic powder or other spice later on, depending on how I’m using it in a meal. But my family LOVES it.

    Thanks for the tips!


    Theresa C Reply:

    I completely agree with you! The white stuff is just blah. Healthy eating tastes good :)


  10. lori in chapel hill says

    I discovered brown rice at PF Changs when my daughter took me out to lunch. I loved it immediately and also it’s better for you than white I hear! I do lack recipes that come up good or right when done, it seems you can’t just substitue brown for white all the time.


  11. Stefanie says

    We are just staring our transition over to brown rice. So far so good! I did try soaking the rice like Katie suggests over at Kitchen Stewardship.


  12. Blair says

    Yeah, I used brown minute rice yesterday. It probably isn’t as good for you as regular brown rice. But tell us laura, is it really THAT bad?


  13. Vanessa says

    I am ashamed to say, I use the brown Minute Rice too… I think I have stirred it too much when I made the 45 min stuff, as it turned into a gloppy mess, but if I don’t stir it, it all burns to the bottom of the pot!


    Joyce Reply:

    Try rinsing the brown rice a few times until the water is clear before cooking. That may keep it from getting “gloppy”.


    Vanessa Reply:

    Thanks! I will try that.


  14. Pat says

    I make up a BIG BATCH of Brown Rice and then store the extra in containers in the freezer. Then when we want rice, a place in the refrigerator until dinner time, pop in the steamer and use it for whatever I want. Saves me time.


  15. Angela says

    My kids will tell you that brown rice is “real” rice and the white stuff is fluff!


    Theresa C Reply:



  16. Carmen says

    I’ve only ever used instant brown rice and didn’t really like it as a plain “side dish” (then again, I’m not really fond of white rice this way either). I found it worked well in fried rice – when there were so many other flavors involved that you wouldn’t notice the difference in taste.


  17. says

    While transitioning to some “brown” foods has been difficult, rice actually hasn’t – other than the fact that sometimes it’s way too sticky to be any good! I’ll try following your steps above!


  18. Jen says

    My family gives me grief sometimes about using just brown rice so I mix half white and half brown. My main problem is not being organized enough to start the brown rice to let it cook for 45 minutes. It is definitely better cooked in broth then water.


  19. Christina says

    We have not really given brown rice a chance because when I cooked it (only once) it was terrible and it wasn’t done and we thought we just didn’t like it but now that I’ve read your post here Perhaps I will try again. I’m afraid I got a bit discouraged the first time.


  20. Cheryl says

    I have to keep trying with brown rice. I’ll check the instructions I’ve been using. Maybe I’m not using enough water! Thanks for all the wonderful things I’ve been finding on your site!


  21. Kristina says

    Brown rice has been my easiest transition to brown. Whole wheat flour from the store does not bake the same, but I might be getting a mill for Christmas and grinding my own soon!! And I’m not even trying with pasta. Confession: I LOVE white pasta!! Maybe someday, but not today!


  22. Annie says

    We only use brown rice. We have the Pampered Chef rice cooker, that does it in the microwave in about 30 minutes, but you’re exactly right…2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of rice. Our FAVORITE rice recipe is Pork Fried Rice. We usually make a boatload of it and freeze it, although, it barely lasts for 2 meals around here.

    Cook and cool about 6 cups (cooked) rice. Scramble 6 eggs, set aside in a LARGE bowl.
    We use cooked, trimmed leftover pork steaks…however many you have/want. Heat with some green onions (scallions???) and add to the bowl.
    Cook a bag of frozen peas & carrots, and add to the bowl.
    Add some olive oil to the skillet and “fry” the rice, and add some soy sauce. Add it to the bowl. We actually have to fry the rice in 3 batches, since it’s a lot of rice and our skillet won’t old all of it.
    Toss the contents of the bowl, and voila! Our family’s favorite one-dish wonder!

    Freezes and reheats great.


    Yvonne Reply:

    I LOVE making brown rice in my Pampered chef Rice cooker. I use chicken broth with it and usually some ddry seasoning that helps flavor the rice even more. We made the white to brown switch over 4 years ago and never looked back. I am so glad that my kids have been so open to switching to things that are good for them :)


  23. Barbra says

    We are trying to get into the swing of brown rice… Could you recommend a brand? I’ve tried it according to the Nourishing Traditions recipe, soaking it 7 hours to overnight, before cooking, have you? Then you cook it with sea salt and butter. It is very tasty, but it all comes down to being organized…
    Thank you for your site, always something interesting to read!!


  24. Lorinda says

    Yes, we eat brown rice. I think it has more flavor cooked in broth. However, I still enjoy Jasmine Rice for Oriental style dishes.


  25. Melissa says

    I have been wanting to know how to make simple brown rice better…and you gave me just the right tip I needed! I will cook it in chicken broth from now on! (Too bad my mom didn’t make me learn in the kitchen as a teenager…I’m having to find my own way as a mom of three kiddos ages 3 and under!) :)


  26. JOellyn says

    we have recently transitioned to brown rice in our household and I have decided that I really do like it better. I love the nuttiness and chewiness. BUT… i didn’t transition until I got my rice cooker. I can’t cook brown rice any other way… I overcook it! So happiness abounds :)


    JOellyn Reply:

    I usually cook it in chicken broth with a bit of butter and I cook brown
    jasmine rice. it has the best flavor.


