August 11, 2013

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice Every Time In 3 Steps [Under 20 Minutes]

Cooking a perfect pot of brown rice (to me at least) is the holy grail to healthy and tasty eating. For many years now, since the time I started to cook my own meals, mastering the art of cooking brown rice just like our beloved white rice has been nothing less than a quest in itself. A simple google search every time led to some good and many bad results. The most popular of all is this recipe published on Saveur in 2008 where it suggests to cook brown rice just like pasta, in tons of salted water (1 cup of rice needs 12 cups of water!!!).

...there must be a better way, I thought and trust me indeed there is!

..glancing through those myriad number of "how to cook brown rice" articles, one aspect that always struck me was the amount of time it needed - 30 to 45 minutes for 1 cup of brown rice? That's a lot of energy and time. I know that is one of many reasons many tend to cook white rice as it gets done quickly usually in 15 mins. If we could get the same luxury for brown rice too, would we not all favor brown over white?

Today's recipe is just that. In 3 simple steps, you can cook a perfect pot of brown rice in less than 20 mins - start to finish. I have been following this approach for little over two months now and it never ever failed! Curious? Let's get on with it without any further ado.

..a perfect plate of brown rice...

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice Every Time In 3 Steps [Under 20 Minutes] (Download and Print Recipe)

If you have got some extra time on hand I would recommend to soak brown rice 1 to 2 hours. The texture of the cooked rice will be soft and less chewy. The rice to water ratio is 1 : 2-1/4. The same recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. For a family of four, we cook 2.5 cups of rice for our lunch for which I add 5 cups + 1/4 cup of water. It is important that once the heat is turned off, to let the pressure release naturally and sit for few mins. Food-science expert Harold McGee says this “resting period” allows the grains of rice to cool and become firm, so that the rice doesn’t break when scooped from the pot. Once rested, fluff rice with fork, and you willmd have a light and aromatic pot of brown rice! Feel free to substitute broth for water for more deeper flavor. 

Serves 2


1 cup of brown rice**, washed, rinsed and drained.
2-1/4 cups of water or broth
1/2 tsp oil


Step 1: Place a pressure cooker (I use my 3 litr one) on a high flame, add 1/2 tsp of oil and then add brown rice. Add water and let it come to a simmer.

Step 2: Immediately cover with the pressure cooker lid and continue to cook on high flame until one whistle.

Step 3: After one whistle, reduce heat to lowest possible setting and set timer to 15 minutes exact. Walk away. In these 15 mins, it doesn't matter if there are or no more whistles at all. Once the timer pings after 15 mins, turn off the heat and let the pressure reduce naturally.

Open the pressure cooker lid and fluff the rice with a fork. a perfect pot of brown rice is ready for serving.

Previously posted recipes using Brown Rice -

How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly Every Time [In Oven]
Idli with Whole grains
Pearl Millet and Brown Rice Khichdi
WWC: Brown Rice for dinner - roundup
Brown Rice Bisibelebath

This is Recipe 48 added to 2013 Recipe Archive. Check out the rest of the recipes too.


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  1. I always have trouble cooking brown rice in pressure cooker -- it is either too mushy or not cooked properly. I'm going to follow your 3 step process and see how it comes out. Thanks for sharing..

  2. Thanks for giving the full proof method of cooking brown rice. will follow the instruction next time.

  3. I have tried so many different ways to cook Brown rice, but its always the same. I am def going to try this Siri and I am so positive this should be OK this time :)

    Great post to share :)

  4. The texture of brown rice is always a challenge, so this recipe is very interesting indeed.I always cook my brown rice in teh microwave and although it takes me 25 mins I get decent results. I'd be curoius to try this method because the rice in your pictures is a definitely nice and fluffy. thanks for the great post.

  5. Personally I've always found that soaking the rice makes all the difference in producing brown rice that is more tender & less chewy - I've even served it to people who didn't notice it was brown rice they were eating! It also takes less time to cook the longer you soak it (and in theory it makes it more nutritious - wholegrains contain phytates which prevent absorption of minerals, and soaking grains, legumes & other seeds reduces the phytate content). I do most of my rice in the microwave these days as it generally produces good results (and using a clear pyrex dish means I can easily see how it is cooking), and with stickier varieties of rice using the microwave results in less stuck to the cooking pot!

    I don't have a pressure cooker so can't try out your method, but thanks for sharing as I'm sure lots of people avoid brown rice because they aren't keen on the texture & the time it can take to cook, so guides like this are really valuable.

  6. Hi Siri,

    In the past few years I have tried cooking brown rice several times but failed every time. Yesterday while searching for best ways to cook brown rice , I read your post. I tried your recipe today and I must say its an awesome recipe that I have never read before. I got some beautiful, yummy brown rice just like your picture. I could actually eat it without any side dish. Thanks so much for sharing such great great tips. Yes, I also soaked the rice for an hour. You are doing a great job contributing towards the good health of others.

  7. Hi Siri,

    In the last few years I have tried cooking brown rice several times and failed every time. While searching for ways of cooking brown rice I happened to read your post. I tried your step by step recipe today and must admit that its such a great recipe like I have never read before. I got some super looking yummy brown rice (just like your picture :)) that I could eat without any side dish. Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful recipe. I am going to share it with everyone that I know. Great Great Post!!

    1. Thanks Sridevi for your feedback. I am so happy that this simple way of cooking brown rice has worked for out for you. :-)

  8. What brand of rice do you use?

    1. Hi Jas, For this posts I used a local brand called Priya. But this method works for any brand and any type (short grain or long grain) of brown rice. Hope this helps.

  9. Hi Siri, Could you please let me know temperatures for induction stove. Thanks!

    1. Hi Chandrabose, good question but am not sure about that as I don't own an induction stove! Probably the temp at which you cook your curries would work? Thanks.

  10. Hi I live in abroad and have coiled electric stove . Do I need to reduce temperature to the least on this as well ??

    1. Hello,

      Yes. Though I never tried on an electric coil stove, the concept remains the same. You should lower the temparature so that the rice cooks on a steady heat without extra whistles. Hope this helps and the rice turns out great. :-)


  11. I thought I will never be able to cook brown rice. Every time I fail, Thanks to you, now it seems I may succeed. Thanks a lot!!!


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