How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice

Learn how to cook brown rice perfectly every time! With this easy stovetop method, it's always fluffy and light - just right for stir fries, bowls, and more.

Brown rice in a pot

I love days when I have a big container of cooked brown rice in the fridge. It’s a fantastic starting point for curries, stir fries, fried rice, and more, and its earthy, nutty flavor is even delicious on its own. Sometimes, I’ll toss it with a pinch of salt, top it with an egg, and call it breakfast.

Plus, it’s not only tasty; it’s good for you too! Brown rice is filled with fiber and other nutrients. When I have it on hand, tossing together a grain bowl for lunch or dinner takes minutes, so I’m less likely to reach for sweets or snacks throughout the day.

Rumor has it that cooking brown rice on the stove is tricky, but I’m here to tell you that it’s actually simple! This easy, foolproof cooking method yields perfect brown rice every time. You only need water, rice, olive oil, and a pot to try it, so say goodbye to mushy rice, and let’s get cooking!

Short and long grain brown rice

How to Cook Brown Rice

This easy method will work for any type of brown rice, as long as it’s not an instant or quick-cooking variety. These products are more processed than typical brown rice, so their cooking times will vary. Once you’re ready to cook, follow these simple steps:

  • First, rinse the rice. This step is essential for removing excess starches on the outside of the rice. If they’re not washed away, they will cause the rice to clump and become gummy as it cooks. Our goal is to make perfectly fluffy brown rice, so don’t skip this step! I like to rinse mine in a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl until the water in the bowl runs clear.
  • Then, measure the appropriate water to rice ratio. I use 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. Add the water and rice to a medium saucepan, and stir in a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Next, it’s time to cook! Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed the water.
  • Finally, turn off the heat. Let the pot sit, covered, for 10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.

How to cook brown rice

Favorite Brown Rice Recipes

Once you have the cooked rice on hand, you’ll find all sorts of ways to use it! Add it to stir fries, serve it as a side dish with curry or chana masala, or swap it for the white rice in my cilantro lime rice recipe. I also use short grain brown rice to add texture to veggie burgers and vegan meatballs. It has a stickier texture than long grain brown rice, which is key for making extra-hearty patties that hold their shape in the oven, on the stove, and on the grill.

But most often, I use it as a base for healthy grain bowls. I call for it specifically in this buddha bowl, this adzuki bean bowl, and this mango ginger rice bowl, but you can also use it as a starting point for a simple, no-recipe grain bowl. Just add one (or more) item from each of these categories to turn plain rice into a delicious dinner:

Let me know what variations you try!

Brown rice in a pot

More Basic Grain Recipes

If you loved this recipe, try making farro, quinoa, or couscous next!

How to Cook Brown Rice

rate this recipe:
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Serves 4
Want to make brown rice that's cooked perfectly every time? Just follow this easy method! Then, use it in bowls, stir fries, and more.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice, well rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Combine the rinsed rice, water, and olive oil in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Notes

This rice-to-water ratio also works in a rice cooker using the brown rice setting. If you're using a rice cooker to cook your rice, skip the olive oil.

 

3 comments

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  1. Lydia Tarallo
    03.25.2020

    Thank you for such lovely recipes. I’m in the process of trying to eat only healthy foods.
    Keep these recipes coming and all the very best to you and your staff.

  2. Janelle
    05.19.2020

    I’m so confused! Several recipes (even from blogs I trust) say 6-11 cups of water! Then here and on another place I found, you only have a 2 to 1 ratio. Why the huge discrepancy?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.19.2020

      Hi Janelle, they might be using the pasta method where you cook rice in a pot of boiling water and then drain it. I like that method for white rice (it’s in another post), but I prefer this regular steaming method for brown rice.

      2:1 is typical because all of the water gets absorbed into the rice.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.