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Mar 10, 2005 11:20 AM

Cooking brown rice in the oven

  • g

My favorite way to cook white basmati rice is by rinsing a cup of it until the water runs clear, sauteeing it in a tablespoon of oil, adding 1 1/4 cups water, and then baking it, covered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

I have some brown long-grain (not basmati) rice and would like to try baking it. Will the above method work? Will I have to add more water/more time in the oven?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Cooks Illustrated did one of their exhaustive articles on baking brown rice a year or so ago. Ingredients as printed, directions paraphrased.

    1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice or medium-grain brown rice, or short-grain brown rice
    2 1/3 cups water
    2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
    1/2 teaspoon table salt

    Preheat oven to 375. Bring water and fat of choice to boil in covered pan, add salt, and pour over rice in an 8x8 baking dish. Cover with foil, bake an hour. Fluff with fork, cover with towel, let sit 5 mins, refluff.

    11 Replies
    1. re: GretchenS

      My favorite twist on this same recipe from Cook's:

      2 tablespoons unsalted butter
      1 small onion minced
      3 -4 cloves of garlic
      1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice or medium-grain brown rice, or short-grain brown rice
      2 1/3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
      1/8 teaspoon table salt
      1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
      1/4 cup fresh parsley , minced
      1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
      1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
      1 teaspoon lemon zest
      1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

      Preheat oven to 375. Saute garlic and onion in butter. Spread rice in 8inch baking dish. Bring broth (covered) just to a boil and then stir in salt pour over rice. Cover tightly with double layer of foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, stir in rest of ingredients (I use extra lemon juice and parmesan) and cover with dish towel. Let stand five minutes.

      1. re: krissywats

        Thanks to both of you!

        1. re: Grace

          I would suggest krissywats improvements, as the recipe "as per" did not thrill me.

          1. re: Funwithfood

            I try to eat vegan, so the chicken broth and parmesan are out... but I might jazz it up pilaf-style.


            1. re: Grace

              Maybe you could try a vegetable broth. (At least you can add herbs.)

              P.S. I add lemon and fresh thyme to regular rice and it is absolutely delicious.

              1. re: Funwithfood

                Another twist to check if you do this multiple times is to wait to add the salt; normally, you don't add salt to whole grains until they are done or near done cooking.

                1. re: Karl S.

                  Interesting. I've heard of not adding salt to beans until they're cooked (otherwise it'll toughen the beans), but I've never heard this for grains. What is the reason for waiting to add the salt?

                  1. re: Grace

                    The acidulation cause by the salt causes the bran to toughen.

                    With beans, it depends on the bean type: the older and thicker the skin, the later you should add acids/salts (but before doneness, to flavor the bean, which is bigger than a grain).

                    1. re: Karl S.

                      Interesting. Thanks.

                      1. re: Grace

                        Again, I'm gonna sound like I work for the company but Cook's Illustrated tries EVERY way of doing any given recipe before they publish the superior product. I have, as of yet, not had anything go wrong from Cook's and that brown rice I mentioned is straight from them. If they tell me to put in the salt before the rice cooks, I do because they've tried it both ways. This rice never comes out the slightest bit tough. Dunno why. If you go to their website you can read the entire article of each iteration and how it came out and why this is superior.

        2. re: krissywats

          Thanks K, I used this method tonight, but had to riff a bit to use what I had:

          Heated up some vegetable broth (Better than Boullion brand, great stuff when you need broth in a pinch.) Cubed about a pound or so of butternut squash. Mixed the rice and squash and poured the broth over, popped into the oven.

          Sauteed about 8 oz of sliced mushrooms, with the garlic and onions in butter. Mixed in pepper, lemon zest and about 1 tbsp, of lemon juice. After the rice cooked for an hour, I took it out of oven and stirred that in, along with about 1/4 cup of parmesan and 1/4 cup of mozzerella and let it sit as directed.

          It came out very much like a hearty brown rice risotto. The squash disintegrated into the rice as I stirred to add to the creaminess. The mushrooms made it seem more of a main dish than a side dish, and it was quite filling for dinner.

      2. The oven method is my favorite for basmati as well. You can shave off some time by bringing it to a simmer before putting it in the oven... then cook 17 minutes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Spade

          I call this method jiffy pop style. Use foil to cover the pan, when it puffs up, put the pan in the oven. I lbake for 15 minutes and rest off heat for 5.

        2. My mom used to make baked brown rice for dinner at least once a week. She's saute the brown rice as you do, in oil, until it is toasty. Sometimes, she'd use onion, but I prefer green onion sauted with the rice, if at all. Sometimes, maybe added shredded carrots. Then, instead of water, she would use beef consomme and water. All of it went into a small orange Le Crueset (that I still have! since she passed) and served on a trivet on the table, usually with the pot roast dinner.

          (Can halve recipe for you usual 1-Cup amount)

          2 cups brown rice
          3 TBsp oil (peanut oil is best is no allergies)
          2 cups beef consomme
          1 cup water
          1/4 cup green onion (optional)
          1/4 cup grated carrot (optional)

          Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

          In casserole dish (Le Crueset is stove top and oven proof), saute 2 cups brown rice in oil until toasty (some grains may even get very dark brown), add green onions and continue to saute, add carrots, consomme, and water. Cover and bake for about 1 hour - until rice is cooked.

          This is doubly good if you use wild pecan rice instead of brown rice. Konriko offers the wild pecan rice (its a grain, not a recipe).

          2 Replies
          1. re: kc girl

            Oh, sorry, Grace. I just read you prefer vegan. Maybe others who eat meat would enjoy this.

            1. re: kc girl

              Not at all; I think I will try your mother's technique even if I substitute for the beef consomme. Thanks!