How to Cook Brown Rice

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cooked brown rice

It took me a while to get used to brown rice, but now I actually prefer it to white rice – I like its nutty flavor and its chewy texture, and I also like the fact that it’s more substantial and keeps me fuller for longer. Cooked brown rice is delicious all by itself, and it also makes a wonderful canvas for absorbing flavors and sauces from accompanying dishes. My favorite grain of brown rice, and the one that I use almost exclusively, is brown Jasmine rice.

So how do you cook long-grain brown rice such as Jasmine rice? Unlike long-grain white rice, which has a fairly universal rice-to-water ratio of 1:1.5, when it comes to brown rice, directions on the package may vary, so my best advice would be to follow those directions. I have cooked 1 cup of long-grain brown rice with as little as 1.75 cups water, and with as much as 2.5 cups water. If you’ve bought rice in bulk or don’t have the directions, a ratio of 1:2.5 usually works, although with some grains it might produce a slightly sticky rice, so when in doubt, and since I like fairly dry rice, I prefer to use 2 1/4 cups water for every cup of long-grain brown rice.

I make my rice very plain – just water and salt, because if it’s going to absorb a sauce (such as this no butter chicken recipe), there’s no need to add fats or flavors to the basic rice, and if I’m going to make something like cheesy rice or breakfast rice, it’s best to add any additions to the fully cooked rice rather than before cooking.

Makes 4 servings

Total time: 1 hour

1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 1/4 cups cold water (or as directed on the package)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place all ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, lower heat to the lowest possible, cover, and cook 45 minutes, without peeking*. Turn heat off. Allow to rest, covered, 10 minutes. During this rest, the rice will finish cooking by steaming. Now you can finally take the lid off, fluff the rice with a fork (never use a spoon), and serve.

*The only challenging aspect of cooking rice – white or brown – is that you’re not supposed to peek while it cooks, because if you do, valuable steam would escape. If you’ve lowered the heat to the lowest possible, there’s not much risk of burning the rice, but there *is* a slight chance it won’t be done after 45 minutes. If this is the case, and there’s still water at the bottom of the pan, simply return to a boil, lower the heat again, and continue cooking, checking on the rice every five minutes, until water is fully absorbed.

Nutrition per serving
Calories 160.0
Total Fat 2.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 280.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 4.0 g
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4 points