Quick Tip: Brown Rice is Better (and Not That Hard to Cook)

5SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/16/2008 12:08 PM   :  227 comments

It's a staple in cuisines around the world, from Chinese to Japanese, Indian to Thai, even Italian, African and Caribbean. It comes in an array of colors and all different lengths and shapes. It's found in dishes sweet and savory.
Rice, it seems, is a pretty versatile food. So why are you still eating run-of-the-mill white rice (with butter, no less)?

Step away from the boil-in-bag, and say no to the white rice. (Whose bright idea was it to create rice that doesn't clump together? Have you ever tried to eat it? It's mushy and hard to keep on your fork!) There's better rice out there.

Brown rice.


I've heard the arguments: It takes longer to cook. It's hard to cook. I don't like it.

Today we're going debunk all those excuses.
Brown rice is better, and it's better for you!

Brown rice (1 cup long grain)
217 calories
1.8 g fat
45 g carbs
3.5 g fiber
5 g protein
vs.
White rice
205 calories
.4 g fat
44.5 g carbs
.6 g fiber
4.3 g protein

(Long grain has fewer calories per cup compared with short grain rice.)
Brown rice is full of vitamins and minerals, too. According to whfoods.com:
"The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1 [thiamin], 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be "enriched" with vitamins B1, B3 and iron."

Brown rice has a stronger taste and firmer texture than white rice, but the taste doesn't overwhelm even the most delicate of sauces. If you've tried it before and disliked it, give it another try. Studies show that it can take a few tries before we learn to like a new food.

Ask for brown rice at restaurants. It's not as ubiquitous as white or--gasp--fried rice, but many restaurants offer it. Pair it with stir-fries, stews and soups. Ask for it in your sushi rolls. Eat it with curries, throw it in casseroles and even use it to make risotto!

I make my kimchi fried rice with brown rice (or sometimes quinoa--more info coming soon)! No one can tell the difference.



It's really quite versatile. Use it almost any recipe.

Excuse: It's too hard to cook! (And it takes too long!)

No matter how you cook it, brown rice isn't that hard to cook. Yes, it does take longer to cook than white rice, but you can make a large batch and keep it on hand for quick meals.

The easiest way to cook it is on the stovetop: Heat 2 cups of water to a boil, then add one cup of brown rice. Bring to a boil again, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes or until rice is as tender as you'd prefer. Store leftovers in fridge for a few days or freeze in single serve portions.

Brown rice can also be cooked in the microwave, an oven, or the slow cooker.

Still not convinced? If all else fails, just buy it in the freezer case!

Do you prefer white rice or a brown rice? Will you make the switch?


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Comments

  • 227
    Great! - 4/28/2013   5:12:49 AM
  • 226
    My family always served white rice (usually Minute Rice) until a few years ago when my parents decided it was time to add some healthier foods to their diet. I've been eating brown rice since my college days. I love it. - 5/24/2012   7:51:08 PM
  • 225
    White rice. Fresh veggies make up the lost fiber. - 5/20/2012   8:54:35 AM
  • LLPOOLEJ
    224
    Brown rice is best made with broth,a little wild rice, extra water, maybe some finely chopped veggies and given over and hour of time to cook and steam. Its not an easy rice to make if you don't have plenty of time. It cannot be made the same as white rice. If it is gritty, its not all the way cooked. Its awful undercooked. Wonderful as a pilaf - 3/13/2012   9:12:41 AM
  • GREENGRANNIE
    223
    I wish I liked brown rice. I've tried it over and over and over. I've tried every way to cook it that I've ever seen. But it's a texture thing, for me. It's not what I grew up with (I'm old... brown rice wasn't widely known, and certainly wasn't available in grocery stores in Wyoming), so it's just isn't "right." I'll keep trying, but in the meantime, get my whole grains in other ways. - 3/10/2012   6:22:16 PM
  • 222
    We love the brown rice but it took SparkPeople to get me to even try it. It's nuttier and has a great texture! Yes, it does take longer to cook, so I just cook up an entire bag of it when we do, then divide it into freezer containers for other meals. Very easy to pull out of the freezer and add to the meal!! - 12/30/2011   12:05:02 PM
  • 221
    Brown rice is great, more body and deeper flavor. I don't buy it from supermarkets though, instead I go to the local Indian market and buy it there. You do have to buy much bigger bags, but it tastes much better.

    Easiest way to cook rice: Throw one cup rice in pot, turn heat on, add two cups water and bring to boil. Once it is boiling, wrap the pot lid in a dish towel and place on the pot and turn off the heat. Forget about the rice, go cook the rest of the meal, watch TV, whatever. Come back some time later (20 min, 30, 40, 60) and it is done, ready to eat and tastes great. - 10/3/2011   5:52:28 AM
  • 220
    I grew up eating & loving both, just for different dishes & never really though of having to do an either/or situation. For some things, I'll stick with jasmine or basmati, but for everyday, it's brown.

