Perfect Brown Rice

Perfect Brown Rice
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perfect brown rice
Perfect! Light and fluffy! And, it’s brown.

Over a year ago (it takes us that long to go through 20 pounds of basmati rice), we described how to make perfectly light and fluffy Basmati Rice, with all its rinsing, draining, soaking, and drying before cooking. Sure, it seems like a nuisance, but it does result in perfect rice every time. At least for Basmati rice. What about other rices? Especially brown rice, which can be notoriously difficult to cook well?

It turns out that brown rice is easy to get light and fluffy, too. You just have to cook it a bit differently, and we’ll show you how. Then you, too, can turn out perfect brown rice each and every time, without fail, allowing you to get the added health benefits of brown rice, without the glommy stickiness, that often comes with brown rice.

We found this technique for making rice here; we had searched out a way of making good brown rice, because we were tired of having it badly cooked.

Makes 3 cups.

Perfect Brown Rice

Perfect Brown Rice


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Abbreviated Instructions

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring about 8 cups of water to a rolling boil.

Add salt and rice, reduce heat to a low boil, and cook until rice is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Drain rice in a colander, immediately return to saucepan, cover, and let stand 10 minutes.

Fluff with fork, and serve.

Ingredient discussion:

You can use any kind of salt you want for this (kosher, sea, or table); we just use whatever is least expensive. For the rice, we used brown and red jasmine rice.

Procedure in detail:

Boil water. In a large saucepan (about 3-quart) over high heat, bring 6 to 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. You want a lot of water, because we’re going to boil the rice, just like you would pasta. No, it won’t get mushy; trust us.

boiling rice
You’ll cook the rice just like pasta — with a lot of boiling water.

Add salt and rice. Toss in the salt, the exact amount isn’t critical, but you do want a bit to help give the rice flavor, then pour in the rice. Let it come back to a boil.

Boil rice. You don’t want the rice to boil over, nor do you want it to simmer; instead, adjust the heat so it’s at a low boil, with the rice turning over in the water. Continue to boil the rice, uncovered, until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Yes, you’ll need to taste-test when you get close to 30 minutes.

draining brown rice
Once the rice is tender, drain in a colander, but don’t let it get cold, and don’t rinse it.

Drain rice. Just like pasta, drain the rice using a colander, but don’t rinse, and don’t worry if a bit of rice remains in the saucepan. But do work quickly, so the rice doesn’t cool down too much.

steaming rice
Back in the pan, cover the rice, and let it stand off the heat, for 10 minutes.

Steam. Return the rice to the saucepan, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. The residual heat from the rice will help absorb the remaining steam.

perfect brown rice
Perfect! Light and fluffy! And, it’s brown.

Fluff and serve. Using a fork, fluff the rice to break apart any large clumps, and serve immediately.

See, simple as can be, right? And once you cook brown rice this way, you’ll never go back to trying to steam it. Now, we know there will be some people out there who say that nutrients are being poured away when you drain the rice. Yes, that’s probably true, but which would you rather have, brown rice that you would eat and enjoy, or rice with a texture that no one likes (and may not eat), but has the full compliment of nutritive value? We definitely choose the former. Oh, and since this is perfect brown rice, we know how many stars is a perfect score, don’t we?

Worth the trouble?

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