How to Cook Brown Rice in the Microwave

At our house, we only use the microwave for 3 things: making popcorn, warming up leftovers and cooking white rice.

How to Make Microwave Brown Rice

I love cooking white rice in the microwave because it cuts down the time to 15 minutes and I don’t have to lug out my heavy rice cooker (though I still love her dearly).

Since you can cook white rice successfully in the microwave, why not brown rice? It’s the most requested recipe that I’ve gotten, so here we go. The technique for cooking brown rice in the microwave is a little different, as you have to take in consideration the extra layers of bran and germ to cook through.

How to Make Microwave Brown Rice

Normally, cooking brown rice on the stove top takes about 50 minutes. We can do it faster in the microwave – 30 minutes!

Watch the video to find out the trick to microwaving brown rice and chop off 20 minutes of cooking time.  

How to Make Microwave Brown Rice

How to Cook Brown Rice in the Microwave Video

And while we’re at it, we found a quick-cooking brown rice product at Trader Joe’s that cuts even more time off the process!! Down to just 15 minutes! Check out my review post for that product too: Trader Joe’s Quick Cooking Brown Rice


How to cook brown rice in the microwave recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 1 minute Cook Time: 30 minutes
How to Microwave Brown Rice featured-0312

Big thanks to the nice lady who answered Mahatma's rice crisis help line!

You can use any type of brown rice - if you are using fat short-grained brown rice, add 3 minutes to the cooking time at the end. IMPORTANT - Use a tall, pot-like container (like the one in my video) and if the lid is not vented, do not close the lid completely tight. Leave a space for steam to vent out. Corningware-type with glass lid works well too.


1 cup brown basmati rice
3 cups water


Wash rice, rinse, drain. Add rice and water to very large microwave safe bowl. Microwave uncovered at 100% power for 10 minutes. Reduce power to 50%, cover the bowl, and microwave another 20 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.

Did not load Widget Area 5

Comments 70

  1. Patricia Harris

    Whenever I cook brown rice, I make 2-3 times the amount I need. Then, I store the extra amount in gallon-size ziploc bags, spreading it to about 1″ thickness and make lines to score it (with a wooden spoon, with the bag semi-closed, through the outside of the bag). This makes it easy to pull out portions as needed. Reheating portions in a separate microwave-safe container only takes about 3 min.!

    1. Daniel

      This “recipe” was a disaster in our microwave. Ten minutes not only ruined the rice–completely roasted–but ruined our microwave. There is nothing wrong with stove top cooking. Never had a problem with my brown rice on the stove-top. Now, who can fix my micro-wave????

      1. Post

        Daniel- you must have done something wrong. This recipe has been fully tested, not just by myself, but from the test kitchens of one of the largest rice brands in the U.S.

        1. MissKookie55

          I am in the middle of a kitchen remodel so I was looking forward to trying this and YES!! It worked great!!

      2. Chuck

        It is impossible for brown rice to completely roast in a microwave oven after only 10 minutes, even if you forgot to add the water. It is equally impossible for this to have damaged your microwave in anyway. I suggest you go to another site to try your trolling.

  2. Renee Redding

    Thanks Jaden, I cook a lot of brown rice and this will really help. But,I have one question. I usually cook my rice with either chicken or vegetable broth, will it react the same as water or will I need to adjust anything?

  3. Steve

    Where did you get your microwave safe pot for the brown rice video? I’d like to get one! Thanks

    1. Cathy

      You can purchase a Tupperware Microwave Rice Maker just locate a Tupperware rep they work unbelievable in the microwave no messy clean ups simple simple simple

    2. parv

      I got my microwave rice pot at Walmart. It worked with this method of cooking Mahatma brown rice.

    3. Nancy

      For microwave rice, I use Pyrex bowls with lid or just a plate covering the bowl. Bowl should be only 1/2 or less full so the rice & water doesn’t “boil over” during cooking.
      I use this method for defrosting, cooking, or reheating most any thing.

  4. Lisa

    Thanks Jaden- I can’t wait to give this a try!

    We are big fans of short grain brown rice at our house, have you ever had a chance to experiment with any of thicker brown rices?

  5. Heather

    Hi Jaden, Can you use this same method with regular brown rice. I’m not sure if I can find brown basmati rice where we live but I know I can get regular brown rice. I’ve often wanted to cook brown rice but it takes so long, so this has me really excited to be able to make this pretty quickly during the week.

    1. Elehandro

      I did this with regular medium grain brown rice, and it was still watery at the end, so +10 more minutes on 50% and it came out pretty decent.

