How to Cook Brown Rice to Keep All Its Health Benefits

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023 is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Cook Brown Rice to Keep All Its Health Benefits

Soaking brown rice, allowing it to germinate and sprout are just a few secrets on how to cook brown rice to keep all its health benefits. Brown rice is popular for all its goodness so let’s find out the best cooking techniques to intensify its advantages.

When it comes to versatility, rice seems to be on top of the list. Rice can be an appetizer, a meal and even a dessert, and so much more. Among the rice varieties, brown rice seems to be well-renowned for their healthy goodness.

More and more research suggests that brown rice is actually the healthiest type of rice ever known. It has tremendous benefits that people who consume this on a daily basis live longer compared to those who eat regular white rice. But, how do you cook brown rice to keep all its health benefits? Discover the secrets in this new post.

Down with Brown Rice

If you are like me, who plan to keep my body fit and healthy but cannot give up rice, then brown rice should also be your top choice.

It does not actually help you lose weight fast but it gradually helps you become fit. If you partner this fiber-enriched grain with exercise, then for sure, you can achieve your body goals.

Brown rice has all the amazing benefits we are looking for in a grain. It is the best alternative to white rice and safe for daily consumption.

The bran layer of the brown rice is high in fiber. If you notice, white rice is smoother and well-polished while brown rice has only the husk removed. But, these rustic qualities have greater benefits.

Brown rice is a terrific source of fiber, magnesium, and B vitamins, for everyday protection. In fact, brown rice is considered to be the healthiest type of rice.

Experts believe that most of the health benefits of brown rice are attributed to its production and preparation. With this, I made a research on how to cook brown rice to keep all its health benefits intact while munching on its flavor.

Soaking Brown Rice

Soaking Brown Rice

I bet by now you are very much aware of the various benefits of brown rice and maybe looking for different ways on how to prepare it healthily.

Apart from cooking it the regular way, we previously found that soaking brown rice before cooking actually lessens the entire cooking time.

Nonetheless, apart from the shortened process, soaking brown rice actually helps release beneficial enzymes.

Like most whole grains, soaking brown rice makes it easier to digest and helps in neutralizing phytic acid. But then, soaking brown rice is not a common practice today, because it is actually time-consuming, intimidating, and some find it riskier.

Soaking has been around for centuries and our ancestor practice culturing. The act of soaking grains actually aids to breakdown the anti-nutrients and the hard-to-digest elements of the brown rice. So, by doing this, brown rice release even more nutrients.

Here’s how to soak and cook brown rice:

  • Measure a cup of brown rice
  • 2 cups of warm water
  1. Put the rice in a medium-sized bowl and add the warm water.
  2. Mix it well until well-combined
  3. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm area in your kitchen
  4. Soak your brown rice for about 8-12 hours or overnight
  5. After the soaking period, drain the water and cook rice normally.

You will notice that your brown rice feels softer yet the nutty flavor is still there. I bet, after reading this post, you will for sure try soaking your brown rice to really experience what I’m talking about. 😀

Germinated Brown Rice or Sprouted Rice

Another healthy option to keep brown rice benefit is by means of sprouting. Sprouted grains and whole grains actually contain the same nutrients but in varying quantities.

Studies show that sprouted grains break down some of the starch, which makes the rate of nutrients higher. This means you can get a higher amount of nutrients in a germinated rice compared to the regular one to meet your daily needs.

This is where sprouting brown rice became a thing today. Because of the potential quantities of nutrients, you can get it twice or more than regular brown rice only. And people are getting crazy over germinated brown rice.

The longer you soak brown rice the more it releases essential nutrients. One of the healthiest kind of brown rice is the GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid.

You can achieve GABA brown rice by soaking the grains in water for 4-20 hours with a temperature of 30–40 °C (86–104 °F).

However, the germinating process involves a series of water changes to avoid developing a foul smell and soaking longer at lower temperatures.

GABA brown rice is also readily available at the groceries where you can buy them at small portions, but you can also try it at home.

How to Sprout Brown Rice

GABA Brown Rice

Although, germinating brown rice looks like a meticulous process, it actually pretty easy. You only need to have a little bit of patience in order to achieve the right sprouted rice.

If you are interested in preparing homemade germinated brown rice, note down these ingredients and you can follow these steps:

What you will need:

  • Measure half a cup of brown rice (best to prepare germinated brown rice good for a meal or two)
  • Sprouting container or jar (any jar would do)
  • Water

Soaking Method:

  1. Begin the process by putting the grains inside the sprouting jar
  2. Fill the jar with water, enough to cover all grains. Cover with a lid or a sprouting screen.
  3. Soak for 12 hours or more
  4. Drain the water. If needed, invert the jar so the water from the bottom goes out.
  5. Rinse the grains for about 3 times
  6. Repeat the above steps for 2-3 days. You will notice sprouts forming
  7. Wash and drain the sprouts completely
  8. Cook right away or you can store it inside the fridge for 3 days.

Who would have thought that soaking and sprouting methods are age-old techniques for cooking whole grains? I think after writing this post, I would never look at whole grains the same way again.

