This microwavable brown rice recipe will close the gap in any stigmas you might have making this nutty and healthy rice variety. While you can use a rice cooker, an Instant Pot, or cook brown rice on a stove, using a microwave is super quick and you won’t need to watch it closely.
Since all microwaves have different strengths and settings, it’s worth noting that my microwave is 900-watt power. Make sure to check the power level of your microwave and adjust accordingly since this could change the cooking time.
Essential: use the right scoop
It’s important to note that the “cup” I write about throughout this article and recipe card is the small plastic rice scoop that came with my rice cooker.
For the rice I’ve cooked, the volume of rice and water usually does not scale up linearly, so its important to use the right scoop.
To demonstrate how different each measuring tool is, I’ve weighed how much water each one holds in grams:
- Rice scoop: 173g (my last two scoops were the same size)
- 1-cup dry measuring scoop: 217g
- 1 cup liquid measuring cup: 250g
This also helps demonstrate a kitchen fact some folks are not aware of, that dry and liquid measuring tools should not be used interchangeably.
For this recipe, we used a dry measuring cup for the brown rice and a liquid measuring cup for the water. We’ve also included weighted measurements to make it even easier to follow.
Water to Rice Ratios
Like our microwaved white rice recipe, the amount of water to rice ratio is very specific. One significant change from white rice to brown rice is that the ratio changes more noticeably depending on how much rice you want to cook. Brown rice can be a bit finicky at times and making rice in the microwave is no different. After many tests, I’ve found this ratio works best for long-grain brown rice:
- 1 dry measuring cup (or 178 grams) long-grain brown rice needs 1 ¾ cups (or 14 fluid ounces) water
- 2 dry measuring cups (or 356 grams) long-grain brown rice needs 2 ½ cups (or 20 fluid ounces) water
For this recipe, I used Mogami long-grain organic brown rice from 99 Ranch. Every half cup of rice is about one serving per person. If you double or triple these recipes it will likely require adjusting rice to water ratios and cooking times.
Step 1. Prep your rice
Measure out your long-grain brown rice and rinse it under running water (I use a strainer for easy transferring). Then add the rice into a large microwave-safe bowl. I like to use glass so I can see the rice during cooking. Also, when you pick a bowl take into account that the rice will expand during cooking, so it needs to be large enough for the rice to potentially double in size. Add in the water, and make sure to flatten the top of the rice so it cooks evenly.
Step 2. Microwave on high, uncovered
Then place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 10 minutes on the highest power. For my microwave, this is level 10.
Step 3. Microwave on medium, covered
After 10 minutes, you can open the microwave and look at your rice. Don’t be alarmed if there is still a large amount of water. Brown rice takes a lot of water when cooking and it will suck this up in the next cooking time frame. At this point, the water level should be at about ½ to one inch above the rice. Take a dish towel and cover the rice bowl and continue to cook for another 15 minutes but on medium power. For my microwave, this is level 5.
Step 4. Rest, covered
After it’s done cooking, do not open the microwave. Let the rice rest in the microwave for an additional five minutes so that it can continue steaming, soak up some more moisture, and plump up more.
Step. 5 Fluff and serve
Take a rice paddle or fork and fluff your rice to make sure all the grains are cooked and plump. The rice grains should still be intact (this is how you know it’s not overcooked because they aren’t mushy).
Serve the rice as is or you can also place it in the fridge for a week. To reheat the rice, just drizzle a little water on top before placing it back into the microwave for as many intervals of 30 seconds as needed (1 or 2 rounds usually does the trick for me).
To learn how to properly eat rice with chopsticks, you can read my chopstick tutorial.
After cooking, if you find a little water on the bottom of the bowl, you can continue to fluff the rice so that it gets soaked into other grains. Let the rice cool, uncovered on the counter for another ten minutes, and see if the water gets fully absorbed.
If there is TOO much water (meaning the water line is still above the top layer of rice), then you need to adjust the amount of water in the future. You can try to remove the excess water and microwave in one-minute intervals on medium power, but I would be careful to not overcook the rice.
If the grains are hard and under-cooked, add two tablespoons of water gradually into the rice and cook for about one-minute intervals on medium power until you’ve reached your desired texture.
If your rice needs adjusting, take note of the issue and adjust the starting water level so you can get closer to your final target without adjustments next time.
How do you microwave brown rice quickly?
Using this recipe, I cook brown rice in the microwave as quickly as 30 minutes for one or two cups of brown rice. To reheat brown rice out of the fridge, drizzle a few drops of water on top of brown rice and cook in one-minute intervals on high power.
How much water do I need to cook brown rice in the microwave?
For one cup of long-grain brown rice, you need about 1 ¾ cup of water. For two cups of long-grain brown rice, you need about 2 ½ cups of water. To reheat brown rice in the microwave, you need only drizzle a small amount (no more than one or two teaspoons).
How to Cook Brown Rice in the Microwave
- 178 g (1 c) long grain brown rice
- 14 fl oz (1 ¾ c) filtered water
- 356 g (2 c) long grain brown rice
- 20 fl oz (2 ½ c) filtered water
- 900-watt microwave
- dish towel
- microwave-safe bowl
- Read the note both above or below this recipe about using the right scoop. I used the small rice scooper that came with my rice maker. If you don't have this, follow this recipe using measurements by weight for best results.
- Measure out your long grain brown rice and rinse under running water. Place the rice in a large microwave-safe bowl (the rice will expand so you need enough room, I use a microwave-safe eight-cup mixing bowl).
- Add water into the rice bowl and place it in the microwave for 10 minutes on the highest power (my microwave’s highest power is level 10).
- After 10 minutes, use a dish towel to cover the bowl and continue to cook for 15 minutes, but lower the power to half the strength (mine is level 5). After this is finished, let it rest in the microwave for five minutes (do not open the door).
- Carefully remove the bowl and use a paddle or fork to fluff the rice and test if it’s finished. Your rice should be soft but still have whole kernels intact.
- The “cup” in all the measurements uses the plastic rice scoop that came with my rice cooker, so for best results you should use yours too.
- Rice recipes usually don’t scale up linearly, so its important to use the right scoop. This is how much water each tool holds by weight. My rice scoop: 173g. A 1-cup dry measuring scoop: 217g. 1 cup liquid measure 250g.
- This recipe is strictly for one cup and two cup portions. I have found that the more rice I add on, the amount of water also changes.
- If you find that there is a little water still on the bottom of the bowl after fluffing, continue to fluff the rice to mix the water and then let it rest, uncovered for about 10 minutes on the counter. The rice should soak up the leftover water. I try not to place this back in the microwave because the rice could end up overcooking.
- If your rice is too hard, add a little more water (about two tablespoons at a time) and mix it in the rice. Place in the microwave for about one-minute intervals on medium power.