      1. Post

        Next time, try less water. Rice can cook differently, especially the age of the rice. In areas where rice is a primary staple, you’ll often see “New Crop” on some packaging, meaning that the rice requires less water than older rice.

  6. Tiffany Nichols

    I am not usually one to promote other cooking utensil from Pampered Chef, however the one item I own from them that I CANNOT live without is their Microwave Rice Cooker. It works magic in the microwave with rice and pasta! I love it and use it very regularly! Brown rice and white rice cook perfectly in it! I love it when I can set my microwave with water and rice, set 20 minutes and come back to perfect rice!

    1. Eve

      I absolutely love my Pampered Chef rice cooker too – for white rice. I haven’t been nearly as successful cooking brown rice in it, which is why I hit up Google tonight. Next time I’ll try it with these times and rice/water proportions. But as a fellow PC cooker fan, how do *you* do brown rice? Do you use the same procedure as with white? For me that always leaves me with chewy, unpleasant results.

    2. Rose

      I just tried this recipe in my new PC rice cooker, followed the directions to the letter. Unfortunately when I took it out of the microwave the rice was still a bit chewy and there was still a bit of water in the bottom. I have an 1100 watt microwave, do I need to add another 5 minutes to the second cooktime? How do you get perfect rice in 20 minutes Tiffany? Am I adding too much water?

      1. Post

        Keep cooking another 3 minutes if the rice still is chewy and there’s still water left. It sounds like your microwave isn’t producing the same power as mine.

  7. Jena

    I never get brown rice to cook properly using the directions on the bag, so I do a roughly 4-5:1 water:rice ratio, let it boil 35 minutes, drain the excess water, cover & let it steam 5 minutes. Not quite as quick as nuking it, but I’m very happy with my results–perfect every time. Next time the stovetop’s too crowded, though, I’ll remember to try it this way.

  8. Tina

    Thank you so much! I have tried so many methods of cooking brown rice over the past 2 years and this is the only way I’ve ever gotten it to work. I only had regular brown rice so I used that and also, I have a low watt microwave so in the second step I cooked mine for 21 minutes instead of 20 and let it sit for 1 minute before I removed. It was perfect! I swear, I had a moment where I heard an angelic choir singing! Thank you!

  9. Ken

    All microwaves are not manufactured the same and are at different power wattages.

    A standard method of cooking rice quickly:
    1 cup of regular brown rice and 1 ¼ cup water in a pressure cooker at 15 lb. pressure cooks in 18-20 minutes with normal pressure release.
    1 cup of long grain white rice and 1 ½ cup of water in a pressure cooker at 15 lb. pressure cooks in 4 minutes with normal pressure release.
    1 cup of short grain white rice and 1 ½ cup of water in a pressure cooker at 15 lb. pressure cooks in 8 minutes with normal pressure release.

    1. jem

      What would you do if you want to cook 2 cups of raw brown rice? I can never find info about cooking that much in a pressure cooker?

      1. SteamyKitchen

        Hi! I suggest using slightly less than the ratio, so 2 cups brown rice = 5.5 cups water. Taste and you can always add MORE water if you need to. It’s hard to take out water. If you taste and find the rice a little too dry, add 1/4 cup more water and cook just a few minutes longer.

        1. jem

          WHen you drop the power to 50%, do you cover the bowl? THe last time I tried this (no lid) 1C rice/3C water, it became dry.

          1. Post

            Hi Jem, Yes, cover the bowl after dropping the power down. I’ll make sure the directions are clear. Thanks!

  10. Melissa Loh

    Awesome! I just bought a fresh bag of brown rice and am going to try this with my own microwave. We don’t have a Trader Joes in Australia though.

  11. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Egg Waffles and Fox Cakes | wedo.

  12. MrsHmmz

    Just thought I’d share my own tip for getting brown rice to cook perfectly & in less time – soak it! Soaking brown rice for as long as you can, anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours, will make the rice less “mushy” when cooked, will make it cook quicker, and in theory makes it more nutritious (wholegrains & other types of seeds, e.g. legumes, can benefit from soaking as it reduces phytic acid, which binds to minerals such as iron & calcium & prevents them being absorbed by your body. This is more of a concern if your diet is very high is wholegrains, legumes etc; in fact people who eat large amounts of meat may require some phytic acid to protect their gut from the excess iron).

    I also usually cook rice in the microwave. Personally I find it is only a little bit quicker than cooking in a pan, but I like the fact that there is no risk of the rice sticking to the pan!

  13. Pingback: Paleo Cauliflower Bacon Fried Rice | Tasty Kitchen Ideas

  14. Pingback: Paleo Cauliflower Bacon Fried Rice | I ♥ Delicious Food

  15. Tina

    I have now fallen in love with black rice also known as Forbidden Rice. Have you had it or tried to cook it in the micro? It takes a long long time on the stove but is so worth it.

      1. David

        If you like the Forbidden Rice you should try a little less expensive alternative – Black Japonica Rice.

  16. Pingback: GREEN DAYS ONLY - systemas diary - Page 76

  17. Linda Nguyen

    Previously I only use white rice to cook in the microwave. Now I’ve learned how to cook brown rice in microwave. It’s really simple and I’ve done a couple of times.

  18. Pingback: 84 Awesome Rice Recipes

  19. LeonWard

    Great post,preparing brown rice in a microwave good idea i mostly like in this post time taking less for cooking brown rice.Thanks for sharing useful information.

  20. Surya Tejaswini

    Hei jaden brown rice is one of the most healthiest food. Thank you jaden for making us feel easy in preparing it.
    Will try to do the same way as you suggested,…………..:) 🙂

  21. Timothy

    Wow, this is looking so cool. i can’t wait to give a try. always loved the fried item hope this will also added in that list. and thanks to show this awesome looking new item.

  22. Sarah

    This looks so easy! Mine always burns on the bottom, too. Do you use this recipe or your baked brown rice recipe more?

  23. Bitch


    (And for everyone who is going to tell me it’s because I didn’t follow the directions: I used a “microwave safe” bowl, the correct type of rice, and followed the instructions)

    1. Hansa

      Wow, your feedback is super helpful. If you really followed the directions, then the problem is with your microwave manufacturer, or your bowl, not the recipe poster. And stop cursing. You aren’t two years old – feeling angry doesn’t give you a pass for acting as though you are.

  24. Jackie

    I’ve been using this recipe for the last 2-3 months…its my automatic go-to. My family loves rice, but its always been a pain to cook on the stove. But using your recipe, the rice always turned out fabulous. THanks for sharing it!

    1. Post
  25. Sandi

    I’m confused about covered or uncovered in the microwave. Your video says cook uncovered for 10 minutes and then reduce to medium power for 20 minutes, but you didn’t say you covered it in the video only that to cook uncovered gently cooks the outer layer etc. .
    Your written directions say to cover it when you reduce the power as suggested by someone at Mahatma. But on Mahatma’s website, they recommend microwaving it uncovered for the additional 20 minutes. So confusing…

    I ended up cooking it uncovered for the last 25 minutes ( 2 c of rice and 6 cups of water) and there was a lot of water, so I drained it and put the rice back in the pot and let it steam for 10 minutes and it was great.
    So please clarify whether to cover or uncover in the last 20 minutes. Thank you!!

    1. Post

      Hi Sandi – the directions are very clear in the recipe, and I just double-checked Mahatma’s website. Both are consistent. Uncovered for 10 minutes on high. Covered for 20 minutes at 50% power.

  26. EL

    I used medium grain brown rice, and while it did get cooked, I had to pour off a lot of water at the end. I don’t know if it’s a difference with my microwave or the rice or what. I’ll try this again with at least 1/2 c less of water.

  27. samc

    Tried this method with short grain brown rice turned out overdone. Could see doing 10/17 minutes next time as a possibility.

    1. Post
  28. Nechama

    Thanks for the great directions! I’m looking forward to trying them with my Pampered Chef microwave rice cooker.

    Just to make sure I’m crystal clear on this: you do wash, rinse, and drain the rice just once?
    Some other websites suggest rinsing three times.

    And you don’t pre-soak at all, not even for 30-min? So many websites recommend pre-soaking. Fresh basmati brown rice cooks well with your technique, without mushiness, without doing any pre-soaking at all? What is your take on pre-soaking purely to enhance the nutritional value of brown rice?

    Your method seems so simple and (relatively) quick, which definitely meets my needs! I’ve been using Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice to save time, but feel that I definitely could fit your technique into my cooking workflow.

    1. Post
  29. Rita

    So cooking just a half cup keeps ratios the same, but how about the time? Cut that in half too?

    1. Post
  30. Aparna

    Hi Jaden

    I have been cooking rice in the microwave but I think I tend to overcook the brown rice, and it becomes tasteless. Quick questions:
    – I drain the rice water after cooking so I always add more water than necessary, so that the excess starch in the water drains out. Would cooking timing and instructions be the same in that case?
    – I use brown basmati rice, are these instructions good for that too?


    1. Post

      Hi Aparna – Subtract 2 minutes from the cooking time. Go ahead and drain the water, give the rice a taste and put back into the microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on the texture of the rice. Your microwave may be more powerful than mine 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *