This essential whole grain can be hard to get just right. These simple cooking methods will set you up for success. 

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Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the hull, germ, and bran — all of which are loaded with fiber and other essential nutrients. This is what gives it its distinctive brown color and nutty flavor. Unfortunately, this is also what makes it so finicky when it comes to cooking it. 

Looking to incorporate more of this healthy grain into your diet? Here you'll learn everything you need to know about cooking brown rice a variety of different ways, including on the stove, in the Instant Pot, and in a rice cooker

cooked brown rice in bowl
Credit: kumacore/Getty Images

Brown Rice Stovetop Cooking Times 

There are several varieties of brown rice, each with different cooking times, water to rice ratios, and uses. 

Short-Grain Brown Rice: 40 minutes 

The stickiest of all brown rice, short-grain is often used for sushi. For short-grain brown rice, use 2 cups of water to 1 cup rice. Let the rice simmer for 40 minutes, and then allow it to rest off the burner for another 10 minutes. 

Medium-Grain and Long-Grain Brown Rice: 45 minutes

Both medium and long-grain rice are good all-purpose rice types, but medium grain will be slightly more sticky. For medium and long-grain rice, use 2 ½ cups of water to 1 cup rice. Allow the rice to simmer for 45 minutes, and then let it rest for 10 minutes. 

Brown Basmati Rice: 50 minutes 

This is the fluffiest type of brown rice. Use 2 cups of water to 1 cup rice. Allow the rice to simmer for 50 minutes, and then let it rest an additional 10 minutes. 

How to Cook Brown Rice 3 Ways 

Instant Pot Brown Rice
Credit: LauraF

If using the stovetop method, be sure to refer to the water to rice ratios and cooking times above. Otherwise, refer to your device's instruction manual, as each one has different cooking times and/or water to rice ratios. 

How to Cook Brown Rice on the Stove 

  1. Start by rinsing your rice in a strainer under cool, running water. This is especially important if you're using short-grain rice, which is particularly starchy. If you have time, you can even soak your rice for 30 minutes before rinsing to clean it as much as possible. 
  2. Add rice and water/broth to a medium saucepan. You may also add 1 tablespoon butter and/or ½ teaspoon salt for added flavor. Stir to break up any clumps. 
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for the specified cooking time — no peeking!
  4. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes. 
  5. Fluff with a fork and serve. 

How to Cook Brown Rice in the Instant Pot 

The Instant Pot is so handy for cooking staples like rice. This method is based off of this Instant Pot® Brown Rice recipe from LauraF

  1. As usual, start by rinsing your rice in a strainer under cool, running water. This is especially important if you're using short-grain rice, which is particularly starchy. If you have time, you can even soak your rice for 30 minutes before rinsing to clean it as much as possible. 
  2. Combine water/broth and brown rice in an Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker. Refer to the manufacturer instructions for the proper water to rice ratio. You may also add salt and butter or oil for added flavor. 
  3. Close and lock the lid. Set the steam valve to the sealed position. Cook on high pressure and set the timer according to manufacturer instructions. 
  4. Once the timer is up, allow the steam to naturally release according to manufacturer instructions, or about 10 minutes. Release any remaining pressure. Unlock the lid and remove. Fluff with a fork and serve. 

How to Cook Brown Rice in a Rice Cooker

Rice cookers take the guesswork out of cooking rice. Here's how to use this handy appliance to cook brown rice. 

  1. As usual, start by rinsing your rice in a strainer under cool, running water. This is especially important if you're using short-grain rice, which is particularly starchy. If you have time, you can even soak your rice for 30 minutes before rinsing to clean it as much as possible. 
  2. Combine rice and water in a rice cooker. Refer to the manufacturer instructions for the proper water to rice ratio. You may also add ½ teaspoon salt for added flavor. 
  3. Turn on the cooker according to manufacturer instructions. Some rice cooker's have a "brown rice setting."
  4. Once the cooking cycle is done, fluff the rice with a fork and serve. 

How to Store Brown Rice 

Store leftover rice in an airtight container for three to five days. You can also freeze rice for up to three months. For more on how to store and reheat rice, check out our guide

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