One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “can you cook brown rice in a rice cooker”?
Of course, the answer is never straightforward – its one of those ‘it depends’ kind of things. So lets quickly look at some of the variables and find out how to cook great tasting brown rice.
Brown Rice vs White Rice
First of all, why is brown rice different from white rice and why is the cooking process not the same? Well, apart from the colour there are a few differences between the 2 kinds of rice.
Brown rice is a whole grain which means that it contains all the different parts of the grain i.e. the fibrous bran, the nutritious germ and the carb-rich endosperm.
By comparison, white rice only contains the endosperm which is why most people agree that brown rice is better for you! So, for example, if you want to cook sushi rice in your rice cooker then the process is a little different. Brown rice also contains more beneficial antioxidants , vitamins, mineral and, of course more fiber than white rice which kind of begs the question – why don’t we eat it all of the time?
Well, of course, the added nutritional value comes at a price because brown rice has a high-fiber bran coating which means it takes a bit longer to cook and requires more water.
When cooking brown rice, I like to use the 1-2-3 formula. In other words 1 cup of rice added to 2 cups of water will make 3 cups of cooked rice.
You should also adjust the cooking time to absorb the extra water – this is because of the outer coating which means brown rice takes more time to absorb the water. So, whereas most packs of brown rice will say to boil for around 30-35 minutes, I actually prefer to cook slowly so I usually aim for around 45 minutes for a perfect bowl of brown rice.
There is a lot of advice about how to properly cook rice. One tip for avoiding mushy rice when cooking white or brown, long-grain (or short) varieties would be not stirring it while the grains are simmering in water and steaming on top. This will ensure that each grain stays whole with no overcooked parts – which can happen if you stir too often!
You see, when using a rice cooker you simply have to lift the lid (or just look in if it has a clear glass lid) and check to see if all the water has been absorbed. A little water left on the very bottom of the pot is fine but you dont want too much. Perfectly cooked brown rice should be tender and fluffy without being hard or chewy.
Rice Cookers For Brown Rice
Ideally, you should try and get a rice cooker with a brown rice cooking mode. These are, obviously, the simplest to use.
Models such as the COMFEE’ 5.2Qt Asian Style Programmable All-in-1 Multi Cooker or Zojirushi NS-YAC18 are perfect for this and come with custom modes for cooking the perfect bowl of brown rice. But, if you have a ‘normal’ cooker then you can still get great results by following my simple formula above – it just requires a bit more work.
So, if you have been asking yourself – can you cook brown rice in a rice cooker – now you know the answer!
If that’s settled your mind then why not check out some of the models below or browse my other great rice recipes and tips.
Thanks and love