Brown rice and chicken thighs with green veg in a bowl

How to cook brown rice

Avoid chalky undercooked grains or squishy overcooked mush – follow these simple tips and recipes for achieving perfectly cooked brown rice every time.

Also known as wholegrain rice, brown rice is the same as white rice except that the bran and germ of the grain are still attached. With this outer layer left on the grain, brown rice is more nutritious and is higher in fibre.

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White rice has a softer, more delicate flavour, while brown rice has a stronger, nuttier taste that stands up well to punchier flavours like smoked fish, ginger and soy sauce.

The key to success every time is to use the right amount of water to rice – for brown rice you’ll need double the amount of water to rice. You should also give it enough time to absorb the water. Most packs of brown rice will say to boil for longer than white rice, so for around 30-35 mins. The trick is to simmer it for most of that, then for the last 5-10 mins leave it, well covered, to absorb the water off the heat – resulting in light perfectly tender grains every time.

All rice should be eaten on the day it’s cooked. If you cook too much rice and want to eat it cold or save some for later, you need to cool it down quickly (within an hour) and put it in the fridge – don’t leave it out at room temperature. Once stored, use it up within 24 hours, and if you’re reheating it you must do so thoroughly and only do so once. See our guide for more information on food safety.

Basic brown rice recipe

Serves 4

  • 250g brown rice
  • 500ml water
  • You will need a medium sized saucepan with a well-fitting lid.
  1. Put the rice in a saucepan and pour over the water. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  2. Cook for 30 mins then turn off the heat.
  3. Quickly cover with a lid and leave tightly covered for another 5-10 mins to absorb any remaining water.
  4. Serve immediately with a stew or curry, fish, chicken or tofu.

Our top 5 brown rice recipes:

Quick salmon, preserved lemon & olive pilaf

This wholesome brown rice pilaf is inspired by Middle Eastern flavours and uses a handful of ingredients.

Quick salmon, preserved lemon & olive pilaf

Charred spring onions & teriyaki tofu

Rustle up this teriyaki tofu served with wholegrain rice in just 30 minutes. Easy and low in fat, this vegetarian dish is perfect for busy weeknights.

Charred spring onions & teriyaki tofu

Spiced rice pudding with blackberry compote

Cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg flavour this healthier rice pudding served with a naturally sweetened, chunky berry sauce.

Spiced rice pudding with blackberry compote

One-pan tikka salmon with jewelled rice

Marinate salmon with yogurt and curry paste, then cook with brown rice in one pan to steam the fish until tender and flaky.

One-pan tikka salmon with jewelled rice

Spicy lamb & feta skewers with Greek brown rice salad

These kofta-style kebabs with feta, harissa and onion are served with a wholesome basmati rice flavoured with parsley and mint.

Spicy lamb & feta skewers with Greek brown rice salad

Find more brown rice recipe inspiration…

Brown rice recipe collection
How to use grains
Veggiestan – how to cook rice
Alternative grains
Healthy lunch ideas for work

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Have you made any of our recipes with brown rice? Leave a comment below…