Culinary Arts

How to Cook the Perfect Brown Rice: Easy Brown Rice Recipe and Cooking Tips

Written by MasterClass

Apr 13, 2019 • 3 min read

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Since the second half of the twentieth century, brown rice has developed a following as the healthy carb. The notion gained widespread popularity in the ‘90s, when the fat-is-bad craze took hold. Steamed brown rice became a popular side dish and addition to salads. And now, as gluten-free eating becomes more popular, brown rice is the reliable wheat substitute: in pastas, breads, and meals. What once could only be found in vegetarian restaurants is now a commonplace ingredient in many American kitchens.

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What Is Brown Rice?

Brown rice gets its name and color from the bran coating surrounding the kernels. After rice is harvested, the bran and germ layers are either left in tact or removed, yielding brown or white rice, respectively. Pretty much every variety of rice can be available as brown rice: basmati, jasmine, and short-, medium-, and long-grain varietals.

What’s the Difference Between Brown Rice and White Rice?

White and Brown Rice

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Brown rice is white rice, just less processed. The two start off as the same: whole grains picked from long stalks. They become different things when the bran layer is removed from the kernel, revealing a tiny white oblong shape. The bran coating gives brown rice a nuttier taste and chewy texture. Since bran is high in fiber and dense with various nutrients, it’s true that it’s the more nourishing option.

Is Brown Rice Healthy?

Brown rice is three times higher in fiber than white rice, which is good for regulating the digestive system and leaving you feel satiated for longer. It’s also rich in protein, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium, and manganese, which all are important for bone growth, energy, and fighting off heart disease.

What’s the Best Brown Rice-to-Water Ratio?

1 cup of brown rice to 2½ cups of water yields 3 ½ cups of cooked brown rice.

How Long Does Brown Rice Take to Cook?

Brown rice takes around 50-60 minutes to cook in the rice cooker or on the stovetop. Brown rice takes around 30 minutes to cook in the microwave.

How to Cook Brown Rice in the Microwave

Add 1 cup of brown rice and 3 cups of water to a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Reduce power to 50 percent and microwave for 20 minutes. Let the rice stand for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and fluff with a fork.

How to Cook Brown Rice in the Rice Cooker

Add 2 cups of brown rice to the rice cooker with a pinch of salt and 5 cups of water, and cook rice according the settings for cooking brown rice.

How to Make Brown Rice on the Stovetop

Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Once the water reaches a boil, add 1 cup of brown rice, 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the pot. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce to a simmer, and cook brown rice for an hour. Lift the lid, fluff the rice, and recover the pot for five minutes.

How to Cook Brown Rice in the Oven

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil in a kettle. Spread 1 cup of uncooked rice in an 8-inch square baking dish. Add the boiling water, 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for one hour. Uncover the dish, fluff the rice with a fork, and recover for five minutes.

What to Serve With Brown Rice

Brown rice is a suitable base for a variety of dishes. Try it with:

  • Brown rice salads
  • Grain bowls with vegetables and proteins like grilled chicken and salmon
  • Brown rice and vegetable stir fry
  • Fried rice with Chinese sausage, egg, and scallion
  • Fluffy brown rice pilaf
  • Savory or sweet brown rice porridge
  • Mujadara, the Middle Eastern lentil and rice dish topped with crispy fried shallots
Cooked Brown Rice

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Easy, Perfect Brown Rice Recipe

Ingredient Checklist

Total Time 70 min | Cook Time 65 min | Prep Time 5 min | Serving 3 1/2 Cups, Serves 4

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt!
  1. Bring 2 ½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, rinse 1 cup rice under cool water.
  2. When the water reaches a boil, add the rice, butter, and salt. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and leave to cook for an hour.
  3. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and recover for 5 minutes. Fluff rice again and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container once cooled.