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Spoon scooping cooked brown rice from a medium stockpot.
4.78 from 9 votes

How to Cook Brown Rice (2 Ways!)

Choose from two simple stovetop cooking methods for rice that is guaranteed light, fluffy, and flavorful. Naturally vegan and gluten-free. This recipe works best with long-grain brown rice which includes brown basmati and brown jasmine rice.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Soaking Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 3 cups cooked rice (approximately)
Calories: 269kcal


Pilaf + Absorption Method

  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1.5 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • pinch of salt

"Pasta" Method

  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 6 cups water or chicken broth
  • pinch of salt


  • Soak your rice (optional) - Soaking the rice for 1-2 hours before cooking helps in two ways. First, it helps expedite cooking time which is always helpful when cooking brown rice and second, it makes it easier to digest by removing some of the naturally-occurring phytic acids in the grain. To soak your rice simply place your rice in a bowl filled with approximately 3 cups of cold water. Allow it to soak at room temperature for at least 1 hour to overnight.

Pilaf + Absorption Method

  • Boil the water (or chicken broth). You may use an electric or stovetop kettle, or old-fashioned pot. You will need 1.5 cups of just-boiled liquid, so, if you plan to use a small pot, be sure to boil with the lid on to avoid moisture loss.
  • Drain and rinse the rice in 1-2 changes of clean, cold water. Drain thoroughly using a fine-mesh strainer and place (the rice-filled fine-mesh strainer) on top of a kitchen towel, carefully tapping to remove any excess water.
  • Heat the olive oil (or butter) in a wide, lidded saucepot or pan over medium heat. Add the rice and salt. Thoroughly mix the rice so that each grain is covered in oil.
  • Add the boiled water (or stock), increase heat to high, and bring to a rapid boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Leave the rice to cook for approximately 25-30 minutes without lifting the lid.
  • Tip: If you have a clear glass lid, you can check for doneness by carefully tilting the pan to one side. If you see a pool of extra liquid, you know to keep cooking. If no liquid is visible, it's a good indication that most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • With the lid still in place, remove from heat and allow your rice to steam, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Just before serving, fluff with a fork and dot with a tablespoon of butter or pinch of salt, if desired.

"Pasta" Method

  • Drain and rinse the rice in 1-2 changes of clean, cold water. Drain again. Note: thorough draining is not as important when using this cooking method as we will not be using a precise amount of cooking liquid.
  • Transfer the rice to a medium saucepan and fill with at least 6 cups of water (or enough water so that the rice is covered by at least an inch). Add a pinch of salt and stir.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • After approximately 10-15 minutes, begin checking the progress of your rice every 5 minutes or so. If you can squish it between your fingers, it’s done. Drain any remaining liquid from the rice (there will be water leftover). Transfer back to the pot and season as desired.


  • Images in this post reflect cooking method #1.
  • Method #2 (the "pasta" method) will also work for medium-grain brown rice or short-grain brown rice.
  • I find method #1 to produce slightly more flavorful and aromatic rice, but it is also more difficult to perfect. Method #2, on the other hand, is perfect for any cook, no matter your experience level. For example, my mother-in-law, who grew up cooking basmati rice for a family of 13 will only cook brown rice using the "pasta" method.
  • All brown rice varieties are naturally gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and whole-grain. Be mindful of sneaky additions like soy sauce (not gluten-free), butter (not dairy-free or vegan), etc. which may quickly change the nutritional makeup of your recipe.
You may also like: Instant Pot Brown Rice Recipe


Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
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