How to Make Brown Rice

Having perfect brown rice is important for many plant-based dishes, including fried rice, black bean burritos, and more. If you’re trying to switch from white rice, you’ll love these tips on how to make brown rice taste good. Brown rice is best because it has more fiber and nutrients.

You can also add some Marinated Tofu over rice topped with some sliced green onions. It’s delicious! It never hurts to have a little soy sauce or sriracha on hand as well.

Two bowls of cooked brown rice sit next to sprigs of parsley.

Have you read about the nutrition, but wondered how to make brown rice? I think people can get overly dramatic about “how hard” it is to make.

The thing is, if you have a batch of this whole-grain ready, you can do so much with it. Here are some favorite recipes that use brown rice: Crispy Orange Tofu and Vegan Chorizo, and more!

Brown Rice Benefits

OK. A lot of people, if given the choice, would select the white grain over brown. There are members of my own family that I still have to nudge a little before they’ll eat the brown grain.

I’m all for using whole grains whenever possible. A lot of people think refined grains (such as white rice) taste better, but taste buds are malleable, and you can train yourself to like brown rice over time.

There are several reasons cooking with whole grains is healthier. Brown rice contains:

  • The outer layer of the rice, called the bran, where many of the superfood nutrients are contained!
  • Manganese, a trace mineral that’s important for things like bone production, skin integrity, blood sugar levels, and more.
  • Fiber! If you’ve heard anything about the microbiome, you know that fiber is an important contributor to having a healthy gut. It also has the added benefit of keeping you fuller longer.

You’ll also get added niacin and many more phytonutrients. There are so many benefits to brown rice!

Types of Brown Rice

There are several types of brown rice you can try:

  • Brown Short grain rice — It has a nuttier flavor and chewier texture
  • Brown Long grain rice — This is the most wildly available, and it has an earthy flavor and neutral texture
  • Brown basmati rice — Basmati rice has a distinctive floral scent and a nutty flavor.
A closeup of two bowls of rice shows short-grain brown rice and long-grain brown rice.
In Focus: The top bowl shows long-grain brown rice and the bottom bowl shows short-grain brown rice.

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

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Brown rice — You can use either short or long-grained brown rice.
  • Water
  • Optional Oil — You can add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the water as the rice cooks. Adding oil can prevent sticky rice.

How to Cook Brown Rice

Let’s get to it. Learn how to cook brown rice in a way you’ll want to make time and time again.

  1. Place 1 cup of brown rice in a bowl, cover with water, and let sit for a minute.
  2. Use your hand to stir the rice to release the starch.
    A hand reaches into a bowl with uncooked rice and water, stirring the rice.
  3. The cloudy water indicates the rice is releasing starches.
    Cloudy water is obvious in this bowl of brown rice soaking in water.
  4. Use a colander to drain the soaking water.
  5. Add two cups of water to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the rinsed rice.
  6. Place over medium-high heat. Bring to boil.
  7. Reduce heat to simmer and place a lid on the pot. Set your timer for 45 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. If not, remove from heat and allow the cooked rice to rest for 15 minutes.
  10. After the resting period, fluff with a fork and serve immediately,

Marly’s Tips

See that milky water when you’re rinsing the uncooked rice? That’s the starch released from the exterior of the rice. It’s good to get rid of this now to create the best cooked grains when you’re done.

Water Ratio

Cooking whole grain rice is pretty easy. Of course, it does take a little bit of time, but most of that time the rice is in the pot and you don’t have to stir or stand over it, so that’s what makes it so easy.

Here are important ratios to remember:

  • One cup of dry brown rice produces about 4 cups of cooked 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.
  • Water Ratio — The number one question people ask is what is the brown rice to water ratio. You’ll need 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of brown rice.
  • Brown Rice Cooking Time — So, if you’re wondering how long to cook brown rice, by the time you add the time it takes for soaking the rice, and for the water to come to a boil, etc, it’s roughly one hour.
  • One cup of brown vs. white rice provides nearly 3 more grams of fiber!

