How to Make Brown Rice

Brown rice is an important part of a lot of our favorite recipes here at Namely Marly. To be honest, it took a little (or a lot of) convincing for some of us to make the switch from white rice, but when you look at the health benefits you’ll be on board with learning how to make brown rice too!

A bowl of brown rice with the text, "How to Make Brown Rice" at the top.

Have you read about the nutritional benefits but wondered how to make brown rice? I think people can get overly dramatic about how hard it is to make brown rice. I guess that makes it kind of…misunderstood. Because it’s not hard to make at all. Just follow my steps below and you’ll feel all healthy and nutritious too!

The thing is, if you have a batch of brown rice ready, you can do so much with it. Here are some of our favorite recipes that use brown rice: Crispy Orange Tofu, Vegan Chorizo with Lentils and Brown Rice, and Red Beans and Rice Burgers.

You can also add a little bit of tofu, some sliced green onions, and sprinkle it with some dried ginger for a quick lunch. Oh, and it never hurts to have a little soy sauce or sriracha on hand as well.

How to Make Brown Rice: Why Brown Rice is Better

OK. A lot of people, if given the choice, would select white rice over brown. There are members of my own family that I still have to nudge a little before they’ll eat brown rice. But here are some of the reasons why my family eventually gives in…because brown rice is so much better!

  • Brown rice includes the outer layer of the rice, the place where all the superfood nutrients are contained!
  • Brown rice is loaded with manganese. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, brown rice ranks third in manganese. Manganese is a trace mineral that’s important for things like bone production, skin integrity, blood sugar levels, and more.
  • Brown rice has fiber! Fiber is the new black. It is! Because if you’ve heard anything about the microbiome, you’d know that fiber is an important contributor to having a healthy gut. Brown rice is a perfect way to get a little extra fiber in your everyday diet!
  • Brown rice comes with your daily dose of Selenium. Why should you care? Because selenium helps to prevent things like colon cancer. I don’t want no stinkin’ colon cancer! Besides, selenium also plays a role in regulating antioxidant defense systems and immune functions.
  • Brown rice lowers cholesterol. Wait! There’s more? Yes, there is. In addition to everything above, you’ll also win Cardioprotective benefits like reduced cholesterol by including whole grains like brown rice in your diet.
  • Brown rice is an excellent source of Phytonutrients. We’ve talked about phytonutrients before. They’re basically the parts of plants that contain things like antioxidants that help keep us super healthy. Researchers talk a lot about vegetables and fruits, but whole grains are an unsung hero in the phytonutrient discussion. The majority of those phytonutrients are found in the parts of the rice that are removed to make it white. That’s one reason why eating the brown stuff is so important!
  • Brown rice is also a good source of magnesium, copper and B3
Two forms of brown rice grains have been formed into heart shapes.

You can usually find either long-grain or short-grain brown rice at most grocery stores in the United States. I have a thing for short-grain brown rice, but it’s sometimes a little more pricey and not always available.

How to Make Brown Rice: Step-by-Step

So, now down to the steps for how to make brown rice.

Cooking brown rice is pretty easy. It takes a little bit of time, but most of that time it is in the pot and you don’t have to stir it or stand over it, so that’s what makes it so easy.

One cup of dry brown rice will produce about 4 cups of cooked brown rice. That sounds like a lot, but by the time you throw some in your chili or serve with broccoli and tofu, it’s gone just like that! And *that* is usually about a week for us.

What You’ll Need

Brown rice – you can buy this at most any grocery store
Bowl (to rinse the rice in)
A colander (to drain the rinsed rice)
Medium-size pot with tight-fitting lid

Brown rice is in the bottom of a bowl covered with water.

Pour one cup of brown rice into a bowl and cover with water. Use your hand to mix the rice around in the water a bit.

Looking down on brown rice in a bowl with water. The water is getting cloudy from the starches released from the rice.

See that milky water? That’s the starch rinsing off the of the exterior of the rice. It’s good to get rid of this now to help you have the best cooked brown rice when you’re done.

A pyrex measuring cup sits next to a 1 cup measuring cup full of brown rice. The words "2 cups water + 1 cup brown rice" are written below these.

Now you’re ready to begin cooking. Place the rinsed rice into a medium-sized, lidded pan. Add 2 cups of water and turn up the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a boil. Once this boils, reduce the heat to low, put a lid on it, and set your timer for 40 minutes.

I can speak from personal experience, you do not want to forget to set the timer. Bad things can happen in a kitchen without a timer!

How to Use Brown Rice

Brown rice can be used as a substitution in every recipe that calls for white rice. You’ll just need to take into account the longer cooking time for brown rice. You can also add cooked brown rice into a recipe that calls for uncooked white rice.

Some of my favorite recipes include Vegan Chorizo with Lentils and Brown Rice, Red Beans and Rice Burgers, One Skillet Brown Rice Bowls, and Veggie Sushi Bowls.

Looking down on a small bowl full of cooked brown rice.

We hope you enjoy many bowls of brown rice and experiment with using it in your favorite recipes! If you’re looking for a fast and nutritious alternative to brown rice, consider my guide on how to make cauliflower rice!

How to Make Brown Rice, a step-by-step guide on how to make brown rice

Brown Rice Recipe

Follow these simple steps on How to Make Brown Rice and you’ll be enjoying this nutritional powerhouse in your favorite recipes soon!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 85kcal
Author: Namely Marly


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water


  • Place 1 cup of brown rice in a bowl. Cover with water and let sit for a minute. Use a spoon (or your finger) to stir the rice up a bit to release the starch. You’ll see the water turn a milky color. Use a colander to drain the water.
  • Add two cups of water to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the rinsed rice. Place over medium-high heat. Bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and place a lid on the pot. Set your timer for 45 minutes.
  • After the time is up, remove the lid and stir once to make sure there is no more liquid at the bottom of the pan. If so, let it cook another 5 minutes. If not, remove from heat and allow the cooked rice to rest for 15 minutes. After the resting period, fluff with a fork and either serve immediately, or store in airtight container in your fridge.


Updated by Marly · Permalink