What Are the Best Tips for Making Brown Rice in a Rice Cooker?

Amanda R. Bell

Making brown rice in a rice cooker takes a fair amount of the estimation from preparing this healthy and versatile grain, and there are several things that you can do to ensure that the end product is tasty and perfectly cooked. Some good tips for improving the often plain flavor of brown rice are to toast it prior to putting it in the appliance and to use flavorful liquids rather than water. When making brown rice in a rice cooker, follow the appliance’s suggestions for the ratio of liquid to rice rather than those found on the grain’s packaging. Before you fluff the rice, taste it to see if it is done; if it isn’t, test it in two minute increments until it is.

A rice cooker.
A rice cooker.

Toasting the grains before you add them to the rice cooker can be a great way to improve flavor and increase the fluffiness of the finished product. Brown rice is often considered bland and dense, despite the fact that it does have a naturally nutty taste. By toasting it before you put it in the cooker, you can intensify its natural flavor. You can use any type of oil or a small amount of butter for this, and simply let the grains cook on the stove until they turn light brown in color and smell aromatic.

Brown rice.
Brown rice.

No matter for what you will use the finished product, making sure that the liquid is well-seasoned is one of the best tips for making brown rice in a rice cooker. Although you can add ingredients after it is prepared, the grains absorb most of their flavor from the liquid in which they are cooked. If you are making a large batch, you can use any type of broth or stock to add flavor while still leaving the dish bland enough that it can be used in multiple meals. You can also add spices and other flavored liquids, like Worchestershire or soy sauce, as part of the total liquid amount. If you prefer this grain’s natural flavor, make sure that you add a small amount of salt to the water to enhance its natural flavor.

In most cases, the ratio of rice to liquid will be slightly different when making brown rice in a rice cooker compared to the stovetop cooking method, which is the ratio that is usually suggested by the packaging. As most appliances vary in how they cook this grain causing the ratio to vary by manufacturer, it is important to go by the directions that came with your specific appliance. Generally, you need about a 0.5 cup (4 fluid ounces) less liquid when making brown rice in a rice cooker than you would when preparing it on a stove.

Although standard cookers are relatively accurate when it comes to indicating that the rice is done, you should still test it to before you fluff it. Once the timer goes off, take a small amount and taste it to make sure it is tender; if it is, you can separate the grains with a fork or chopsticks and enjoy. If it isn’t, replace the lid and check again in two minutes, doing this every two minutes until it is done to your liking. If you fluff rice when it is not finished cooking, all of the steam will escape, making it difficult for the rice to become tender.

Red rice, which can also be made in a rice cooker.
Red rice, which can also be made in a rice cooker.

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