How to Boil Brown Rice {Like Pasta}

square In case you think you’re seeing triple, yes, we already have rice tutorials here and here. So yeah…maybe a little overkill. But not really, because, believe it or not, rice is tricky–your results can vary depending on lots of factors like the grain of the rice, they type of rice, your location, the humidity, the elevation, the cookware you’re using, the things you add to the water, and the type of stove you’re cooking on, just to name a few. It can be so unbelievably frustrating to try (and fail) again and again to make something that’s supposed to be so simple, but the truth is that rice can be tricky.

Sara’s brown rice method is awesome, but I really love this one, too, for a few reasons:

1) It takes just a little longer than steaming regular white rice.

2) The water factor; when steaming brown rice at low elevations, you need a little less water and in high elevations, you need more, and finding the sweet spot can be tricky. Here, it’s pretty much foolproof.

3) You don’t have to heat up your house in this crazy summer heat.

4) It cooks the rice super evenly–you’re not going to run into crunchy, burned, or soggy grains.

So what is this super magical method? I’ve heard rumblings about it and then found an article about it in the July/August issue of Cook’s Illustrated, so I had to try it. And it was pretty much as amazing as they promised. Basically, you’re boiling the rice in way more water than is used to steam rice, so you’re cooking it like pasta. And it’s amazing.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this may not be the answer to ALL your brown rice problems (if that’s a thing); if you’re looking for a stickier rice, this is not your method–the grains are very separate and are not sticky at all, so it’s perfect for things like stir fries, salads, and soups, but might not be the “comfort” rice you’re seeking out.

You’re going to need 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice, 3 quarts of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 teaspoons of vinegar or citrus juice.

boiled brown rice from Our Best Bites

Fill a large pot with the 3 quarts of water (not 3 cups–we’re living on the edge here)

boiled brown rice from Our Best Bites

and add the salt.

boiled brown rice from Our Best Bites

Bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

When the water is boiling, add the rice

boiled brown rice from Our Best Bites

and cook uncovered for 22-25 minutes (or until the rice is tender), stirring occasionally. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer and spread evenly over the prepared baking sheet (this step isn’t necessary if you’re eating the rice right away and you feel like you got all the water out, but for things like salads and stir-fries, you’ll definitely want to spread the rice on a baking sheet).

boiled brown rice from Our Best Bites

Drizzle with the citrus juice or vinegar and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving dish to serve or cover and store in the refrigerator for later use in recipes.

boiled brown rice from Our Best Bites



  1. Great post! I began cooking rice like this(except for the parchment paper part) when I was a new bride (half a century ago) and continued using that method until I acquired a rice cooker about ten years ago. One hint I found helpful re: brown rice is to soak it for several hours before preparing it.

  2. I tried it tonight with short grain rice, and it still came out separate and not sticky. Not quite as nice as the long grain, but still acceptable to toss in salads and other dishes where you want the grains separate.

  3. This is absolutely a no-fail way to cook brown rice. I used to use the same method as white (only for a longer amount of time), but had inconsistent results. This works every time. If eating warm, just drain and return to the same pot, cover with a lid, in 10 minutes, fluffly brown rice.

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