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!

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How to Cook Brown Rice

rate this recipe:
4.95 from 103 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
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.

 

104 comments

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  1. Dan
    02.03.2024

    5 stars
    I’m new to cooking rice on the stove, and I have heard that brown rice can be harder to cook, but this recipe went perfectly for me. I probably needed to rinse the rice better, since it was just a little too gummy.

    If I wanted to reduce to a half cup of rice and cup of water, how much might I need to reduce the cooking time?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.04.2024

      Hi Dan, I’m glad your rice turned out well. I don’t recommend making a smaller batch because the volume in the pot helps it all steam properly. If you really wanted to give it a try, just use a much smaller pot and keep everything else including the timing the same.

      Whenever I have extra brown rice, I like to freeze it. Spread it on a parchment lined baking sheet, put it in the freezer for a few hours, then break it into clumps and freeze in a freezer-safe bag. I hope that helps!

  2. Christine
    01.26.2024

    5 stars
    Best Brown rice recipe, ever! I couldn’t use my InstantPot because I was cooking the main course in it. I followed all of the directions to a “T” and it came out perfect, better than my InstantPot recipe. I’m no longer afraid of cooking brown rice conventionally. Thank you.

  3. Jon
    01.22.2024

    5 stars
    I followed the recipe exactly as stated (including the washing), but my rice came out a gelatinous lump. Any idea what I could be doing wrong? I have to say that the rice I used is old (a couple of years, but in the original bag inside an airtight container).

  4. Gren
    01.14.2024

    Almost an hour to cook brown rice????

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.15.2024

      Hi Gren, yes brown rice (unless it’s instant brown rice), takes much more time than what rice.

  5. Justin
    11.27.2023

    Used 4 cups water to two cups brown rice, cooked for 45 minutes and there is so much water left over.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.28.2023

      Hi Justin, if that happens and the rice is tender, feel free to drain off the excess water before covering the rice and letting it steam. If the rice isn’t tender yet, continue cooking as needed. Hope this helps!

  6. Jess
    11.22.2023

    5 stars
    I followed the recipe and used bone broth instead of water. Turned out perfect! Thanks so much.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.23.2023

      I’m so glad your rice was perfect!

  7. Amy
    11.09.2023

    5 stars
    Just finished making this and it turned out absolutely perfect! Beautiful and fluffy. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  8. Johnnie R
    11.04.2023

    Thanks 😊 so much!!

  9. Bruce
    10.04.2023

    5 stars
    I use 1.5 cups of water to a cup of brown rice. Add a splash of soy sauce and another (generous one) of olive oil. Cook until the water has been absorbed, then turn up the heat and toast the rice kernels until they have a caramelised flavour. Scrape the bits stuck to the bottom of the (heavy-bottomed!) pot – takes a bit of elbow grease, but is worth the effort. Nutty texture and wonderful caramel notes (not fluffy!)

  10. Christine
    09.13.2023

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing the easiest and best way to cook brown rice. The rice turned out perfect!

  11. Jenny
    08.02.2023

    What’s the serving size? 1/4 cup?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      08.04.2023

      Hi Jenny, most packaged brown rice lists the serving size as 1/4 cup dry rice (about 3/4 cup cooked). Hope this helps!

  12. Cheryl
    07.08.2023

    Perfect brown rice…Now I need to double the recipe.

  13. James from fooddoz.com
    04.27.2023

    It is a nice brown rice recipe.

  14. Hana
    03.09.2023

    Shouldn’t you soak the brown rice before cooking it, dear? Some say at least for two hours while others recommend all night! Soaking should take off most of the unwanted starch and help reduce cooking time and save water too. haha
    I cooked brown rice the same way I did ehite rice, both basmati long grain rice the on,y difference is that I soak the brown version before cooking and leave more water on top of rice before covering and reducing heat to gently cook to perfection.
    Regards 👋🏻

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.10.2023

      Hi Hana, we don’t find soaking the brown rice necessary, but you totally can if you want!

      • Mimmy
        01.01.2024

        5 stars
        Before I started looking for a recipe and found this one I had a cup of brown rice soaking. I followed the recipe exactly. Rice came out a bit mushy, not bad for what I needed it. Now I know soaking for this recipe is not needed.
        Thank you so much!! Five stars.

    • Tammy
      04.15.2023

      5 stars
      How about trying her recipe first instead of trying to change it…

    • AW
      05.09.2023

      Recently, it has been stated that brown rice has some natural arsenic in it and that is removed when you rinse it this way. Recommend doing so!

    • KP
      01.09.2024

      5 stars
      First timer here!
      Do I need to at any point stir this recipe?! Like while waiting for the boiling or anything?!

  15. Tisa
    03.08.2023

    5 stars
    The BEST, easiest way to make brown rice that comes out perfect, every time.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.10.2023

      Hi Tisa, so glad you love this method!

  16. Alison
    03.05.2023

    Hi, Can I use chicken stock instead of water, and if so, can the stock contain salt? I am talking about stock with a normal amount of salt (say 1g / 100g, i.e. 1%) – not low-salt. I have read that wholegrain rice will not cook if the liquid contains salt. Thanks for help. Alison

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.09.2023

      Hi Alison, I personally haven’t had issues cooking rice in stock. I think it will work fine!

      • Alison M
        03.13.2023

        Thanks; I’ll maybe try it on a very small quantity! I’ve certainly tried wholegrain rice in salted water before and it has failed to cook. :/

  17. Mac
    02.02.2023

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing with addition of the olive oil. The brown rice turned out so fluffy and light. I have a gas stove used 1 cup brown rice, 2.5 cup water, rinsed 5 times in cold water until clear, then boiled water on gas stove and then lowered it and cooked for about 25-30 min total with lid on. Removed the pot and rested for 10 min and served with amazing Thai food.
    The BEST brown rice ever and we eat a lot of it

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.03.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  18. Lynne
    01.08.2023

    5 stars
    I had no issues with this recipe. So far it is the best recipe I have tried. I doubled the recipe and put the pot on the smallest burner I have. I will say I eliminated the olive oil. The rice was perfectly cooked and it was not at all sticky. The bottom of my pot did not burn either. This one for me is a keeper.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.13.2023

      I’m so glad it’s working well for you!

  19. Marija Obradovic
    12.14.2022

    I don’t think that 2 cups of water is enough for one cup of rice. My water evaporated before rice was cooked to being tender.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      12.16.2022

      Hi, 2 cups water should be plenty for 1 cup of brown rice. The heat on your stove could have been a little high, or your lid might not have fit your pot tightly enough. Both of these factors could have caused the water to evaporate too quickly.

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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.