pan of perfectly cooked brown rice

Brown rice is an excellent choice of food for endurance athletes.

It provides lots of carbs for energy, it’s naturally gluten-free, it fits into any budget, and it’s delicious.

There’s only small problem – it’s tricky to cook it just right.

Now, if you have a rice cooker, slow cooker, or basic kitchen savvy, you probably won’t have any trouble. But if will be cooking rice on the stove top, and you’re naturally clumsy like me, it’s tricky.

My attempts at cooking brown rice were always hit or miss. Every so often I’d get the perfect batch, but the majority of the time it would be a sticky, clumpy mess. And if it wasn’t mushy, it was still crunchy.

Then I realized what the problem was – I was following the directions on the bag. I didn’t put any thought into it. Bad idea!

I needed to call upon my brain to actually think for a change!

So I asked myself, “if I were a rice cooker, how would I cook this pan of rice?”

And I made a cunning observation that the rice cooker makes use of steam rather than boiling water. A-ha!

The steam is hot and moist enough to cook the rice, leaving it tender, rather than wet and soggy. An article in Saveur confirmed my hypothesis.

Here’s how I cook brown rice now:


  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp pink salt

Directions (How to cook perfect brown rice on the stove)

First, rinse your rice. A quick rinse is usually enough. This helps remove some surface starch that can cause stickiness.

Then put the rinsed rice in a pan and turn it to medium heat. Stir frequently while it heats up. This is called “toasting” the rice, but I do it more out of habit from my childhood Rice-a-Roni addiction. Feel free to skip this step.

Add water, olive oil, and salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Once the water reaches a boil, cover and cook on low/medium for 25 minutes. The goal is a vigorous simmer or gentle boil.

When the time is up, turn off the burner and drain the rice. You could use a strainer, but I’m lazy, so I just crack the lid a little bit and pour out any excess water. It doesn’t have to be completely dry, just get most of the water out.

*Be sure to hold the lid with a hot pad as you drain the super hot water!

Place the pan back on the stove (on a cold burner) or another safe surface.

Steam the rice with the lid on tight for 40 minutes.

*Do NOT remove the lid during steaming. That means no stirring! The steam is of the utmost importance.

Finally, uncover and fluff with a fork.

You should now have perfectly tender brown rice!

My favorite recipes using brown rice:

I’m content with fresh cooked rice, fresh chopped garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil, but you can use this brown rice for some awesome recipes like these.

Coconut Brown Rice
Cooking with coconut milk and fresh ginger adds an interesting flair to brown rice in this recipe.

Fiesta Lime Rice
If I actually followed a recipe rather than throwing in whatever fresh veggies and spices I have lying around, the recipe would probably look something like this.

Mimi’s Dirty Brown Rice
Like your rice dirty? Then you’ll love this dirty recipe which calls for 1lb lean ground beef!

Kale and Chicken Brown Rice Salad with Cherries
Forget a boring plate of a plain chicken breast and a side of rice. Put together this delicious salad and get even more nutrition with even more flavor!


What’s your favorite way to eat brown rice?

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  1. If you like that method, this is going to blow your mind:

    • @Alexandria

      Baked rice. Mind = blown. If it’s anything like baked oatmeal I know I’ll love it. The real question is, why am I just learning of all these rice preparation methods now?!

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