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brown rice tips?

i have to make brown rice tomorrow....everytime i've made it in the past, i follow the directions but somehow it turns out disgustingly mushy! what am i doing wrong?. how do i follow the directions and it turns out so badly? any tips i'm unaware of to make it more dry fluffy?

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  1. Sauté in butter or oil before adding water. Use less water than is called for in the directions. Don't cook it as long as called for. Cook it over a lower heat than is called for and let it sit covered for 10 minutes before serving. Switch to brown basmati rice.

    1. I short the water by a couple tablespoons, and cook it for a full hour with 10 minutes of resting time afterward.

      before I made this adjustment I used to end up with either rice that wasn't done or else it was done but sitting in a puddle, which had to be drained. Either way was just wrong.

      I have had pretty good luck with Bittman's rice pilaf using brown rice. Just increase the cooking time to around 50-60 minutes.

      1. for the last 30 seconds or so of cooking time move the lid so its got a slight opening and go full blast with the burner. this will help in evaporating any remaining water. then always remember to put the lid back firmly on, remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes at least. then remove the lid and fluff through with the tines of a fork. then put lid back and let it sit till youre ready to eat.

        1. "I just cook mine in the oven in a roasting pan at 375 leave lid off average pan about an hour or less.Just add one part rice two parts water(correction),fool proof"

          4 Replies
          1. re: billjriv

            "I just cook mine in the oven in a roasting pan at 375 leave lid off average pan about an hour or less.Just add half water to rice,fool proof"

            so you're saying (for example) 2c rice, 1c water?

            1. re: OldDog

              no 1 cup rice to 2 cups water and the cooking times for 1-1 pound bag sorry I explained wrong mabye its not foolproof =). if you want just slap your meat on top with your seasonings and vegis too oven rice is fool proof,but still comes out slightly sticky,for perfect rice there might be a better way.A rice cooker?Brown rice takes more time than white.I call my recipe nin·com·poop rice.

              1. re: billjriv

                "mabye its not foolproof =)."

                Well, if there's a fool around who can screw up a "foolproof" recipe for anything, it's most likely me. Thanks for clarifing. :-)

                1. re: billjriv

                  I have a rice cooker but I'm not sure how to do brown rice. Any ideas???

            2. I learned from some Caribbean friends & just get a big pot of boiling water, put in some salt & toss the rice in. I let it bubble with the top off. It usually takes about 35-40 mins depending how fresh it is. after a while I take a grain out & test it. Like pasta. When It's done I put it in a colander to strain. Always works, just like cooking pasta.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Rory

                After a couple of recent brown rice disasters I tried this method tonight - worked like a charm. I used my pasta pot with the colander insert, which made it super easy. When the rice was almost to my liking, I lifted out the insert and dumped the water, then put the insert back in the pot and covered it to let it steam a little further. After about 10 minutes, it was perfect and fluffy with nice separate grains, no mush, no excess water, no hard chewy grains. I'll never go back to the old 2:1 method again!

                1. re: biondanonima

                  This is the method I've been using - just don't overcook in the first stage. This is the recipe I've been using - and I also use brown basmiti rice


                2. re: Rory

                  This works but you end up dumping a lot of nutrients down the drain. Best to stick to steaming or the other methods that require some experimentation and tuning to get right.

                3. Wow im gonna try that makes sense.

                  1. If you eat it regularly find/buy an old school rice cooker, bare aluminum, by National. It makes things way easier and cooks it just right each time (25 mins +/-). Ironically some of the modern ones (nice looking ones) like Fujitronic or Zojirushi won't cook brown rice completely...although some of the very modern ones probably do ($200).

                    1. I like to use brown basmati rice - I use twice as much water as rice, boil until the water has disappeared from the surface and you start seeing little holes on the surface. Turn down burner to as low as possible (I have gas), cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. Check to see if done and cook a little longer if needed. I end up with non mushy rice that is more the texture of white rice.

                      1. I now use this method (baked) and get perfect brown rice every time.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: orangewasabi

                          I've had great success with this baking technique (I got it from a version that was posted here about a year and a half ago). You can vary the seasonings, add herbs, use brown rice/wild rice mix, etc. I usually freeze part of it for later.

