13 Easy, Tasty Ways to Eat Brown Rice

By , Bryn Mooth
Why does brown rice get such a bad rap? Sure, rice can be a little bland. And yes, the brown version does take longer to cook. But here’s the thing: In addition to being one of the healthiest foods in the human diet—rich in fiber, cholesterol-lowering fats and nutritious minerals and antioxidants—brown rice has a deep, nutty flavor and hearty texture that’s anything but boring.
White rice is highly processed brown rice that’s been stripped of its bran—and nearly all its nutrients. You’ll find short- and long-grain varieties; short-grain rice tends to be more sticky and compact when it’s cooked, while long-grain rice is fluffier. You may also be able to find quick-cooking brown rice (which is partially cooked and then dried). Brown rice is different from wild rice (which is actually a grass, not a rice), though they’re delicious together. Here are some great ways to enjoy brown rice:
Cooking brown rice.
To make 3 cups of cooked rice, bring 1 cup of brown rice, 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 40 to 50 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat, leave the lid on the pan and let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. (You can also make brown rice in the slow cooker.)
Oven-Baked Brown Rice.
This SparkRecipes member recipe is dubbed “foolproof”; it’s baked in a foil-covered dish in the oven for an hour.
Prepared And Make-Ahead Brown Rice.
You’ll find already-cooked brown rice on your grocery shelf, and it’s a quick and easy way to enjoy this staple. Too, cooked rice freezes well, so if you plan to cook a batch of brown rice for a recipe, make double what you need and freeze the rest for up to 6 months.

Now, onto those recipes and meal ideas... 

Better Than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice

Cook the rice ahead of time (or use heat-and-serve prepared rice) and use pre-cut vegetables, and you’ll have dinner ready in no time. Chef Meg’s healthy version of fried rice has far fewer calories and less sodium than takeout.

10-Minute Fried Rice

If you're short on time, try this even faster version of fried rice.

Black Beans ‘N’ Rice

Chef Meg renovated a member recipe for a Mexican favorite, with plenty of diced tomatoes and great spices to give the dish lots of kick (and plenty of fiber and protein, too).

Delicious Broccoli-Rice Bake

You may remember broccoli-rice casserole from your childhood: It’s hearty, comforting and tasty, even for kids who hate broccoli. Use any kind of whole grain in this recipe: brown rice, wild rice, wheat or barley, even whole-wheat orzo.

Chicken Stir-Fry with Vegetables and Brown Rice

It’s easy to swap brown rice for white with your favorite Asian dish. Need some inspiration? This combo of lean chicken, fiber-rich brown rice and tons of veggies makes for a smart and satisfying meal.

Slow-Cooker Chicken And Rice Soup

This creamy, delicious (and low-calorie!) soup takes just 10 minutes of hands-on prep time. Toss the ingredients into your slow-cooker and let the soup make itself.

Zesty Chicken And Rice Skillet

This easy recipe uses quick-cooking brown rice as a time-saver. Low-fat Italian dressing and Dijon mustard create a kicky sauce that surrounds cooked chicken and bell peppers.

Garlicky Brown Rice

This flavorful recipe would make a great side dish for chicken. Here, the rice is cooked pilaf-style, which means the grains are sautéed with garlic in a little olive oil before the cooking liquid (in this case, low-sodium chicken broth) is added.

Brown Rice with Pecans and Cranberries

Dried fruit and nuts add flavor and texture to your favorite brown rice. This side dish is fast and fancy, the perfect accompaniment to any cool-weather supper.

Herbed Brown Rice with Mushrooms

A hearty side or a light meatless entree, this savory dish is packed with flavor and fiber. It would pair perfectly with roast meat.

Chickpea and Brown Rice Salad

This hearty, healthy salad is great warm or cold. It's even better the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to mingle.
What is your favorite way to eat brown rice?

Bryn Mooth is extending her 20-year career in publishing as an independent journalist and copywriter. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

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RCLYKE 2/20/2021
Thank you Report
KATHYJO56 11/25/2020
I love brown rice-it has a rich nutty flavor. Report
Good recipe suggestions. I keep trying to get family to eat brown rice. Report
Some great suggestions on incorporating rice into meals. Report
ARNETTELEE 6/29/2020
thanks Report
GETULLY 3/13/2020
Love brown rice. Just had some this morning with eggs scrambled in. Report
Love brown rice! Think I will have some for breakfast! Report
thanks Report
Thanks for the ideas Report
Great recipes Report
Brown rice is healthier than white but not much. I make barley or kashi or quinoa instead most of the time. Prefer to use my microwave cooker & add 1/4 - 1/2 C more water. When I do make brown rice for stir fry, I cook using chicken or veggie broth instead of plain water. Coconut milk when making for rice pudding. Also cook Spanish rice with 8 oz can of tomato sauce (flavored w/ peppers & onions or plain) 8 oz water to almost 1 C dry rice (I skip any oil) which is perfect w/ pinto beans & grilled or broiled chicken. Report
Brown rice is healthier than white but not much. I make barley or kashi or quinoa instead most of the time. Prefer to use my microwave cooker & add 1/4 - 1/2 C more water. When I do make brown rice for stir fry, I cook using chicken or veggie broth instead of plain water. Coconut milk when making for rice pudding. Also cook Spanish rice with 8 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 C water to almost Report
Nice looking dish Report
thanks Report
Thanks for all the great ideas :) Report
Brown rice over white rice, any day. The recipes are perfect. Thanks for this delicious information. Report
I switched to brown rice easily, it is much tastier with a nutty flavor. I cook most rice in my microwave rice cooker now, it comes out perfect every time and is only 24 min for brown rice Report
I prefer brown rice over white rice and the texture adds to the flavor. Thank you, SparkFriend for more ideas for this staple item. Report
Looks delish Report
Love these recipes. I'm going to use cauliflower rice instead of brown rice to some of these recipes. Report
I use brown rice most of the time. Report
interesting Report
I have tried some of these and they are very good Report
My kids have always had brown rice at home. The first time they saw white rice at someone's house they were confused on what had happened to the rice. They said white rice had no flavor. Report
I was able to convert from white rice to brown very easily. (I still can't switch from white to wheat pasta though!) I like it best under any kind of Chinese or Thai food.
This week we made a veggie burger out of it so you can hide it. 1/4 cup brown rice and 1/4 cup lentils, 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil then take down to low and simmer 30-40 minutes until soft. Let it cool slightly, mash it and mix it with 1/4 cup green onion, 2 tbsp. any Asian sauce, 1 beaten egg, 2 tbsp. bread crumbs. Make into 4 patties, cook in a pan sprayed with cooking spray ten mins. until golden brown, flipping once. This is a Betty Crocker recipe and it turned out well. I would add a little more seasoning though, S/P or more Asian sauce. Report
thanks for all these great ideas!! Report
I don't have a particular favorite for rice, but these looking darling. Will try these. Report
may favorite way is vegetable fried rice cooked with only pam. i'm liking a lot of these recipes especially the one with mushrooms Report
I can't wait to try some of these healthy recipes. Thanks for sharing. Report
Thanks for sharing these recipes....they look delicious! Report
I've printed off a few of these. I love brown rice and have actually gotten my husband to prefer it to white rice. We make a lot of soup and stews in the winter. The chicken rice soup sounds absolutely yummy. Thanks for this blog. I can't wait to try some of these recipes. Report
I haven't tried it with brown rice, but I cook white/mixed rice in the microwave (not the precooked stuff). The directions are much the same, but it doesn't burn on the bottom when it boils dry, and doesn't need so much attention. Report
I like to pre-cook at least 5 cups of brown rice and then once it has just about cooked, I like to add a tbsp of smart balance and one package of Lipton Vegetable Soup Mix, add 1/4 more cup of water and simmer on low. This makes about 1 weeks serving of rice, great for on the go... Report
Brown and Wild Rice combined makes a very good base for home made Beef Stroganoff (not low calorie nor low fat - but for an occasional splurge and tightly controlled meals for breakfast and lunch [or dinner for those of us from the south]).
As a youngster, I never had brown rice, but was exposed to it as an adult. I love its nutty taste and texture. My DW is less enthused than I, so I usually do the prep work for the brown rice while she fixes her naked white rice.
I use it as an alternative to the popular Spanish seasoned white rice and for many other rice dishes as well. It makes a great Fried Rice dish. Report
I use parboiled brown rice so it only takes 20 minutes to cook. I cook it plain or with kidney bean. Report
I love brown rice but my husband hates it. So we compromise and I fix brown about half the time and white the rest of the time. I like white rice just fine but to me it is empty calories and I need the nutrition. Report
I love brown rice. Usually I just add a splash of soy sauce, but I'll try some of these recipes - they look yummy! Report
Brown rice has such a nutty nice flavor, after trying it, how one can go back to white is beyond me.
I have to watch carbs so never more than 1/3 cup. Usually 1/4 cup with veggies, or meat added is more than enough.
I also like to add wild rice and cook it with chicken stock and mushrooms.
It's such a versatile food, so many good was to cook and enjoy it. Report
In what way does brown rice not go with those legumes? It's great in everything, including sweet dishes! Report
I've tried brown rice and I don't like it. Sorry, I'll stick with my white rice. Also, brown rice does not go with red beans, white beans, or lentils. Report
I love brown rice. Can't wait to try a few of these. Report
"What is your favorite way to eat brown rice? "
* boiled with a Tablespoon of Coconut Oil and a lot of parsley Report
Ha--lots of opinions on the best way to cook brown rice! Here's mine: Don't use so much water. I have very good results when I keep the proportions to 1.25 cup rice : 2 cups water. I grew up in Colombia, & we like our rice well cooked but not sticky--right in the middle between moist sticky rice & dry Indian-style basmati rice. Bring to a hard boil but then turn all the way down to the lowest heat, & cook for 40-45 minutes. A pan with a tight-fitting lid is essential, & don't even lift the lid to peek at it while it cooks.

My favorite way to eat brown rice is in very small amounts--usually just 1/4 cup cooked--& plain, but with some kind of delicious curry poured over it. Report
Brown rice should be soaked overnight and rinsed/drained before cooking to break down tits phytic acid and make it more bio-available. A serving is less than a half cup cooked.

What's with the white rice photos in this article anyway? Speaking of white rice, some nutrition experts will argue that white rice is a 'neutral' starch and legal on a low-carb diet whereas brown rice is not. Report
to help keep your rice, brown or white from becoming sticky, fold 2 pieces of paper towel to fit between the pot & it's cover..when cokking time is complete, simply put the toweling in place, remove from heat, let stand for normal standing time, fluff with fork..every grain is separate & cooked perfectly.. Report
I know it's not cost effective, but for someone like me who mainly cooks for one, the Uncle Ben's microwavable packets of brown rice are kind of awesome. It takes 90 seconds & it gives you 2 cups-I usually get the plain, or the brown & wild rice. It's great when you need somthing quick, or if you just don't want to fuss with cooking rice. Report
Boy do some of those recipes look good. I will be trying some of them. I do like brown rice but just never seem to cook it as much as I should. Report
not a big fan of brown rice but I will give one of these recipes a try so that I actually will eat it. Report
I find that cooking the brown rice in vegetable or chicken stock adds to the flavor. Report