How to Cook Brown Rice
How to cook brown rice on the stove top. In this post you will learn the best way to cook perfect brown rice on the stove. This foolproof method makes the best light and fluffy brown rice!
If you’re like me and cook brown rice nearly every week, this easy method for cooking perfect brown rice is going to change your life. I originally shared this method in 2013 and I have been cooking my brown rice this way ever since! I go back and forth between this stove top brown rice recipe and my Instant Pot brown rice, white rice recipe and Instant Pot white rice recipes, depending on what else I’m cooking that day.
How do you make brown rice that is always light and fluffy and perfectly cooked? You cook your brown rice like pasta!
That’s right, we’re going to boil our rice in an excess of water and then drain it. Forget about finding the perfect brown rice to water ratio. For the best brown rice, you need to cook it in much more water than it will absorb.
Why does this method work? It allows your rice to absorb EXACTLY the amount of liquid that it needs. It can be difficult to know exactly how much water your rice will absorb while cooking. When you cook rice like pasta, it can absorb the exact amount of water that it needs.
The final step to perfect rice is to drain off all of the water and then let the cooked rice rest in the covered pot. While it rests your rice will steam to fluffy perfection!
A quick note: this method is for long grain brown rice, not short grain rice, minute rice or quick cooking brown rice. My favorite long grain brown rice is brown jasmine rice.
Brown Rice Nutrition
If you compare brown rice vs. white rice, brown rice is packed with much more nutrition, because it is less processed. Whereas white rice has the bran, germ and hull removed, brown rice retains both the nutritious bran and germ.
Brown rice contains vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Rice is high in carbohydrates, but when you choose brown rice you are choosing a whole grain. Brown rice is gluten-free.
How to Cook Brown Rice
To cook the BEST brown rice, you don’t need to worry about finding the perfect rice to water ratio. The simple steps to making perfectly fluffy brown rice are:
- Rinse your rice: Rinsing the rice is important to remove any dust or grit that may have been left from processing. Rinsing will also improve the texture of your rice.
- Boil 8 cups of water: If you don’t want to measure, that’s ok. The key is to cook your rice in an excess of water, so that it won’t absorb all of the water as it boils.
- Boil the rice, like pasta, for 30 minutes: With the heat on medium-high, boil the rice for 30 minutes, uncovered. It will be mostly done after this time, and will continue to cook as it rests.
- Drain well: Pour the rice and cooking water through a strainer. I use the same colander that I use to drain my pasta. You want to drain off all of the liquid to avoid soggy rice.
- Let it rest: Immediately put the rice back into the cooking pot and cover it with a tight-fitting lid. While the rice rests for 10 minutes it will steam in the hot, moist pot and become the best fluffy brown rice! Don’t skip the rest time – it is really important if you want light, fluffy rice.
- Fluff with a fork and serve!
How long to cook brown rice
Many recipes (and possibly the directions on your rice package) call for cooking brown rice for 45-50 minutes on the stove. With this method, you will boil your rice for 30 minutes. That time, plus the 10 minutes of steaming in the covered pot, are enough to cook long grain brown rice.
Tips for Cooking Brown Rice
- Choose a long grain variety of brown rice, such as jasmine or basmati rice. Short grain or minute rice will not work in this brown rice recipe.
- You can sauté your rice in a little bit of olive oil in a skillet before boiling it. This step is optional, and brings out the nutty, toasted flavor of the rice.
- Do not skip the step of letting your rice rest, covered, after it cooks. During this 10 minute rest your rice will continue to cook by steaming and will become fluffy.
- Once you open a bag of brown rice, try to use it up within about 4 months. Over time, the oils in brown rice can potentially go rancid.
How to Store and Reheat Rice
You can store leftover cooked brown rice in your refrigerator for 2 days or in your freezer for up to 1 month. Be sure to reheat rice to steaming hot before eating, for food safety.
When reheating rice, adding a little bit of water can help the rice to stay moist. I find that the easiest way to reheat rice is in the microwave. You can also reheat rice in a pot on the stove, covered, stirring often, until the rice is hot. Or, reheat rice in the oven at 325 degrees F. Place the rice in a baking dish, stir in a little bit of water, and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake the rice until hot, 15-20 minutes.
What to Serve with Brown Rice
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Baked Chicken Breast
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
- Grilled Chicken
- Baked Salmon
Brown Rice Recipes
- Stuffed Peppers
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Chicken and Rice Soup
How to Cook Brown Rice
- 8 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt, optional
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- Bring water (and salt, if using) to a boil in a 3 quart or larger saucepan or pot. (Make sure to use a pot that has a tight-fitting lid, since you will need to cover the rise while it rests after cooking.)
- Meanwhile, place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it well under cold running water.
- Once the water is boiling, stir in the rice and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Boil the rice, uncovered, for 30 minutes. (Set a timer so that you don't overcook it.)
- Turn off the heat. Pour the rice into a strainer and drain it very well. Immediately return the rice to the hot empty pot and cover with the lid. Let the rice sit for 10 minutes before serving. During this time it will steam and become light and fluffy.
- Fluff the rice and serve.
- You can store leftover cooked rice in your refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat the rice to steaming hot before serving.
- You can freeze rice for up to 1 month. Thaw and reheat until steaming.