Tired of mushy brown rice? Here's the perfect, foolproof recipe for firm, delicious brown rice!

Recipe: Perfect Foolproof Firm Brown Rice

Tired of mushy brown rice? Here's the perfect, foolproof recipe for firm, delicious brown rice!

Cooking rice can be a little tricky, especially if you’re looking for a foolproof recipe for firm brown rice.

Over the years I’ve found that most of the recipes out there call for more water than is really needed. While this may help make sure the rice is fully cooked every time, more often than not you can end up with very soft, mushy rice. 🙁 If you’re serving the rice as a side dish or spooning an entree on top of it, this may not be a big deal. But if you’re using the rice in another dish that requires a lot of mixing (like my Chicken Fried Rice), mushy, soft rice simply ruins the whole dish. So I’m here to help with my perfect, no-fail, foolproof firm Brown Rice Recipe as well as some tips for storing and reheating this delicious, whole grain!

3 Secrets to Perfect, Foolproof, & Firm Brown Rice:

  1. Rinse your rice before you cook it. Clean rice is happy rice! So make sure you wash away all the little granules of starch that are in your bag—they just make your rice have a gluey texture.
  2. Goes easy on the water. The 2 to 2½ parts water to 1 part rice ratio that most packages call for is just too much water to yield a firm brown rice. I’ve found that a 1½ parts water to 1 part rice ratio works great. Just make sure you follow the next piece of advice and don’t cheat!
  3. DON’T open the lid for 10 minutes after you’ve turned off the heat. I know, this is like asking kids not to open gifts before Christmas (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating), but the rice needs to steam for another 10 minutes and opening the lid lets out water vapor and heat!

3 Tips for Storing Cooked Brown Rice:

Although my brown rice cooking method requires only 45 minutes from start to finish, that’s sometimes more time than I have. So I oftentimes cook my rice the night before or make a double-batch and plan to use the extras later. Luckily my foolproof, firm brown rice holds up very nicely in both the refrigerator and freezer. Here are 3 simple tips I’ve learned that make storing your rice slam-dunk easy and safe!

  1. Don’t let cooked rice sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. When the temperature of cooked brown rice starts to fall below 140 degrees F, the clock starts ticking and bacteria can grow. So while you should let your rice cool before you put it in the fridge or freezer—don’t let it sit out for a long time.
  2. Refrigerated brown rice can keep for about 3-4 days. Let it cool and store in plastic or glass storage containers. After 4 days it’s best to throw it out or compost it.
  3. Frozen brown rice keeps for about 4-6 months if stored in airtight containers. I use squares of plastic wrap and portion out 1/3, 1/2, and 1 cup servings of fully-cooled rice. I then fold the corners of the plastic wrap to form flat squares of rice that I place in freezer bags for storage. Just remember to date your wrapped rice squares so you know when to use them by.
To freeze brown rice portion it out into squares of plastic wrap to make rice squares. Date the squares and put them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer!
This is how I portion my cooked brown rice into “rice squares” before I date them, place them in freezer bags, and freeze them.

How to Reheat Cooked Brown Rice:

Rice reheats quickly and easily. In fact, it’s one of those foods that I think tastes even better reheated. Here’s how I warm up my refrigerated or frozen brown rice:

  • Refrigerated brown rice can be microwaved or warmed in a pan with a touch of olive oil or butter and a little bit of water if necessary (about 1 tablespoon per cup of rice). Just remember if microwaving your rice to reheat it in a glass bowl since many plastics leach harmful chemicals when heated. Also I find covering the bowl works best and keeps the rice from drying out. So either use a glass lid that comes with you bowl or simply cover the bowl with a glass plate. Microwave the rice on high, and one cup should be ready in about 30 seconds.
  • Frozen brown rice can also be microwaved or warmed in a pan. To thaw remove a rice square from the freezer and let it defrost on the counter for a few minutes until the plastic wraps comes off easily (if you don’t wait the plastic wrap may rip and leave little pieces stuck to your rice). If you can’t wait for it to thaw, run the rice square under warm water (hot water can release toxins in plastic wrap) for a minute or two. Then proceed to warm the rice in the microwave oven or stovetop as described above. Microwaving one cup of frozen rice should take about 2-3 minutes on high.

Well there you have it. All the basics for making and storing some perfect foolproof, firm brown rice! I’ve shared the recipe below as well as a visual guide at the bottom of this post for my foolproof method. Now let’s get cooking!



Tired of mushy brown rice? Here's the perfect, foolproof recipe for firm, delicious brown rice!
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Perfect Foolproof Firm Brown Rice

Recipe By: Bruce Bradley
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Salads & Sides
Servings: 3 cups

Note: For most recipes you can adjust the measures for more or less servings by hovering over the servings number and moving the slider.


  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • in a 4-quart saucepan add your rice. Rinse the rice three or four times, pouring off the water each time, until the water runs clear.
  • Drain rice until most of the water is gone. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water and salt.
  • Place pan on the stove and bring to a boil over medium heat. As soon as the water is boiling, turn the temperature down to low and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. DON't remove this lid until the very end. No excuses! 🙂
  • Let the rice simmer for 30 minutes and DON'T remove the lid. Then turn off heat completely and let the rice steam for 10 more minutes. Remember, DON'T remove the lid.


We recommend organic ingredients when possible.
I've found that short grain, brown rices needs a little less water. So use 1 1/4 cups water for each 1 cup of rice.
This recipe doubles well. If making 3 or 4 times this recipe be sure to use an 8-quart saucepan.
If you're looking to add more flavor to your brown rice consider using vegetable, chicken, or beef stock instead of water. If the stock is salted, don't use the added salt.

Kitchen Tips & Resources:

  • A great set of dry measuring cups makes getting just the right amount of rice for these recipe easy!
  • Looking for a solid set of pans that doesn’t cost a fortune? I’ve been making rice in these Cuisinart pans for 20+ years, and they still look great!

Please share our visual on how to make perfect brown rice!

Tired of mushy brown rice? Here's the perfect, foolproof recipe for firm, delicious brown rice!

Tired of mushy brown rice? Here's the perfect, foolproof recipe for firm, delicious brown rice!
Tired of mushy brown rice? Here's the perfect, foolproof recipe for firm, delicious brown rice!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Linda Bair

    5 stars
    Hi Bruce,
    I’ve tried for years and never successfully got brown rice “right” til I used your recipe. Always ended up with too much water.

    I’d love to see a recipe for risotto using short-grain brown rice – do you have one to share?

    Linda in NC

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