Brown rice is much healthier than white rice because it is a whole grain, but cooking brown rice intimidates a lot of home cooks because it takes so long and seems so fussy. But have no fear: with these tips you’ll know how to cook brown rice like a chef and you’ll have no excuse to eat the nutritionally inferior stuff ever again.

What’s So Great About Brown Rice?

What makes brown rice a better choice? Because it is a whole grain, it can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s high in fiber, which can aid in good digestion, and it releases its sugars slowly, which helps you maintain a healthier blood sugar level and may even help reduce the risk of developing diabetes if you eat it regularly.

In addition, brown rice is considered one of the most nutrient-rich foods in the world. It’s full of antioxidants and important but sometimes-difficult-to-find minerals like manganese and selenium. Manganese supports the production of healthy cholesterol in the body, while selenium is thought to be helpful for preventing heart disease and certain forms of cancer.

It can also be an aid to weight loss because of its high fiber content and ability to help control metabolic function and make you feel full longer than you would if you’d eaten white rice.

How to Cook Brown Rice

If you want to know how to cook brown rice like a chef, you need to ignore the package directions. These instructions have you cook the rice longer than is needed, often leaving you with a mushy end product that is not all that appealing.

You need to take a different approach, and it starts before the rice hits the pan.

Take the rice you want to cook and rinse it in a strainer for about 30 seconds, and drain.

Then, forget you’re cooking rice. Cook it like pasta instead.

Add a generous amount of water to a sauce pot and bring it to a boil. I like to add a little olive oil and a good pinch of salt, too.

When the water boils, add your rice.

Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Drain the remaining water and put the rice back in the pot.

Cover and let sit off the heat for about 10 minutes.

I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve done it, and it really does work. I don’t know if this is really how to cook brown rice like a chef, but if I were a chef I would do it this way. The grains come out distinct and soft but not mushy—perfect for rice salad or anything else you might want to use it for.

Cooking Rice Under Cover

If you feel better cooking brown rice in a more traditional way, you can also cook rice in a covered pot. Use a 2:1 ratio of water to rice (so, say, 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice).

Put the rice and water (and salt, if you want) in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer about 40 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.

Take the pot off the heat and let it sit a further 10 minutes, covered, before serving.

Of course if you have a rice cooker its easy to cook brown rice perfectly, because you let the machine do the work for you. It will automatically sense when the rice is cooked and continue to keep it warm until you’re ready to use it. But there’s no need to go out and buy new equipment when you can easily cook a good pot of rice on the stovetop.

If you are looking to change your diet for tasty, natural, nutrient-rich foods, these top 10 foods represent the world’s healthiest foods: Top 10 Most Nutrient-rich Foods in the World

Featured photo credit: uncooked brown rice in a bowl and Chopsticks with woody background via Shutterstock

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