How to Cook Brown Rice to Preserve Its Health Benefits


Cooking perfect rice is a simple and essential skill, with many households around the world eating white rice daily. A pot of perfectly cooked rice is important for anyone that loves to eat it with their meals. Brown rice is another very popular rice variety, with different types from short-grain brown rice to long-grain brown rice. 

Short-grain rice of this variety is the stickiest type, clumping together and making it easier to grab with chopsticks. Medium-grain brown rice is the middle ground of the types, being fluffy yet still slightly sticky. Long-grain brown rice is fluffy with grains that don’t stick together and work very well in fried rice and other recipes. Lastly, brown basmati rice is the fluffiest of the types and is traditionally eaten in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. 

With many nutrients and health benefits, it’s no surprise that brown rice is constantly being used as a healthier substitute for white rice, with many different dedicated brown rice recipes

However, cooking brown rice is sometimes a little trickier. Because the bran on brown rice grains is still intact, it takes longer to cook and can be challenging to strike the optimal texture. But by following these tips, you’ll be on your way to perfectly cooked, tender grains. 

Want to avoid undercooked or mushy brown rice? Here are some easy recipe notes on how to make perfectly cooked brown rice on the stovetop, in a rice cooker, and in an Instant Pot so you can make the best brown rice recipe any day of the week.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Brown Rice?

Not only does brown rice require more water than white rice, but brown rice takes longer in terms of cooking time as well. While there are many rice cookers on the market today that have special brown rice cooking functions, it’s still important to know how long it takes to cook your brown rice.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that brown rice generally has a cook time that is twice as long as that of white rice. This is because brown rice contains the whole part of the rice grain, including the fibrous bran, germ, and endosperm. The germ also contains nutrients, such as fiber, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals.

White rice on the other hand has the bran and germ removed. As a result, white rice tends to cook faster, has a softer texture, and contains fewer nutrients than brown rice.

Do You Need More Water for Cooking Brown Rice?

The rice-to-water ratio varies for every rice variety, so it’s important to know when you’re cooking rice that’s new to you. Not only does making brown rice call for a longer cooking time, but it also needs more water than white rice. Short, medium, long-grain brown rice, and basmati rice all need twice as much water to cook properly.

How is the Best Way to Cook Brown Rice?

When it comes to cooking brown rice, an important sign of perfect brown rice cook time and evenly cooked grains is that it should have a chewy texture without being mushy rice, and tender or al dente but not being crunchy, all while retaining a nutty flavor. 

No matter your cooking method, whether it’s on the stove, rice cooker, or Instant Pot, rinsing rice in warm water is always important as this removes the excess starch from the dry rice and prevents the brown rice from having a gummy texture once cooked. You can cook brown rice in different cookers, but the preparation and end result should always be the same.

How to Cook Brown Rice on a Stove

  1. Rinse brown rice in a fine-mesh sieve or rice washer under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain excess water.
  2. Combine 1 cup brown rice, a pinch of salt, and 2 cups water in a wide, medium saucepan.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low heat, bringing the boiling water to a simmer, and cover until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Do not lift the lid or stir the brown rice at any point during the cooking time as steaming is important for tender rice to cook evenly.
  4. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

How to Cook Brown Rice in a Rice Cooker

  1. Rinse the rice to remove excess starch. Rinse in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Drain extra liquid.
  2. Add the brown rice and water to your rice cooker, using about 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. Add salt to taste.
  3. Depending on your rice cooker model, Cook the rice according to the manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 minutes. Let the rice sit for 10 minutes after cooking.
  4. Fluff brown rice with a fork or wooden paddle, and serve.

How to Cook Brown Rice in an Instant Pot

  1. Add 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of washed rice to the inner pot. Add salt to taste.
  2. Close the lid and lock. Switch the steam valve to the sealing position.
  3. Using the “manual” button, cook brown rice under high pressure for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Once the timer is up, allow the pressure to go through natural release and continue to cook rice until fully cooked.
  5. Once the float valve has dropped, meaning all the pressure has been released, remove the lid and fluff the brown rice with a fork or rice paddle.

Final Note

Whether you’re cooking short-grain or long-grain rice, achieving brown rice success can take some practice. It’s important to keep in mind the differences between white rice and brown rice, as well as other varieties in order to get perfect rice every time you cook.

These instructions are simple yet have worked perfectly consistently, so you’ll get perfectly fluffy and great rice perfected in no time.