Perfect Stovetop Brown Rice ♥

How to Cook Brown Rice on the Stove ♥, moist and nutty and perfect every time.
Ever had trouble cooking brown rice? Me too. Before, too often the rice turned out gummy and dusty and pasty. No more! Here I've learned a second favorite way to cook healthy brown rice, this time right in a saucepan, right on the stove. There are four tricks. But this technique is definitely a keeper.

Real Food, Fresh & Practical. Year-Round Healthy Food Staple. Budget Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly, Especially in the Purple Plan. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

Let's Be Honest. Brown Rice Can Be ... Unappealing

Who's noticed? If you follow the directions on a bag or box of brown rice, the rice turns out tough and gummy and unappetizing. It's no wonder that people turn to rice cookers for help! It's no wonder that people douse brown rice with butter! It's no wonder, so many of us choose the less healthful but delicious white rice. (Here's How to Cook White Rice, also on the stovetop.)

For good brown rice, there are two choices. We can do better!

Choice #1: The Oven

For winter, definitely try one of A Veggie Venture's reader favorites, the oh-so-popular Oven-Baked Brown Rice that's just oh-so-perfect, yielding almost-nutty bites of moist, flavorful rice. Frankly, it's my favorite way to cook brown rice.

Choice #2: The Stove

But here it is, summer. Turning on the oven for an hour while the air conditioning runs seems to defeat the purpose. So I was intrigued to see Saveuer's new technique for cooking rice on the stovetop. It's dead simple and takes only an hour to get to the table, 15 minutes faster than the Oven-Baked Brown Rice, that's not a lot but still. This technique yields moist, nutty cooked brown rice. And the rice stays moist! So I don't hesitate to make a batch in the morning, then reheat for supper.

Four Tricks to Perfect Stovetop Brown Rice

RINSE! Before cooking, rinse the rice under running water until the water runs clear. So important, this step! The water removes a dusty layer of starch so that after cooking, the rice grains remain distinct and individual instead of getting all glommed together.
MORE WATER! Then cook the rice in a lot of water, more than you're going to think is necessary. And in fact, over time, I've reduced the amount of water I use to cook brown rice, from the full 12 cups the original recipe specifies down to 7 cups. This amount achieves the goal, keeping the rice grains fat and moist, but takes less time and water.
FINISH OFF HEAT After the rice is cooked, you'll turn off the heat but let the rice continue to rest, covered, in the saucepan. This helps a little of the excess moisture cook off but at the same time, lets the rice grains plump up with moisture.
SALT AT THE END! Some times, I forget this step and salt the water before cooking the rice. Wrong! when you salt the water, it takes forever for the water to boil and the rice to cook and to boot, the saltiness somehow gets lost and a little bit muddy. When you salt at the end? The salt is a bright note, it hasn't been watered down, literally.

Is Brown Rice a Free Food for Weight Watchers? YES and NO.

To encourage us to make healthy food choices, Weight Watchers designates hundreds of food as "free" – no points to count! Brown rice is indeed a free food, but only for those follow the myWW purple plan. If you follow any other plan, sorry, brown rice is not a zero-point food choice.

Want to know more? Here's my simplified Weight Watchers Zero Point Food Lists, detailed for the myWW rainbow of green, blue and purple plans.

How to Cook Brown Rice on the Stove ♥, moist and nutty and perfect every time.


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes (see ALANNA's TIPS)
Makes 4 cups cooked rice

7 cups water
1 cup (200g) brown rice, rinsed well
1 tablespoon butter (use vegan butter or oil for vegan)
Kosher salt to taste

Bring the water to boil in a large << covered >> pot (see TIPS).

Rinse the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. Start by putting the rice in a strainer or colander and rinsing under the faucet. Then, to help gauge the clarity of the water, find a bowl that's big enough to hold the strainer or colander. Fill it with water, lower the strainer/colander into the water and swoosh around. If the water stays clear, good, you're done. If not, keep rinsing until the water stays clear. You just might be shocked by the amount of starch gunk that washes off the rice!

Add the rice and butter to the boiling water, stir once to distribute, then cook << uncovered >> for 30 minutes, stirring every so often so rice doesn't stick to the bottom and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a fast simmer. Test for doneness.

If needed, drain the rice through the same strainer/colander, then return the drained rice to the hot pot. Season with salt to taste but do be generous. Off heat, fluff the rice with a fork, cover the pot and let the rice rest for 10 minutes then fluff again. Serve and savor!

It always seems to take forever to bring a pot of water to boil on my stove. It helps to cover the pot as it comes to a boil. But often I put the pot on the stove with say, 4 cups of water and set it on HIGH. Then I add the remaining 8 cups of water from one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, an electric kettle (affiliate link). This same trick works for pasta water, too. SIDE NOTE Wow, have electric kettles ever changed. And we must buy a lot of them because there are dozens of different choices!
This recipe works for plain brown rice, any one you'll find. I'm a particular fan of the rice from Lundberg which I find at Whole Foods. If you like the idea of blend different rices, check out Oven-Baked Brown Rice where I substitute wild rice (and since then, other rices and grains) for some of the brown rice. I love the color variation! And I also do something similar with a whole range of whole grains, check out Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I have tried the oven baked rice with much success. It really takes the mystery out of cooking rice.