  27. Veee Schenk says

    I love brown rice but don’t like it at all when it turns to mush, which mine did most of the time onthe stove top. So I cook mine in an metal bowl inside my pressure cooker. That way I get perfect brown rice in about 20 minutes.


  28. Dana says

    I have a rice cooker (a carryover from when I lived in Japan) and it works great. I measure in the rice with the little measuring cup that came with it and fill up the water to the mark on the inside of the bowl. Then I just turn it on and it takes care of the rest! Even turns it off when it senses that it’s done. I’d suggest it for people who eat a lot of rice and have some spare money hanging around.

    I would love to win one of your ebooks! There are so many that look good!


  29. says

    I definitely prefer the taste of brown rice. Sometimes we sautee some veggies (onions, garlic, pepers) in butter then add the liquid and the rice. Adds a nice dimension of flavor.


  30. Michelle says

    I love brown rice; I don’t know why anyone would use white anymore!


    Barbra Reply:

    What brand do you use and where do you buy it?
    Thank you.


  31. Nicci says

    I have a microwave rice cooker and have only done white rice in it. I’m gonna have to try brown now, my husband is so picky hope he likes it!


  32. says

    I’ve switched my family to brown rice a couple of years ago and had the simmering down packed… We are military and when I moved with my parents while my husband was overseas I never had to cook… One year later and my brown rice takes at least and hour and a half and its still crunchy!!! Don’t know where I’m messing up!!
    I’ve also used the chicken broth idea instead of plain water for some time now. I also like to first sautee onions and garlic then rice… add a few spices like cumin, a can of rotel (or salsa) and a can and a half (or more) of water/chicken broth and let simmer with a lid until done.


    Diana Reply:

    I had that problem when we moved into our new house. Turns out the “low” setting on our new stove is MUCH lower than our previous one. Try simmering it on a little higher heat. Hope that helps!


  33. Misty says

    I keep trying to transition us over to brown rice but we keep going back and fourth, I’ll have to try doing in broth maybe that will be the clincher.


  34. Amanda says

    I tried to make Spanish rice with brown rice tonight. At 45 minutes the rice is only about 1/2 done. I used 1.25 cups broth and 1 cup tomato sauce with 1 cup rice. I brought the liquid to a boil and then put in the rice and lowered it to a simmer. I put on the lid and left it alone for 45 minutes. Does anyone know what I did wrong?


  35. Sara says

    Ok, I have to admit, I am an ok cook. Mostly stuff turns out ok but I just cannot cook rice. It always turns out mushy. I can’t bear to leave it alone I guess. I will keep trying with this method and hopefully I won’t have “grumpy” rice next time. LOL


  36. Rebekah says

    I love making quinoa with chicken broth, never thought of doing the same with brown rice. That would help with dh’s transition!


  37. Christy says

    We love brown rice, and have been experimenting with the brown basmati for our indian dishes we make. So fragrant and tasty (my VERY picky children even love it!).


  38. says

    I would LOVE to recommend this route of preparing brown rice as well. It will take 1 hr in stead of 45 minutes but after it’s in – you don’t have to watch it, stir it, etc. It’s SO easy to start and walk away from. Also, I double this recipe, then let it cool some on the counter, break it into portion sizes and freeze for future use to just grab and mix into a casserole or to throw some chicken into for lunch. Easy! Never had a batch go wrong.

    Baked Brown Rice
    Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

    Prep Time:5 minInactive Prep Time:–Cook Time:1 hr 5 min
    4 servings

    1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
    2 1/2 cups water
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

    Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.

    After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.


  39. says

    My kids love brown rice (the 2.5yo and 13mo don’t even really know any better unless we get Chinese take-out).

    But I too do the even lazier route and bake it a la Alton Brown’s recipe. Boil the water, toss rice and water into the oven, come back in an hour. Perfect, every. single. time. :D

    I do a double batch most of the time since it only takes me an extra 5 minutes at most to reload the saucepan with water/butter/salt to boil. Then I stick leftovers in the fridge for a later meal, in the freezer for whatever nefarious purpose later on, and I even use them in the bottom of frozen casseroles I make OAMC-style (chicken broccoli cheese, enchiladas, chicken cordon bleu, etc.).


  40. Christa says

    Seems like I can NEVER get it right! I can’t get past the sticky rice. My husband is Puerto Rican and I’ve gotten very good at making Spanish rice with medium grain white rice. We’ve been trying to eat healthier so we rarely have it. I’ve settled for Uncle Ben’s boil in bag brown rice. I’m going to try it once more using your suggestions.


  41. Cheryl says

    I’ve been cooking mine like this: Bring a big pot of water to boil, add your rice (say 1c for every 4-5 c water), cover and boil for about 20 minutes,then drain, return rice immediately to pan, cover and let steam the rest of the way, about 10 minutes. You could remove from heat or keep on low — just watch that you don’t burn the rice when the water steams out.

    I love cooking my brown rice this way. Light and fluffy! Easy, too. Takes less than 45 minutes, too!


    Amy Reply:

    This is exactly how I cook my brown rice and it’s perfect every time!


  42. Lindsay P. says

    I am SO HAPPY I ran across your website!! I am working to get in shape and live healthier, but my husband will NOT eat brown rice. LOL I just know if I follow your suggestions he’ll be eating it up as fast as I can make it! God bless you!! :)


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