How to Microwave Brown Rice

Discover the Secrets to Microwaving Brown Rice Successfully

Acacia Crossley
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Brown rice is often treated as a healthy alternative to white rice. But brown rice is so much more than just a healthy alternative! Fibre-rich and slightly nutty, brown rice can add a heart to your dish that is otherwise lacking with sweeter white rice. 

Microwavable rice is not a new concept; plenty of manufacturers already sell half-cooked brown rice that you can finish in the microwave. But can you microwave brown rice entirely from scratch? Yes!

To microwave brown rice, add 1 cup of rice to 3 cups of water, then microwave for 10 minutes on full power, cover and then microwave for a further 20 minutes on half power.


How to Microwave Brown Rice

Using your microwave to cook brown rice is very similar to using either a rice cooker or your stove, so do not be intimidated by the usually intense heat of your microwave. 

We have broken down the easiest, most effective method you should follow when microwaving brown rice from scratch: 

  1. Wash The Rice
    Like all rice, brown rice should be washed before being cooked. Do this by running a bowl of rice under cold water and then draining it several times. 
  2. Add Water To The Rice
    After you have washed the rice, fill the bowl on a 1:3 cup ratio with the rice. E.g. 1 cup of brown rice = 3 cups of water. 
  3. Microwave 
    Set your microwave to full power and microwave your brown rice for 10 minutes. Leave the rice uncovered for now. 
  4. Mix 
    After 10 minutes, use a fork to agitate the rice a little. You can add a little more water at this point if needed. 
  5. Cover 
    Use a dry tea towel or plate to cover the top of your bowl. Ensure that it can be covered entirely.
  6. Microwave Again
    Now set your microwave to half power or medium heat. Place the covered bowl in the microwave and leave to cook for a further 20 minutes. 
  7. Check 
    After 20 minutes, stab a few grains with your fork. It should be able to sink into the grains quickly. Depending on how much rice you are cooking, you may need to microwave it for another 10 minutes.
  8. Fluff and Serve
    If you like your rice fluffy, use a fork to fluff it up before serving. 
Cooked Brown Rice

How to Microwave Brown Rice Successfully

Microwaving brown rice is no more complicated than cooking brown rice any other way. It is arguably easier. 


You can still face the same issues with microwaving brown rice as cooking it on the stove. So, here are a few tips to keep in mind for the best microwaved brown rice: 

  • Wash Rice More Than Once – A mistake people usually make when cooking raw rice is not washing the rice enough. Rinse and drain brown rice at least 3 times or until the water drains nearly clear to remove any extra starch that could ruin the texture of your rice. 
  • Use A Big Enough Bowl – You do not want to overcrowd your rice when you microwave it. Doing so will result in uneven heat distribution, meaning some rice grains will still be raw while others overcook. Use the biggest bowl that will fit into your microwave. 
  • Get The Ratio Right – Rice cooks by absorbing moisture and turning soft. Do not let the rice cook in too much water, as it will turn soft and mush. Likewise, don’t use too little water as your rice will not cook properly. 

Why You Should Microwave Brown Rice

Brown rice is not traditionally cooked in a microwave from scratch, but there are plenty of benefits to doing so: 

So Much Quicker!

The biggest reason you should microwave brown rice is how much quicker the whole process is compared to cooking brown rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. 

Sure, brown rice generally takes a little longer to cook than white rice because of its extra fibre. But in the microwave, it can take as little as 20 – 30 minutes compared to an hour using other methods. 

One-Pot Wonder

The great thing about microwaving brown rice is that you can cook and eat the rice in the same bowl, saving you from having to wash extra dishes.

Perfect Solo Serving Size

Having a bunch of leftover rice can be a nightmare if you have nowhere to store it or no reason to use it. When you are just cooking for yourself, leftover rice will often end up in the rubbish. 

With a microwave, the amount of rice you can cook at once is much more limited than if you were using a pot or rice cooker.

You won’t have to worry about too much leftover rice, but you will still have the perfect amount of brown rice to serve with your meal. 

Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Brown Rice

Some limitations come with microwaving brown rice that you should keep in mind. For example: 

Only Good for Smaller Portions

If you are trying to cook for more than yourself, you should avoid using a microwave to cook your brown rice. 

How much rice you can cook in one go is limited to the size of your microwavable bowl. Unless you have an abnormally large microwave, you can only cook a few portions of brown rice at a time. 

Limited Flavour

Brown rice is already more flavourful than most other rice types, but most people still like to add vegetables and seasoning to make the rice taste fantastic. 

There is nothing to stop you from seasoning your rice when you microwave it. In fact, you should! However, the additional ingredients you can add to the rice as it cooks are limited. 

You would have to cook any vegetables or proteins separate from the rice and then incorporate them just before serving it. Though this will change the intended flavour of the rice as the rice wouldn’t have been able to absorb the flavours. 

Microwaving Brown Rice FAQs

Still got questions? Then check these FAQs out about cooking brown rice?

What is the Best Way to Cook Brown Rice?

The best way to cook brown rice is in a rice cooker. However, these can be expensive and it can be time-consuming. If you’re pushed for time then the microwave is a perfectly viable way to cook it.

How Do You Make Microwave Brown Rice Tasty?

When microwaving the rice, add spices or herbs to add flavour to it. A star anise, a bay leaf, a few cloves or a pinch of cumin can all go towards adding flavour.

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