You’ll learn how to cook brown rice in the microwave and cut your cooking time from 50 minutes (stovetop) to 30 minutes in the microwave. The technique to microwave brown rice is different than cooking white rice in the microwave, as you have to take in consideration the extra layers of bran and germ to cook through. To microwave brown rice, first cook uncovered at 100% power for 10 minutes. Then, cover, cook 50% power for 20 minutes.

how to cook brown rice in the microwave

Note: This recipe is for cooking raw brown rice, not “instant” or “quick cook” brown rice.

Use right type of cookware to microwave brown rice

Cooking rice in the microwave requires a large enough container that allows the water to bubble and rice to expand. In addition, you’ll need a loose fitting lid (or one with vent holes) to allow the steam to escape.

Microwave rice cooker

The best option is to purchase a $15 container that specifically designed to cook rice or steam vegetables in the microwave, like this one for less than $15:

Microwave brown rice - cookware

The one I’m using in the video below is from Pampered Chef, but it’s double the price at $28 and not worth the extra money. I also have another microwave rice cooker, from Progressive brand, and includes lots of extras like measuring cups for $17. I’ve had this one for at least 5 years and it’s still working great.

Microwave-safe casserole type dish

Another option is to use a Corningware type casserole dish with a glass lid. You want something deep, like this one:

Microwave brown rice - cookware

Look for one that’s around 3 quarts (this one is 2 1/2 quarts). The reason you want a deep vessel is because the rice will not cook correctly in a shallow container. The water will evaporate too quickly and the rice will undercook. The glass lid is perfect – as it just sits on top of the base, and will still allow steam to escape.

No glass lid?

If you don’t have a glass lid, this is my favorite option: Silicone lid with vent holes by Kuhn Rikon for $20. I use this tool every single day in the kitchen, on both the stovetop and in the microwave. See the little vent petals? That allows water to bubble over (or steam to escape) without dirtying up your microwave or stovetop. I highly recommend it, it’s perfect for cooking brown rice in the microwave – just set it on top of your casserole dish.

Microwave brown rice - lid

Here’s a set of silicone lids, five in different sizes for $14. A great deal! But because these lids don’t have vent holes, turn the lid UPSIDE DOWN and just set it on top of the casserole dish.

How to cook brown rice in the microwave

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 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

Microwaving brown rice: You can use any type of brown rice, including brown basmati rice, brown long grain rice or brown short grain rice. However, brown SHORT grain rice (sushi rice), may take an additional 3-4 minutes cooking time. That's because short grain rice is fatter than skinny basmati rice. 
NOTE: This recipe is for raw brown rice, not "quick-cook" or "minute" brown rice which is already par-boiled. 
4.39 from 18 votes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 171 kcal


  • 1 cup brown 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.


Calories: 171kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSodium: 11mgPotassium: 127mgFiber: 1gCalcium: 21mgIron: 0.9mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!