Home » Rice

How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly

When you learn how to cook brown rice, you’ll always have a quick and easy, healthy and gluten free side dish for din­ner. It’s sim­ple and delicious!

Brown Rice in a white ceramic serving bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top with salt and pepper shakers, greenery and turquoise crockery.
Post may con­tain affil­i­ate links. See my Affil­i­ate Disclosure.

Brown rice, tru­ly cooked well, can be the foun­da­tion of scrump­tious rice bowls, a deli­cious com­ple­ment to your main dish or even the main attrac­tion, as in fried rice.

When you know how to cook brown rice, prop­er­ly, your meal plan­ning pos­si­bil­i­ties grow expo­nen­tial­ly. I’ll show you two meth­ods that should suit any kitchen.

No spe­cial equip­ment is required. Just a sauce pan with a lid and your stove top.

Brown Rice in awhite ceramic serving bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top with a blue and whitee print fabric napkin.

You’ll be able to put nut­ty, slight­ly chewy and deeply fla­vor­ful brown rice on the table in min­utes using my quick cook (instant method). 

And, you can eas­i­ly bulk cook and refrig­er­ate or freeze the same fla­vor­ful rice using either the instant method or the tra­di­tion­al method for cook­ing long grain brown rice. 

Long grain brown rice takes just about an hour to cook and I’ll show you how to max­i­mize that time to prep rice you can warm in min­utes on busy weeknights!

The Ingredients

Ingredients for How to Cook Brown Rice : brown rice, butter, water and seasoning

For Quick Cook Brown Rice

For Long Grain Brown Rice

Brown Rice vs White Rice

Brown Rice and White Rice in two piles on a chalkboard.  Brown Rice vs White Rice is written in chalk.

Did you know that brown rice and white rice are the exact same grain?

Brown rice is the whole grain. It still has the the bran which is high in fiber, the nutri­tion-packed germ and the carb-rich endosperm. It has a nut­ty fla­vor. And, that bran lay­er gives it a gor­geous chewy tex­ture. But, it also cre­ates the need for a longer cook time.

White rice is the exact same grain. It sim­ply has had both the bran and the germ removed. It’s soft­er and cooks more quick­ly. But, since the most nutri­tious parts have been removed, it’s essen­tial­ly a carb bomb with lit­tle nutri­tion­al value.

Is Brown Rice Healthy, Then?

Brown Rice in a white ceramic serving bowl with a large serving spoon lifting rice from the bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top with salt and pepper shakers, greenery and turquoise crockery.

Absolute­ly! In the con­text of a var­ied and bal­anced diet, brown rice can pro­vide tons of nutri­tion and health ben­e­fits. It is still carb-dense, so bal­ance is key.

Brown rice can pro­vide essen­tial fiber. It also con­tains antiox­i­dants, vit­a­mins and min­er­als. Because it is high in mag­ne­sium and fiber, brown rice can have a pos­i­tive effect on blood sug­ar levels.

Stud­ies have also found indi­ca­tions that eat­ing brown rice may help in the reduc­tion of risk fac­tors for heart dis­ease and that it may con­tribute to help­ing con­trol weight.

You may have heard or read infor­ma­tion about phyt­ic acid or arsenic in rice. Both are nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring ele­ments in many foods. You would need to eat quite a lot for the lev­els of either to affect health. Sci­en­tists have con­clud­ed that there is no dan­ger from eat­ing brown rice sev­er­al times a week as part of a var­ied and bal­anced diet.

Of course, I’m no expert, sci­en­tist or doc­tor. So, don’t rely just on what I’m telling you. Do your own due dili­gence and research. If you have con­cerns check with your own health pro­fes­sion­als. I have found these arti­cles to be help­ful: Brown vs White Rice; Brown Rice vs White Rice: Is Brown Real­ly Bet­ter? and Brown Rice vs White Rice … Here’s What a Nutri­tion­ist Says.

FAQ’s About (Quick Cook) Instant Rice

Is Instant Rice (Quick Cook­ing Rice) good for you?

