How To Cook Brown Rice In A Rice Cooker (Fluffy & Perfect)

Rice cookers are convenient since they eliminate the need to monitor the cooking process constantly. Although it’s the healthier option, brown rice can be more difficult to prepare due to its texture (it’s fluffy and wet). That’s why we’re here to lend a hand.

bowl of brown rice

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The trick to getting perfectly fluffy and moist brown rice lies in the water-to-rice ratio. You also need to know how to pick the perfect rice and use your rice cooker well.

This article perfectly shares the secrets of cooking brown rice in a rice cooker. You’ll also learn how to store and reheat cooked rice and make it taste amazing. 

Types of Brown Rice

The distinctions between brown rice and white rice stem from the methods used to produce them. White rice gets its color, softer texture, and milder flavor from the hulling process, in which the bran layers are removed.

Cup of rice in front of an Instant Pot rice cooker

On the other hand, brown rice retains the bran layers, hence its distinct color, taste, and texture. However, this is not to say brown rice is just one type; there are four distinct types of brown rice.

Long-Grain Brown Rice

The long-grain brown rice variety is the most common one, known for its chewy texture, nutty flavor, and golden brown color. People prefer it in most dishes, such as rice pilaf, because it is easy to make. You’ll need about 45 minutes of cooking time to get it right. 

Medium Grain Brown Rice

These grains are a little bit shorter and thicker, as the name would imply. It is perfect for soups and as a side dish because it cooks up juicy and soft. It needs to be soaked for at least four hours in two parts salt water before being cooked. Only 15 to 20 minutes are needed to complete the cooking process.

Short Grain Brown Rice

This type of rice has the shortest grains and sometimes becomes very sticky when cooked. You’ll find it commonly used in puddings and similar textured dishes. You’ll need to soak the grains overnight, but the actual cooking time is only about 25 minutes.

Light Brown Rice

This variety is similar to the long-grain brown rice, except more bran layers have been removed. Therefore, it sits between brown and white rice. Expect a slightly nutty flavor and a distinct light brown color. In comparison to long-grain brown rice, the cooking time is much shorter at only 20 minutes.

Water to Brown Rice Ratio

Getting the perfect water-to-rice ratio when cooking brown rice can be tricky, but it is crucial you nail it for excellent results. How much water is best depends on the type of brown rice you’re using.

Some people recommend using one part water to one part rice, while others suggest you double the amount of water. 

For better results, stick to the one-part water and one-part rice ratio if you soak the brown rice for a long time. By a long time, I mean four hours or more. You should only use two parts of water if you didn’t soak the rice or soaked it for a short while. 

Note that when measuring the rice and water, use the same measuring cup. Most rice cookers have a measuring cup, which you can stick to using or invest in one. Either way, do not switch cups when measuring the water and rice. 

How Long Does It Take to Cook Fluffy Brown Rice?

Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to an hour to cook perfectly per cup. However, the rice cooker and its settings make a difference. Therefore, use the brown rice settings on your rice cooker. 

Advanced rice cookers indicate how long you should cook each brown rice type to minimize your chances of making mistakes. Still, a good rule is to shorten the cooking time the longer you have to soak the rice. For instance, brown rice that has been soaked for 12 hours won’t need to cook for as long as two-hour-soaked rice. Moreover, refrain from opening the rice cooker lid while the rice is still cooking. The cooking process will be disrupted if the sealed atmosphere is broken. 

Brown Rice Cooking Tips

Rinse the Rice Thoroughly

You need to rinse the brown rice thoroughly, just as you would white rice, to get rid of extra starch. Extra starch makes the rice stickier, which you don’t need when preparing most dishes.

Rice rinsing in a cup

Put the brown rice in a colander and let it sit under cold running water. Once the excess starch is gone, the water will clear up.

Drain the Water

Another important tip; don’t rush to place the rice in your rice cooker. You need to let it sit for at least five minutes to drain excess moisture. Immediately putting it into the rice cooker will interfere with your water-to-rice ratio measurements. That is how you’ll end up with overcooked and sticky rice. 

Cover Till Cooked

You also need to leave the rice cooker lid closed until it indicates that the rice is cooked. Even then, let the rice rest for at least five minutes with the lid closed to steam through. Opening the lid while cooking interferes with the process and results in undercooked rice.

