Baked Brown Rice

By Ann Fulton

What's the best way to cook brown rice? In the oven! This hands-off, foolproof method produces light, perfectly cooked grains every single time. It reheats beautifully too. 
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What’s the best way to cook brown rice? In the oven! This hands-off, foolproof method produces light, perfectly cooked grains every single time. It reheats beautifully too. 

 

Brown rice is one of the most readily available grains on grocery store shelves. It’s economical too. (Both of these details are especially welcome these days, right?)

Because brown rice contains all parts of the seed–the bran, germ, and endosperm–it’s often touted as the healthier alternative to white rice. The latter has been milled to remove the bran and germs, which contains a good bit of rice’s fiber and nutrients.

My family and I enjoy both white and brown rice (and more recently black rice–more on that coming soon). It’s fun to mix things up and appreciate both of their qualities.

What does brown rice taste like?

Generally speaking, brown rice offers a lightly nutty alternative to the more mild white variety. Some think of white rice as neutral tasting, but it can also be a hint nutty, and some varieties have an underlying floral or sweet note. Similarly, some describe brown rice as earthy and even bready (as in the whole wheat variety). 

This recipe includes light seasoning and a touch of butter or oil to enhance the natural flavor, making it as delightful on its own as it is as a base for stir fries, curries, and your favorite Mexican cuisine. 

What’s the best way to cook brown rice?

The right cooking method will yield brown rice grains that are slightly chewy yet light, separate rather than clumpy, and not at all mushy.  

I have a favorite stovetop method for cooking brown rice, which achieves the desired results. The following baking method is every bit as reliable, however, and there’s a place for each.

(Only have white rice in your cupboard, try this method for Perfectly Cooked White Rice.)

While the stovetop method of cooking brown rice will get the job done in 25 to 30 minutes, the oven method requires precisely 60 minutes. But it’s hands-off time, during which you can go about your business–and sometimes it just seems easier to pop the baking dish in the oven and forget about it!

How long can uncooked brown rice be stored?

Uncooked brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice thanks to the oil in the bran layer. When stored in a cool, dry place, brown rice will maintain its freshness for about 6 months. (Dry white rice, on the other hand, has a shelf life of up to 2 years.) If there are signs of mold or color change, a rancid smell, or bugs in the package, it’s time to toss it. 

For longer storage: Refrigerating or freezing uncooked brown rice can extend its shelf life to 12 to 18 months. 

How long does cooked brown rice keep?

When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, cooked brown rice will keep for 4 to 5 days. It can also be portioned out and frozen in freezer-safe containers or bags for up to 6 months. 

What's the best way to cook brown rice? In the oven! This hands-off, foolproof method produces light, perfectly cooked grains every single time. It reheats beautifully too. 

A touch of salt and olive oil or butter enhances the natural nuttiness of the brown rice, making it as delightful on its own as it is as a base for stir fries, curries, and your favorite Tex-Mex dishes. 

What's the best way to cook brown rice? In the oven! This hands-off, foolproof method produces light, perfectly cooked grains every single time. It reheats beautifully too. 

After the boiling water is poured overtop, stir to distribute the seasonings. If butter is used, there’s no need to melt it. Simply stir until fully melted.

What's the best way to cook brown rice? In the oven! This hands-off, foolproof method produces light, perfectly cooked grains every single time. It reheats beautifully too. 

Immediately and tightly cover the dish with foil and place it in the oven. Note that an 8×8 or similar pan size may be used. The pictured dish is 6½x9½. A 9-inch round could also be used.

What's the best way to cook brown rice? In the oven! This hands-off, foolproof method produces light, perfectly cooked grains every single time. It reheats beautifully too. 

When uncovered, the rice will look like this. At this point, fluff with a fork and enjoy.

What's the best way to cook brown rice? In the oven! This hands-off, foolproof method produces light, perfectly cooked grains every single time. It reheats beautifully too. 

A few easy ways to enjoy the brown rice:

Baked Brown Rice
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: 6 servings (about 4½ cups)
Light, fluffy, perfectly cooked brown rice is possible every single time thanks to this hands-off oven method.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (270g) brown rice, medium or long grain
  • 1 tablespoon (14ml) olive oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2½ (20oz) cups water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉.
  2. Place the rice in an 8-inch square or other 1½-quart baking dish. No need to grease. Add the olive oil or butter and salt.
  3. Meanwhile, boil water in a tea kettle or covered saucepan. When the water boils, immediately pour 2½ cups over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, remove from the oven and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes and then remove the foil, being careful of the hot steam. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Storage: Leftovers may be refrigerated for up to 5 days, or completely cooled and frozen for up to 6 months.

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