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A pot of fluffy, tender Brown Rice is yours for the making! Follow these steps to cook the perfect stovetop brown rice every time.

the best brown rice in a bowl

Cooking brown rice can be intimidating at first. If you’ve made it, you know it’s harder to nail the perfect texture than you’d expect.

With the right techniques (all of which you will find below), you can make it a staple in your meals.

This post will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to cook brown rice on the stove perfectly!

Brown rice is a great grain to have on hand.

Its slightly nutty flavor and tender, chewy texture make it the perfect base for stir fries, fried rice (like Shrimp Fried Rice and Chicken Fried Rice), and more!

brown rice grain

Why Brown Rice is a Healthy Option

Brown rice has a lot of health benefits, is a nutritious alternative to white rice, and can be an excellent choice for many different diets.

  • Whole Grain. Brown rice is a whole grain, which means it contains all parts of the grain (including bran, germ, and endosperm). This means that it is higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined grains like white rice, which only contains the carbohydrate-rich endosperm.
  • High in Fiber. Brown rice is a great source of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber can also help lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve blood sugar control.*
  • Low Glycemic Index. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice. This can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in insulin, making it an ideal food for people with diabetes.*
  • Gluten Free. Brown rice is naturally gluten free.
  • Minerals. Brown rice is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.*
fluffy stovetop brown rice in a bowl

How to Cook Brown Rice on the Stove

Cooking brown rice is easier than you think with these two methods.

  • Method 1 – Simmer. With this method, you combine water and rice, bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Method 2 – Boil & Drain (Pasta Method). In this method, you cook the rice as you would pasta: Bring the water to boil, add the rice, then boil until the rice is tender and drain the excess liquid away.

Both methods work and have their pros and cons.

  • The simmer method is the most common, what rice packages instruct, and it avoids the mess of needing to drain the cooked rice. Also, the rice retains more of its nutrients, since nothing is drained away.
  • The simmer method makes it easy to cook the rice in vegetable or chicken broth to infuse more flavor.
  • The boil method is considered by many to be easier, since you don’t have to worry about the water completely absorbing and the rice burning to the bottom of the pot as it cooks.

If you are nervous about getting the perfect rice texture or always seem to burn your rice, try the boil method.

If you are able to check on the rice periodically, don’t want to mess with draining, want to maintain max nutrients, or want to infuse extra flavor, simmer it.


The Ingredients

  • Brown Rice. Choose a long-grain brown rice for the cooking times listed below. Short-grain brown rice might have a slightly different cooking time.

Water-to-Rice-Ratio

Simmer Method. A great rule of thumb when cooking brown (and white) rice is a 2:1 ratio of water to rice. 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.

Boil Method. If you prefer to boil the rice the entire time it’s cooking, then drain it, use 6 cups water for 1 cup rice.

  • Water. The rice to water ratio is critical.

Substitution Tip

To achieve a richer flavor, instead of water, use an equal amount of liquid broth, like chicken broth or vegetable broth. (Note that this is best with the simmer method; if you are boiling the rice, that would be a lot of broth to use!).

  • Olive Oil. Enhances the flavor and reduces stickiness.

The Directions

Method 1 – Simmer
rinsing brown rice
  1. Rinse rice with cold water until water runs clear. Don’t skip this step!
simmering brown rice in a pot for stovetop brown rice
  1. Place the water, rice, and olive oil in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow the rice to simmer for about 40-45 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes with the lid still on.
fluffing brown rice with a fork
  1. After 10 minutes, fluff with fork and top with herbs as desired.

Method 2 – Boil and Drain (Pasta Method)
rinsing brown rice
  1. Rinse rice with cold water until water runs clear. Don’t skip this step!
stovetop method for cooking brown rice
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice, olive oil, and salt.
  2. Boil the rice uncovered until it’s tender, about 30 minutes. Check the pot and make sure it’s not going to overflow and adjust the heat as needed so you maintain a steady boil the entire time.
  3. Drain the rice, then return to the pot. Remove from heat, cover, let it sit for 10 minutes with the lid still on.
fluffing brown rice with a fork
  1. After 10 minutes, fluff with fork and top with herbs as desired.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Let the brown rice cool before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked brown rice for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Add the brown rice and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
  • To Freeze. Spread the brown rice on a baking sheet, freezing until solid. Transfer the frozen rice to an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Ways to Use Brown Rice

easy brown rice in a bowl

Enjoy your perfectly cooked brown rice; no rice cooker needed!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Brown Rice in the Instant Pot?

To make brown rice in the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot Brown Rice recipe.

Why Do I Need to Rinse Brown Rice?

Rinsing rice is an essential step that can improve texture and remove any unwanted debris. Rinsing brown rice removes excess starch, resulting in less sticky and more fluffy rice. Rinsing also removes the small amounts of arsenic that may be found on grains like brown rice. It’s a simple step that can make a big difference in the quality of your rice and the overall flavor of your dish.

How Much Does 1 Cup of Uncooked Rice Yield?

One cup of uncooked brown rice yields roughly 3 cups cooked.

How Can I Add Flavor to Brown Rice?

Swapping water for broth is a great option to deepen the flavor of brown rice. Additionally, top your rice with butter, fresh herbs, and salt to taste.

How to Cook Brown Rice

5 from 6 votes
Learn how to cook brown rice perfectly every time! Follow these stovetop rice cooking methods for the perfect fluffy brown rice.

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes

Servings: 3 cups cooked

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups of water (for simmer method) or 6 cups (for boil method)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • fresh chopped cilantro, parsley, or chives optional

Instructions
 

Method 1 – Simmer:

  • Rinse the rice: Place rice in a mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
  • In a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine 2 cups water, rinsed rice, and olive oil and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow the rice to simmer for about 40-45 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. If at any point the pot looks dry, add a little more water to ensure the rice doesn't burn to the pot.
  • Once the rice is fully cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes with the lid still on. This will allow the rice to absorb any remaining moisture and become fluffy. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Top with herbs as desired.

Method 2 – Boil and Drain (Pasta) – Directions:

  • In a large pot, bring 6 cups water and the olive oil to boil over high heat.
  • Rinse the rice: Place rice in a mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
  • Once the water is boiling, add rice and stir to combine.
  • Boil the rice uncovered for 30 minutes, or until tender. Adjust the heat as needed so the rice stays at a steady boil (and make sure it doesn't overflow!).
  • Once the rice is fully cooked, drain away the excess water, then return the rice to the now-empty pot. Cover and let sit off of the heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Top with herbs as desired.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Let the brown rice cool before storing it in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked brown rice for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Add the brown rice and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
  • TO FREEZE: Spread the brown rice on a baking sheet, freezing until solid. Transfer the frozen rice to an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cup of cooked riceCalories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 5gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gPotassium: 170mgFiber: 2gCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

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*Health benefits of brown rice found on health.com.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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