The secret to cooking brown rice (and why you should switch)

Do you know the difference between white rice and brown rice? (Did you even know there is a difference?)

The simple answer is, white rice is brown rice that’s been processed. White rice has been milled so that the bran and much of the germ has been removed, according to Organic Authority, “reducing fiber and nutrient content drastically. The grain is further polished to take away the remaining layer of germ (called the aleurone layer) which contains essential oils.” Since the nutrients have been stripped, white rice is often “fortified,” meaning that manufacturers go back and add in synthetic vitamins and minerals, making them even more processed and far less natural.

Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole grain. Only the outer layer (the inedible husk or the hull) has been removed, so all the nutrients are still intact. No further processing necessary.



When you compare white rice to brown, it’s easy to see why brown is the healthier choice. According to Organic Authority, brown rice has:

  • Twice the manganese and phosphorus as white
  • 2 ½ times the iron
  • 3 times vitamin B3
  • 4 times the vitamin B1
  • 10 times the vitamin B6

There are plenty of great reasons to make the switch to brown rice. In addition to the high levels of selenium, manganese, heart-healthy oils, fiber, and antioxidants, its properties are great for stabilizing blood sugar and promoting weight loss. (For a deeper look at 10 excellent reasons brown rice is healthier than white, hop on over to Vegan Kitchen for a great post and mouth-watering recipes.)

Since brown rice is far and away the better choice, why do people continue to buy and eat white rice instead? It’s all about texture.

When cooked, white rice becomes soft and fluffy. Brown rice, on the other hand, can be a bit tough and chewy by comparison. When undercooked, it can be downright crunchy — not always an appealing texture.

But not to fear: I have a simple solution. Let me share with you my secret for making brown rice that’s just as soft and fluffy as its counterpart.

Are you ready?

Just add more water.

And that’s it. If the ratio of white rice to water is 1:1, simply bump it up for brown rice to 1:1.5 in a rice cooker or 1:2 on the stove. The extra moisture (and the cooking time required to incorporate all the water — at least 45 minutes total on the stove) will soften the brown rice until it resembles white in taste and texture. Test it when the rice is about done; if it’s not soft enough for your liking, add a bit more water and let it keep on cooking. The math on this is pretty simple for calculating yield, too: If you cook 1 cup brown rice with 2 cups water, you’ll end up with about 3 cups cooked rice.

Cooked rice is great as a base for stir-fry, curry, casseroles, and side dishes like pilaf. One of my favorite dishes to go with cooked rice is Thai curry, and my favorite recipe has to be panang curry from Chef Chloe. It’s a whole foods, naturally vegan approach to a classic that is savory and sweet and deliciously filling. I give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up.

Now you tell me: What’s your favorite thing to do with cooked rice?


2 thoughts on “The secret to cooking brown rice (and why you should switch)

  1. greenmamaandbaby says:

    You are right! There is no need for (yummy) white rice!! I shall try adding more liquid from now on to make my brown and wild rices softer! Trick: use veg stock instead. So much yummier. Figured out that’s why I always love my moms rice so much!!
    I love rice as a side, or in a burrito or bean salad!
    GreenMama&Baby 😊


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