    I was going to spring for a rice cooker but learned about baking rice in the oven. Way too easy! Twice as much water as rice, an oven-proof dish with a tight fitting lid (dutch oven, Pyrex, whatever), and bake at 350 for about an hour, or 375 for 40 minutes, or higher for less time. It's pretty flexible!

    The easy part is, I can put in chicken or a squash, potatoes or something else to bake at the same time & have the whole meal done +leftovers without having to stand over the the whole works. Madhur Jaffrey & Alton Brown have recipes for baked rice, but it's pretty goof-proof! - 9/29/2011   9:59:03 PM
  • 219
    I use Sally Fallon's method for cooking brown rice. Mix 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, add two tablespoons of whey or buttermilk and let it sit over night or for 12 hours. Put the pot on the stove top, bring to a boil on high, (add salt or fat if wanted) turn to a simmer and cover. Rice is done once the liquid is absorbed.
    The rice is delicious this way, tender and fluffy and much tastier then white rice. My family actually prefers it to white now. It also cooks much faster and the nutrients are more available. - 9/29/2011   1:38:42 AM
  • 218
    SPINNYCHICK confirmed what I had read, soaking brown rice helps. I had read that brown rice cooks better if you soak it (1 part rice: 2 parts water) for, I think, 30 minutes. Then heat on high until it boils, lower heat to low and cook. Mine takes about 40 minutes. But as others have written, make a batch and keep it in the fridge. - 9/19/2011   10:28:17 AM
  • STACIBUK
    217
    I love brown rice. Used to eat brown rice a lot but now its just white rice for me. I just try to eat smaller portions & its basmati rice so I guess that's better than normal white rice. - 6/10/2011   4:41:07 PM
  • 128PERFECT
    216
    I use to eat white. Now it is brown. - 2/22/2011   7:40:15 PM
  • ETHELMERZ
    215
    We learned to enjoy the brown rice, but can only have 1/2 cup per serving anyway, so wasn't a big deal to make the change from white to brown. - 1/6/2011   10:33:24 PM
  • LEBRUCE80
    214
    I used to love eating white rice, couldn't really get into brown rice it had a weird taste. Now, I can't get enough of brown rice. I cook it in a slow cooker with broth instead of water and I have also included it into my turkey meat for burgers. I love it and will never go back. - 1/5/2011   5:36:47 PM
  • 213
    I have tried brown rice several times using a variety of cooking methods but still don't care for it. The flavor is OK but I don't like my rice crunchy. It seems no matter how I cook it or for how long it still has a crunch to it I don't enjoy. - 11/10/2010   9:37:45 AM
  • 212
    I switched my family to brown rice( use a rice cooker)and I had no complaints,not even from my picky husband:)On the rare occasion we have eaten white rice,the kids say it tastes "funny".It did take a few tries to get use to the change,but it was worth it-and we will never change back to white:)I also switched to wheat bread with the same results(never thought I would get my wonder bread hubby to switch-lol).Give it an honest try-you might be surprised! - 8/17/2010   3:43:08 PM
  • 211
    I recently made the switch to brown rice and I don't think I'll ever go back. It's got more substance, which I really like. - 3/26/2010   5:38:10 PM
  • 210
    Invest in a rice cooker. They take any stress out of cooking rice. Just add the rice and water then turn it on. It'll stop its self when the rice is cooked and keep it warm untill you need it. Genius! - 11/25/2009   2:28:23 AM
  • 209
    I make it in a rice cooker - very easy! - 11/21/2009   11:40:17 AM
  • 208
    A fundamental part of my batch cooking. I always have 1/2 c containers in my freezer to mix and match with whatever other foods I am using from dried beans or other proteins to veggies to soups, even cold with fruit in a salad. - 11/21/2009   8:16:02 AM
  • 207
    I've always hated rice. I tried Trader Joe's brown rice a few weeks ago and thought it was great. Now I eat rice! - 11/19/2009   8:11:56 PM
  • 206
    I only eat brown rice. I also think it makes good breakfast meal. I cook it with 1 tps. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg and 3 tablespoons of raisins. And then I pour some milk on it. - 11/19/2009   6:54:26 PM
  • 205
    Although Jasmine rice is my favorite white rice, I have tried to change to brown rice for some time now. The jasmine is a "treat" now. I have no problems with eating or cooking the brown rice. I find it is very filling and tasty! - 8/26/2009   3:46:19 PM
  • 204
    i LOVE brown rice and have always preferred it hands-down to white rice. - 8/26/2009   3:28:22 PM
  • SPINNYCHICK
    203
    I soak my brown overnight. I just cover it in water and cook it in the morning. I find that the "popcorn" smell is much more pronounced if soaked. I do 2 cups rice to 4 cups water. Put the rice in cold, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 35 minutes. I put it in one cup servings in the freezer. Then I can just take it out and microwave it with salsa and beans, or make it into rice pudding with some eggs and vanilla... really anything you can do with it. Really, follow the directions on the bag and it should come out properly. I think learning how to cook is a big key in weight loss. - 8/26/2009   3:02:45 PM
  • 202
    I can't cook rice to save my life.
    My $30 rice cooker was a MIRACLE buy. Perfect brown rice every single time. I like brown basmati the best, makes the apt. smell like popcorn! Mmmm. - 8/3/2009   2:55:59 PM
  • 201
    I much prefer the Brown Rice. There's no comparison! It tastes BETTER, is nice & chewey and really rounds out a meal. I'm so glad we got started on Brown Rice through SparkPeople. Now, I even crave it if we don't cook it often enough.

    This was an excellent article. Never knew Brown Rice was so nutritionally excellent - - - that's a bonus for us. The healthy part. Who says "good for you" food doesn't taste good? They haven't tried some of these wonderful Brown Rice recipes.
    - 4/24/2009   10:14:29 AM
  • 200
    I do the success brown rice bags, they hold 3 servings in each bag so i can divide it up after cooking for other meals...I don't eat white rice anymore, only brown...I like it better.....the bags are easy to cook, and don't take long...and its still the same brown rice - 3/28/2009   10:25:01 PM
  • 199
    I recently made the switch. My kids didn't notice and my very skeptical husband complained at first, but now doesn't mind so much. - 3/11/2009   4:32:19 PM
  • JERSEYGIRL726
    198
    Don't cheat yourself out of valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber; switch to brown rice! I do mine in the microwave; I have a round glass bowl with a lid, and it works great. I find brown rice works well with everything but risotto; you just have to remember to add a little extra water and give it a little extra time. Would love to get a rice cooker, but counter space is so limited in my kitchen, this is impractical right now. If you're making something like stuffed peppers or stuffed cabbage, it doesn't hurt to pre-cook the brown rice about 15 minutes. I'm against parboiling; I think you lose a lot of minerals and flava when you dump the water. Probably one cup of water to one cup of rice is a good proportion when you pre-cook. (I use only distilled or filtered water; the stuff that comes out of my tap isn't something I want in my body.) - 3/4/2009   12:44:01 PM
  • 197
    I realize not everyone has the space or money for a rice cooker, but they really do make cooking ALL rice, including brown, a no-brainer. Just set and forget - no scorching, no sticking, no boiling over. I grew up on the pablum that is Minute Rice and O M Gosh to learn the real world of rice in all its glories was amazing. My cooker has a non-stick interior and even has a delay feature so I can set it to go before I leave the house, plus it keeps it warm for hours if I need it to. (Apparently, in the cultures rice cookers were invented for it is often eaten most meals of the day, hence the appeal of having fresh hot rice always available.) On the stovetop you really do need to allow longer time than white - a good 45 minutes or so, because hard in the middle is most unpleasant. Raw rice sucks and is quite indigestible to boot! The ideas for making large batches and freezing the extra are good for those without the rice cookers. I'm going to try the oven version too - sounds intriguing. It can be an acquired taste for those of us who grew up on white rice but mostly, once you try it, you'll be a convert. It's more than just 'filler' like white rice can be. I'm a bit puzzled by the comment about the high fat content, and by the people who only tried once to cook it (without proper instruction, no less) and just gave up. - 3/3/2009   1:00:03 AM
  • 196
    Uh ... I'm one of those who tried it once, and the bag is still in the pantry. I only cooked it once, and had to call my mom and ask her how I should cook it. She said, as did the directions on the bag, to put the water AND the rice in and then boil and then simmer for 30-40 minutes (which I did not do, because that is not how I cook any foods). In its defense, we *DID* get the store brand, so that might be why, but it was soupy, crunchy, and just not pleasurable. I will try it again with Uncle Ben's, although if white rice isn't *bad* for you, in the interest of time (when dinner is running a bit late and everyone is standing around staring at me), I'm pretty sure we will still eat white rice, with brown rice (if we like it) being an occasional thing. - 2/21/2009   5:52:34 PM
  • 195
    I love brown rice. It's so much healthier for you. - 2/20/2009   10:30:32 AM
  • DEBBIE26111
    194
    I dont have any white rice or even white pasta or bread in my house. Kids well eat what is in front of them we need to teach them now. - 2/20/2009   8:58:01 AM
  • 193
    I never understand it when people say they don't like the taste of brown rice. I love it and I love the smell of it. If you don't like it then you are not cooking it right. As for the time - come on! I just learned about cooking it in the oven and although it takes an hour, it's worth it and the smell coming from the oven is just heavenly. - 2/10/2009   1:38:26 PM
  • DIALMELO
    192
    I made the switch to brown rice and I enjoy it. Yes, waiting for the rice to cook can be really annoying but it's important to remember that this is rice in its natural state.

    I cook the brown rice in a rice cooker as it's just more convenient than stovetop. I'll add a chicken bouillon cube for flavor as well as some chopped onion and diced tomatoes (non-canned). Delish! - 2/9/2009   9:36:23 PM
  • 191
    Thank you for the great methods of cooking brown rice .. I like brown rice but was always bothered by the time ... thanks to all .. wisdom in groups .. - 2/8/2009   11:56:08 AM
  • 190
    Don't use brown rice,, too much fat,but do use jasmine rice in my rice cooker,, also make soup in my cooker... steam veggies in it,, so easy.. - 2/8/2009   8:33:32 AM
  • 189
    I love Brown Rice. The Minute Rice Brown is also very quick and easy. - 2/7/2009   6:15:15 PM
  • CALNOTES1
    188
    Rainmusic has just talked me into buying another appliance - a rice cooker.
    Actually, I just never think of it when I am out shopping. Thanks. - 2/7/2009   7:58:53 AM
  • 187
    I love brown rice and wild rice - in fact, all kinds of rice. My hubby, however, does not like the brown rice, so I fool him. He loves the Zatarain's Yellow Rice (in the little pagkages), so when I make it for him, I add extra instant brown rice & more water and cook it like usual. He doesn't even know it. So that's an idea for those of you who want the health benefits of brown rice but don't like the flavor. - 2/3/2009   1:51:17 PM
  • VAELWYN
    186
    I love the brown rice. My family has taken really well to it. I have not had any trouble cooking it and I find that It actually tends to be less sticky. - 2/1/2009   10:52:18 PM
  • 185
    I cook brown rice similarly...but instead use a big pasta pot, fill it with water, add a bit of salt, and bring to a boil. Then, I add several cups of brown rice, boil it for 30 minutes uncovered, drain, and return to the lidded pot, where it sits for a few minutes. Talk about EASY!!!! And it the grains are perfect, with a little bit of al dente bite. I've not gone back to white rice since discovering this recipe on Saveur online. Brown rice is amazingly filling, delicious, and nutritious to boot!!!! - 1/31/2009   3:26:05 PM
  • 184
    Steph
    What is Kimchi? - 1/13/2009   7:34:23 AM
  • 183
    Rainmusic, I like your suggestions.
    I make a whole bag of brown rice at one time. After that there is no excuses. I save some of it in the refrigerator. The rest of it goes into saved margerine bowls a put in the freezer. Even if I forget to defrost in advance, it is easy to heat up. I put it in a fine strainer to rinse it. Then the strainer over a pan of boiling water to steam it. - 1/13/2009   7:32:24 AM
  • 182
    My husband gave me a rice cooker for Mother's Day. Yeah, I know. He's Gift-Impaired.

    It does brown rice beautifully. I just put it the rice in there with the water or stock, sometimes some grated carrots and chopped onion, plug it in, and ignore it for 45 minutes. I make extra, because cold leftover brown rice makes a lovely bed for a salad.

    Anyway, we love it. It has a nutty, toasty flavor, and because you have to chew it more, it's more satisfying than the white rice. We especially like the brown Basmati rice. Very flavorful. - 1/12/2009   11:25:11 PM
  • 181
    I just discovered the Jasmine brown rice this last year after using brown rice for several years--delicious! Other tricks that I learned is to use low-sodium stock instead of water and to leave the brown rice soaking for about 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. The rice is even more flavorful and we prefer it over white rice. Other flavorings include adding some minced garlic and/or fresh herbs. - 1/12/2009   3:42:28 PM
  • BSMILE
    180
    For those who don't like plain brown rice but enjoy Jasmine rice, try Jasmine Brown Rice. Delicious. Best of both worlds. You still get that wonderful aroma from the jasmine and healthful benefits from it being brown rice. Enjoy! - 1/12/2009   12:29:32 PM
  • MIMS1113
    179
    I've found the best way to make brown rice is in a steamer. It's a great cooking tool because of its stackable sections. I have a Sunbeam steamer that allows me to cook up to three different ingredients at the same time, and if you follow the cooking instructions, each will be cooked perfectly. I use mine primarily for brown rice and all of my vegetables. - 1/12/2009   7:06:51 AM
  • TWO4ONE
    178
    I love brown rice ! I haven't eaten white rice in years, ever since a teacher told me that the nutrients were stripped away during the bleaching process used to make white rice. I am, however, unpleasantly surprised that the brown rice has more calories. I thought the calories were less, epecially since the movie "Showgirls". Gae (the dance captain) kept getting on Nomi to eat her brown rice and vegetables ! - 1/12/2009   12:54:10 AM

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