How to cook brown rice? Well, say no more, because you’re in the right place! Yes, I’ll teach you the A to Z on how to cook the perfect brown rice. Every. Single. Time.
How to Cook Brown Rice - Simple Steps
So, you're ready to start cooking brown rice? There are just 3 basic things that you will need:
- Brown Rice - You can either use long, medium, or short-grain brown rice. Due to higher starch content, short grain brown rice is softer and stickier; perfect for risotto, sushi, and rice pudding. On the other hand, long-grain brown rice is lighter and fluffier. Use the long grain one if you’re going to make a stir fry or rice pilaf. And medium grain, well, it sits in the middle. Read more about different types of rice.
I generally use 1 cup of brown rice. Once cooked, the rice will expand to 3 cups, enough to serve 3-4 people generously.
- Water - Just regular tap water if you’re making plain brown rice. Psst, you can also make instant Hainanese chicken brown rice by throwing in 1-2 cubes of chicken bouillon, garlic cloves, and crushed ginger…
- Seasoning - I use a really basic seasoning here, just a good pinch of salt. I mean, we’re going to serve it with other saucy stuff on top, right? But, sure, go ahead… you can add any seasoning you wish; a teaspoon of ground spices, or a handful of chopped herbs, or a knob of butter with a squeeze of lemon. Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning with nori and sesame seeds) is also great, especially if you’re to eat the brown rice just as it is.
Brown Rice Water Ratio
Cooking brown rice, or any rice really is a daunting task… Right? Well, it is actually very easy and I will show you how the ratio works.
You see, rice doesn’t follow that regular ratio we’re all familiar with. In cooking and baking, if we’re to make something in big batches, we simply double or triple the recipe; multiplying the ingredients. However, this rule doesn’t apply to the world of rice cooking. There are different ratios for different methods of cooking. Keep reading below to choose the method you like best.
How to Cook Brown Rice on the Stovetop
Cooking brown rice on the stovetop, just like pasta, is by far one of the easiest methods - such a no brainer. No fancy gadgets or tools needed. Seriously, you won’t ever be intimidated by the idea of cooking brown rice on the stovetop again.
- First thing first, boil the water in a large pot. Just like cooking pasta, you need a lot of water to cook brown rice this way. I use around 6 cups of water for 1-2 cups of rice. Add more water if you’re making more.
- Rinse your rice in a fine mesh colander under running water to remove excess starch. This step is very crucial to get fluffy and delicious brown rice. But if you’re using a quick-cooking variety, you may skip this step.
- Add the rice to the boiling water. Cook uncovered on medium heat for 30 minutes, or until tender. Unlike pasta, brown rice should be cooked all the way through, not al dente. Give it a taste to check the doneness if you’re unsure.
- Turn off the heat, then drain off the water very well. And no, you don’t need to reserve the rice cooking water.
- At this point, your rice will be slightly wet. Don’t worry, immediately return your rice to the pot, with the heat off. Rest for 10 minutes with the lid on. This step ensures your rice absorbs all the excess moisture.
- Fluff the rice with a fork or spoon, and season with salt or anything you like. Serve!
How to Cook Brown Rice in a Rice Cooker
If you eat rice frequently, you might want to consider investing in a rice cooker. It’s a magic gadget, a must-have in all kitchens!
You’ve owned a rice cooker, but have no idea how to use it? Somehow, you’ve lost the instructions somewhere? Worry no more, I’ll teach you how to cook brown rice with your rice cooker.
First thing first, make sure you’re using the measuring cup that comes with your rice cooker. Sometimes, they’re slightly different from your normal measuring cup since they’re designed specifically to suit the rice cooker bowl’s size. You see, plenty of rice cookers have lines labeled with numbers inside the bowl. Those lines indicate how much water you need based on the amount of rice you’re going to cook. Simply put, if you’re cooking 1 cup (rice cooker cup) of rice, you’ll need to add water till it reaches line number 2 in the bowl. Yes, it’s that easy!
However, what if you’ve lost your rice cooker measuring cup? Or your rice cooker simply didn’t come with a measuring cup or any lines in the bowl? Don’t worry, you can still use your regular measuring cup. Just follow this foolproof rice to water ratio: 1:1+1. So, if you’re cooking 1 cup of rice, you’ll need 2 cups of water. If you’re cooking 2 cups of rice, you’ll need 3 cups of water.
Okay, now that you’ve mastered the rice cooking ratio, all the following steps are pretty straight forward:
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
- Add the rice to the rice cooker bowl, add room temperature water according to the ratio.
- Insert the bowl into the rice cooker, close the lid, then press the “cook” button.
- Once your brown rice is cooked, your rice cooker will automatically switch to “warm” mode.
- Rest the rice with the lid on for 10-15 minutes. Open the lid, fluff and season the rice, and… voila! You’ve got yourself perfectly cooked brown rice!
Here’s some pro tips on how to cook brown rice in a rice cooker:
- Every rice cooker has a minimum and maximum capacity. Make sure you don’t under or overfill your rice cooker bowl. Most rice cookers have a 1-3 cup rice capacity.
- Have some trust. Your rice cooker is designed to cook your rice perfectly, every single time. So, never ever open the lid during cooking time to check on your rice. You’ll interrupt the cooking process if you keep on checking the rice.
- Don’t skip the resting step if you want light and fluffy rice. Leave your rice lid on, on “warm” mode for 10-15 minutes. Skip this step, and you risk having clumpy rice.
How to Cook Brown Rice in a Microwave
Sure, you can cook brown rice in your microwave! Follow these quick and easy steps:
- In a microwave-safe pot, add 1 cup of rinsed brown rice and 2 cups of water.
The rice to water ratio is 1:1+1. For example, if you’re cooking 1 cup of rice add 2 cups of water. If you’re cooking 2 cups of rice, add 3 cups of water.
- Leave the pot uncovered.
- Pop it into the microwave. Choose “high” and cook for 10 minutes, then switch to “medium” and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tips for Cooking Brown Rice
How to Cook Brown Basmati Rice
Basmati rice is undeniably the most popular long-grain rice and originates from India. And brown basmati rice is the whole grain version of it. Cooked properly, brown basmati rice has a really unique texture. It’s delightful!
To cook brown basmati rice:
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
- Soak the rice for 10-15 in clean water to soften the rice ever so slightly.
- Drain off the water, then add the rice to the boiling water.
- Cook for 30 minutes, or until tender.
- Drain off the cooking water, rest the rice covered inside the pot for 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
How to Reheat Brown Rice
Spread the rice out in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of water over the top, cover the rice with a damp paper towel, then pop it in the microwave for 1 minute or until it’s hot.
How to Cook Brown Rice - Stovetop
- 1 cup brown rice
- 6 cups water
- pinch of salt
- Boil the water in a large pot.
- Rinse the rice in a fine mesh colander under running water to remove excess starch.
- Add the rice and salt to the boiling water.
- Cook uncovered, on a medium heat, and maintain a steady boil. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender or cooked to your liking.
- Drain off the water and return the rice to the pot.
- Let the rice rest (covered) and off the heat for 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork or spoon, season, and serve.
How to Cook Brown Rice - in Conclusion
Now that you’ve learned how to cook brown rice like a pro, it’s the time to say good bye to those mushy and gummy rice!