How To Cook Fluffy Tasty Brown Rice In A Rice Cooker

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How To Cook Brown Rice In A Rice Cooker

This method of cooking brown rice makes exactly what it says: fluffy and tasty brown rice in a rice cooker! So easy and delicious!

I’ve resisted switching from white rice to brown for a long time.  Even though we all know that brown rice is so much healthier than white, I always thought of brown rice as one of those “healthy foods” with the inferior taste.  Until one day my husband (who is much more health conscious about food than I am) convinced me to give brown rice a try, and I was pleasantly surprised!

Most of the times brown rice is improperly cooked (even in restaurants), resulting in a mushy texture and grains that are clumped together.  If you based your opinion of brown rice on trying a bad version of it, please give it another try and you might reconsider.

One restaurant that consistently gets the brown rice right is Chipotle – it’s perfectly cooked with the fluffy texture and separate grains.  Try Chipotle brown rice and if you like it, then you can cook brown rice the same way at home with your rice cooker.

If you ever tried cooking brown rice in a rice cooker, only to end up with a mushy or undercooked mess, follow the instructions below for a perfectly cooked brown rice.

How To Cook Perfect Brown Rice In A Rice Cooker

1) What kind of rice cooker do you have?

The first question to consider: what kind of rice cooker do you have?  Does your rice cooker have a “brown rice” setting or only a standard “rice” or “white rice”?

If your rice cooker has a “brown rice” setting, you are in luck!  It is already designed to cook brown rice correctly, so all you need to do is use the rice cooker instructions for brown rice.  If not, don’t give up – you can still cook brown rice, just keep following my directions below.

2) Do you have the measuring cup that came with your rice cooker?

Most of the time, rice cookers come with their own measuring cups that are not the same size as regular cup (they are about 2/3 to 3/4 of a cup).  Why they do it this way is beyond me :)  I’m sure tons of rice were ruined because people used the regular measuring cup to measure rice and filling the water to the labeled water marks in the rice cooker, resulting in the wrong ratio and bad tasting rice!

Rice cooker have lines inside the bowl labeled with the numbers.  Those lines indicate how much water to put inside the rice cooker based on the number of cups of rice.  For example, if you put in 2 cups of rice, fill the water up to the line that has the number 2 on it.

However, the water level lines of the rice cooker are only accurate if you use the cup that came with your rice cooker!  If you use regular measuring cup, do not use the water level lines to determine the amount of water needed!  Instead, use the brown rice to water ratio for rice cooker below.

3) Brown rice to water ratio for rice cooker

If you don’t have the measuring cup that came with your rice cooker, just use the following ratio:

1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of water

4) Do not use less than 1 cup of rice

Quantities less than 1 cup of rice won’t cook well in a rice cooker.

The best quantity to cook is 2 cups of rice with 4 cups water.  If this is your first time, that’s what I recommend you start with.

5) Add salt

Salt makes a huge difference in the brown rice taste, so don’t forget to add it.  I always add salt directly to the rice cooker, right after adding rice and water.  I use 1/4 tsp of salt for each 1 cup of uncooked rice.  If it’s not salty enough for you, just increase the salt amount next time to 1/2 tsp.

6) Cook in the rice cooker

Set the rice cooker to cook :)  If you have the “Brown Rice” setting, use that.  If you only have the “Rice” or “White Rice” setting, just use that – if you used the brown rice to water ratio above, it should turn out just fine.

Make sure to never open the rice cooker while the rice is cooking, or it will mess up the rice!  Be patient and wait until the cooking cycle is done.

7) Fluff with fork after cooking

When the rice is done cooking in the rice cooker, it won’t look like the fluffy rice on the above picture.  In order to get it to be fluffy, you have to fluff it with a fork!  Just get a regular fork and stir the rice with it, separating the grains until is looks tasty and fluffy.

8) Add optional seasonings

You can eat your brown rice as is, or to kick the flavor up a notch you can use extra seasonings.  You can add a dab of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice, as well as a sprinkle of your favorite spices to season the brown rice.   Enjoy!

