Here are all the best brown rice recipes to make a meal with this healthy whole grain! There’s something for everyone in these top ideas.
Want more brown rice in your life? Us too! Both white rice and brown rice can be considered healthy foods, but brown rice has significantly more fiber and nutrients than the white stuff. So if you have the choice, opt for brown rice!
Here are all the best brown rice recipes for loading up on this whole grain! First we’ve got our favorite quick method for cooking it, which cuts the time almost in half! Then there are all sorts of ways to use it, from rice bowls to fried rice…even meatloaf. Scroll below the recipes for some notes on brown rice nutrition. Ready to get started?
First up in our brown rice recipes...how to brown rice the fast way! Ever wanted to cook brown rice, until you saw the 1 hour cook time? Who has 1 hour to cook rice on a weeknight? But we’ve found the “fast way” to cook brown rice. It’s not instant, but it cuts down the time investment for sure. In just 35 minutes, you’ve got a big pot of nutritious brown rice that cooks perfectly every time!
Here’s one to file under dinnertime basics: this Easy Rice Bowl! This tasty dinner features these easy black beans, a trick to make a bland can of beans taste amazing in 5 minutes. Pair it with brown rice and colorful veggies. The kicker? A zingy cilantro lime ranch that you’ll want to bathe in. These bowls were so tasty and easy, we knew we had to share (we simply inhaled them).
Tip: For a fast meal, make the brown rice in advance using the method above.
This tangy brown rice salad is a tasty side dish or lunch salad that saves well and is great to make ahead! It combines long-grain white or brown rice with black beans in a protein-packed side dish. The rice is seasoned with cumin, garlic, and cider vinegar, then mixed with bell peppers, green onions and rice. It's plant based, vegan and gluten free, so it works for a variety of diets!
This vegetarian red beans and brown rice recipe is a flavor-packed, budget-friendly meal with ingredients that are accessible in most supermarkets! Zesty and nutrient-dense, it’s full of red beans, legumes, and Cajun spices. It's a fan favorite recipe that always gets rave reviews!
Here's a fantastic brown rice recipe: dress up leftovers as fried rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Usually we make fried rice on the fly without a recipe. But after years of tinkering, we wanted to share our master method. It tastes just like takeout from your favorite restaurant!
Got a pressure cooker? This brown rice recipe for the Instant Pot is deliciously savory seasoned, and it tastes 100 times better than you'd imagine from these humble ingredients. French lentils and brown rice cook perfectly together, and the brown rice cooked much faster than on the stovetop! The finished dish is incredibly versatile: use it for a lunch salad, taco filling, bowl meal, nachos, or as a side dish.
Here's another fantastic brown rice recipe: black beans and rice! Here long-grain brown rice is jumbled with black beans and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. It’s the a great side to serve with tacos or any Latin-style meal, or as a lunch idea (it saves well for eating throughout the week).
Here's an unexpected rice recipe that will amaze you (we promise). This vegetarian meatloaf has been gaining fans for years and years. Our families beg us to make it, and we've heard countless people say: "Wait, there's no meat in this?" The texture and flavor are strikingly similar to meat: and it's so satisfying! Whole grain brown rice does the trick with a few other secret ingredients.
This Hawaiian bowl of seasoned raw fish, brown rice and crunchy veggies has caught on here on the mainland, and everybody’s doing it! Because poke is that good. And guess what? You can easily make poke in the comfort of your own home: it’s perfect for a weeknight meal, or even better for a showy meal for entertaining.
Here's a fantastic brown rice recipe for fall: stuffed acorn squash! You know that scent of onions, celery and leeks cooking in butter? Well, this recipe delivers it in spades. Squash is roasted until tender, then it’s draped in a toasted pecan rice stuffing that makes your kitchen smell like paradise! Everyone we’ve served it to becomes a believer…and then immediately asks for the recipe.
Want the magic in the flavor of sushi without the prep? Try this healthy sushi bowl! It's filled with the flavors of sushi roll, with brown rice, a tangy soy ginger vinaigrette, crunchy veggies, and even a nori paper garnish to taste remarkably like the real thing. It makes for a tasty fast and easy dinner!
Last up in our brown rice recipes: cauliflower curry! Everybody loves this cauliflower coconut curry recipe. It's ready in just over 30 minutes, featuring sweet potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, and chickpeas. Add to that a sauce of coconut milk spiced with curry powder and garam masala to make your entire kitchen smells amazing. Serve with brown rice for a complete meal.
Brown rice nutrition
What is brown rice? Brown rice is the entire whole rice grain. It keeps the nutrient-packed bran and germ and only has the hull removed. In contrast white rice is rice that is processed to remove its hull, bran and germ. This means it holds less of the nutrients that brown rice has. Let’s review the basic nutritional differences between brown rice vs white rice. Here’s the basic nutrition facts for 1 cup of cooked rice:
To understand the full picture of brown rice vs white rice, you also have to look at nutrients! Here’s the breakdown on nutrients:
Brown rice has lots of nutrients: it’s a good source of folate, riboflavin, potassium, calcium, and manganese.
White rice has none of the beneficial nutrients that are contained in brown rice. Again, this is because it’s more processed and it doesn’t contain the nutrient-packed bran and germ.
Bottom line: Brown rice is packed with more nutrients and fiber than white rice, making it the more nutritious option. It’s the more wholesome of the two grains and is worth spending the extra time to cook it for these brown rice recipes! White rice is still a healthy option if you are getting fiber and nutrients from other parts of your meal: like a stir fry with lots of veggies and white rice.
Rinse the rice: Using a strainer, rinse the rice under cold water, then drain it completely. (Here’s why.)
Boil the rice using the “Pasta Method”: In a saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice and stir. Continue to boil uncovered until tender, with the water bubbling rapidly, for 20 minutes. Start tasting at 18 to 20 minutes: if the rice is tender, remove the heat. If not, keep cooking 5 to 10 minutes more until the rice is tender. (All rice types and brands are slightly different, so you’ll have to adjust according to the specific rice. Ours is usually done in around 18 to 25 minutes.)
Steam the rice: Pour the rice into a strainer, then return it to the pot. Cover the pot and allow the rice to steam for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the salt.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.