I love days when I have a big bowl of cooked brown rice in the fridge. It's a fantastic starting point for curries, chips, fried rice and more, and its earthy, nutty flavor is delicious in its own right. Sometimes I add a pinch of salt, add an egg and call it breakfast.

Plus, it's not just tasty; it's good for you too! Brown rice is packed with fiber and other nutrients. When I have it on hand, preparing a bowl of grains for lunch or dinner takes minutes, so I'm less likely to eat sweets or snacks throughout the day.

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Rumor has it that cooking brown rice on the stove is tricky, but I'm here to tell you it's really simple! This easy, foolproof cooking method produces perfect brown rice every time. You just need water, rice, olive oil and a pan to try, so say goodbye to soft rice and let's cook!

Brown rice how to make

Brown rice how to make
Brown rice how to make

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

  • First, wash the rice. This step is essential to remove excess starch from the outside of the rice. If they are not washed, they will cause the rice to stick 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 is 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 mix in a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Then it's time to cook! Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed the water.
  • Finally, turn off the heat. Let the pan rest, covered, for 10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.

Favorite brown rice recipes

After you have the cooked rice handy, you'll find all sorts of ways to use it! Add it to stir-fry, serve it as a side dish with curry or chana masala, or swap it out for white rice in my lemon cilantro 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 to making extra-healthy burgers that hold their shape in the oven, on the stovetop, and on the grill.

But most of the time, I use it as a base for bowls of healthy grains. I specifically call it 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, over-the-counter grain bowl.

Just add one (or more) item from each of these categories to turn plain rice into a delicious dinner:

  • A protein! My favorites are roasted tofu, tempeh, lentils and roasted chickpeas.
  • A vegetable! It would be great with roasted squash, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or tomatoes.
  • A sauce! Try my peanut sauce, tahini sauce, cilantro lemon sauce, pesto, tzatziki or chipotle sauce.