Storage Tips

Store leftover cooked rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.

How do you make brown rice taste good?

Here are some favorite seasonings to make tasty brown rice:
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped fresh parsley
Fresh salsa
Garlic powder combined with salt
Onion powder
A number of seasonings such as dill, basil, oregano, etc.
Vegan butter or olive oil adds a nice touch too!

Is brown rice healthy?

Brown rice is the healthiest rice because it’s a whole grain. It’s therefore a nutritious ingredient that can be added to a number of dishes. It’s full of fiber and many other phytonutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Best Brown Rice Recipes

You can use this whole grain as a substitution in every recipe that calls for white rice. You’ll just need to take into account the longer cooking time. Here are some favorite easy brown rice recipes!

Red Beans and Rice

This savory stew is a classic and you'll love this vegan version of Red Beans and Rice. Serve it up with vegan cornbread for the ultimate delicious experience!
Red Beans and Rice Recipe
A bowl of red beans and rice is in the foreground with a plate of cornbread behind it.

Vegan Black Bean Burrito

This easy vegan black bean burrito recipe is made with brown rice, potatoes, corn, and salsa. Served in a crispy burrito shell and topped with guacamole.  It's good, clean, plant-based food that you'll want to serve on repeat!
Vegan Black Bean Burrito Recipe
Close up of a Crispy Black Bean Burrito cut open showing black beans, pinto beans, tomato, corn and diced potatoes

Vegan Cheesy Chicken and Brown Rice

This Vegan Chicken and Rice Casserole is magical, because it’s so full of comfort food goodness that it disappears like that!
Vegan Cheesy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
A plate holds a serving of vegan chicken and rice with the casserole dish behind it and a glass with a pink beverage.

Vegan Chorizo Recipe

Make this vegan chorizo with tofu, lentils, and all the best spices! Then serve it on tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or even with tortilla chips!
Vegan Chorizo Recipe Recipe
A bowl of vegan chorizo sits in front of a slice of lime.

Sesame Tofu

You'll love this delicious Sesame Tofu served over rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles. It has a sticky sauce but is a nice low-carb option for vegans.
Sesame Tofu Recipe
A chopstick holds a single bite over a bowl of sesame tofu.
A bowl of brown rice has chopped parsley on top.

More Rice Recipes

Make these whole grain recipes part of your family favorites:

That’s it for this simple brown rice recipe!

A bowl of brown rice has chopped parsley on top.

Master Recipe Brown Rice

Follow these simple steps on how to cook perfect brown rice and you'll be enjoying this nutritional powerhouse in your favorite recipes soon!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 85kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • optional, olive oil (see notes)

Instructions

  • Place 1 cup of uncooked 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. Add optional oil if using. Place over medium-high heat. Bring to a 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.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

You can add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the pot with the cooking rice to help prevent stickiness.
Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 63mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.4mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2022.

5 Responses to How to Make Brown Rice

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyTanmoy Reply

    This is very good advice. Thanks from Tanmoy

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyPam Reply

    Can I cook the rice with chicken broth rather than water

    Can I cook the rice in chicken broth rather than water?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Pam. You can cook your rice in a broth, but I would always recommend vegetable broth.

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLauren Deegan Reply

    5 stars
    I am definitely switching to brown rice starting today and looking forward to trying out your one skillet brown rice bowls. They look absolutely delicious in the photos.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyUndine Reply

    Hi, I have a question about the Vegan Big Mac recipe you posted a couple of years ago. (I can’t leave a comment on the post featuring that recipe, for some reason.) The recipe calls for “1 cup red quinoa, cooked according to package instructions.” Does that mean, one cup RAW quinoa, cooked, or one cup COOKED quinoa? I ask because, I interpreted the recipe to mean the former, and the burgers came out…a bit top-heavy on the quinoa, I thought.

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