How to Cook Brown Rice

You don’t have to rinse the rice before cooking it, but it does two things: it rinses off dust, plus it helps the rice cook up more evenly. Whether you rinse the rice or not, the amount of liquid you add to cook it will remain the same.

This recipe is for regular long-grain brown rice. Quick-cooking, parboiled, and sprouted brown rice will have different cooking times and may call for different amounts of liquid.

  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings, 4 cups fluffed rice


  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional


1 Rinse the rice: Put the rice in a wire mesh sieve or strainer and rinse it under cold water for about 10 seconds. Swish it around to get the excess water off.

Rinsing brown rice in a fine mesh sieve

2 Combine the rice and liquid: In a medium saucepan (about 2 quarts), combine the rice and water. Add the salt, if using.

3 Cover and bring to a boil: Put on the lid. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the rice to a boil. The liquid can quickly boil over and make a big mess, so watch the pot for steam, or listen for the lid making jiggling sounds.

Cooking Brown Rice on the Stove Top with a hand on a lidLong grain brown rice cooking in pot with lid over pot.

4 Turn down the heat and set the timer: Once the rice comes to a boil, set a timer for 35 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or as low as it can go while still maintaining a very gently simmer (look for wisps of steam around the lid). It’s okay to take off the lid a few times to check on the progress of the rice, but try to keep it to a minimum.

5 When the timer goes off, open the lid: Check on the doneness of the rice. You should see crater-like steam holes in the surface of the rice, and there should not be any liquid sloshing around in the bottom of the pot. If you taste a grain, it may be a little toothy, which is fine. If the rice is still outright crunchy, return it to the burner on medium-low in increments of 5 minutes.

Brown rice in pot with lid to the side, and the pot is on a blue and white stripped tablecloth

6 Turn off the burner and let the rice steam: Turn off the heat. Let the rice sit with the lid on for 10 minutes so it can steam. Even though the pot is not on the heat, this is part of your cooking time.

Brown rice in pot with lid on, and the pot is on a stripped tablecloth

7 Fluff and serve: Use a fork or spoon to fluff the rice before serving it.

Pot with fork fluffing long grain brown rice that was cooked on a stovetop

8 Freeze cooled leftovers, if you like: Brown rice freezes great! Put the cooled rice in a zip-top freezer bag. Press out as much air as you can, seal it, and freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, or plunge the bag in a bowl of warm water and massage every few minutes to break up the grains. Here's more on freezing rice.