                          1. re: orangewasabi

                            I use Alton Brown's baking method as well. It works perfectly and is never mushy. For some odd reason, the recipe doesn't double. I like to freeze brown rice to have on hand for quick dinners so I end up putting 2 8x8 pans in the oven each time to make a really big batch.

                            1. re: norjah

                              I have doubled and tripled it -- I find though, that if I do double-or-more it, an extra 15 minutes is needed. I use a 9x13 pyrex for multiples and a 8x6 for singles.

                          2. Hate to go all brandname on you, but I have better luck with long grain varieties from Lundberg than I did with the cheap store brand short grain I was buying. Although I recently bought a store brand of long grain (I have to seek out the Lundberg and I can't always find it) that was definitely an improvement, maybe options are opening up with the whole grain trend.


                            1. After reading on this board that brown rice freezes well, I hauled my rice cooker out of the basement where it's lived ever since I bought it around 6 years ago. I made a huge batch of brown basmati rice purchased from a small Indian grocery. Following the directions in the booklet the rice but adding a little more water (final proportions about 1:2 rice:water) produced a bowl of very nicely cooked rice. My rice cooker isn't anything fancy, just a basic model which costed about $75 when I got it.

                              1. My favorite technique involves a pressure cooker. First I saute a little onion and garlic in the cooker. Then I add the rinsed brown rice and toast for a couple off minutes. Then I add water or (preferably) chicken broth in a 2:1 ratio to rice. I seal the cooker, bring up to pressure and cook for about 30 minutes. Comes out fluffy, with a nice layer of seared, crispy rice on the bottom. Delicious and fast! If no pressure cooker, recommend beginning on the stovetop, then finishing in a casserole dish in the oven.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: jono37

                                  I also use a pressure cooker to cook brown rice, but because I serve the rice with Chinese, Indian, or Thai food, I use a more basic recipe:
                                  Boil 3 1/2 cups of water in the pressure cooker, but don't lock the lid yet. Add 2 cups of Jasmin brown rice and 1 tsp of olive oil. Lock the lid. Cook under high pressure for 15 min.; turn off the stove; then let the pressure drop naturally for at least 10 min. The rice comes out perfectly cooked but there won't be a bottom layer of crispy rice. (I personally don't like a bottom layer of crispy rice for the type of cooking I do.)
                                  Here's a chart with the proportions for other amounts:
                                  Water : Brown Rice
                                  1 3/4 cups : 1 cup
                                  2 1/2 cups : 1 1/2 cups
                                  3 1/2 cups : 2 cups
                                  5 cups : 3 cups
                                  6 1/2 cups : 4 cups

                                  I also used to cook brown rice in the microwave with a special microwave rice cooker you can buy in most kitchenware stores. I think I used a 2:1 water to rice ratio and it took about 35 min. in the microwave. Rice was cooked perfectly but I got nervous from the bad press about microwaving food in plastic containers.

                                  1. re: breadfanatic

                                    jono37's recipe above is the best pressure cooker brown rice recipe I have tried. Used to make it in a bowl but that took forever compared to jono37's fast and perfectly cooked brown rice process. Just about gave up on my pressure cooker until trying this recipe so thanks have made it a few times and its easier and better than other recipes i have tried.

                                    "...Boil 3 1/2 cups of water in the pressure cooker, but don't lock the lid yet. Add 2 cups of Jasmin brown rice and 1 tsp of olive oil. Lock the lid. Cook under high pressure for 15 min.; turn off the stove; then let the pressure drop naturally for at least 10 min. The rice comes out perfectly cooked but there won't be a bottom layer of crispy rice. (I personally don't like a bottom layer of crispy rice for the type of cooking I do.)
                                    Here's a chart with the proportions for other amounts:
                                    Water : Brown Rice
                                    1 3/4 cups : 1 cup
                                    2 1/2 cups : 1 1/2 cups
                                    3 1/2 cups : 2 cups
                                    5 cups : 3 cups
                                    6 1/2 cups : 4 cups"

                                    1. re: breadfanatic

                                      It's been a long time since I wrote that post about cooking brown rice in a pressure cooker. Don't get me wrong--that method and the chart for water/rice proportions still work like a charm. But a couple of years after that post I found a used neuro-fuzzy logic rice cooker (made by National) at an estate sale for two bucks, and I've never looked back. So for those of you still pondering the best way to cook brown rice, look no further than a good rice cooker with a brown rice setting. I admit that it does take longer than a pressure cooker to cook brown rice, but ah, being Asian, the rice cooker just cooks rice, all kinds of rice, the way it should be cooked. I use the brown rice setting for brown Jasmine, long-grain, and Basmati rice. But for short-grain brown rice, I just use the white rice setting. Perfect rice every time and you don't have to watch the rice. I buy my rice either at Trader Joe's or at an Asian market.

                                      1. re: breadfanatic

                                        Short-grain is my brown rice of choice 98% of the time. Out of curiosity, how do the results differ for short-grain brown/white setting with short-grain brown/brown setting? I'm 100% satisfied with my Ohsawa Pot but I've always been curious about the electric rice cookers.

                                  2. --How to cook brown rice--
                                    I have been using this method almost weekly for 8 years.

                                    1 mesure brown rice
                                    2 mesures water
                                    1 pinch of salt per !/4 cuo pf rice (4 pinches per cup of rice)
                                    Soak over night (optional)

                                    Bring to high boil
                                    Lower heat to low boil
                                    Set timer for 20 minutes
                                    Check and set timer for 10 mines.

                                    When the water is below the top of the rice, check more often. What you are looking for is to cook out all the water. Take a spoon and make a hole in the center of the rice so that you can see the botton of the pan and the liquid that is there. When there is lots of water left the hole will fill in. Near the end, the whole will remain and you can see the bottom of the pan and the remaining liquid. When the rice is almost done, the liquid will look thick and milky and will soon dissapear. When there is no liquid at the botton of the hole, turn off the heat and cover for 10 minutes. When you take the rice out of the pan, stir the surface with a fork to get fluffy rice. Vola!

                                    1. Do not salt brown rice (or other whole grains) until it is nearly finished cooking, as the salt will delay the tenderizing of the hull.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Karl S

                                        is this along the same line of not salting beans because it (supposedly) delays the tenderizing of the beans?

                                        Or is it as much a myth as it is with beans? Anybody know?

                                        (it's acid that keeps beans from getting tender, not salt)

                                      2. i have always used the "pasta" method with brown rice. lots of boiling salted water, throw in the rice and test it after 20 min. seems to work out fine every time

                                        1. I just had a very nice lunch at "Toyoda" in Ginza. The chef is friendly and shares cooking tips. I asked about cooking brown rice and his suggestion was to combine it (70/30) with some mochi gome (sticky rice) and then to cook it with some julienned ginger.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Yukari

                                            Mochi gome, as in regular old Japanese white sticky rice? I've had good luck combining brown rice with hatomugi or Job's Tears.

                                            I usually make brown rice in the rice cooker because making it on the stove or in a pressure cooker resulted in inedible rice. It comes out edible in the rice cooker, but it is still not perfect rice. I will try some of the techniques listed here.

                                            1. re: omotosando

                                              Mochi gome is a specialty rice used for making mochi rice cakes. i have never used it (pounding mochi with a mallet is a lot of work unless you have a fairly expensive machine) but understand it is very very sticky.

                                          2. wow so many methods. thanks to everyone who posted.
                                            i bought the brown basmati rice as suggested and i put a little less water and cooked it for 50 minutes in a regular pot/lid on the stove.


                                            i will definitely try the other methods in the future. thanks again!

                                            1. It's far simpler than all of these suggestions, I have to say. :/ If you're using the cheap stuff(Comet, I love it!), the easiest way is to put in one cup of rice, two cups of water, a bit of salt or whatever seasonings you like, and a little butter or oil or whatever you like... I use olive oil because a little healthy step whereever you can put it is good. :D Anyway, just stir it all together, heat to high, then turn it down to the lowest setting, cover tightly and cook for fifty minutes. Slow, low-heat cooking brings out all of rice's natural yummyness. The important part is that after all the water is absorbed you let it -sit- for a cook twenty to twentyfive minutes covered so that the starches can disentangle themselves. If you try to fluff before letting it set, it'll just well... get all icky and porridgey. Sure it takes a while, but using the oven for rice is a total waste of energy, and it heats your house up a lot... and if you like saving a few extra bucks, well, that -does- contribute to energy bills, especially in the Summer. Besides, a hot oven is a lot less comfortable than a hot stove. ;) (Add a little turmeric at the beginning and you have whole-grain yellow rice! Neat stuff! For St. Patty's day, try Green Tea rice; steep the water in a few green teabags before adding the rice. Yummy, and a good way to add all the health benefits of tea to your food!)

                                              1. Back in 1988 or so, before electric rice cookers had much mainstream presence, I bought an Ohsawa Ceramic Cooking Pot, basically an insert for a pressure cooker. These are still available (and in fact, are nicer than my old one) and they steam grains perfectly; equal parts brown rice and water are used and it takes 50 minutes after the pot is up to pressure, 30 if presoaked overnight. It's not quite as hands-off as a rice cooker but it's easy and makes delicious rice.

                                                1. If you want to make your brown rice resemble white rice in texture and not be so nutty, then you will need to add at least one more cup of liquid, in other words, for each cup of rice, add 3 cups of liquid. Cooking time is going to be around 45 minutes on a stove top pot. I usually combine a cup of stock and two cups of water but go ahead and experiment.

                                                  1. i use 2 parts water to 1 part brown rice, bring to a boil, covered, then switch to very low heat for about 30 minutes and till all water is absorbed. i like it to have a slight bite but not at all crunchy.
                                                    different rice may need varying amounts of water.

                                                    1. My problem has been the opposite: I've been cooking a US grown Basmati Brown which I believe to be a long grain and following the package directions (2:1 rice to water - rinse first then add rice and water to pan, bring to rapid boil and turn down, cover and simmer 35 to 45 min, let stand 5 minutes and fluff) and it seems cooked, but is pretty "toothy". I've extended the cooking time and liquid to over an hour with little change and have been wondering if I'm expecting too much to have a more tender grain or if I have to go back to white rice for that... I'm going to try the techniques here, but am interested in your opinions on the texture of brown rice. Thoughts please?!?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: bearfromobx

                                                        @bearfromobx I'm going to reiterate my suggestion for a rice cooker of some kind (in my case, the Ohsawa pot and pressure cooker). My rice ALWAYS cooks up restaurant-perfect and you can use it for other grains as well. You can presoak it for faster results...hey, have you thought of presoaking overnight before cooking? Maybe that'll do the trick for you. Make sure to drain and rinse before cooking.

                                                      2. If it came out mushy before, use a bit less water next time. That advice would hold for any kind of rice using any of the many methods given. The 2:1 ratio of water to rice is a good starting point, but a lot depends on the particular type of rice, its age, and your preferences. I use a bit more water for brown rice than for white - maybe +1 oz water per cup of rice, YMMV.

                                                        I use a rice cooker for all kinds of rice and cannot imagine life without it. If you cook rice frequently, it makes no sense to cook it any other way. The cooker's ability to finish the rice with gentle steam makes an enormous difference. The hands-off, set-and-forget simplicity allows me to focus on other things. And the ability to keep it hot and steamy for a long time makes timing of the overall meal much, much easier.

                                                        One thing that is different with brown rice is the need to soak. I'm surprised more people have not emphasized that. If I don't have time to soak, I usually use white rice. Soaking does not have to be over night. An hour or more makes a noticeable difference. Soaking with hot water hastens the effect too. Without soaking, the husks are grittier.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: BernalKC

                                                          I usually make brown rice without soaking because it's rarely premeditated. Soaking takes 20 minutes off the cooking time (Ohsawa pot in pressure cooker) but in the 26-odd years I've been preparing brown rice this way, it hasn't made a dime's worth of difference to the quality of the finished result.

                                                          1. re: MacGuffin

                                                            Interesting. Our experiences are quite different. I suspect it has to do with the particular kinds of rice we're using.

                                                            I don't notice a big difference in cooking time between when I've soaked and when I haven't. But I don't really need to pay much attention to the timing since I use a rice cooker. But I definitely notice a difference in the result, which soaking I find the rice to be softer and less "whole grain" grittiness.

                                                            1. re: BernalKC

                                                              I always use short-grain, sometimes mixed with a bit of brown sweet rice (which, of course, is also short-grain). Consistent restaurant quality, regardless of whether or not it was soaked first. Of course, regardless of whether or not I soak, I rinse the rice really well.

                                                              1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                And I cook long grain. Maybe that explains our different POVs?