Share:

How to Cook Brown Rice

Rice can be one of the most versatile players in your mealtime lineup. It's also one of the simplest to make. Our foolproof guide will teach you how to cook brown rice, with helpful tips along the way.

By Christine Rukavena, Food Editor and Nicole Doster, Digital Associate Editor

cooked brown rice fills an oblong white bowl


Lately, brown rice has been sneaking its way onto my plate more and more. From big bowl meals to basic lunches, the whole grain has almost entirely replaced its whiter, less nutrient-rich cousin. Why? I crave its richer, nutty taste, plus it packs some major health benefits. (And I mean major!) Cooked brown rice has about four times the fiber of white rice, and lots of manganese, phosphorus, selenium, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6.

Brown rice lags a bit in popularity due in part to its reputation for chewiness. If made properly, though, brown rice can be delectably fluffy. Want to know how to make this superstar starch? Follow our guide, which is packed with expert tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen.


Here's what you'll need:

  • Small saucepan with lid
  • Measuring cups
  • Liquid—usually water
  • Brown rice

*Note: These steps are designed for cooking plain brown rice. If you've picked up a package of instant, jump below for some alternative tips.

Cook time: 35-45 minutes


Step 1: Measure your ingredients

First thing's first. You'll need to figure out how much rice to use—and the math is super easy. We like to remember it as 1-2-3:


1 cup uncooked rice + 2 cups liquid = 3 cups cooked rice


a person stirs a pot on a stove top filled with boiling water and rice


Notice we said liquid?

Water is perfectly fine, but if you're looking to jazz up a dish, you can replace some or all of the water with broth or light coconut milk. Just make sure to keep the rice-to-liquid ratio the same.


And what about rinsing?

For the most part, it's not necessary. If rinsing or soaking is required, this information will be included on the package or in the recipe.


Step 2: Start cookin'

After placing the rice and liquid into a small saucepan, crank up the heat. Bring the contents of the pot to a nice bubbling boil. They say a watched pot never boils, but in this case, it's best to keep an eye on it.

Test Kitchen Tip: You may want to add a small amount of butter or cooking oil at this point for extra flavor.


Step 3: Let it sit and simmer

Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat. Cover the saucepan and let it simmer for 35-45 minutes. It's OK if you want to take the lid off and peek in every once in a while. The rice is finished when its texture is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.

Test Kitchen Tip: If the rice is nearly tender and the liquid level is still high, you can remove the lid and turn up the heat to steam off the excess water.


rice simmers on the stove top in a metal pot


Tips for Cooking Instant Rice

Don't feel guilty for grabbing a package of the instant stuff. Quick and instant brown rice are just as healthy as regular. These rices cook in as few as 10 minutes—a welcome shortcut in any kitchen. Just follow the instructions on the box. These rices have been partially cooked and dehydrated, so they require different ratios than standard rice.

Now that you know the basics, we recommend using hot, fluffy brown rice in one of our most popular dishes, like Black Bean Chicken with Rice or Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers.