How to Cook Brown Rice Without a Rice Cooker

How to Cook Brown Rice Without a Rice Cooker

I have a rice cooker… Or at least I had one until someone borrowed it. Then again, I never bothered to ask for it back because although rice cookers are convenient, they really occupy quite a bit of space even when not in use. I don’t have a really big kitchen, just saying. Anyway, bringing out the rice cooker just to cook for one or two is quite a hassle, so I usually end up just cooking brown rice without a rice cooker.


Cooking Brown Rice on the Stove

Cooking brown rice on the stove

Cooking brown rice on the stove

The first part of this post gives some simple rules to follow for cooking brown rice on the stove.


Cooking Brown Rice on the Stove Rule #1 – Water to Rice Ratio

First of all, you need the right ratio of water to rice. This can usually be found on the packaging of the brown rice you’ve bought. However, that ratio is usually catered to a certain rice cooker method. You should probably still follow it the first time and tweak it as you see fit the next time round. My packet of brown rice originally stated to add 1 ¾ cup of water : 1 cup rice, but I realised it was too wet and changed it to 1 ½ cup water which gave me perfect rice.


Cooking Brown Rice on the Stove Rule #2 – Cook Time

Trust me when I say you reeeeallly want to time the whole cooking process. This is so important. Cooking rice on the stove is a science.


Cooking Brown Rice on the Stove Rule #3 – Lower the heat

How to Cook Brown Rice Without a Rice Cooker - Lower Heat & Simmer

Lower the heat and let it simmer

After the water and rice has come to a boil, you want to turn the fire to the lowest it can go and shut the lid tight. No peeking! At least for the first 20-40mins depending on the type of rice you are cooking and the amount of rice. (about 20mins usually works for white rice and around 40mins for brown rice.)


Cooking Brown Rice on the Stove Rule #4 – Rice Texture

How to Cook Brown Rice Without a Rice Cooker - water all gone

After 35-40mins, all the water is gone

Before you turn off the flame for the last “steaming” part, you can lift the lid and check if all the water has been absorbed. You should see little pockets of hole between the rice and there shouldn’t be any liquid left, and the rice shouldn’t be soggy. If you don’t see those holes or there’s a whole lot of liquid left or it’s still soggy, put the lid back on and check at intervals of 5 minutes. Basically, the texture of the rice should be almost like normal cooked rice at this point. If it’s too hard and there’s no more water, add more and cook longer.


Cooking Brown Rice on the Stove Rule #5 – Don’t lift the lid

Once you’ve switched off the flame and put the lid back on, do not lift the lid for the next 10 minutes. You need to trap that steam inside for the rice to do the last “steaming” process. Once you crack that lid… you’re not going to get no fluffy rice. SO keep your hands to yourself and no poking around.

After all that is said and done. I have to warn anyone who attempts to cook brown rice without using a rice cooker. You’re might fail a couple of times before you get it right. Yup that’s right, “FAIL” is the word. It’s going to be either too wet or burnt. I reiterate – it’s really important to time your rice cooking.

If you’re planning to store leftover rice, let it cool completely before covering it and putting it into the fridge, you don’t want to get soggy brown rice. By shutting the lid before the rice cools, there is going to be a lot of condensation on the lid and this is going to drip onto your rice and make it soggy.


Cooking Brown Rice in the Microwave

Another method of cooking brown rice without a rice cooker that I sometimes use is the microwave. The only problem with this is that because there are so many variations of microwave ovens in the market, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact timing to cook brown rice in the microwave. At the same time, when you first attempt to try it out, you will be stopping and starting the microwave a whole lot of times. This also means checking the rice many times which usually results in failure. However, if and when you find the right cooking method, it can be an even easier and faster process than cooking over the stove.

Noobcook however does have a rough estimate cooking time for white rice if you want to try it out. In her post she uses a special microwave rice cooker like this, but you can use a normal casserole with a glass lid. However, it is important to leave a small hole to let the steam out just in case the pressure gets too high and the whole thing blows (okay maybe just that the lid will fly off and there will be a lot of cursing/swearing). However in my experience, if the casserole isn’t deep enough, the water will overflow and there will be more cleaning to do so do take note! Well, that’s all for today, I wish you luck!



Serves 2 Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 75 Mins


How to Cook Brown Rice Without a Rice Cooker - end result

The successful end result!

1½ cup water (check your rice packaging for the recommended amount)
1 cup brown rice



  1. Soak brown rice in water for up to half an hour before cooking for a less chewy texture (optional)
  2. Rinse the brown rice a couple of times
  3. Add in the water & brown rice and bring to a boil in a pot

    How to Cook Brown Rice Without a Rice Cooker - Water starts to boil

    When it starts to boil

  4. Bring down to a simmer and let it cook for 35 minutes (anything lesser than 1 cup of rice might cook faster)
  5. Check that the liquid has all been absorbed otherwise let it sit for a while longer
  6. Cover the lid, turn off the flame and let the rice steam for 10-15 minutes, try not to remove the cover any earlier



How to Cook Brown Rice Without a Rice Cooker - foam bubbles

Help, it’s bubbling!

  • You might encounter this situation (see photo above) but do not be alarmed and lift the lid. It is part of the process and there isn’t any soap in your rice. Hahaha, I remembered the first time I encountered this and panicked.
  • I would advise anyone who wants to use this method to cook the rice in a non-stick pan, as the rice sticks like crazy. If you don’t want the hassle of scrubbing out your pot, you can also use a non-stick pan except, soak it with water for about an hour so that the rice will come off the pot more easily. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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