Yes. The debate over long cook or quick cook­ing (minute / instant) rice is one that’s set­tled for me. The con­sen­sus, after an inde­pen­dent study, is that there is no appre­cia­ble nutri­tion­al dif­fer­ence between long cook­ing brown rice and quick cook­ing brown rice. See more info here and here.

The same is true of white rice. Long cook or quick cook the nutri­tion­al val­ue doesn’t change much.

What is Instant Rice (Quick Cook Rice) ?

Quick Cook/ Minute/ Instant Rice is reg­u­lar rice that has been par­boiled, mean­ing par­tial­ly cooked. Then it is dehy­drat­ed again. This allows us to be able to com­plete the cook in about 1/4 of the nor­mal time! The nutri­tion­al loss is neg­li­gi­ble and the time gain is HUGE! That’s an easy deci­sion for me.

grains of brown rice on a white counter top

Can I use long grain brown rice, bas­mati rice, quick cook white rice or long grain white rice, instead of instant brown rice, in this recipe?

Yes and no. You can use long grain brown rice in this recipe and sep­a­rate cook­ing instruc­tions have been pro­vid­ed for it. 

How­ev­er, both quick cook white rice and long grain white rice, as well as bas­mati rice, require dif­fer­ent cook­ing meth­ods and lengths of time, that are not pro­vid­ed in this post.

How to Season Brown Rice

Just like pas­ta, the liq­uid you cook brown rice in is KEY to the fla­vor your rice will have at serv­ing time. Because the brown rice is dry and absorbs all the liq­uid as it cooks, any sea­son­ings and herbs need to be in the liq­uid before and dur­ing cook­ing for the best flavor. 

Brown Rice in a white ceramic serving bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top.

Choosing Seasoning

The sea­son­ing you choose for your brown rice is often deter­mined by how you will be using it. I sea­soned this brown rice with my veg­an home­made beef bouil­lon /umami sea­son­ing and a lit­tle salt. My sea­son­ing is mush­room, herb and veg­gie cen­tric and adds great fla­vor for a stand-alone side dish that com­ple­ments any main dish.

If you have a favorite sea­son­ing blend, like Spike, Mrs. Dash or Dan-O’s, you can def­i­nite­ly use that in place of my sea­son­ing. There are many on the mar­ket and every­one seems to have their own favorite. 

When to Add Seasoning

Taste as you go. You want the liq­uid the brown rice is cooked in to be fla­vor­ful. Add your sea­son­ing and take the time to begin warm­ing the liq­uid so the fla­vors devel­op and you like the taste before the rice is added. You only need to do that once to estab­lish your own per­fect sea­son­ing blend amount for cook­ing brown rice.

You can cook brown rice in stock, instead of water, too. I find that home­made veg­etable stock or meat stock usu­al­ly has stronger fla­vor than store-bought. But, adding chick­en bouil­lon or beef bouil­lon to com­mer­cial stocks can def­i­nite­ly amp up the flavor.

Brown Rice in a white ceramic serving bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top with salt and pepper shakers, greenery and turquois crockery.

Think about the herbs and sea­son­ings you have in your main dish and sea­son brown rice with sim­i­lar or com­ple­men­tary ones.

Aro­mat­ics like onions and gar­lic are excel­lent and fla­vor­ful ways to sea­son the liq­uid for brown rice, as are veg­gies like car­rots and pep­pers. In addi­tion to herbs and spices, some dish­es can ben­e­fit from the addi­tion of acids like cit­rus juice and zest or vine­gar, too. 

Match the sea­son­ing you choose for brown rice to fit the dish­es you’re serv­ing it with and the tastes of those you’re serv­ing it to.

What to with Serve Brown Rice

Brown rice can sim­ply be a fla­vor­ful side for a sep­a­rate main dish or it can be inte­grat­ed into the dish as a main component.

How to Store and Reheat Brown Rice

I get it. Gro­ceries are expen­sive and cost mat­ters. It’s def­i­nite­ly cheap­er to buy long grain brown rice than instant. 

A great mon­ey sav­ing hack is to pur­chase long grain brown rice and then bulk cook a large batch. It will reheat in min­utes for quick and easy meals through­out the week. (For fried rice, you need to start with pre-cooked cold rice, any­way, so this is a per­fect option to add it into your menu plan.)

