How to Cook Brown Rice in Microwave

Cooking brown rice in the microwave is a convenient and time-saving method that yields fluffy and nutritious rice without needing a stovetop or rice cooker. In this guide, we will walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to cook brown rice in the microwave.


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • A microwave-safe bowl with a lid or microwave-safe microwaveable plastic wrap
  • Microwave oven


Rinse the Rice (Optional)

Choose the Right Bowl

  • Select a microwave-safe bowl with a lid. It’s important to use a large bowl to accommodate the rice and water while leaving some space at the top for expansion and bubbling.

Measure the Rice and Water

  • Place the rinsed brown rice in the microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 1/4 cups of water to the rice. This water-to-rice ratio is a general guideline for cooking brown rice in the microwave.

Cover the Bowl

  • Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or use microwaveable plastic wrap. If you’re using plastic wrap, leave a small vent to allow steam to escape during cooking. You can secure the plastic wrap in place with a microwave-safe rubber band or by lightly pressing it around the edges of the bowl.

Microwave on High

  • Place the covered bowl in the microwave and set the microwave to high power. The exact cooking time will vary depending on your microwave’s wattage, but as a general guideline, you can start with 5 minutes for every 1 cup of brown rice. So, for 1 cup of brown rice, microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Check for Boiling

  • After the initial cooking time, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave using oven mitts or a towel to protect your hands from the hot steam. Be cautious, as the steam can be very hot. Lift the lid or plastic wrap slightly to check if the water is boiling. If it’s not boiling, return the bowl to the microwave and continue cooking on high in 1 to 2-minute increments until it starts boiling.

Reduce to Medium or Low Power

  • Once the water begins to boil, reduce the microwave power to medium or low. This step is crucial to ensure even cooking and prevent the rice from boiling. Continue to microwave on medium or low for the remainder of the cooking time.

Microwave for Total Cooking Time

  • Brown rice typically takes longer to cook than white rice due to its higher fiber content and denser bran layer. The total cooking time for 1 cup of brown rice in the microwave is usually around 30-45 minutes. Keep an eye on it and check for doneness at around the 30-minute.

Check for Doneness

  • Remove the bowl from the microwave using oven mitts to check if the brown rice is done. Use a fork to fluff the rice and check its texture. The grains should be tender and cooked through. If the rice is still too firm or there is excess water, return it to the microwave and continue cooking in 5-minute increments until it reaches your desired texture.

Rest the Rice

  • After the rice is cooked to your satisfaction, rest in the covered bowl for about 5 minutes. This resting period helps the rice firm up and absorb any remaining moisture.

Fluff and Serve

  • Finally, use a fork to fluff the cooked brown rice, separating the grains. Your microwave-cooked brown rice is now ready to serve as a nutritious side dish or base for various recipes.

Tips and Variations

  1. Use a Microwave-Safe Cover: Microwaveable plastic wrap works well if you don’t have a microwave-safe lid for your bowl. Just be sure to leave a small vent to release steam during cooking.
  2. Adjust Cooking Time: Microwave wattages vary, so your cooking time may differ from the guidelines provided here. Be patient and adjust the cooking time to achieve the desired texture.
  3. Add Flavor: You can enhance the flavor of your brown rice by adding a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, or a small pat of butter before cooking.
  4. Flavor Variations: Experiment with different seasonings and additions like herbs, spices, garlic, or diced vegetables to create flavored brown rice.
  5. Double the Recipe: If you need to cook a larger brown rice, double the ingredients and use a larger microwave-safe bowl.
  6. Use Broth: For extra flavor, substitute some or all of the water with vegetable or chicken broth when cooking brown rice in the microwave.
  7. Steam Veggies: In the microwave, you can also steam vegetables and brown rice. Add them to the bowl before cooking and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  8. Storage: Leftover brown rice can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days or frozen for longer storage.


Cooking brown rice in the microwave is a convenient and efficient method that produces fluffy and nutritious rice. By following these step-by-step instructions and adjusting for your microwave’s wattage, you can enjoy perfectly cooked brown rice as a side dish or as a base for various recipes. It’s a time-saving way to incorporate the wholesome goodness of brown rice into your meals.

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