Use a Rice Paddle

When fluffing the rice, use a rice paddle. A spoon clamps the rice while a fork breaks the soft brown rice grains. Additionally, metal utensils scrape the bottom of the rice cooker, which could damage the surface. 

Standard Measuring Cup

Remember to always use the same measuring cup for your rice and water. If your rice cooker comes with such a cup, stick to using only that. Alternatively, you’ll find plenty of options online for a standard measuring cup. 

How to Store and Reheat Cooked Brown Rice

You don’t have to discard the excess if you cook more brown rice than you need for a meal. Properly stored cooked brown rice is perfectly edible and can be used in various dishes. In fact, leftover brown rice is great for making healthy and fiber-rich stir-fried rice and similar dishes. You only need to know how to store it properly.

Rice in a cooker

To properly store cooked brown rice, place it in an airtight container and pop it in the fridge. Do so within two hours of cooking it. While uncooked brown rice has one of the most extended shelf lives, cooked rice is highly perishable. After two hours at room temperature, spores on the rice turn into bacteria.

The bacteria population multiplies the longer you leave the cooked rice at room temperature. Eating said rice is dangerous and is known to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and food poisoning in extreme cases. Therefore, refrigerate the rice within two hours, or discard it if the time lapses. 

The best thing to do is to cool it down as fast as possible. Use a clean baking tray to allow the rice to cool down fast. It would be best to place the rice in an airtight container or bag.

Take out as much air as possible from the bag or stuff the container full. Minimizing air within the bag or container significantly reduces microbial activity in the rice.

It might be tempting to quickly refrigerate the rice when you notice you forgot to earlier, but that only postpones the inevitable stomach upsets. The spores do not die because of a drop in temperature. Instead, their multiplication stops, only to resume when you remove the rice from the fridge. Therefore, you’ll still be in danger of food poisoning.

Additionally, you need to use refrigerated rice within three days. Keeping it longer than that compromises your health since you’re giving any spores the time necessary to turn into bacteria.

If you intend to keep the perfectly cooked brown rice for longer, you need to freeze it. However, the rice may undergo freeze-burn if it stays for longer than two months. Whichever your preferred storage method, it is clear that you need to use cooked brown rice as soon as possible.

To reheat the rice, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle some water. You should then cover it with plastic wrap, a plate, or a wet paper towel before turning on the microwave.

Let it warm up for a minute before turning it with your rice paddle, then warm it up some more. Fluff it again, and warm it some more if necessary.

How To Cook Brown Rice In A Rice Cooker (Fluffy & Perfect)

If you don't have a lot of time but still want wonderfully fluffy and moist brown rice, the rice cooker is the best kitchen appliance for the job.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 48 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Japanese, Vietnamese
Servings 4
Calories 227 kcal

Equipment

  • Rice strainer
  • Rice cooker
  • Fluffing paddle
  • Standard measuring cup

Ingredients
  

  • I cup brown rice
  • 10 fl oz filtered water
  • Tap water for rinsing

Instructions
 

  • Measure your rice, place it in the strainer, and then rinse it using tap water. Wait until the running water clears to ensure you remove all extra starch. Once the water clears, allow the rice to drain entirely by letting it sit for a few minutes.
  • Place the clean rice into the rice cooker pot.
  • Add in the filtered water, ensuring the rice is level and none of the grains stick to the side.
  • Cover the rice cooker pot with the lid and turn on the machine. You should have checked the brown rice cooking settings by now. Using the control panel, set the appropriate timer and rice cooking style.
  • Normally, the rice cooker beeps or otherwise indicates the cooking process has started. Leave the lid closed, and do not open it at any point.
  • When the rice is fully cooked, allow it to sit for five minutes to steam the cooked rice further and allow the grains to swell some more.
  • Open the lid, and using your rice paddle, fluff the rice.
  • Your rice is now ready to serve. It is best to do so while hot. Once you serve the appropriate amounts, let the remaining rice cool down for refrigeration.

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcal
Keyword how to cook brown rice in a rice cooker
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Conclusion

Brown rice is the healthier alternative to cooking white rice and has that distinct nutty flavor and chewy consistency. You only need to know how to cook brown rice well to enjoy the dish. This article shares the right recipe and how to handle cooked brown rice properly. You now have the best way to enjoy this rich and memorable food.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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