How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice

Learn how to cook brown rice perfectly every time! With this easy stovetop method, it's always fluffy and light - just right for stir fries, bowls, and more.

Brown rice in a pot

I love days when I have a big container of cooked brown rice in the fridge. It’s a fantastic starting point for curries, stir fries, fried rice, and more, and its earthy, nutty flavor is even delicious on its own. Sometimes, I’ll toss it with a pinch of salt, top it with an egg, and call it breakfast.

Plus, it’s not only tasty; it’s good for you too! Brown rice is filled with fiber and other nutrients. When I have it on hand, tossing together a grain bowl for lunch or dinner takes minutes, so I’m less likely to reach for sweets or snacks throughout the day.

Rumor has it that cooking brown rice on the stove is tricky, but I’m here to tell you that it’s actually simple! This easy, foolproof cooking method yields perfect brown rice every time. You only need water, rice, olive oil, and a pot to try it, so say goodbye to mushy rice, and let’s get cooking!

Short and long grain brown rice

How to Cook Brown Rice

This easy method will work for any type of brown rice, as long as it’s not an instant or quick-cooking variety. These products are more processed than typical brown rice, so their cooking times will vary. Once you’re ready to cook, follow these simple steps:

  • First, rinse the rice. This step is essential for removing excess starches on the outside of the rice. If they’re not washed away, they will cause the rice to clump and become gummy as it cooks. Our goal is to make perfectly fluffy brown rice, so don’t skip this step! I like to rinse mine in a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl until the water in the bowl runs clear.
  • Then, measure the appropriate water to rice ratio. I use 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. Add the water and rice to a medium saucepan, and stir in a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Next, it’s time to cook! Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed the water.
  • Finally, turn off the heat. Let the pot sit, covered, for 10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.

How to cook brown rice

Favorite Brown Rice Recipes

Once you have the cooked rice on hand, you’ll find all sorts of ways to use it! Add it to stir fries, serve it as a side dish with curry or chana masala, or swap it for the white rice in my cilantro lime rice recipe. I also use short grain brown rice to add texture to veggie burgers and vegan meatballs. It has a stickier texture than long grain brown rice, which is key for making extra-hearty patties that hold their shape in the oven, on the stove, and on the grill.

But most often, I use it as a base for healthy grain bowls. I call for it specifically in this buddha bowl, this adzuki bean bowl, and this mango ginger rice bowl, but you can also use it as a starting point for a simple, no-recipe grain bowl. Just add one (or more) item from each of these categories to turn plain rice into a delicious dinner:

Let me know what variations you try!

Brown rice in a pot

More Basic Grain Recipes

If you loved this recipe, try making farro, quinoa, or couscous next!

How to Cook Brown Rice

rate this recipe:
4.84 from 79 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves 4
Want to make brown rice that's cooked perfectly every time? Just follow this easy method! Then, use it in bowls, stir fries, and more.



  • Combine the rinsed rice, water, and olive oil in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork.


This rice-to-water ratio also works in a rice cooker using the brown rice setting. If you're using a rice cooker to cook your rice, skip the olive oil.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. James from

    It is a nice brown rice recipe.

  2. Hana

    Shouldn’t you soak the brown rice before cooking it, dear? Some say at least for two hours while others recommend all night! Soaking should take off most of the unwanted starch and help reduce cooking time and save water too. haha
    I cooked brown rice the same way I did ehite rice, both basmati long grain rice the on,y difference is that I soak the brown version before cooking and leave more water on top of rice before covering and reducing heat to gently cook to perfection.
    Regards 👋🏻

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Hana, we don’t find soaking the brown rice necessary, but you totally can if you want!

    • Tammy

      5 stars
      How about trying her recipe first instead of trying to change it…

    • AW

      Recently, it has been stated that brown rice has some natural arsenic in it and that is removed when you rinse it this way. Recommend doing so!

  3. Tisa

    5 stars
    The BEST, easiest way to make brown rice that comes out perfect, every time.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Tisa, so glad you love this method!

  4. Alison

    Hi, Can I use chicken stock instead of water, and if so, can the stock contain salt? I am talking about stock with a normal amount of salt (say 1g / 100g, i.e. 1%) – not low-salt. I have read that wholegrain rice will not cook if the liquid contains salt. Thanks for help. Alison

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Alison, I personally haven’t had issues cooking rice in stock. I think it will work fine!

      • Alison M

        Thanks; I’ll maybe try it on a very small quantity! I’ve certainly tried wholegrain rice in salted water before and it has failed to cook. :/

  5. Mac

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing with addition of the olive oil. The brown rice turned out so fluffy and light. I have a gas stove used 1 cup brown rice, 2.5 cup water, rinsed 5 times in cold water until clear, then boiled water on gas stove and then lowered it and cooked for about 25-30 min total with lid on. Removed the pot and rested for 10 min and served with amazing Thai food.
    The BEST brown rice ever and we eat a lot of it

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. Lynne

    5 stars
    I had no issues with this recipe. So far it is the best recipe I have tried. I doubled the recipe and put the pot on the smallest burner I have. I will say I eliminated the olive oil. The rice was perfectly cooked and it was not at all sticky. The bottom of my pot did not burn either. This one for me is a keeper.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad it’s working well for you!

  7. Marija Obradovic

    I don’t think that 2 cups of water is enough for one cup of rice. My water evaporated before rice was cooked to being tender.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi, 2 cups water should be plenty for 1 cup of brown rice. The heat on your stove could have been a little high, or your lid might not have fit your pot tightly enough. Both of these factors could have caused the water to evaporate too quickly.

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Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.