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  1. I had a fail when I cooked brown rice in the rice cooker. I didn’t realise I needed to add extra water so the rice didn’t cook properly. It was teeth-cracking hard. Thanks for the tips xx

    1. Yes, brown rice is tougher than white, so it needs more water to cook it to the right level of doneness. If you use the same amount of water for brown as for white, all the water will get absorbed into the rice before it got a chance to fully cook, so the brown rice would end up hard. The fix for undercooked rice is always more water. I hope you’ll give brown rice a try again and let me know how it turned out!

  2. I have always been a bit hit and miss with my brown rice cooking, until recently when we bought a rice cooker, magical piece of equipment huh?! Although I didn’t know that opening the cooker mid cook caused issue, I will make note not to do that.

    1. Anna – I also love my rice cooker, it’s such a time saver! Best of all, you don’t have to “babysit” it like the pot on the stove – it’s a true “set it and forget it” :) Opening the rice cooker mid cook allows the steam to escape and drops the temperature. Rice cooker’s sensors rely on the pressure and temperature readings to determine the amount of cooking needed, so opening it definitely messes up the correct cooking time.

    1. Dawn – I strongly recommend getting a rice cooker, that’s one kitchen gadget that I use very heavily. It’s completely hands off and cooks perfect rice, and keeps it warm for hours – saving so much effort! You can get a new rice cooker for under $20, and it will last for many years!

    1. Is the steam method the regular cooking rice on the stove in a pot? I’m pretty good at cooking white rice on the stove (I used to cook it this way when I first learned how to cook, then moved on to the microwave rice cooking method, and then finally got a rice cooker), but haven’t even attempted brown on the stove because of longer cooking time – watching the pot seems like such a chore :)

  3. You’re right — brown rice can be a bit of a pain to cook, and sometimes comes out sticky. I don’t have a rice cooker, but am thinking about getting one. This sure is an incentive — if I can get perfect brown rice that way, it’d so be worth it! Really super post — thanks so much.

    1. Thanks, John, I’m glad you like my post! If you go shopping for a new rice cooker, get one with the “brown rice” setting – it will save you a lot of trial and error, as the brown rice cooking functionality is already built in.

  4. My brown rice usually takes about 45 minutes in the rice cooker. Also, another thing I do is to make a 50/50 mix of brown and white rice by starting the brown rice with ALL the water and salt required for both, then rinsing and setting aside the white rice, then adding it after about 20 minutes, stirring thoroughly. Somehow the machine still knows when it’s done!! I love my rice cooker, though I want to branch out to use it for other things.

  5. Love my rice cooker. I was about to go and salt to my rice that’s cooking now when I read not to open the rice cooker. I’m so glad I didn’t but next time I know to add it with the rice and water. I recently tried black(forbidden)rice for the first time in my rice cooker. Wow, if you haven’t tried it, do. It has an amazing nutty flavor and is higher in protein and fiber than brown rice!

  6. Rice turned out perfect. Brown rice is always tricky but this was amazing. I now have a reason to love my rice cooker even more than I already did!

  7. i have used my rice cooker to also cook mung bean and lentils. these are 2 legumes that don’t require presoaking, etc. in fact, I’ve combined all 3 at the same time. 1 cup brn rice, 1/2 cup ea of mung bean and pink or brown lentils. i also throw in a small to med minced onion and use chicken or beef broth instead of water.
    if I have 2 cups total, rice, mung bean, and lentil, I’ll use 3 to 3 1/2 cups broth. I’ll use a large glass measuring cup and nuke for 3 to 5 mins and put it hot into the rice cooker. That little extra heat helps cook everything. It will come out slightly al-dente.

  8. I’m intentionally trying to get sticky brown rice for sushi using my 6-cup Aroma Simply-Simply Stainless rice cooker.

    Any hints or experience making sticky brown rice for sushi?

  9. The reason the cups aren’t the same is that they’re Metric Cups, which come in at 250ml, and you’re using a device made for the rest of the World – We’re the weird ones!
    Just keep the measure with the cooker, or as I do, in the bin with the rice – Problem solved.

  10. Just learning to cook brown rice. Tried two versions today, stove top, according to package, and your rice cooker version. By far, your rice cooker version is the best tasting. (I want to get a big spoon and start shoveling!) And so easy!!! After fluffing, can the rice cooker cover be put back on or should it be left off to keep the rice from continuing to steam? The stove top rice was sticky and mushy.

  11. Hey Melanie
    I usually use 1t of lemon juice with white rice to help with sticking together. Do you think this would be ok with brown rice?

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