Choosing the Right Grain Size

Like white rice, brown rice also comes in different sizes. The texture and flavor depend on the size, so if you notice, the short grain brown rice tends to be softer and fluffy.

Cooking short grain brown rice is more starchy and stickier. They are often used in making soups and desserts where starch is needed. But then, they are not that sticky compared to the short-grain white rice.

Medium to long-grain brown rice is the perfect choice for various rice dishes because they have lower starch content and less sticky.

How to Store Brown Rice

How to Store Brown Rice

Storing leftover brown rice is simple. There are two forms of leftover, cooked and uncooked.

Uncooked brown rice stays longer for about 6 months as long as you store it inside an airtight container and at room temperature.

Cooked brown rice, on the other hand, stays over a week when refrigerated but it is best to consume it at least a day or two after cooking.

Germinated brown rice has a faster shelf life of 2 days. You can cook enough amount of sprouted rice only to take advantage of its benefits.

What to Do with Leftover Brown Rice?

We cannot avoid having leftover brown rice after we have prepared it over a hearty dinner. I know you are pretty much concerned about how and what to do with the leftovers.

Don’t worry; here are some recipes you can try with leftover brown rice:

  • Fried brown rice
  • Cold brown rice salad
  • Taco brown rice
  • Brown rice stuffing

To avoid having leftovers, you can be precise on the amount of rice to cook. Find out how to cook brown rice below.

Preferred Cooking Method

Now that you have learned the different important ways to enhance the health benefits of brown rice, it all boils to your personal preference on how you would like to cook it.

Primarily, you can use any of the following:

  • Pot using the stove-top method
  • Rice Cooker
  • Steamer
  • Slow Cooker

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice

brown rice in microwave rice cooker

Making brown rice is not as challenging as it should be. It’s like cooking the regular white rice but only differs in the amount of water you use.

It is extremely important to add the right amount of water to the rice. There are printed instructions at the back of each packaging but here is the perfect water ratio to use:

  • Long-grain brown rice uses 1 and 1/4 cup of water to a cup of rice
  • A cup of short-grain brown rice needs 1 and a half cup of water

Note: If you are using germinated or sprouted brown rice, you may reduce the water ratio and use the standard 1:1 to avoid getting mushy.

Cooking Method via Stovetop:

Basically, you can cook rice in any convenient way for you.

However, there is an ongoing battle against the stovetop method vs. rice cooker when it comes to rice cooking, especially in Asian countries.

Stovetop is uncomplicated and very practical. You don’t need to spend extra time for another appliance which will also require extra space on the kitchen counter. You can cook almost anything on your cooking stove, right? How to cook brown rice?

  1. Measure a cup of brown rice
  2. Wash and rinse over cold running water until dust, dirt, and starch are gone
  3. Place the rice in a pot and add the correct water ratio
  4. Cover the pot and let it boil. This should take approximately 30 minutes over medium-high heat
  5. Randomly check if the water is absorbed
  6. Reduce the heat to its lowest and let it sit for 15 minutes
  7. Fluff the rice with a fork or spatula and let it rest for another 10 minutes
  8. Serve!

It is a method that is simple but requires practice and time to achieve results comparable with rice cooked in rice cooker. To be honest it’s hard to cook rice on a cooking stove as good as in a rice cooker.

Rice Cooker is the Most Recommended Method

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 rice cooker

As technology rises, kitchen appliances also upgrade in so many ways. Rice is one of the most popular food products in the world. Therefore, in Asian countries, the most common upgrade is the way of cooking rice.

Brown rice takes a long time before it will be cooked entirely and cooking it on the stovetop will require you to monitor and randomly check on it. However, if you use a rice cooker, like Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 which I highly recommend, it already has a brown rice cooking setting. All you have to do is…

  • Measure the right amount of rice with a special measuring cup
  • Wash and rinse
  • Place it in the rice cooker pot and add seasoning/ingredients
  • Add the correct amount of water (everything is in the attached user manual)
  • Turn on the option of cooking brown rice
  • Leave

You don’t have to worry about the cooking process and the cooking time. The rice cooker knows exactly how long and how to cook the grains.

What I find best with Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 is that it automatically adjusts the cooking time and heat according to to the type and amount of rice you have added. So, there is no fear of having burnt rice or mushy!


There is no doubt that brown rice is the healthiest when it comes to nutrition. However, there is more to cooking brown rice than just plain steaming or boiling.

If you think you are getting all the richness and fullness of brown rice, think again. Soaking and sprouting are two ways we can all practice so that we can get the most from brown rice wellness.

By doing these methods, all the locked-in nutrients are released and make brown rice healthier than ever. Apart from these nutrients, cooking time is lessened and grains are softer compared to unsoaked and un-sprouted brown rice.

The cooking method also affects the taste and overall quality of brown rice. A stovetop is the most common cooking method yet takes time and effort. On the other hand, a rice cooker does the job pretty awesome and without much intervention. But, it all depends on your convenience, you can choose the cooking process which you think you are most comfortable with.

Plus, there are more recipes you can make with soaked and sprouted brown rice!