Cooking Brown Rice: Secrets to SuccessQuick Cooking Instructions
- Rinse the rice.
- Add the rice, water, and olive oil to a pot and mix well.
- Bring to a boil with the lid on.
- When it starts to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes, covered.
- Uncover and stir gently with a fork.
- How Is Brown Rice Different From White Rice?
- Tools You’ll Need To Cook Brown Rice
- Cooking Instructions For Brown Rice
- Best Tips For A Perfect Brown Rice
- Best Seasonings For Brown Rice
- Cooking Brown Rice In A Instant Pot
- Cooking Brown Rice In A Slow Cooker
- Brown Rice Health Benefits And Nutrition Facts
- Frequently Asked Questions About Cooking Brown Rice
Brown rice has a reputation for being difficult to cook perfectly, but this myth needs to be proven wrong! Once you master the specific cooking process for brown rice, you will find out it’s actually simple and easy. Keep reading and you will see for yourself.
1. How Is Brown Rice Different From White Rice?
Besides the obvious contrast - one is brown, the other is white - there are several differences between the two. Some recipes even require the specific use of one vs the other.
In terms of composition, brown rice is whole grain, meaning it comes with a fair amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In white rice, some parts have been removed (maybe the best parts) and as a result, it offers fewer nutrients.
In terms of flavor and characteristics, you could say brown rice is dense and chewy; while white rice tends to be softer. Brown rice has an earthy, nutty taste; while white rice tastes like, well, like the universal rice we know well.
They also cook differently, and this is very important to remember if you’re looking at a recipe that calls for rice. White rice is cooked faster, while brown rice needs more time. The methods are quite similar but brown rice needs around 50 minutes while white rice can be ready in 15.
2. Tools You’ll Need To Cook Brown Rice
A pot or saucepan
The most essential tool for cooking rice recipes. Ideally, use a 4 or 5-quart stock pot. Materials like stainless steel and aluminum will ensure a better heat distribution and rice is more likely to come out perfectly cooked.
Because the covered-uncovered cycle is important, the stock pot you use to cook brown rice should also have a lid that works and fits well.
This 4 Quart Stock Pot from the Oberon Series is made of stainless steel and enhanced with 3-ply aluminum for optimum heat conductivity. It’s medium weight and compatible with all stovetops. Moreover, it comes with a perfect-fit tempered glass lid.
A bit more upscale, the Avalon Series offers the 5 Quart Stock Pot in black, with a 5-ply copper forged foundation that heats five times better than iron and twenty times better than stainless steel. The stainless steel lid offers a perfect seal and, as a cute little detail, it displays the Dalstrong lion insignia.
A skillet or frying pan
If you don’t have a proper pot or a saucepan available to cook brown rice recipes, preparing rice in a skillet or a frying pan is fine. And depending on the recipe, it might even be the best choice, since it makes it easier to cook rice evenly and sauté extra veggies and ingredients.
It’s also essential if you’re cooking fried rice or if you plan to season your rice by toasting it a bit before boiling.
To this end, choose a large, deep skillet; ideally non-stick, like this 10" Frying Pan & Skillet which has been tested and proved to be twenty-six times better than other brands regarding non-stick properties. If you want more, the 12" Frying Pan Wok from the Oberon Series offers even more depth (10 cm).
A bowl or a strainer
Both are good for rinsing rice before cooking.
A couple of simple kitchen forks to fluff the rice after it’s done.
A high-quality apron is essential for working on any recipe.
For chopping the aromatics or vegetables you want to use to season your rice.
3. Cooking Instructions For Brown Rice
- 1 cup brown rice (not instant or quick-cooking, these have other cooking times)
- 2 cups water (note: short grain brown rice may need a little less water than long grain brown rice)
- 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup of rice (optional)
- Rinse the rice using a strainer until the water runs clear, or else wash it in a bowl with water.
- In a medium-size pot or pan, mix the rice, water, salt, and olive oil to medium-high heat with the lid on.
- When it starts to boil, lower the heat to go as low and slow as possible, then cook for approx. 45 minutes maintaining a gentle boil (simmering).
- Turn off the heat. Let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes.
- Uncover and stir the rice gently with a fork to fluff it. Serve and enjoy.
4. Best Tips When For A Perfect Brown Rice
Short or long grain? Choose right: short grain brown rice has a stickier texture and is used for consistency in certain recipes like risotto. Long grains are light and loose when cooked.
Rice servings, how much to cook for one person? Usually, 1 cup of brown rice will yield two or three servings (maybe four if there are kids involved). It also depends on whether rice is meant to be the main dish or a side dish recipe. In general terms, half a cup of uncooked rice is considered an adequate proportion for one serving of cooked rice.
Rinse the rice before cooking. The excess starch in rice grains can make them sticky and rubbery. Rinse the rice with cold water in a fine-mesh strainer until the water comes out clear, the best trick for fluffy brown rice! Another method is to rinse it in a bowl full of water. Change the water and repeat a couple of times.
Watch out for the water-rice ratio. Always use 2 cups of water for each cup of rice and use the same measuring cup for both to ensure the ratio is right. Using two different measuring cups may alter the result.
Watch out for boiling. Don’t rush it: brown rice needs to absorb the water and hydrate. Give it the time it needs (usually 45 minutes).
A bit of oil can help in achieving tender, softer rice.
Use a fork to delicately separate the cooked grains.
Let it rest. Sometimes letting the rice sit for 10 minutes after turning off the heat can make the final difference. During these ten minutes, the rice keeps passively cooking.
5. Best Seasonings For Brown Rice
Brown rice can be as simple or as complex as you want! It can be a humble side dish or even a main dish if you play your cards right. When it comes to seasonings, herbs, spices, and ingredients to add to brown rice, there’s no limit to your imagination. Check out this list and 'listen' to your palate.
Herbs and spices
- Salt (just watch out for the quantity if you’re planning to add other sauces or ingredients that add their share of salt)
- Garlic (cloves or powder)
- Ground ginger
- Dried basil
- Cayenne pepper
- Dried basil
- A bay leaf for a touch of earthiness
- Soy sauce
- Tabasco sauce
- Taco sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar (slightly sweetish flavor)
- Parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese
- Lemon juice
- Pico de gallo
When to season brown rice?
Option 1 - Before cooking. Some say the best way to season rice is to toast it in a pan or skillet with the seasonings before boiling.
Option 2 - During cooking. Cook brown rice directly with broth.
Option 3 - After cooking. When the rice is cooked and the grains are tender, but not soft yet, you can add the seasonings of your choice, bearing in mind that whole spices give a more subtle flavor and ground spices are more intense.
6. Cooking Brown Rice In An Instant Pot
It’s very easy to cook brown rice in an instant pot or pressure cooker. It’s so easy and convenient that it's worth making a big batch and then using the leftovers for salads, burritos, bowls, curries, or stir-fries.
Instant pot brown rice only needs two ingredients: brown rice and water (although broth or stock can also be used for more flavor). It takes less liquid than on the stovetop and cooks in less time.
- 2 cups of brown rice
- 2 ½ cups of water
- Add the water and uncooked brown rice to the instant pot. Stir to mix well.
- Secure the lid of the instant pot and set it for 15 minutes on high.
- When the instant pot begins to release pressure naturally, the rice is ready.
- Wait for the instant pot to release all the pressure while the rice finishes steaming and absorbs any remaining liquid in the pot.
- Carefully remove the lid.
- Fluff the brown rice with a fork before serving.
7. Cooking Brown Rice In A Slow Cooker
Cooking brown rice in the slow cooker may take longer, but it has its advantages. You can set it and then 'forget' about it with complete peace of mind because when you’re back, it will be all ready and perfectly cooked. No risk of mushy or undercooked grains.
A large slow cooker also has the capacity for up to four cups of rice, so it can be your best ally when you're looking to prepare a week of brown rice recipes. You can even set it for 6-8 hours (on low) and leave it overnight.
In a slow cooker, which can take from 2 to 4 hours to get the rice ready, less water is required than the traditional pot brown rice recipe. The water ratio for the slow cooker is something like 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, 3 and 2/3 cups of water for 2 cups, and 4 and 3/4 cups of water for 3 cups.
- 2 cups brown rice
- 3 and 2/3 cups of water (or broth)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Butter or nonstick cooking spray
- Butter the inside of the pan or spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
- Pour in the water, the rice, and olive oil. Mix well.
- If the slow cooker has a brown rice setting, use it. Otherwise, cook on high for 2 to 4 hours. Option to stir occasionally to ensure even fluffier rice.
8. Brown Rice Health Benefits And Nutrition Facts
Brown rice is a whole grain that, unlike white rice, has a high nutritional profile.
- It provides an important amount of fiber which favors the gastrointestinal system.
- It helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Rice is an important source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds with many health benefits.
- Rich in B vitamins and folic acid, promoting the proper functioning of the nervous system, as well as the metabolism and the production of healthy blood cells.
- Very high manganese content. One cup of brown rice almost covers the entire daily requirement of this mineral, which is great for muscles, bones, and skin.
- Rice has a low glycemic index and is digested slowly, reducing the impact of glucose in the blood.
- Brown rice is naturally gluten-free.
- It contains no fat and is very filling, which is convenient in weight loss diets.
Brown rice, long grain, cooked
Estimated values per serving (1 cup)
9. Frequently Asked Questions About Brown Rice
What is the ratio of water to brown rice?
The subject is a bit controversial. The universally accepted ratio is two cups of water for one cup of brown rice. Some say if you use a little less water (1 ¼ cups for long grain, 1 ½ cups for short grain), you reduce the risk of mushy rice.
What’s the difference between long grain rice and short grain rice?
Short-grain rice contains more starch than long grain and it’s usually moist and soft when cooked. Long grain rice is a bit drier and looser.
Which rice is better for fried rice?
The starch molecules in long grain white rice make it the best rice for fried rice dishes, because of the light, fluffy texture. Which doesn’t mean you can’t use brown rice, basmati rice, or wild rice if you don’t mind the small difference.
What is a rice cooker?
A rice cooker is a kitchen appliance to achieve perfect rice faster than traditional methods. You can also use a rice cooker to prepare other grain recipes like oatmeal, quinoa, and black beans.
Does brown rice contain arsenic?
According to the FDA, brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice. This is because brown rice keeps the bran, the part of the grain where arsenic collects. However, a moderate amount of brown rice in your diet is not harmful.
Which rice is healthier?
All types of rice have their benefits. In general, brown rice is more nutrient-dense than white rice, with extra fiber and extra protein.
Food & travel writer based in Buenos Aires. Superpowers include relentless curiosity and high tolerance to spicy foods.