How To Cook Brown Rice

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Rice is the principal food for approximately half of the world's population. In some countries rice accounts for about three-quarters of the daily caloric intake.

Brown rice is whole grain rice. It has a mild, nutty flavor, and a chewier texture. It is more nutritious than white rice, but it spoils faster because the bran and germ contain fats that can spoil. Although it is superior to white rice nutritionally speaking, the safety of rice has recently been challenged due to concerns about arsenic levels. For more information about arsenic levels in rice, take a look at the FDA page on arsenic in rice and rice products.

Brown rice and white rice have a similar calorie and carbohydrate count. The main differences between the two forms of rice lie in processing and nutritional content.

When only the outermost layer, the husk, of rice is removed, the result is brown rice. To produce white rice, the bran and germ layers are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm. This is then polished resulting in an even greater loss of nutrients. Principally vitamin B1, vitamin B3, iron and magnesium are lost in the refining process of white rice.

This is why manufacturers enrich rice, as well as other grains. Enriching is the process of adding nutrients back into the final product. Ironically, you pay more for brown rice than for white rice which undergoes all of this processing. In addition magnesium isn't added back in.

When the bran layer is removed to make white rice, the oil in the bran is lost. Rice bran oil helps lower LDL cholesterol. Other nutrients that are lost are dietary fiber and fatty acids.

Ingredients for brown rice: rice and water.

It is so easy to learn how to cook brown rice, just combine the water, olive oil, and salt in a small saucepan and set the rice aside in a small bowl. Boil the water, add the rice, stir, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until done. This will give you perfect brown rice every time.

Cooked brown rice in a saucepan.

A simple, easy, and quick brown rice recipe that makes learning how to cook brown rice a snap.

Learning How To Cook Brown Rice Is Easy

  • Yield: 3 servings
  • Prep Time:5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 cup medium grain brown rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste


  1. Bring the water, olive oil, and salt to a rapid boil, in a 2-quart saucepan.
  2. Add the rice, stir to break up any clumping, and return to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer until all of the water has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to rest in a warm spot or low oven until ready to serve. Fluff with a fork immediately before serving.


  1. Why the volume measurement? Rice seems to be the one thing I still use volume measurement for. In professional kitchens we didn't have a rice recipe, it was, "Make 15 cups of rice." It just works.
  2. When I make rice at home I usually make it on the stove-top, because I am usually making one to four cups of rice. If I am cooking a large volume of rice, I bring my water salt and butter or olive oil to a boil, add the rice to a hotel pan, or 13 x 9 x 2 cake pan, Pour the water over it, seal it with foil and bake it in a low oven, 200° F Until the water is absorbed. This method of preparation works equally well for both white and brown rice. As long as you boil your water and preheat your oven it takes about the same amount of time to do rice in the oven as on a stove-top.
  3. Almost every time that I make rice I make enough to insure that there are leftovers.
  4. Often people want a way to make brown rice fast. The best you can do is to pre-soak the rice for several hours before cooking. This will shave some time off the actual cooking time but it adds a lot of time at the beginning. Honestly, the only difference between white and brown rice, in terms of preparation, is the length of time the rice simmers.
  5. Another aspect of cooking brown rice is, it is much more forgiving of impatient cooks. You can remove the lid and stir it around as it cooks to see how far along it is, by seeing how much water is left to absorb. White rice doesn't like it if you play with it while it is doing it's thing.

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