How to Cook Brown Rice (2 Ways)

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Pouring sauce into a skillet of Vegan Fried Rice with Crispy Tofu

If you’ve ever cooked brown rice that turned out gummy, undercooked, or stuck to the bottom of the pan, join the club. I’ve been there.

BUT, since my earlier failed attempts, I’ve discovered 2 foolproof ways to cook brown rice that produce perfectly fluffy, tender rice every time. Let me show you how it’s done.

Do you have to soak brown rice before cooking?

Soaking is optional, but we recommend it! Soaking grains helps to remove some of the naturally-occurring phytic acid in the grain, which helps improve digestibility and speed cook time. 

To soak: Add rice to a large mixing bowl or pot and cover with twice the amount of lukewarm water (1 cup rice + 2-3 cups water). Soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight. Then drain and rinse once more. 

How to Cook Brown Rice

There are many ways to cook brown rice, but we have narrowed it down to our two favorites.

Method 1 makes extra fluffy, tender rice, while Method 2 is faster (since the smaller amount of water boils more quickly) and still yields a fluffy result!

Option 1- The “Pasta” Method 

This method is very similar to cooking pasta in that you fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, add rice, cook, and drain. After draining, the rice is added back to the pot (off the heat) where it steams for 10 more minutes.

How much water to cook brown rice with method 1?

  • ~12 cups water (yes, twelve!)

How long to cook brown rice with method 1?

  • For soaked rice: 20 minutes + 10 minutes off heat
  • For unsoaked rice: 30 minutes + 10 minutes off heat

Option 2- The “Quick & Simple” Method

The second method requires less time and is still delicious! The water and rice are added to the pan, then brought to a boil, reduced to a simmer, and cooked with the lid on. Once the water is absorbed, remove from the heat, uncover, and allow to sit for 10 more minutes.

How much water to cook brown rice with method 2?

  • For soaked rice: 1 cup rice to 1 ½ cups water
  • For unsoaked rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water

How long to cook brown rice with method 2?

  • For soaked rice: 15 minutes + 10 minutes off heat
  • For unsoaked rice: 25 minutes + 10 minutes off heat
Wooden spoon in a pot of cooked brown rice

Recipes Using Brown Rice

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

How to Make Brown Rice (2 Ways)

A step-by-step tutorial (and video!) for how to make perfect brown rice every time. Plus, delicious ideas for how to use it!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Pouring sauce into a pan of rice made with our How to Cook Brown Rice tutorial
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 (1/2-cup servings)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5-6 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice (we prefer organic short grain)
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • Optional: Soaking grains helps to remove some of the naturally-occurring phytic acid in the grain, which helps improve digestibility and speed cook time. To soak: Add rice to a large mixing bowl or pot and cover with twice the amount of lukewarm water (1 cup rice + 2-3 cups water). Soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight. Then drain and rinse once more. 

Method 1

  • For extra fluffy rice, start by bringing 12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add rinsed rice and stir. Boil on high uncovered for 20 minutes (if soaked) and 30 minutes (if not soaked) or until tender (sample a grain of rice to test doneness). 
  • Then strain for 10 seconds and return to pot removed from the heat. Cover with a lid and let steam for 10 minutes. Then serve! This rice is delicious in things like stir fries, sushi, fried rice, with stews, and more!
  • Store cooled leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5-6 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little oil or water until warm.

Method 2

  • Add water and rice to a medium saucepan. If you soaked your grains, you’ll add 1.5 times as much water as rice, which in this case would be 1.5 cups. If not soaked, you’ll add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cover. 
  • Cook until water is completely absorbed and rice is tender – about 15-25 minutes (will depend on whether or not the rice was soaked). Drain off any excess water if there is any. I like to turn off the heat and remove the lid for 10 minutes so the rice gets fluffier. Feel free to fluff with a fork at this time as well. Then return the lid to keep warm until serving. This rice is delicious in things like stir fries, sushi, fried rice, with stews, and more!
  • Store cooled leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5-6 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little oil or water until warm.

Video

Notes

*Prep time reflects 2 hours soaking. If not soaking, prep time is 0 minutes.
*Method 1 is from Saveur!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate without salt added to water.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 half-cup servings Calories: 85 Carbohydrates: 17.6 g Protein: 1.7 g Fat: 0.7 g Saturated Fat: 0.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.23 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.24 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1 mg Potassium: 58 mg Fiber: 0.8 g Sugar: 0.2 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 2.08 mg Iron: 0.3 mg

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Siara says

    Wonderful technique and reference! I utilized both ways and find them fun, actually! This time, in prep for the pasta method, I actually lightly browned the soaked rice in Irish butter then added seeds, garlic, onion powder, and extra pepper 🤤 then added hot water to boil! Thank you for all that you do!

  2. April Guscott says

    Can I soak minute rice and , would it work the same way following either of your methods, but just cook faster I guess?

  3. Katy Ionis says

    Why am I just now trying this method of cooking brown rice like pasta? It’s a revelation! I soaked short grain brown rice overnight and used method 1 and it’s the best brown rice I’ve ever made – each grain is separate, there is no sticky starchy gunk as I’ve always had no matter how much I rinsed the rice, and it’s more forgiving than watching to turning off at just the right time when all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked with method 2. Most people will skip this recipe because they’ve been making brown rice for years and know how to, but wow I wish I read this years ago.

    Is there any nutrition drawback to method 1 with dumping out the water? Do you do this method with white rice as well?

    Thank you!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We are so glad you enjoyed it, Katy! We’re not aware of any nutrition drawbacks, but we can see why you might ask that. We haven’t tried it with white rice as we find this method yields fluffy rice without an issue.

  4. Phaedra says

    i used the second method but found that my rice was not done at the 20 min mark. I had soaked it previously for 12 hours+ and used the recommended water to rice ratio. I think the problem was that my pot was too wide. I was only cooking one cup of rice and it spread out too thin on the base of the pot, so maybe there was not enough “height” for the rice to cook in. I added water 3 times and still after 40 minutes the rice was only half cooked. I ate it anyway of course!! lol

  5. Richard Coleman says

    Method 1 has become important for several reasons. America’s Test Kitchen in their book “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” recommend it as an option particularly for brown rice since many people had trouble using the recommendation on the rice package. However, now as the issue of arsenic in rice has risen to the surface the recommendation is to soak the rice and use Method 1 since the arsenic is washed out in the large volume of water. You have to periodically test how done the rice is for the timing. A simple search using arsenic and rice as key words will describe the problem. I have always steamed my rice without soaking, but I use a pressure cooker with the pot in pot method and it was very efficient. Now I am switching to Method 1. I use Lundberg organic sprouted short grain brown rice. Lundberg now tests for arsenic, and it doesn’t matter whether you use organic and/or sprouted rice, there will still be arsenic in the rice. I asked Lundberg about this. Method 1 is good and easy, but of course you use much more water.

  6. Mia says

    Hi Dana! Thanks for the wonderful how-to posts you’ve been adding to the website. If I were to use long-grain brown rice, would the cooking times change for either method? Thank you!

  7. Avia says

    I used method 1 and it was awesome, I overcooked a little in the boiling stage but the steaming seemed to rescue it, amazing! I had it with the 20 min tofu stir fry ?

  8. Rikki says

    I haven’t tried these ways, but I actually bake my brown rice now! 1 and 1/2 cups brown rice to 2 and 1/2 cups water in a 9×9 pan. Cover tightly with a double layer of foil. Bake at 350 for an hour. Perfect rice every time! And no stress or babysitting a pot!

  9. Pickle Relish says

    I made it the #1 way, it was delicious but next I want to either soak the rice over night if I remember or at least the 2 hours and boil it. My old way of cooking rice made making rice in this house almost never but now I learned a better way and brown rice will be enjoyed more. Thank you for this video.

  10. Holly says

    Best rice I’ve ever made! I used method 1 and it’s so fluffy. I filled my 8-quart stock pot about halfway with water and cooked 400 grams (about 2 cups) of rice. Such a perfect, simple recipe!

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