Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice ♥

Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice
If you've ever wondered how to bake brown rice in the oven, or how to cook brown rice so that it always -- always -- turns out nutty and fluffy, this is your recipe. I like the technique so much, I asked Cook's Illustrated for permission to publish their recipe and lo and behold, they said, "Yes!" So here's their recipe, followed by my own tips and the way I've adapted to recipe for my own kitchen over the years.

~recipe & photo updated 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~

TESTIMONIALS
"It's awesome! Easy to do, nutty in flavor." ~ Ruth
"I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and I've been making this since the day it came out." ~ Randi
"Baking brown rice works awesome! It is the only way I will make it!" ~ Anonymous
"I made tonight. Perfect." ~ Sunny
"This rice is WONDERFUL!" ~ Brandi



2006: In the past year, only white rice has appeared on A Veggie Venture. So you'd never guess that the 'house rice' is brown rice and how often it makes the menu. Here, brown rice is a kitchen staple, right along with broccoli and chicken stock.

Why the recipe reticence, then? Well, my 'house recipe' comes from Cook's Illustrated, the folks who test and test and test again, until a dish comes out exactly right, defying myth and tradition -- unless myth and tradition actually work. So like most food writers and food bloggers, I hesitate to give away their hard-earned techniques, as much as I appreciate them.

But brown rice is so good for us -- and the Cook's Illustrated rice so nutty- and buttery-tasting and yes, foolproof -- that I asked for permission to share it online. And lo, they said yes!

So if you've struggled with brown rice -- wet and soupy? burnt and crunchy? -- look no further. This is YOUR recipe, just as it's been mine week-in and week-out for almost two years.

If you're not a Cook's Illustrated subscriber, let me recommend it as a great resource for experienced and new cooks alike. The recipes are real and reliable and without pretension. The testers go out of their way to eliminate unneeded steps and calories both. But if extra steps and calories pay off? well, they'll say so and why. The technique tips, the product tips, the tool tips, the appliance tips -- well, they're terrific too.

And to fulfill (or encourage!) yearnings for country living, sit down with a fresh cup of hot coffee and a thick slice of fresh bread to savor Christopher Kimball's essays about rural Vermont. It's a must-read for me, something to look forward to and to think back on.

So yes, Cook's Illustrated, many thanks. For permission to reprint a recipe, to be sure, but for issue after issue of reading and recipes worth both time and dare I say? the price of a subscription.

COOK's ILLUSTRATED's FOOLPROOF OVEN-BAKED BROWN RICE

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 80 minutes
Makes 4 cups

To minimize any loss of water through evaporation, cover the saucepan and use the water as soon as it reaches a boil. An 8-inch ceramic baking dish with a lid may be used instead of the baking dish and foil. To double the recipe, use a 13 by 9-inch baking dish; the baking time need not be increased.

1 1/2 cups long-, medium- or short-grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8-inch square baking dish.
2. Bring water and butter or oil to boil, covered, in medium saucepan over high heat; once boiling, immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Bake rice 1 hour, until tender.
3. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with dinner fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer; serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from the May/June 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine. For a trial issue of Cook’s call 800-526-8442. Selected articles and recipes, as well as subscription information, are available online at www.cooksillustrated.com.


ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
I cook brown rice so often that I keep a jar of brown rice in the pantry, with the recipe written inside the lid.
I bought an inexpensive eight-inch square Pyrex baking dish just for making brown rice but have found it to be useful otherwise too. (2011 Pyrex ain't what it used to be. The 8x8 cracked and so now I use Corningware.
I boil the water in the microwave in a two-cup Pyrex measure.
For Hurricane Rice, I cooked the rice in beer rather than water.
I add the salt and butter (or some times, bacon grease) directly to the uncooked rice, then stir them in when adding the boiling water.
I put the rice straight in the oven as soon as it's ready, even if the oven's not completely preheated, then set the timer for 60 minutes plus whatever preheat time is left.
Recycling works -- I save the foil to reuse several times.
The cooked rice sticks to a clean kitchen towel so I use a paper towel.
2008: These days, I often use this same technique to cook brown & wild rice together.
2008: I've also begun collecting vegetable and rice recipes. Many call for cooked brown rice so are good ways to use up leftover brown rice.
2010: Shannon from Daily Pie left a comment saying she bakes the rice in a Bundt pan. The extra surface area reduces the oven time to about 40 minutes! Brilliant!

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(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

25 comments:

I've never seen an oven-baked rice - will definitely be trying this one.

I get Cook's and I remember this recipe, which I haven't made yet. My husband hates brown rice--because all my past attmepts have been less than stellar and he doesn't want to see it in front of him. So, I will make it the Cook's way. Thanks for reminding me of that recipe!

