Oven-Baked Brown Rice

For anyone who's had trouble cooking brown rice, or wondered how to cook healthy brown rice perfectly every time, this is your lucky day! First, there's this recipe for brown rice, my favorite, where the rice cooks right in the oven, revealing moist, nutty grains of tender brown rice. Oh! So! Good! And then, if you like, bake brown rice and wild rice together for extra-appealing color and texture.

Oven-Baked Brown Rice ♥ KitchenParade.com, one to make again and again, even brown rice turns out moist and almost nutty. Totally easy! Rave reviews!

Whole Food, Simply Prepared, "Plain" But Perfect. Just Two Ingredients + Pantry Staples. An Easy Weeknight Side Dish or "Under" Dish. Weight Watchers Friendly. Budget Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. Freezes Well. Low Fat. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Great for Meal Prep.

  • "So stinking good!!!" ~ Pamela
  • "This recipe came out PERFECT! The kids LOVE it." ~ msadinkra
  • "You've given me my go-to method for this dish." ~ Anonymous

What Is Brown Rice, Exactly?

So let's tackle the question, what brown rice including what brown rice isn't.

You see, brown rice isn’t its own variety of rice, as is some times erroneously thought.

Instead, every variety of rice starts off brown because of its outer husk. Once the husk is removed, the differences between brown rice and white rice emerge.

So think of brown rice as the emperor with his clothes on.

Brown rice is just an unmilled or "unpolished" rice, that is, brown rice still has all its emperor's "clothing" layers. The outer husk is gone but the interior "clothes" of germ and bran remain.

Once those "clothes" are polished away from brown rice, what remains inside every grain of brown rice is a white, starchy and yes, naked, kernel stripped of flavor, fiber and nutrition.

I’ve loved brown rice for the longest time but had trouble getting it to cook consistently on the stove. Now that I’ve learned how to cook brown rice in the oven, it’s welcome at the table in all its fully clothed goodness.

All that whole-grain goodness and delicious too? No wonder brown rice is better than white rice.

Oven-Baked Brown Rice ♥ KitchenParade.com, one to make again and again, even brown rice turns out moist and almost nutty. Totally easy! Rave reviews!

What's In Oven-Baked Brown Rice? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Brown Rice Buy a bag or box of plain brown rice. Odds are good, it'll be the cheapest rice on the shelf.
  • Wild Rice Is Optional As a native Minnesotan, I love using wild rice in my recipes. And wild rice makes brown rice extra good (and pretty!) ... but it's entirely optional. Just use more brown rice if you're skipping the wild rice.
  • Butter & Salt The recipe calls for just 2 teaspoons of butter or another fat. It's just enough and just perfect! Add a little salt, rice definitely needs salt. A little butter, a little salt, it's plenty for healthy brown rice.
  • Boiling Water If you like, bring the water to a boil in the microwave, it'll take just a couple of minutes, especially if you put the butter in with the water.
  • That's it. Really!

How to Cook Brown Rice in the Oven

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in four easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • Collect brown rice (and wild rice, if that's your choice), a little fat, a little salt and boiling water in an oven-safe baking dish. I use a quart-size ceramic round Corning dish, an 8x8 Pyrex square baking dish and even a shallow quiche pan. Just be sure the dish is oven safe and holds four cups plus some room to spare. (How to tell if your dish is big enough? To "measure" the dish, kust add four cups of water to the dish. If there's an inch or two space left between the top of the water and the top of the dish, you're good.) Cover the dish with its oven-safe lid or foil.
  • Bake for an hour at 375F/190C.
  • Remove the rice from the oven, remove the lid and stir the rice with a fork, loosening the grains. Cover the rice back up and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Uncover the rice, stir again and let it rest uncovered for another five minutes – or just put it on the table, a few minutes will likely pass before anyone's eating the rice.
  • Now serve!

Plain Brown Rice Goes Spicy ... and Sweet

So I love cooking brown rice this way for a simple side dish so-so much, it's one of a few staples in my kitchen. But over the years, I got a little bored with its sameness and so decided to experiment a little.

SPICY! First up, I use the same effective technique with other grains then give the grains a little extra "zip" with savory spices. The result? The very wonderful Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains. You'll want to try it too!

