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:
4.78 from 31 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

Instructions

  • Combine the rinsed rice, water, and olive oil in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, 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.

 

31 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.

      • Sarah
        12.14.2020

        The rice sticks to the bottom of the pot before its done cooking! This ratio has never worked for me. Do you ever soak brown rice overnight first? or just rinse it right before cooking?

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          12.14.2020

          Hi Sarah, I rinse it just before cooking it. Three things help keep it from sticking – the bit of oil that’s in the recipe, the very low heat, and also the 10 minutes that it steams covered with the heat off at the end. If yours is sticking or burning, your stove heat might be turned too high.

          • Jade
            02.06.2021

            5 stars
            Very good instructions. My rice came out terrific all you have to do is follow the recipe exactly how it’s written!

          • Jeanine Donofrio
            02.07.2021

            I’m so glad your rice was perfect!

  3. Kaveh
    08.07.2020

    I always use this one whenever I’m cooking brown rice! It’s a guaranteed success!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.30.2020

      I’m so happy to hear the method has been successful!

  4. Jojo Teal
    09.10.2020

    So no difference between short grain or long grain?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.10.2020

      nope, it’s the same for either type of brown rice.

  5. Nicola Cameron
    09.15.2020

    5 stars
    I’ve just used your recipe and the brown rice is cooked perfectly! Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.15.2020

      I’m so happy to hear!

  6. Richard Gilchrist
    09.17.2020

    5 stars
    Best brown rice I ever had. Usually when I cook the brown rice my problem is it stays crunchy after hours of cooking. The rinsing is the trick. I followed your recipe exactly. And actually I just cooked it to make refried rice tomorrow for sweet and sour chicken.

  7. Jon Ty
    10.05.2020

    5 stars
    I love this recipe, depending on the recipe, I have added a bay leaf or two right after I mix in the EVOO.
    The other thing I do, in order to make sure I’m eating healthy, is to add meat, since that’s the only way to get an adequate amount of B12, without taking supplements or something akin.
    Thanks, again, I dont have to struggle with this wonderful grain, ever again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.06.2020

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipe!

  8. Glo
    11.08.2020

    5 stars
    I was so skeptical about this recipe but I decided to follow it exactly as you have it and wow, perfect brown rice! Thank you so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.08.2020

      I’m glad it was perfect!

  9. Kaysie
    11.10.2020

    What does the olive oil do for the rice? This is the first time I’m seeing this for rice!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.10.2020

      Hi Kaysie, it just ensures that it won’t stick to the bottom of the pan as it cooks – it’s a very small amount.

  10. Diana
    11.19.2020

    Thanks for this simple method! How would you adjust the cooking time if you doubled or tripled the recipe?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.19.2020

      Hi Diana, I would keep it the same, you’ll just need a larger pot.

  11. Maria J.
    01.05.2021

    5 stars
    I’ve tried others but this recipe is the best! I’ve been using it for 3 months with perfect fluffy rice each time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.05.2021

      I’m so glad your brown rice has been perfect every time!

  12. Pete
    01.24.2021

    5 stars
    Came by searching for water to rice ratio. Left with a couple good ideas (slow simmer and steam period). Great points! I use half the water allowance as chicken stock and flavor the cooking water/stock with a dash of curry, garlic powder and sprinkle on Italian seasoning. Pat of butter before fork fluff. Soy sauce at the table.

  13. Ruth Steiner
    01.25.2021

    Could I use a different oil? I think I’m the only person on the planet with a dislike for olive oil. I was thinking either avocado or seame oil? Depending on what I’m serving with and how Im using leftovers.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.25.2021

      yep, you can use any oil – sesame oil will have a flavor (which would be nice depending on what you’re serving the rice with).

  14. Linda
    02.02.2021

    5 stars
    I tried your recipe. It was very easy and simple to follow. Thank you so much. The rice didn’t come out mushy nor hard. I have eaten brown rice before at panda express and its usually hard. I didn’t expect it to actually be able to be soft and more appealing to eat. I look forward to reading and following more recipes in your website. Thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.03.2021

      I’m so glad your rice was perfect!

  15. Diane
    02.22.2021

    Hi! This note is soley for the printed text. I find it hard to read because of the lettering being gray in color as is my message. It would be great if all lettering were in black or some other bold color. I tried this recipe and it will be my go to one… Thank you! Diane.

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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.