How To: Make Perfect Brown Rice

I know, I know…by the title you’re expecting the most exciting blog post, EVER.  Right? Stick with me.  To pump up the excitement factor, I’m giving away something super cute, too.  You’ll want one.  But let’s talk brown rice for a minute, shall we?  Brown rice is a whole grain.  It’s a plain grain of rice with only the outer husk removed.  To produce normal, white rice, the next 2 layers (the bran and the germ) are removed, leaving just the starchy white center.  While brown and white rice have similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates, brown rice has considerably more nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, healthy fatty acids, and much more.  It’s a little chewier than white rice and has a mild, nutty, flavor.  It’s definitely a great way to add healthy grains to your diet.

The problem is that it can be a little tricky to cook.  It’s not hard, by any means.  You can certainly just follow the instructions on the bag,  but I find the results are incredibly varied.  Sometimes it’s still crunchy when it’s done, other times it’s really gummy and sticky.  I almost always have a layer of rice stuck like super glue to the bottom of my pan.  For me it’s really hit and miss when I cook it in a pot on the stove.  However, using this method, it’s perfect every single time.  The grains are perfectly textured and fluffy, and I don’t have to think about it since it’s just sitting in my oven.  Here’s how it’s done:

Place your dry brown rice in an 8×8 pan.

Combine 2 1/3 cups water with just a couple teaspoons of oil.  Bring it to a boil, and then add a little salt.  You can also use broth for a little extra flavor.


Pour it over the rice and give it a mix.

Cover the pan tightly with foil.  You don’t want any of that moisture escaping and evaporating during cooking, so wrap it down tight.

Pop the pan in the oven and leave it there for about an hour.  When it comes out, remove the foil,

and give it a quick fluff.

Immediately cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel.  Notice how I pulled the towel tight over the top and tucked the edges underneath the pan.  That’s so the towel doesn’t actually sit on the rice and just stick to it.

Normally, you’d just leave a pot of rice with the lid on, but what happens is that all of that hot steam evaporates and has nowhere to go.  So it collects on the underside of the lid and then falls back into the rice, making it sticky and gummy.  The towel allows the moisture to stay in the pan, keeping the rice moist and fluffy, but excess steam is absorbed into the towel.

The result is simply, brown rice perfected.  Sometimes simple tricks are the best.


This is a great little recipe to print out and tape to your rice container, or on the inside of a cabinet for easy reference.

And if you want to double it, just use a 9×13 pan, and the baking time remains the same.  You can also use a ceramic pan with a tight-fitting lid.

 

 

 

122 comments

  1. Maybe I will actually cook brown rice now…I don’t like cleaning out my rice cooker and it’s so messy on the stove. Have you tried this with white rice too?

  2. If I were to come up with all the different ways possible to cook rice, I don’t think this would ever have entered my mind. What a perfectly painless carefree way to accomplish this task. Thank you! And thank you ATK!

  3. LOVE THIS! I make brown rice all the time and have to scrub and soak, scrub and soak the pan for days. Seriously!

    Can’t wait to try this out tomorrow night! (after I win that apron of course!)

  4. I always make my rice this way – perfect every time! Other types of rice cook well using this method, too. I cook basmati rice like this all the time.

    1. Hi Amy!

      Did you have to do anything special or different with basmati rice? Want to try this tomorrow for guests but maybe shouldn’t experiment on dinner company 🙂 regular brown rice works great but basmati fits the indian spiced kabobs perfectly! Thanks!

  5. Thank you Thank you!! I’ve always wanted to ask this question, but hate to burden you with a request when you probably get so many….so this was awesome.

  6. I have always wanted to switch to brown rice but never could because of texture and taste. I cant wait to try this out and take one more step towards healthy eating.

  7. love this! i was just about to buy some brown rice and start cooking that, b/c i’ve been told it’s so much healthier for you. i’m going to trying this tonight!

  8. This post came at the perfect time! The last time I was at the store I grabbed brown rice because I had been hearing how much more it had beneficial for us. I cooked it like the instructions said and it was very gummy, with a bit of a bite in the center. We didn’t like it at all, so of course there’s a ton still in the pantry just sitting there! Would any of your recipes on OBB work with brown rice instead of white rice? We love the lime-cilantro rice with pineapple!

  9. We’ve switched completely to brown rice. This method sounds great if I have the time to do it, but I usually don’t. I have had great success using my rice cooker!

  10. I was actually just lamenting on how I can never cook brown rice correctly. I’ll have to try this! Hopefully it works so I don’t waste the huge costco bag of brown rice I bought a few months ago. 🙂 Does your recipe work for short grain brown rice?

  11. THANK YOU!!!! You know how people sometimes say things like – i just can’t bake. or, I just can’t grill. and you’re like “why? just follow the directions…” Well i just can’t cook brown rice. at all. like – i’ve tried everything. tupperware microwaveable rice cooker, 10 minute boil packs, all of it. i am so excited to try this way!!

  12. Great post! I like baking my rice, too. I do it similar to you but I didn’t know that about the towel. I’m going to try it next time. Thanks.

  13. Would it work to do a mix of white and brown rice? I haven’t really done brown rice for my kids before and I usually like to go half&half for a while when I’m introducing the healthier version of something we eat pretty regularly. I know on the stove brown rice takes a lot longer to cook, but in the oven could you cook them together?

  14. Congrats on reaching 50k! I’ve taken so many of your recipes to potlucks and then point them to your blog that I’m responsible for at least a few of those “likes”. Thanks for the fun giveaways…. I might have to get me one of those adorable aprons if I don’t win it. 😉

  15. Love this! I was wanting to make some rice up and freeze it before school started so life would be a little less stressful and I could eat a little healthier without all of the time…

  16. OK. Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve never had any trouble cooking brown rice on the stove-top. One thing I do, however, is add 2-3 tablespoons of cold water to the hot pot once all the liquid is absorbed, then let it sit for 5 minutes or so. No sticking! It’s especially helpful if I’ve let the pot go a little too long.

    I don’t think I’d want to fire up my oven just for rice (or at all, in the summer heat) – but I’ll definitely remember this trick if I’m already baking something else.

  17. Just wondering of this would work in a crockpot too, just increasing the time? I just had a baby this year and I’m trying to simplify life a little… This is nice and simple, but would be even better if the oven didn’t heat up the whole kitchen… Will definitely be trying this when it cools down a bit 🙂

  18. I love this! This is the ONLY way I cook my brown rice and I have never had any problems. It always comes out perfect. I always wondered why there were so many different notes on the web about how to cook it when it is so easy this way. The only difference I do is to use about a tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan. I usually always make 3 cups of rice and 6 cups of water. That way I have some left over to freeze!

  19. OMG I am totally showing my husband this! He always teases me about not being able make rice! Its rice, it should be easy right? I can’t wait til he gets home from work so I can show him this!

  20. I just have to say thank you thank you thank you for posting this! I always choose brown rice over white rice for the health benefits, but I’m never satisfied with it! I made our brown rice tonight and followed your instructions and I could not believe the difference, it was shiny and beautiful and oh so yummy! I feel like I just experienced brown rice for the first time, ha! You ladies are awesome!

  21. great tip on making brown rice. thank you ladies.
    i dont use facebook, will there be any other way to to entered into that 50k contest?

  22. It is way too hot for the oven and no A/C but I have a toaster oven and since it will fit in a small glass pan I’m going to try it in there. Thanks for the tips.

  23. Stunning way to cook brown rice! I normally just put it in the microwave as per the microwave instructions, but this way it is sooo delicious!!

  24. Thanks so much for the brown rice tips! I have had the same bad luck with brown rice, which was frustrating since that is what I want to serve my family.

  25. Thank you for the chance to win this adorable apron. Thanks also for all the wonderful recipes you share on your awesome blog.

  26. I think my all time favorite receipe is your chicken tortilla soup. We are
    both students, starving students I might add and this soup really hits the
    spot for us and our pocketbook. Would love to win one of those cute aprons.
    Thanks, Heather

  27. Alton Brown’s recipe is very similar to this. I’ve been cooking brown rice this way for a few years–it’s the best. I especially like that I can cook other things on the stovetop while the rice cooks away in the oven.

  28. I used to cook my rice this way until I recently learned (from Cooks Illustrated) that you can cook your rice like pasta, in a large pot of water, then drain when it is done. The best part is that is washes all the starch off the rice and so it never clumps, even when it cools. I love it. I also don’t have to watch it as closely and the pan cleans up even easier than the oven method.

  29. I love this recipe. I’ve been wanting to introduce more brown rice in our meals at home, but every time I make it it just doesn’t turn out right and no one really eats it. I will definitely give this one a try and I am going to re-blog it on my blog. Thanks for the great tips!

  30. Thanks for the great recipe. I am not a great lover of brown rice because it always seems so chewy. I will give this a try after it cools off – I don’t want my oven whens it’s 100 degrees outside!

  31. I have a quick question, is the oil necessary to keep it from sticking or can you omit the oil? Just wondering. 🙂

    1. I just made a batch without oil and it turned out great!

      I did add two bouillon cubes to the water to add some flavor, though, but I don’t know if that would have made a difference.

      1. THanks Debbie 🙂 that was my question as well.
        I wanted to try the recipe, but did not want to add oil or butter outside of taste preferences if it was not necessary.

  32. I think I tried cooking brown rice maybe twice in my 15 years of marriage. Absolutely failed. Upon reading this post I reflected on the unopened bag of brown rice sitting in my freezer. Not even sure when I bought it or why. I decided to give it a try with this method. I did add some beef broth to it. While it cooked I was really skeptical until my house starting smelling heavenly! I had high hopes that it would taste as good as it smelled. This rice was speechlessly delicious. Really–I had no words to describe it. The family loved it. My hubby couldn’t get enough of it (and that’s sayin’ something). Not sure we’ll ever go back to the “old ways”. I’m not afraid to put brown rice on the menu anymore. Never had rice taste this good or look this perfect, brown or white. Thanks girls!

  33. I’m totally going to make these, I’ve been daydreaming about a recipe like this for a long time! Your texture on it looks way better than anything I’ve ever seen in the stores too, it makes me wonder if I can pull off something even have as amazing. Thank you!

  34. This is perfect every time. Chicken broth gives it more flavor and I double the recipe to freeze the extra for future use ( just let it cool first).
    My pampered chef deep baker covered with foil and then the top is foolproof in the oven.

  35. Do you think it would work on multi-grain also? I struggle to get soft multi-grain, even in the rice cooker. I use the Organic Harvest Medley.

  36. Somehow I seemed to mess this up. Not entirely, but my rice seemed to be a bit more crunchy than I thought it would be. The water content seemed low to me compared to normal rice, but judging by the fact that everyone else had success I must be wrong. Do you know why mine would be crunchy? I followed the recipe exactly. Maybe my foil wasn’t tight enough.

  37. Tried this last night and it was perfect. I work in a school cafeteria and had to switch to brown rice but could never get it right. I can not wait to try this at school. Who knows maybe the kids will finally eat it 🙂

  38. Is there a brand of brown rice that you recommend? I’ve tried just a brand I found on the shelf in Wal-mart but I didn’t like the taste. Is there brown rice out there that tastes better than sawdust?

  39. As someone who often doesn’t plan enough time for my brown rice to cook, I found the boiling it like pasta works great every time and it’s much quicker. Boil your rice in a big pot of water for 30 minutes. Drain it and immediately put it back in the pot and cover it with the lid. Let it sit for 10 minutes. It turns out perfect…everytime.

  40. THANK YOU for this fabulous tip! I tried it tonight (with the brown rice that sits in my pantry and doesn’t get used because I can’t cook it right) and it absolutely worked! It was the perfect texture. I even had to rush the last part with covering it with the dish towel and letting it sit again, and it was still great.

  41. I think I cooked it a little too long because it was a little sticky. I usually make a big batch of brown rice on Sundays so that dinner assembly during the week can be done in minutes. I will echo the comment about making rice like pasta – the grains stay separate a lot of the starch gets rinsed away. This recipe from Saveur works (if I have leftover stock, I’ll throw that in too)

  42. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I tried you recipe and it didn’t work for me. I pulled it out after an hour and there was alot of water so I thought 30 mins. more would work but there still was a little bit of water. Needless to say after two hours we were hungry in our house and ate dinner with the brown rice that was part crunchy part gummy . I hate cooking brown rice. What did I do wrong? I do live at 6,000 ft would that make a difference? Your recipes are always amazing and they always turn out wonderful, this is the first time something didn’t work for me. Thank you for all the time you put in your website.

    1. How old was your brown rice? I know old dried beans definitely cook differently. I live at 6,000 ft and don’t have a problem with the recipe, which I’ve made many times.

  43. Just thought I’d say that this changed my cooking life 🙂 We eat rice A LOT and my brown rice was never turning out great. I’ve used this method 4 times since you posted this and my rice has been utterly perfect every single time!! I love that I can just put it in the oven and forget it and it turns out every time!! Thank you for sharing this!!!!!!!

  44. THANK YOU!!

    I suck at making white rice. I suck even more at making brown rice.

    Can’t wait to try this method!

  45. I tried it and it worked great! Question. I tried using chicken broth and the short grain rice I used came out slightly soggy. Any reason why? When I didn’t use the chicken broth, it was perfect.

  46. I like to be able to print your recipes. Some can be printed and some not. Like this one can’t be printed.

  47. This was my first time cooking brown rice and it turned out perfectly! My husband and I are trying to make the switch to more whole grains, and this recipe is a big help toward that. Just a note in case anyone else was wondering. Leftovers can be frozen and reheat nicely. I added a bit of water to the frozen rice and heated it loosely covered in the microwave at 1 minute intervals, stirring and adding more water as needed. I’m only cooking for two, and I love that I don’t have to waste the leftovers.

  48. I have been using instant brown rice because I have had such a hard time getting regular brown rice right on the stovetop. I tried this last night and my long journey is over! This is going in my kitchen notebook. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  49. You know when you do something, betting it’s not gonna work? Well, shame on me… LOL. I love brown rice (I think it taste soooo much better) and since I’m always on the run, I usually cook a bunch and I freeze individual portions and I pop it into the microwave, BUT with gummy rice, it’s awful. Now I can make the perfect brown rice without suffering for 45 minutes if it’s gonna turn up good or not 🙂 Thanks a million!!!!!

  50. I thibpnk a nice addition to this would be to add an envelope of vegetable soup mix..I’ll let you know when I try it. Thanks for the recipe..I can never make rice consistently good 😀

  51. I think a nice addition to this would be to add an envelope of vegetable soup mix..I’ll let you know when I try it. Thanks for the recipe..I can never make rice consistently good 😀

    1. Please refer to the recipe at the end of the post which will provide you will all of the measurements you need.

  52. I noticed in your instructions there was no measurement for how much rice nor did it state the oven temperature. I’m assuming 1 cup of rice at 350 degrees.

    1. All of that information is included in the recipe at the end of the post. Make sure you are looking past the photo steps to the actual printable recipe at the end.

  53. Cooked brown rice on the stove top once. Was a disaster. The remainder has been sitting in a container in the cold cellar since then. Well thank you for this recipe I will definitely try it……today. Thank you again.

  54. I made this last night and it was delicious. I’ve never been fond of brown rice, but this was great. I did add a chopped green onion in the last 5 minutes. I loved the flavor it added. Next time I will spray the pan with a little PAM first because some of the rice was stuck.

    Thanks for sharing…I will definitely make it again.

  55. I tried to cook brown rice and it winds up in a goop. I went by the package directions. I am glad I stumbled on this and will give this a try next time I make brown rice.
    THNX!!

  56. I was wondering if this recipe will work at high altitudes. I live at 9,500 ft in the mountains and have a heck of time converting simple recipes. More water? More time? If anyone knows please advise! Thank you!

  57. This really works!! Every time I get perfect, yummy, soft brown rice. I like to use short grain best (It seems to be a bit more moist and less chewy). Thank you for this post, it’s made me use brown rice again instead of just giving up and using white because I never liked the results.

  58. I made this the first time and it came out perfect, tasted so good. The last 2 times I have made it I have had problems. Don’t know what I’m doing wrong or different but the rice still is hard. Any suggestions?
    Thanks.

    Katie

  59. Brown rice sucks and it tastes GROSS no matter how much butter I put on it. So someone needs to make a recipe that makes brown rice not taste like this

    1. have you tried subbing stock for water? I also sometimes add finely chopoed parsley and or green onions stirred in right after uts cooked. 🙂

  60. just had to add my 2 cents…..PERFECT method for PERFECT brown rice….finally !
    Thanks

  61. This recipe is amazing, thank you. Do you have any tips on reheating it. I’d like to make a big batch to use for lunches during the week.

  62. Thank you for this tip! A couple things I noticed:

    I used a red/brown/wild rice blend. Followed instructions exactly. Next time I will spray my vessel because even with the added olive oil the rice stuck to the sides just a bit – definitely not like in a pot on the stove, though! Whew! Thank God for that! This is a great method and I will introduce more herbs and spices next time. I also want to try the Cook’s Illustrated method one of your prior posters mentioned: cooking on stove as you would a pot of pasta. Thanks for a great post!

  63. I’m so amazed by this concept – it really works!!!! I needed a bigger portion for a family-style meal so I used 2 cups of brown rice and 4 cups of water, a couple tabs of butter, pinch of salt, and TA-DAHHHH an hour later it was perfect. This is forever going to be my go-to method of preparing rice. I’m still in shock it worked but I’m so thankful it did.
    Blessings,
    Nicole

  64. We’ve been cooking rice like this since I was a teen…..and I’m now 65. To flavor the rice you can use chicken or beef bouillon to replace the water.

  65. Perfect!! Was so happy with how it turned out not to mention smelled like popcorn! Then with what I had leftover I frozen in freezer bags! Thank you!!

  66. I made this for the first time tonight and it is so good! How good? My husband, the self-avowed brown rice hater, just said that if this is how brown rice is cooked every time, he will eat it. I have tried everything to get my family to eat brown rice. Thank you!

  67. Deliciously tender and fluffy! I will absolutely prepare Brown rice for my family this way from now on. Thanks ladies!🤗

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