SWEET! Leftover brown rice? Turn it into Brown Rice & Quinoa Rice Pudding!

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Can Oven-Cooked Brown Rice be cooked ahead of time? Yes! I often bake it during the day when the oven is on for something else. I put it in the fridge, then briefly reheat, about 15 minutes at 350F/180C will do it, just be sure to put the foil or lid back on tightly so the rice doesn't dry out.

  • Can Oven-Cooked Brown Rice be frozen? Yes. I like to pack cooked rice tightly into a small container, press a layer of wax paper or plastic wrap on top. These steps remove air, which prevents freezer burn, that's the formation of ice crystals that causes frozen foods to break down. Then freeze the container, it's best used within a couple of months. To reheat, just pull out of the freezer and microwave for a minute or two. Voila! Ready-made rice!

  • What about using other grains instead of wild rice? Yes! For Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf, I use quinoa, barley, kamut and other grains. Have fun experimenting!
Oven-Baked Brown Rice ♥ KitchenParade.com, one to make again and again, even brown rice turns out moist and almost nutty. Totally easy! Rave reviews!

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Buy Plain Brown Rice Look for brown rice without seasoning. Avoid rice that's been "par cooked" or is labeled as "quick" or "instant" or anything similar.

What Makes This Recipe Special

  • It's such an easy, hands-off way to cook brown rice entirely hands-off.
  • There's no risk of the rice boiling over on the stove.
  • The rice is so nutty and delicious! The grains are distinct and tender.
  • Moves straight from the oven to the table, no serving dish required.
  • Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this simple brown rice recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Oven-Baked Brown Rice ♥ KitchenParade.com, one to make again and again, even brown rice turns out moist and almost nutty. Totally easy! Rave reviews!


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Makes 4 cups
  • 2-1/3 cups water (or chicken broth or even beer)
  • 2 teaspoons butter (or ghee or bacon fat for more flavor or olive oil for vegan rice)
  • 1 cup (200g) brown rice, any variety
  • 1/2 cup (100g) wild rice (or another 1/2 cup brown rice, see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Set oven to 375F/190C. Bring the liquid and butter (see TIPS) to a boil in the microwave.

Meanwhile, in an oven-safe baking dish (such as an 8x8 Pyrex baking pan, a quart-size Corning casserole dish, even a shallow quiche pan) stir together the brown rice and wild rice. Sprinkle with salt. Pour the hot liquid over the rice and gently stir, distributing the rice and salt evenly throughout dish. Cover tightly with foil (or an oven-safe baking dish lid).

Bake for 60 minutes (see TIPS).

Remove from the oven. Fluff the rice with a fork, then put the cover back on and let rest for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff again, let rest another 5 minutes uncovered or just put it on the table. Serve and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS Save a dish! Choose an oven-safe baking dish that can move straight to the table, no serving bowl required. A mix of brown and wild rice is my favorite because it looks as good as it tastes. Plus, brown rice is cheap and wild rice is pricey so a blend helps stretch the food budget. Water boils more quickly with something to adhere to, in this case, just a small dab of fat. If the oven’s not fully preheated when the rice is prepped, pop it in anyway. Just increase the oven time by the remaining number of minutes. To prevent food poisoning, all varieties of cooked rice should be served and refrigerated promptly. Don't want to turn on the oven? Then here's another way to cook brown rice on the stove, also very good and slightly faster, see Perfect Stovetop Brown Rice from A Veggie Venture, my food blog.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See https://www.kitchenparade.com/2008/01/oven-baked-brown-rice.php .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 129 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 2mg Cholesterol; 154mg Sodium; 25g Carb; 1g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 4 & myWW green 4 & blue 4 & purple 0 & future WW points
Today’s recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated, a great magazine for cooks who want to understand the how’s and why’s of cooking. In 2006, Cook's Illustrated gave permission to publish the original version of their technique for cooking brown rice, see Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice, so long as I published their exact-same recipe. Since then, I make it week in and week out, adjusting it in small ways to simplify the cooking technique and adapting it to my own taste.

More Reasons & Ways to Cook Rice

~ rice recipes ~
A collection of Rice Cooking Techniques, Recipes & Tips ♥ KitchenParade.com. Recipes include nutrition into & Weight Watchers points.
Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf ♥ KitchenParade.com, a concept recipe combining different rices, grains, lentils and other healthy starches, baked in the oven with spices.

How to Cook White Rice ♥ KitchenParade.com, it turns out perfectly every time without special equipment.

Mexican Rice ♥ KitchenParade.com, an easy addition to taco parties, fajita nights or easy lunch-time quesadillas. Vegan.

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

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~ wild rice ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2008, 2016, 2019, 2020 & 2023 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I am definitely making this! (And I just made turkey and wild rice soup with cabbage this week!) Yum.

  2. Alanna, I've had trouble with brown rice on the stovetop AND in my rice cooker. I'm going to give this version a whirl -- I'd love to have it more readily available in my fridge at all times, because I know I'd just toss it into salads and soups and casseroles and even just eat it straight up. Yum!

  3. Very pretty, with all the right flavor extras. Lately I've discovered brown rice + pearled barley, which seems to make them both better. I wonder why some people have trouble with stovetop rice? Is it one of those DNA things?

  4. I've never made brown rice...but need to try it someime soon I guess:) yours looks tempting!

  5. You can get food poisoning from rice?!?!?!?
    I get brown basmati (the only kind of brown I can get) which I absolutly love.. and it cooks in 20 minutes!

  6. Anonymous4/25/2008

    I made the rice for dinner tonight, but instead of just brown rice, I included barley, red rice, and millet, in addition to the brown basmati. So stinking good!!!

  7. Anonymous8/27/2008

    I have a similar recipe for curried rice using white rice. So I think I will try your variation asap. My recipe calls for a diced onion, and half Tablespoon (or more) curry powder. It also calls for the water to be boiling when you measure it. Make sure you pour and stir it carefully so you don't burn yourself.I might be able to get my daughter to eat brown rice prepared this way. Thanks

  8. So I just HAD to say thanks for this recipe! I came upon the rice pancake recipe with the link to this recipe and am soooo glad I found it. I have always had a hard time getting the time vs water and rice mixture right for brown rice. This recipe came out PERFECT! The kids LOVE it. Now we mix in roasted veggies after baking and have such a delicious meal! Thanks so very much!!

  9. Anonymous5/03/2011

    I followed the recipe to a t, and although it turned out better than when I cook it on a stove top. It was really dried out and half of it was stuck to the bottom of the bakeware dish. I don't think my stove is too hot, normally I'm able to follow bake times with no problem. What am I doing wrong?

  10. Anonymous ~ Wow, I'm not sure, I make this so often, others do too (click through to the Foolproof recipe on A Veggie Venture) and its source is Cooks Illustrated. Let me think through possibilities -- (sorry, some may sound like you don't know what you're doing but I'm just checking), did you happen to use an instant rice? is it possible that the liquid was a cup or even 1/3 cup short? could the foil or lid not have been tight onto the baking dish? These are the things that come to mind that would result in such extreme dryness.

    So sorry that the rice didn't work out for you, I hope you'll try again. It's so worth being able to count on, I made another dish just last night!

  11. Anonymous1/09/2012

    I've been doing Alton Brown's baked brown rice for several years and it comes out perfect every time

  12. Anonymous ~ Just checked the Alton Brown recipe, it's very much the same! My own variation is the addition of wild rice, one of my favorite foods. Natural, for a Minnesotan!

  13. Anonymous5/02/2016

    I was looking for a low-fat way to bake a combination of brown and wild rice and this was perfect. I added some chopped onion, celery, carrot and mushrooms to the mix and used chicken broth made from a commercial base and the flavor was just right. I didn't even add the salt. You've given me my go-to method for this dish.

  14. Anonymous ~ You go-to method? I’m honored! I’ve been cooking rice like this for almost ten years, it’s still a staple here too. I’ve adapted the recipe once again, however -- with spices and a whole collection of rices, grains and pulses. It’s here -- http://www.kitchenparade.com/2012/11/oven-baked-whole-grain-pilaf.html -- thanks so much for writing, truly!

  15. Hmmm, let’s try a clickable link, Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf. Enjoy!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna