A step-by-step guide on how to cook brown rice that's fluffy, tender and delicious every time! Perfect for a healthy, delicious side dish.
Brown rice is the way to go.
I know some whole grains have a bad rap for their taste. Breads and pastas come to mind for a lot of people.
(Not me though. We switched to all whole grains when my daughter was born and haven't looked back. Plus, my kids were raised on them and don't know any different!)
But in this case, brown rice is just better than white rice. It has flavor.
White rice is so stripped down and bleached out that it doesn’t taste like much. What fun is that?
Brown rice is fuller, deeper, nuttier and more substantial than white rice. Plus, let’s not forget, more nutritious. Win-win!
However, I've also come to find out that lots of people have trouble with it and don't know how to cook brown rice.
Some of my friends are totally freaked by the idea. That would certainly be a reason not to use it. Nobody needs the extra stress.
But have no fear, it is oh so simple and oh so reliable with these steps.
I buy brown rice in the bags, not the boxes that sometimes come with extra additives and mysterious “flavorings.”
You can even get it on Amazon. The bags are just rice, nothing extra.
I don’t know what they tell you to do on those bags in terms of instructions. Don’t do it. Do this instead.
You’re going to cook it with a 2:1 water:brown rice ratio and cook it for 30 minutes. It helps to let it sit, covered, for another 5 minutes, but I've skipped that before when I'm in a time crunch.
That's it. That's the whole secret to how to cook brown rice.
So that seems easy enough, right? But to be sure, let's break that down a little more.
For 2 people, I cook ¾ cup of rice. That’s a lot. The hubs and I eat a lot. So adjust your quantity to your needs. You might use a heaping ½ cup for two people.
Let’s say we’re cooking for 4 people and want to have plenty for hungry tummies. We’ll do 1 ¼ cups dry, uncooked brown rice.
Pro tip: You can also cook extra, because cooked rice refrigerates and freezes great and it's nice to be able to pull out some already cooked rice on busy nights.
If you're looking for a little twist on just plain steamed brown rice, check out this easy brown rice pilaf. So flavorful!
OK, let's get into the specifics of how to cook brown rice.
(If you want to jump down to the recipe card, just keep scrolling. It's near the bottom of the post, just above the comments section.)
- Measure out 2 ½ cups of water into a saucepan. Set it to high heat and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add in 1 ¼ cups brown rice.
- Shake the saucepan so the rice settles and is covered by the water. Cover the pan with a lid, wait for it to return to a simmer and then turn your heat down to low.
- Simmer the rice for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and let the pan sit for another 5 minutes or so.
- Open ‘er up, fluff with a fork or serving spoon and there you have it. The water is all absorbed and you have perfectly fluffy, tender, tasty brown rice.
Like I said, brown rice is the way to go. 👍
(Oh and if you have an Instant Pot, you can check out this Instant Pot brown rice, which is another easy, fool-proof way to go! Especially if you want to make a big batch.)
Last thing, what to do with leftovers.
As mentioned, cooked brown rice stores great. I often double up how much I make just so I can have some on hand for another night.
You can refrigerate cooked rice, once it's cooled, in a covered container for up to 5-6 days.
You can also freeze cooked brown rice. Place it in a freezer safe container or ziptop plastic bag. Be sure to label and date the bag. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat and use as needed. Or in a pinch, transfer the rice from the freezer to a microwave safe container and heat in the microwave.
Whole grains never looked so good. Feel good serving this up tonight.
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 ¼ cups brown rice
- Measure out 2 ½ cups of water into a saucepan. Set it over high heat and bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling, add in 1 ¼ cups brown rice. Shake the saucepan so the rice settles and is covered by the water. Cover the pan with a lid, allow it to return to a simmer then turn the heat down to low.
- Simmer the rice on low for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and let the pan sit on the burner for another 5 minutes or so. Then fluff with a fork or a serving spoon and season as desired. Enjoy!
Quantity: You can scale this recipe up or down to make the amount of rice you need. The water to rice ratio is 2:1 so it's easy to adjust.
Tip: Make a bigger batch than you need and save or freeze the extras to have on hand for a fast dinner another night!
Storing: Leftover cooked brown rice, once cooled, can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days. You can also freeze the leftovers. Be sure to label and date your freezer safe container or ziptop bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat and use as needed. Or in a pinch, transfer the rice from the freezer to a microwave safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
This post was updated with new photos in February 2024. It was originally published in February 2015. Here's an original photo for reference.