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 114 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.



  • 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.


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.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Carrie

    5 stars
    This was the first time I’d ever attempted rice. It turned out perfectly!!! Thanks for helping a lady out!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad it was perfect!

  2. homecook

    5 stars
    Ridiculous how easy this recipe is. The 45 min seems forever sometimes but its great, so simple and you get to just set and forget while getting everything else ready! Always tasty, always fluffy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad your rice has been perfect!

  3. Raissa

    5 stars
    Came out perfect ! Thank you for this easy and straightforward recipe 😉

  4. mel

    5 stars
    Used this tonight to pair brown rice with my homemade chili, and the rice came out perfect, with JUST the right amount of chewiness and texture. I added a little salt, pepper, and parsley, to finish it off. Thanks for these simple instructions!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad your rice was perfect!

  5. Christina

    How long will the rice last in the fridge?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Christina, I keep it up to about 5 days. If it dries out too much, stir in a little water as you reheat.

  6. Jessica

    5 stars
    Thank you for such simple directions! I have never been able to make brown rice so effortlessly. It turned out PERFECT! xoxo

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad your rice was perfect!

  7. Judith

    I’m going to try to make the brown rice.

  8. Dianne Margaret Kirby

    I learned to cook at sea level. I’ve found, through hard experience, some amount of additional water is required at high altitude. If you use the pasta method, when the grain is done, you can just pour off any extra liquid.

  9. Jennifer C

    5 stars
    How do recommend reheating the rice without losing its texture?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jennifer, it dries out a bit in the fridge, I usually reheat it (in the microwave) and stir in a little water.

  10. Jim

    1 star
    Water to Rice Ratio of 2:1 is way to much water. The rice turns out mushy if made this way. A ratio of 1:1 (1 C Rice to 1 C water) produces a much better result.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jim, what type/brand of brown rice are you using? Is it instant brown rice?

  11. Holly

    Perfect rice every time. Thanks!

  12. Romney

    5 stars
    Perfect, simple and good. Thank you.

  13. David

    5 stars
    Very easy recipe and the rice always turn out great.

  14. hele

    Can I add salt to my brother n rice who or cooking

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Hele, I don’t add salt while it cooks, it’s best to add it after or the rice gets mushy.

      • David

        I add salt and it has never gotten mushy and I mean never.

  15. Rita Marquez

    3 stars
    Mine came out mushy

  16. Maz

    Hi! Thank you for the recipe.

    What organic brown rice brand do you recommend?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Any brand – I’ve used Lundberg rice, the whole foods 365 brand… but any brown rice will work in this recipe.

  17. B rubble

    5 stars
    One doesnt need measuring cups to cook perfect rice.
    Simply touch index finger to the top of leveled rice… add water to just below the crease of finger. Perfect every time

    • Lana

      my husband’s index finger is twice bigger than mine. are you sure this advice would work for both of us perfectly?😂

  18. Teresa H. Klepac

    My brown rice always comes out being a bit crunchy. Not sure what the problem is. I followed the recipe on the bag. At 50 minutes there was still water with a 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of rice.

    • zo

      i think you need more heat

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.