How to Cook Brown Rice in 30 Minutes: Tips & Tricks

toasted brown rice

rice, toasted by stu_spivack, on Flickr

It took me a long time to figure out the secret to perfectly cooking brown rice. Before that, I was constantly under-cooking the rice. Not in a crunchy sort of way, but just not the fluffiness that you get with ordinary white rice. The only problem with the proper method for cooking brown rice is that it takes a long time. With my job, I am often not getting home until 8:00 pm or even later. I’m not going to spend an hour cooking rice if I start that late. But rice is a major food item in my meal rotation and I always get the more nutritious brown rice. What to do? I turns out there is a short-cut. There is a way to quickly cook brown rice in just 30 minutes.

30 minute brown rice isn’t quite as good as spending the full hour on it, but it isn’t hard and crunchy like cooking it for 45 minutes in the traditional manner.

To cook brown rice in less than half an hour, you are going to need an additional ingredient: oil. Why do you need oil? Think of a risotto. When cooking risotto, you first toast the rice before adding water. You toast rice by basically sauteeing it in oil. Basically, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the rice, keep it moving so it doesn’t burn, but in about 5 minutes, it will start to turn brown and release a nutty aroma.

Once the rice is toasted, add the water. In a risotto, you generally add a little at a time and add more as it starts to dry out. When cooking rice to add into burritos or making a side to go with some chicken, you are less concerned about the exact level of moisture. So add your water in one dump like you normally would. Just like normal, bring it to a rolling boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Unlike normal, don’t let it simmer for an hour! Toasting the rice is kind of like par-cooking it. The job will get done much faster now. Generally speaking, it will take about 20-25 minutes.

How to Cook Brown Rice in 30 Minutes
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ c. rice
  • 1¼ c. water
  1. Heat oil in a large pan until it starts to shimmer.
  2. Add rice. Stir around to keep from sticking and burning. Toast until rice begins to turn brown and gives off a nutty aroma.
  3. Add water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes



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