Howto: Cook Brown Rice

My interest in eating brown rice and sharing its preparation with you, dear eater, stems from the fact it is pretty darned healthy.  Sure, it is a source of carbs (brown rice has the same amount as white),  but for those that do not mind a few carbohydrates, brown rice is a far better choice than white.To understand why, I pulled these facts off Wikipedia:

  1. It is high in fiber which may lower LDL cholesterol
  2. It is higher in nutrients
  3. It is unprocessed (good for macrobiotic diets and those trying to eat fewer prepackaged foods)
  4. It is more filling than white rice

The only problem, for me at least, is that flavor is about reason 200 on the list.  While some enjoy the nutty chewiness of brown rice, I am not one of them.  If taste were the only factor, give me white any day.  Unfortunately it is not, so in my house we eat brown rice 90% of the time.Now to the steps.  This howto is equal parts technique and what not to do.  Step 1.  To make brown rice, pour the desired amount of brown rice into a measuring cup.  Add to a sauce pan.  Then measure out twice as much water (yes I said water, not stock) as rice.   Add that to the sauce pan.Thing not to do #1:  Do not eyeball your measurements.  Brown rice needs a lot of water to fully cook, but it is a water sponge and will soak up as much water as it can.  To avoid gummy, brown rice keep the ratio at 1:2.  One part rice to two parts water.Step 2.  Bring the rice to a boil over medium heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.Thing not to do #2:  Do not season the rice with salt.  Adding salt hardens the bran (the outer covering that makes brown rice brown) and will increase the cooking time dramatically.  Hence the fact you should not use stock unless you are 100% sure it does not contain salt.  You can add spices if you are sure they contain no salt.  Garlic powder or ancho chili powder is good candidates.As one final note, if you are considering trying to make a dish like my Mexican Rice or risotto, you have three options.  First, use white rice (my preference).  Second, make the brown rice the day before and store it in the refrigerator.  Use the cooked brown rice instead of uncooked white, but use far less liquid and shorten cooking time.  If you are serious about swapping in cooked white rice, leave me a comment and we will work it out together.  Third, and I do not recommend this, go ahead and follow the recipe using brown rice, but increase the amount of cooking liquid in the recipe by at least half.  Cooking the outside of brown rice in a skillet turns the bran into body armor and will increase cook times even longer than adding salt.With that being said, try brown rice rather than white next time and tell me how it turns out. 


  1. Nice blog.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE brown basmati rice. It was the only rice I was eating, until I recently dicovered RED RICE. Now I mix them – 1 part red rice, 2 parts brown basmati rice. And as you say, double the water or stock, bring to the boil, cover, don’t dare touch the lid and in 45 minutes it’s all done. (I’m willing to go with 40 minutes, too.)

  2. Sue,

    You bring up a good point. I like my rice more firm and find that the extra five minutes ensures the rice absorbs all the liquid.

    That being said, I am off to try some red rice. Though it’s still not as cooly named as “Forbidden Rice.”

  3. That’s so funny that you say that. I can’t remember which post it was, but I definitely blogged about how Forbidden Rice, no matter what it tasted like, is the coolest name ever. AND it is so stunning too. How lucky we are that it tastes soooo great.

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