Wow--I am somewhat rice-impaired and currently always use an electric rice cooker so that I don't screw up. :-)

I will definitely be trying this. Thank you for asking the Cook's folks and sharing this.

I can vouch for how amazing this rice is.

I tried it when I was on a brown rice detox diet and because I really hate the texture of brown rice (at least whenever I've made it).

It's awesome! Easy to do, nutty in flavor.

Thanks for sharing Alanna.

I subscrible to cook's and I've been making this since the day it came out. The same issue of the magazine has some wonderful stir-frys too.

Baking brown rice works awesome! it is the only way I will make it!

I think the brand of rice you use makes a difference in the taste. I love Lundberg organic brown basmati and also the short grain brown. So sweet and fresh and delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

Turn this into a 1 1/2 dish meal
Use a 2 to 2 1/2 quart round glass or ceramic baking dish with lid.
To the basic recipe add 16 to 20oz. of your favorite stew. Season to tast and whim.
Bake as normal, remove from oven and let stand with lid on for 10 minutes. Uncover and stir to evenly distribute the stew (a lot of it will rise to the top)and let rice stand 5 minutes longer. Enjoy !
Oh, why 1 1/2 pots ?
I only boil water on the stove top so the sauce pan essentially stays clean. ;-)

I made tonight. Perfect. I just added sautéed red chopped onions and a half of a sweet yellow pepper. Also added curry and a pinch of hot curry to the rice before cooking. But the baking worked great. Thanks so much.

Perfect.. I am struggling to cook fluffy brown rice .. will oven bake today.. hopefully it will turn our well.. thanks ..:)

Hi Siri ~ Yes, 'perfect' is the way to describe this rice, that's how it turns out, every single time. Like most cooked rice however (or at least rice of certain sorts, I'm forgetting which) it is definitely lightest right from the oven. So just know that ahead of time, especially if thinking about making ahead. Let me know how it goes! AK

Never ate brown rice before, I love the nutty flavor I love the bake methodit frees me up to do other things. I let it soak for about 30 mins before baking it. also I use a non-stick spray with a baking dish with lid.


Thanks

marye

I've had awful luck cooking brown rice before. My kids would never eat it and prefered white, until now. This is just perfect!

You're right about brown rice being good for you, but this is one product that should definitely be organic. Most rice crops are sprayed with mercury compounds, and it's only by the dehusking that it's removed. So white rice, since the mercury- contaminated husk is removed, is actually more healthy than sprayed brown rice.It makes sense when you think about it, but, alas, no food writers seem to.

This rice is WONDERFUL! Thank you for sharing it with us! I can honestly say this is the first time I've been able to make rice that I actually looked forward to eating. :)

Great recipe! Mine came out just a little on the dry side. Maybe I was a little shy on the water? I might cut the baking time by 5 minutes next time. Regardless, so easy and delish!

Do you think this method would work with wheatberries? They take FOREVER to cook! Thanks :)

Hi Anonymous ~ Did you measure the water? I've learned to do that, exactly, with this recipe. But if you did, then do try cutting the baking time. Other variables that might affect the rice: the age, variety and freshness of the rice itself; the oven temperature; the baking dish. Cooking is 'easy' but there are more variables than we might think.

As for wheatberries, I'd love to know!

Alanna, thanks for the response on the dryness. When I went to put the rice into 1cup storage containers, I realized I had about 4.5 cups. I likely was a little over on the dry measurement. Definitely my bad. I can't wait to accurately make this rice again! :)

Howdy, Alanna -- I've loved this recipe for a while now. Tip: I use a bundt pan to bake my rice in, and the extra surface area (more heat contact for the rice) reduces the baking time to 40 minutes. A little quicker in a pinch!

Howdy, Shannon! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!

I've loved this recipe since I first found your blog! In fact, I'm wondering if I'm the "Brandi" in the testimonial. :) Anyway, I reposted your blog on mine, and I thought I should share the link. Thanks again! http://schwertnerland.blogspot.com/2011/06/best-rice-ever.html

Delicious, and the texture is PERFECT everytime. I use chicken stock in place of some or all of the water (depending how much stock is in the box in the fridge at the time). I add some thawed peas and carrots, a cup or so, to make the portion larger. Stirring in a tsp or so of rice vinegar at the end adds a little flavor too. Love this base recipe!!

Best brown rice I've ever made! It always turns out dry in the rice cooker, but baked it's perfect and moist!

Absolutely the only way to cook brown rice at high altitude. I've been dying for good brown rice since moving to 7000 feet, and never, ever been able to get it to cook through by the usual boiling/steaming method. Thank you so much!

The absolute only way to make brown rice! I would always struggle with brown rice before I found this recipe. It would always be mushy,scorched,hard,not done, or something else not unappetizing. I am so glad I found this recipe...thanks so much for getting permission to post this for all of us who never seemed to be able to get brown rice right before.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna