How to Cook Brown Rice the Right Way

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.

Lately, brown rice has been sneaking its way onto my plate more and more. From Buddha bowls to basic lunches, this 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 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.

How to Cook Brown Rice

Here’s what you’ll need:

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

*Note: These steps are designed for cooking long grain 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

rice simmers on the stove top in a metal potTaste of Home

Notice that 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.

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. Got undercooked rice on your hands? Learn how to fix undercooked rice.

Test Kitchen Tip: If the cooking liquid is nearly gone and the rice isn’t tender yet, you can add a little liquid to help it finish cooking.

person showing how to cook brown riceTaste of Home

Bonus: 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.

You can also make brown rice in a rice cooker.

No matter how you make it, we recommend using hot, fluffy brown rice in one of our most popular dishes, like Black Bean Chicken with Rice or Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers.

Next, learn how to cook wild rice. (Or learn more about our recommended rice to water ratios.)

Use your brown rice to make these healthy meals-in-a-bowl!
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Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.
Nicole Doster
With nearly a decade of experience creating content for various lifestyle publishers and eCommerce brands, Nicole combines her love of at-home cooking with her expertise in product reviews and digital content creation to lead the award-winning shopping editorial team across Taste of Home, Family Handyman and Reader's Digest. As TMB's content director, affiliate, she oversees strategy, operations and planning for all product testing and shopping content, to bring readers recommendations and inspiration you can trust. Before joining the affiliate team, Nicole edited hundreds of recipe and food lifestyle articles for Taste of Home working closely with our Test Kitchen team and network of contributors. With a passion for baking, comfort food and hosting get-togethers you'll often see Nicole testing new products that make life easier. As a former barista in Chicago and Baltimore, she's slung hundreds of cappuccinos and doppio espressos in her lifetime and she will talk your ear off about the best gadgets to make cafe-quality coffee at home. When she's not hunched over her laptop, she's either fixating on her latest DIY home renovation or on a walk with her rescue pup, Huey.