This September, we’re going “Back to School”. Each week, I’ll be sharing a basic technique or kitchen how-to to help you tackle healthy cooking with confidence. This week, I’m showing you how to make perfectly fluffy brown rice (or any grain, really) every time.
We’ve all been there: you decide to make some rice and cook it the same way you always do. Then you go to scoop some onto your plate and realize it’s too mushy/undercooked/overcooked/stuck to the bottom of the pot, etc. What did I do wrong this time, you think.
Listen, don’t feel bad. This problem plagues thousands of Americans and even non-Americans each year. The important thing is that you’ve come to the right place – and you’ll never have to suffer through meh rice again. Cooking perfectly fluffy whole grains is easy, but there are several key steps to follow – and more importantly, a few things to avoid at all costs.
Although this tutorial features brown rice, the same techniques apply to almost all other whole grains, including quinoa, farro, and buckwheat.
Here are 8 key steps to make perfectly fluffy brown rice every time:
1. Rinse your rice: Washing rice before cooking removes the starch from the outside of the grains and helps the grains stay separate (not sticky) when cooking. A fine mesh strainer like this works best.
2. 1-to-2 ratio: 1 part rice to 2 parts water. It’s best to use a measuring cup to be sure, but if you don’t have one, use the same mug to measure your rice and your liquid.
3. Cook rice in boiling water: Bring the water to a boil first, add salt (see below), and then add the rice. Adding rice to already-boiling water also helps the grains stay separate. If you bring the rice and water to a boil together, the rice will stick together.
4. Season the water: Use ¼ teaspoon of salt for every 1 cup of rice. Cooking rice in salted water is the only chance you have to season the grains themselves.
5. Cover the pot: The rice needs to absorb all the cooking liquid. If you don’t cover the pot with a lid, the water will evaporate.
6. Do not stir: This is crucial – step away from the pot! Stirring rice while it’s cooking in water will release its starch and make the grains stick together (like risotto).
7. Let it steam: When you see a few air bubbles on the surface of the cooked rice, it means all the water is absorbed. At this point, you can turn the heat off but do not stir the rice just yet. Keep the pot covered with the lid for another 10 minutes for the rice to absorb the steam inside the pot.
8. Fluff it: After 10 minutes of steaming, fluff the rice with a fork (don’t stir it, though) and serve as desired.
After a few tries, these steps will become second nature and you’ll be a true fluffy brown rice master.
I usually cook a big batch of rice for the week and use it for grain bowls or kimchi fried rice, or serve it with soups or stews. Cooked rice can also be frozen in a freezer-safe airtight container for 3 to 6 months.Print
Cooking perfectly fluffy brown rice is easy, but there are several key steps to follow – and more importantly, a few things to avoid at all costs.
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Measure out 2 cups of water and pour off about 2 tablespoons (to account for the water remaining in the rinsed rice). Pour into a small pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil.
- In the meantime, place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it under running water.
- Season the boiling water with the salt. Add the rinsed rice to the boiling water (do not stir), cover tightly with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes* (do not stir while cooking!)
- Turn the heat off (still, no stirring) and let the pot stand covered for an additional 10 minutes to steam. Fluff with a fork before serving.
*It’s important to note there are different types of brown rice – short grain, long grain, basmati, etc. They all have slightly different cook times.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 172
- Carbohydrates: 36.2 g
- Fiber: 1.6 g
- Protein: 3.6 g