Brown rice is an essential park of my bulking diet, it's extremely easy to make and provides a huge chunk of my caloric requirements. Rice is also one of the cheapest fillers you're going to be able to find which makes it great when you're trying to bulk on a budget.

Brown Rice


This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I use and own so there is an incentive behind having you click on them. That being said the advice I'm presenting and these tips are still beneficial even without a rice cooker.

The Preamble

As you can see based on many of the recipes on the site eating brown rice is an easy and cheap staple to bulk up on. The main downside is that brown rice is nowhere near as satisfying as white rice. I've been eating brown rice regularly for about 4 years now and after 6 months or so I got quite tired of it. I started experimenting thinking there have to be better ways to prepare this rice to make it more appealing and better tasting. So after three years of trial and error I've put together some essential tips that make brown rice something to look forward to.

Use Long Grain Brown Rice

Short grain rices are typically used in applications where you want sticky rice. This is the simplest tip and it improves things as most recipes will be better with rice that has a unique texture. So unless you need sticky rice for something specific go with long grain brown rice.

Wash Your Rice

If you aren't already washing your brown rice before you eat it, you're missing out. When washing your rice you can either do so in a colander, or directly in the bowl of your rice cooker. I prefer using a colander designed for rice as it makes it much easier to wash and this benefits us in a few ways when I talk about the power of broth. I'm using a colander which is meant for rice which I've linked below. Washing your rice helps to get rid of some of the hulls since eating those sucks and they're much more common with brown rice than white rice.

Use a Rice Cooker

The biggest one on this list and a major life changer for me. I've used my rice cooker for at least 500 batches of rice at this point and the ease of use accompanied with one vessel is awesome. The downside of using a rice cooker for brown rice is that it cooks slower. I'm using a smaller (2 'cups' of brown rice max) Zojirushi rice cooker and it makes great brown rice every time. You might considering upgrading to the second one I have linked, as it's larger which will be beneficial in the event you're doing weekly meal prep where you don't want to make rice multiple times. I don't really worry about this since my rice cooker is programmable so I just set it for when I want the rice and it's ready to go, but for some people this might be a big deal. Either way a rice cooker made me go from hating brown rice to loving it so I cannot stress how much better this makes eating a lot of rice.

Recognize That the Cup Measure From Your Rice Cooker Isn't a Real Cup Measure

This one is actually kind of annoying. Most rice cookers have some kind of plastic cup that they come with that isn't an actual cup measure, that's why I'm putting quotes around 'cup' every time I use it going forward, this is two rice cooker 'cups', and for me it makes about 5 cooked cups of rice (I don't do this for recipes and instead just look at cooked cups of rice and their equivalent weight in grams). Understanding this can help you make better rice because you'll recognize the ratios for seasoning more easily.

Add Oil to Your Rice

Once the rice is washed I like to add a small amount of olive oil to my mixture. This doesn't have to be anything outrageous, a teaspoon or less (I don't even measure it any more since I'm used at eye balling it) for 2 'cups' of rice and it keeps the rice from sticking to itself too much. It also makes the rice taste a little richer and smoother which I appreciate. Overall this is one of the most important additions to me for brown rice and I do it no matter what. I don't remember if I learned about this somewhere, or if I just tried it but it's a big improvement.

Use Broth Instead of Water

Using broth instead of water is the second best thing you can do in the cooking process to enhance the flavor of your rice. Chicken broth is my preference, though you can use beef broth. Vegetable broth is okay if you're vegetarian but it can leave behind some material once you've cooked the rice which looks less than appetizing and can be a bit overpowering, so make sure to season accordingly. I usually just go with chicken as it adds to my rice no matter what I'm cooking. Make sure no matter what kind of broth you use that it's low sodium.

A Splash of Soy Sauce For Umami

The idea of umami isn't a new one, but for rice it can be especially impactful. Add a teaspoon of soy sauce to your rice when you're adding your broth and oil. It won't add much flavor, but it will contribute to the richness of the finished product.

Let Your Rice Sit

This one is very minimal and I don't do it every time, but letting your rice sit in your broth/oil/soy sauce/spice mixture for ~30 minutes before cooking it can improve the texture of your brown rice. I rarely do this because brown rice already takes so long to cook I don't want to wait another 30 minutes. The rice cooker I use is programmable so I could get around this, but it's so minimal I usually forget.

Add Seasoning

Blasphemous to some but delicious to me I season ALL brown rice. This is a non-negotiable aspect of making brown rice as I believe it really needs seasonings and additional flavors to shine. If I'm making Mexican food I use a Mexican blend, if it's mediterranean, then it's going to be turned into a yellow brown rice, etc. I've included a few of my basic mixes below that should get you started, and you may wish to adjust them. These three combinations cover about 95% of the recipes that call for brown rice which I eat regularly.

Spice Mixes

These spices mixes don't have volumes of the spices since you might be making different amounts of rice, they're just a list of spices that work together very well in addition the tips above. You don't have to use everything in the mixes, they're just guidelines that I've discovered after years of making brown rice that lead to very tasty rice so you'll want to experiment.

Mexican:

  • Cumin (omit if cooking traditional Mexican fare)
  • Garlic granules
  • Onion granules
  • Chile powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dehydrated onion flakes

Meditteranean:

  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Garlic granules
  • Onion granules
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dehydrated onion flakes
  • Dehydrated dill weed

Savory:

  • Bay leaf
  • Garlic granules
  • Onion granules
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • oregano
  • worchestershire sauce