Cooked brown rice will keep in the fridge up to 4 days. For stor­ing 5 days or more, divide the batch into meal-size por­tions and freeze them. The frozen rice will last up to 6 months. Always make sure rice is com­plete­ly cooled before refrig­er­at­ing or freezing.

Brown Rice in a white ceramic serving bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top with salt and pepper shakers, greenery and turquois crockery.

Reheating in the Microwave

To reheat refrig­er­at­ed or frozen brown rice, you can add a Table­spoon or two of water and the brown rice to a microwave-safe bowl. Cov­er the bowl with a plate (or microwave-safe lid) and cook a cou­ple min­utes until the rice is hot. Time will be depen­dent on how much rice you’re cook­ing and the wattage of your microwave.

Reheating on the Stove Top

To reheat refrig­er­at­ed or frozen brown rice on the stove top, place the rice and one or two Table­spoons of water into a shal­low skil­let. The wider the bot­tom of the pan, the more you can spread out the rice and the quick­er it will reheat. Cov­er the skil­let and heat the rice on low to medi­um heat until it is heat­ed through. Stir once or twice as it heats to pre­vent sticking.

Add Directly to Soups, Stews and Broth

Refrig­er­at­ed or frozen brown rice can be added direct­ly to soups or stews you are mak­ing. The heat of the soup will thaw the rice and inte­grate it into the dish.

How to Make Brown Rice

(Video in Recipe Card)

adding rice to a saucepan

For Quick Cook Brown Rice (10 minute cook time)

  1. Add the rice, but­ter (or oil for dairy free), sea­son­ing and water to a 2 qt. saucepan.
  2. Bring the mix­ture to a boil over high heat.
  3. Once the brown rice is boil­ing, put a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to a sim­mer.  Cook cov­ered for 10 min­utes or until the water is absorbed.
  4. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and serve.

For Long Grain Brown Rice  (1 hour cook time)

  1. Quick­ly rinse your rice to remove any dust or particles.
  2. Add the rice, water, but­ter (or oil for dairy free) and sea­son­ing to a 2 qt. sauce pan with a tight fit­ting lid.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and cov­er with the lid.
  4. Reduce the heat to a sim­mer and cook, cov­ered for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the rice from the heat.  DON’T lift the lid.  allow it to sit, cov­ered, for an addi­tion­al 10 minutes.
  6. Fluff with a fork and serve.

The Recipe

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Brown Rice in awhite ceramic serving bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top with a blue and whitee print fabric napkin.

How to Cook Brown Rice


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 12 min­utes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Units Scale

For Quick Cook Brown Rice

  • 3 cups Instant Brown Rice
  • 2 Table­spoons but­ter (or avo­ca­do oil for dairy free)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3 to 5 tea­spoons veg­an home­made Beef Bouil­lon Pow­der / Uma­mi Sea­son­ing, to taste (or sea­son­ing of your choice)
  • salt, to taste

For Long Grain Brown Rice


Instructions

For Quick Cook Brown Rice (10 minute cook time)

  1. Add the rice, but­ter, sea­son­ing and water to a 2 qt. saucepan.
  2. Bring the mix­ture to a boil over high heat.
  3. Once the brown rice is boil­ing, put a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to a sim­mer.  Cook cov­ered for 10 min­utes or until the water is absorbed.
  4. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and serve.

For Long Grain Brown Rice  (1 hour cook time)

  1. Quick­ly rinse your rice to remove any dust or particles.
  2. Add the rice, water, but­ter and sea­son­ing to a 2 qt. sauce pan with a tight fit­ting lid.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and cov­er with the lid.
  4. Reduce the heat to a sim­mer and cook, cov­ered for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the rice from the heat.  DON’T lift the lid.  Allow it to sit, cov­ered, for an addi­tion­al 10 minutes.
  6. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  • Prep Time: 2 min­utes
  • Cook Time: 10 min­utes
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Side Dish, Rice
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

6 thoughts on “How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly”

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating