3 Common Mistakes People Make When Cooking Brown Rice


Cooking rice can be challenging, but knowing tips and tricks can make the process easier, especially when you’re working with white rice. However, if we’re talking about brown rice, it can be difficult to master.

If you’re among the ones who struggle with making brown rice, you’re definitely not alone. Even some pros in the kitchen mess up brown rice once in a while. In this article, we’ll be discussing the most common mistakes you can make when cooking brown rice and how you can avoid them.

Brown Rice Cooking Mistakes

By now, we all know that white rice is milled rice with its husk, bran layer, and germ removed. The pearly appearance of white rice grains can be attributed to the polishing process it undergoes, however, it also loses a lot of nutrients when it is polished.

In contrast, brown rice is considered whole grain as it has all parts of the grain intact, including the endosperm, fibrous bran, and germ layers. The only thing that is removed from the brown rice is the hull of the seed. As brown rice is less processed, it also retains most of its nutrients, making it healthier than white rice.

As brown rice has its bran intact, it can be challenging to cook it compared to white rice. It also takes longer to cook, and its absorbency makes it particularly prone to turning to mush. Here are common mishaps that you may encounter when cooking brown rice and what you can do to fix them.

Watery Brown Rice

When cooking brown rice, it’s important to note that it has a different water-to-rice ratio than white rice. Because you need to soften brown rice grains, you need to use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of brown rice. However, there are times when your brown rice can turn watery even if you use the proper ratio.

If your brown rice is watery, it simply means that there’s too much liquid in your pot. To reduce the liquid, strain it out using a mesh strainer and return the brown rice to the pot. Let it sit on the lowest heat for 10 minutes.

Mushy Brown Rice

Not only does brown rice need more water than white rice, but it also cooks longer. Brown rice can take around 45 to 50 minutes to cook.

One of the most common mistakes when cooking brown rice is that it turns mushy. This can happen due to a number of reasons such as putting the incorrect amount of rice-to-water ratio, cooking it for too long, using the wrong pan, or not washing the rice before cooking it.

To avoid having mushy brown rice, always rinse the grains first. The main reason is to remove the dust or grit that may have gotten mixed in during production. Rinsing brown rice can also help improve its texture, making each grain distinct and less prone to clumping.

If you cook brown rice on the stovetop, you should also make sure that you’re using the right size. For cooking 1 to 2 cups of brown rice, a 2-quart saucepan is just the right size. If you cook in a too-big pot, it may not steam right, and if you cook in a smaller pan, it will boil over and end up becoming mushy.

You’ll also want to have a tight-fitting lid to ensure that steam doesn’t escape.

The resting process is also important in cooking brown rice. After 45 to 50 minutes of cooking, you should let the rice rest with the lid on for about 10 minutes. This step helps the rice absorb the last of the moisture in the pot. If you skip this step, your rice can end up gummy. After letting it rest, you can fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains.

Dry and Crunchy Brown Rice

If there are times when your brown rice cooks watery or mushy, there are also times when it can turn dry or crunchy. The usual culprit is that there isn’t enough liquid in the pot.

It’s worth repeating that using the correct water-to-rice ratio is highly important. If it’s too crunchy, you can add a little more liquid and cook it for 10 minutes on low. Additionally, let the rice rest off the heat for 10 minutes after you cook it. Fluff it with a fork afterward, and you’re done!

Final Note

Brown rice can be challenging to make and you may run into mishaps here and there, but don’t worry because you can easily fix those mistakes with some tricks. If you’re having difficulties with cooking brown rice on the stove, you can always turn to a trusty rice cooker to ensure that your brown rice is fluffy and perfect.