How to Cook Brown Rice

Nutritious brown rice is easy to make and versatile to use -- it just takes a little longer to cook. Follow our cooking tips for tasty results.


Tasty, nutritious brown rice has only the inedible hull removed, which means that its nutrients, including B vitamins and fiber, are preserved. The bran layers left on the grain give it a tan color and a nutty flavor with a slightly chewy texture. It takes longer to cook than white rice, but the cooking methods are much the same.

Purchasing and Storing Brown Rice

Like white rice, brown rice is available in short, medium, and long grains. Long grain rice produces fluffy grains that separate easily and contain less starch than short grains. Quick-cooking and instant brown rice save on cooking time and should be prepared according to package directions. Because the bran is intact, brown rice turns rancid more quickly than white rice. Be sure to check the package for a use-by date. Store brown rice in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. It will keep longer when refrigerated.

Cooking Long Grain Brown Rice

One cup uncooked long grain brown rice yields about 3 cups cooked rice. It can be eaten plain, used as a base for stir-fries, or as an ingredient in pilafs, soups, casseroles, salads, and desserts. Substitute cooked brown rice for white rice in most recipes.

Saucepan

In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boiling. Slowly add 1 cup long grain rice and, if desired, 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, and return to boiling. Reduce the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook about 45 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Do not remove the lid during cooking since proper cooking relies on the development of steam inside the pan. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Tip: You can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules for the salt if you like.
Tip: Once the rice returns to boiling, reduce heat to low. If the heat is too high, the rice will burn on the bottom of the pan while the rest of the rice is still not done.
Tip: A glass lid is helpful to tell if the water is absorbed without removing the lid and letting out the steam.

Rice Cooker

This is a convenient and failproof way to cook brown rice. Since cookers vary, follow the directions that come with the cooker, including how much rice and water to add. As with the saucepan method, do not remove the lid during cooking. Many cookers also have a keep-warm setting that comes on automatically when rice is done cooking.

Oven-Cooked Rice

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 1-quart casserole combine 1 1/2 cups boiling water and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Stir in 3/4 cup long grain rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake, covered, about 1 hour or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Try these other ways to use brown rice:

Breakfast Rice Cereal

Savory Red Beans and Rice

Honey-Dijon Chicken with Whole Grain Brown Rice

Sesame Crab and Brown Rice Cakes

Hearty Rice Skillet


How to Cook Brown Rice
How to Cook Brown Rice

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