    I have seen this method before, where you boil rice like you would pasta. I think it makes perfect sense, and you don't have to remember any silly rice/water ratios.

    I didn't really get "a watched pot never boils" until Rachel Ray explained it on one episode. She said something like, "A watched pot never boils, so put a lid on it!".

    I thought it meant that waiting for something makes it seem longer, so I would leave the kitchen! Oh well, lesson learned. The lid helps a lot.

  2. I love this method, too!! Since I started cooking brown rice this way, I've been wondering how much of the nutrients are lost in the cooking water. I can't find an answer, but I'm sure it's still better than eating white rice.

  3. I made brown rice veggie wraps last night, and it was gummy. I'm going to try this! Thanks so much.

  4. Are you sure that it is 12 cups of water?

  5. Are you sure it is 12 (twelve) cups of water?

  6. I rinse my rice and toast it in a dry skillet until it pops a little, like popcorn. I use 1 3/4 cups water to 1 cup of brown rice, and cook it about 30 minutes, or until the bubbling water sound is no longer present, then turn the heat off and leave covered for 5 or 10 minutes. It turns out perfectly cooked, dry and fluffy.

    I personally don't like the idea of draining rice, as I don't want to lose any nutrients.

  7. I'm so glad you posted this! Let me tell you about my black rice, though. I was using a mix of brown, red, and brown japonica - I had beautiful multicolored rice. I added a little black ("Forbidden") rice to the mix, and now it all comes out black. All of it. Tastes just fine, but is really not too good-looking.

  8. I like the idea of cooking rice like pasta, but 12 cups of water for 1 cup rice? That seems pretty wasteful to me, compared to the usual methods that only require 2.5 cups of water.

  9. i used to cook rice this way because i was lazy and didn't want to measure water/remember ratios. I bought a japanese sticky brown rice (haiga) that only takes 15 mins on the heat. rinse, soak in water for 15 mins, 15mins on heat, and it's done. i like this for summer, takes less heat to cook. katie, you could always save/freeze your extra rice water to use to thicken pasta sauce, add to soup stocks, that way eventually you eat the nutrients leached out in the water.

  10. NO WAY! This looks too easy! I am SO looking forward to trying this stove-top method since I tend to give up my oven-cooked rice during the summer (and that means no Hurricane Rice - say it ain't so!!!). You are my hero!! ♥

  11. I've been using the "pasta method" to cook brown rice for awhile now. Works great!

  12. Simple recipes, and foods, are often the best. Thanks for posting!

  13. Will try this today - thanks!

    I hate to be a nit-picker, but it's Lundberg (not Lindberg as it's spelled in your post) and yes, they have some great products.

  14. I will definitely try the oven baked rice this winter. My daughter LOVES brown rice!

  15. I have had bad experiences cooking brown rice and quinoa using the ratios and standard directions. I followed a recommendation posted my Lorna Sass to boil quinoa in ample water and drain and it works EVERY time. After reading this, I am going to do it with brown rice too! I get too inconsistent of results following the standard directions.

  16. Hello All ~ Just back from two weeks of vacation, thanks for all the comments while I was away!

    Mr Salad Dressing ~ That's a great explanation, thanks! Yes, a lid, a lid!

    Katie ~ Yes, that whole cooking water question. I don't have a definitive answer.

    Diane ~ No more gummy brown rice!

    Jenny ~ Yes, 12 cups seems like a lot but it's what helps fluff up the rice.

    DebHix ~ Hmm, I like the toasting idea. Maybe it's the last step that helps the fluffiness.

    Cyndi ~ Good tip!

    LizC ~ Agreed, I just know it works.

    Jenna ~ 15 minutes is a real treat!

    Tracy ~ Oh good! And I'm so glad to hear that you love the Hurricane Rice, it's been too long since I've made it!

    Joe ~ A good name for this technique for cooking brown rice!

    John ~ Thanks!

    RWCFoodie ~ Thanks for the spelling correction, I appreciate it!

    Lyn ~ Yes, the oven-baked rice is a complete winner.

    Amy ~ Ah, yes, I've had trouble with quinoa too. I think it's odd that the producers don't want to make their products fool-proof!

  17. I just found this blog, so I know this comment is a little late. This method of cooking brown rice is what I swear by, but I have to say it can be done with 4 cups of water to the 1 cup of rice. Much less wasteful! If I double the rice, though, I notice I need more water than the third of what's called for. Honestly, I just check it every so often to make sure the water level is still above the rice. Hope that helps! :)

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna