How to Cook Brown Rice
Here, three different ways to cook brown rice perfectly every time.
By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen
Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.
Cooking a pot of rice is a simple and essential skill, but cooking brown rice is sometimes a little trickier. Because the grain’s bran is intact, it takes longer to cook and it can be challenging to strike the optimal texture: chewy but not soggy, tender but not crunchy. But master this recipe and follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to perfectly cooked, tender grains. Here’s how to cook brown rice on the stovetop, in a rice cooker, and in an Instant Pot, and some of our favorite recipes for this nutritious and versatile grain, from breakfast to dinner to dessert.
Brown Rice vs. White Rice
Brown rice contains the whole part of the grain, including the fibrous bran, germ and endosperm. Because the bran is intact, brown rice takes longer to cook (almost twice as long as white rice) and tends to have a chewy consistency. The germ also contains nutrients, such as fiber, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals. White rice has had the bran and germ removed. As a result, white rice tends to cook faster, has a softer texture and contains fewer nutrients than brown rice.
Brown Rice to Water Ratio
To cook brown rice on the stovetop, a good rule of thumb is to follow a 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice; so, for 1 cup of rice, you would use 2 cups of liquid. When in doubt, check the package directions for the optimal ratio for short-, medium-, and long-grain.
How to Cook Brown Rice on the Stove
Cooking rice is easy, but there are a few key steps to achieving perfectly cooked brown rice with a not-too-chewy, not-too-soggy texture. Follow our Perfect Brown Rice recipe for consistently flawless, fuss-free results.
1: Rinse the Rice
Rinse 1 cup brown rice in a fine-mesh sieve under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain.
2: Measure the Water
Combine the rice, a big pinch of kosher salt and 2 cups water in a wide, medium saucepan.
3: Simmer the Rice
Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
4: Remove the Rice from Heat
Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Though it's easy to do, preparing brown rice can seem daunting when you're trying to get that perfect not-too-chewy, not-too-soggy texture. Learn how to make brown rice with flawless results every time!
How to Cook Brown Rice in Rice Cooker
Many rice cooker models come with a pre-programmed setting for brown rice, though it can be advantageous to cook it on the normal setting to have more control over the temperature and time. When in doubt, consult the user manual for optimal cooking times and water-to-rice ratio for your particular make and model, as well as the type of rice you’re cooking.
How to Cook Brown Rice In Instant Pot
Use your Instant Pot to pressure cook brown rice in a fraction of the time of the stovetop method by following these steps from our Instant Pot Brown Rice Pilaf recipe . In the inner pot of your Instant Pot, combine 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, 1 cup short-grain brown rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put on the lid and lock it. Set to pressure-cook on high for 25 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
How to Make Brown Rice Taste Good
- Cook in broth: swap out the water for chicken or vegetable broth, though be sure to adjust the seasoning to compensate for the broth’s sodium content. No broth? Add a bouillon cube.
- Toast the grains: sauté the rice in olive oil (or coconut oil, sesame oil or butter) before cooking to toast the grains; this will give them a toasty, nutty flavor.
- Add aromatics: while you’re toasting grains, add aromatics such as chopped onions, garlic, shallots, ginger or spices before proceeding with cooking.
- Add extra seasoning: cooking brown rice with salt is essential for flavorful grains, but you can also infuse more flavor by adding olive oil and butter, swapping in garlic salt, or adding spices such as cayenne, ground ginger or cumin.
- Finish with fresh herbs and citrus: once the grains have cooked, experiment with folding in combinations of herbs and citrus, such as cilantro and lime, parsley and lemon or chives and orange, depending on the desired flavor profile.
- Stir in add-ins: turn brown rice into a fast side dish by adding shredded cheese, grated Parmesan, salsa, canned beans or chopped, cooked veggies.
- Experiment with condiments: amp up grains with different types of vinegars (say rice wine or balsamic), soy sauce, chili crisp or hot sauce.
Brown Rice Recipes
Long-grain brown rice cooks up tender-chewy and fluffy, making it the perfect base for pilaf. Here, it’s folded with thin spaghetti pieces, onions, raisins and curry powder that have been cooked in butter to create an easy, flavorful side dish.
Brown rice and pearl barley step in for arborio rice in this comforting yet healthy take on risotto featuring mushrooms and asparagus in a creamy sauce. Pro tip: opt for medium-grain brown rice, which has the ideal amount of starch for dishes such as risotto and paella.
This recipe is reason enough to batch cook brown rice and store some in the freezer to have on hand. A saucy mix of salsa coats shredded rotisserie chicken, veggies and cooked brown rice, while a double dose of cheese—folded in and scattered on top just before broiling—spikes the comfort food factor.
Cooked brown rice anchors these satisfying, healthy bowls and provide a blank canvas for flavor-packed toppings to shine, including stir-fried veggies amped up with Sriracha and teriyaki sauce and a runny-yolk fried egg. File this one under breakfast of champions.
Skip the takeout with this weeknight-ready fried rice recipe. Make a double batch of brown rice and keep a few leftover cups on hand in the fridge, then transform it into this veggie-and-shrimp laden fried rice the next day.
Starchy short-grain brown rice simmers in coconut milk, milk, salt and sugar until tender-chewy and sticky, then cools into a rich, pudding-like texture. Serve the dish with brown sugar and banana or take things tropical with diced pineapple and shredded coconut.