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How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly

Use this simple ratio and method to make perfect brown rice every time.

Even though brown rice takes a bit longer to cook than white rice, it’s well worth the wait: unrefined grains retain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Plus, they are high in fiber, which is important for a heart-healthy diet. Like other whole grains, brown rice has been minimally processed, in this case just enough to sort and remove the inedible outer husk, leaving the nutritious outer bran layer intact.

Use this simple ratio to measure out your ingredients:

• 1 cup rice
• 2 1/2 cups water or broth

Bring rice and water (or broth) to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. This basic recipe will make 3 cups of cooked rice.

Tips for Cooking Brown Rice Perfectly
Lemon Rice

To make your rice even better, try these tips:

1. Get simmer-ready.
To cook whole-grain brown rice, use a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the rice in lightly salted water, on your coolest (or simmer) burner and make sure the rice is simmering at the lowest bubble.

2. Pick the right pan.
Cook rice in a large saucepan. A larger cooking surface allows for heat to be evenly dispersed, leading to a more consistent texture in the finished dish.

3. Watch the clock.
When cooking a small batch of rice (less than 1 cup), the cooking time can vary greatly, depending on your stove. Although brown rice usually requires 40 to 50 minutes of cooking, start checking it after 30 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.

4. Follow the ratio.
Starting out with the right amount of water or broth (for more flavor) for the amount of rice you’re cooking will help you avoid a burnt or mushy final product. For brown rice, the ratio is 1 cup dry rice to 2 1/2 cups liquid.

5. Rest up before digging in.
Once the rice is done cooking, let it stand for at least 5 minutes with the lid on. This time allows the grains of rice to cool a little and firm up, so that the rice doesn’t break when scooped from the pot. After the standing time, fluff the rice with a fork, and you should have a light and aromatic final product!

brown rice pilaf

Brown Rice Nutrition Facts
All varieties of whole-grain (brown) rice are good sources of complex carbohydrates and fiber. They also contain some protein and small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin and niacin. White rice is stripped of the fiber and trace minerals found in brown rice but is usually enriched with thiamin, niacin, iron and folic acid.

A 1/2-cup serving of cooked brown rice contains 108 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber, 5 mg sodium and 77 mg potassium.

How to Shop for Brown Rice
You can find whole-grain versions of most types of rice, including short-, medium- and long-grain, jasmine and basmati. You can also find “quick-cooking” or “instant” brown rice, which is ready in 5 to 10 minutes. For quick-cooking and instant brown rice, cook according to the instructions on the package.

Brown rice can be stored for up to six months at room temperature. To extend its shelf life, store brown rice in the refrigerator or freezer.