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Brown rice in a pressure cooker

After reading another thread on pressure cookers, it reminded me of an issue I had with them.

How do you cook brown rice in one? I can cook white rice just fine in a pan or my rice cooker, but I want to start eatting better and I keep hearing how much better brown rice is when cooked in a pressure cooker.

I've tried the water below and the rice in a steam basket... the center was crunch. I tried it without the basket and it was mushy.


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  1. Have you looked at Lorna Sass's pressure cooker cookbooks? Her books are excellent and she's very into whole grains, so I'm sure she has instructions for brown rice in her rice chapters. Any of her books should help you, but Pressure Perfect or Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure would probably be best.

    1. For brown rice, Victoria Wise in “The Pressure Cooker Gourmet” suggests:

      1 cup rice
      1 ½ cups water

      After coming to pressure, reduce heat to medium and increase cooking time (as distinct from white rice) to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Release remaining pressure, fluff rice, replace lid and let sit for 10 minutes.

      Makes 3 cups.

      2 Replies
      1. re: VitalForce

        That's basically how I do it, but I don't bother with the second 10-minute sitting. I find that the recipes and techniques in "The Pressure Cooker Gourmet" are always a little more complicated than I think is necessary ... but then, I'm a very casual cook.

        1. re: VitalForce

          I will have to try this method next. Thanks!!

        2. It looks like Lorna Sass does 1 1/2 cups brown rice or other whole grains, rinsed, 5 1/2 cups water, 1 Tbsp oil, 3/4 tsp salt (optional). High pressure 15 minutes (there's a timing chart for it and other whole grains in the book). Qick release, then strain and rinse briefly with warm water to wash away surface starch and bounce in the strainer to get rid of surface liquid.

          5 Replies
          1. re: AmyH

            I follow the directions in Lorna Sass' Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure and they work just fine. In particular, I follow her advice to use a ceramic insert pot. The brown rice cooked in the ceramic pot comes out perfect every time.

            1. re: alc

              Where would one find the ceramic insert?

              1. re: Crockett67

                This is the one I use: http://www.natural-lifestyle.com/html...
                I defer to Veggie Queen's expertise that many might not find this useful. I like the ceramic pot becuase, as a sometimes idiot, it is idiot proof. I'm never left with rice sticking to the bottom of the cooker. I also use it regularly for oat meal (the long cooking kind that usually takes 30 + minutes on the stove; I give it 7- 8 minutes in the pc

                1. re: Crockett67

                  You don't need one. A pyrex bowl or measuring cup will do. So will an empty 28-oz can.
                  Any vessel that will fit into the PC with some room between it and the PC sides. I do beans that way too. That way they can be served from the vessel they were cooked in, and the PC doesn't need washing.

                2. re: alc

                  I love the insert pot method. I use a souffle dish, but any old glass or ceramic dish will do.

              2. I have been teaching pressure cooking for more than 16 years. During this time, I have taught thousands of people how to cook brown rice. I always cook it right n the pressure cooker.

                I use 1 1/2 cups water, or other liquid, to 1 cup rice. I let it cook on high pressure for 22 minutes for standard brown rice and then let the pressure come down naturally.

                In my cookbook The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes, I have a complete rice cooking chart for every kind of colored rice from pink to red to purple to black and the various types in between. They all require slightly different cooking times and liquid amounts.

                But the standard recipe works for brown rice that I buy in bulk in the natural food store.

                i have not found the insert method to be beneficial at all.

                8 Replies
                  1. re: Crockett67

                    Happy to help. You inspired me to cook a pot of brown rice today. I often do it once a week. Freeze what I don't use.

                    1. re: The Veggie Queen

                      And it freezes well? :)

                      Do you IQF on a sheet pan or freeze in containers?

                      1. re: Crockett67

                        I only IQF on a sheet if I have time. Otherwise I just put it in containers or zippered bags. Always mark the date and what it is.

                        The IQF method works well if I want to freeze a lot and use just a little. Otherwise, I freeze in half or 1 cup amounts for later.

                        Sometimes I just put the rice on top of the dish that I am cooking in the pressure cooker to defrost. Other times, I let it defrost or nuke it for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Wonderful to have. I do the same with other grains and beans, too. (I always IQF garbanzo beans.)

                        I use my pressure cooker to do a lot of batch cooking like that.

                  2. re: The Veggie Queen

                    What coincidence, I was about to make a batch of brown rice when I saw this discussion!

                    I have been making about one batch of brown/mixed rice every week for the past year, using a slightly different pressure cooker method that I read from another CH discussion a while back.

                    I use about 2 cups of rice to 3.5 cups of water. I also add about 1 tablespoon of sea salt, a suggestion that I learned from a macrobiotics course. I cook on high without the lid until the water boils, then reduce heat to low with the lid on, for 35-40 mins. I find that it makes the rice very fluffy and soft with just a little bit of chew.

                    Also, if I have the patience to wait for the pressure come down on its own, the bits that stick to the bottom, if any, will come off on its own easily.

                    I'll try your method sometime to see if it makes a difference (getting the texture I want is important). If not, it would save me some time!

                    1. re: The Veggie Queen

                      I followed these directions EXACTLY. It was a waste of time! The rice was badly burned and had to be discarded. It was also a pain cleaning my scorched pressure cooker! Perhaps your pressure cooker has magical powers.

                      1. re: discodust

                        I'm not surprised. That isn't nearly enough water, especially for brown rice. Try the Lorna Sass method I posted above. You should have better luck with it.

                    2. I've always done it in the oven via Alton Brown's method and it turned out great, but I love Veggie Queen's response about how to do it in the pressure cooker. I'll definitely try it because I <3 pressure cooking. :)

                      For reference if you want to see it - here's AB's method:

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: JetLaggedChef

                        Nice! I will keep this in my back pocket since I can place it in the oven and walk away for an hour.

                        Just in time for starting the new year right!

                      2. Been cooking short grain brown rice in a pressure cooker since 1977. Soak rice overnight - make sure there's enough water, because it will soak up some of the water. Rinse rice thoroughly 3 times. Put rice in the pressure cooker, cover rice with water until the level reaches the top part of your index finger nail (stick clean finger down into water so top of finger just touches rice - water above rice should be the length of the nail). Add a pinch, and I mean a very small pinch, of salt (I prefer sea salt), batten down the lid, bring to full pressure on the highest heat, and continue cook at full pressure for 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low - med low and put a heat diffuser between the burner and the pressure cooker. Let it cook on the low temp for 50 minutes. Turn off heat. Let the pressure come down (1/2 hour or so) - open and mix up good so bottom and top rice are mixed together. Enjoy!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: PHogan52

                          So it takes you 85 minutes, not counting the time it takes yoru pressure cooker to come up to pressure, to cook brown rice in your pressure cooker, PHogan? While I'm sure it comes out great if you've been doing it that way since 1977, that's a heck of a long time!

                        2. I follow Lorna Sass's method in Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.

                          In a 4-qt Fagor pressure cooker, I put 2 1/2 cups of water, put on a regular lid, and turn on the heat to bring to a boil. When it starts to bubble, I take off the lid and add some salt. Then in goes 1 1/2 cups of brown rice (ordinary long grain brown rice from the co-op's bulk bin; not rinsed, or soaked, or anything -- occasionally I'll pick out the greenest grains). Then on with the pressure lid, set for highest pressure (15 psi). Once the cooker comes to pressure and I've turned down the burner to keep it there, I start timing, and go for 25 minutes.

                          At 25 minutes I turn off the burner and let the cooker release pressure naturally. When it's released, I take off the pressure lid and fork up the rice, then put the regular lid back on until I'm ready to use or store the rice. [If I'm making it ahead, and will store most of it, I spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool quickly before putting in the fridge container.]

                          The texture is always perfect; done but not overdone, with a trace of chewiness. Haven't made brown rice any other way since getting the cooker because the results are so reliable. The total time, given coming up to pressure and the natural release, isn't all that different from when I did it in a regular pot, but the results are much more consistent.