How Long to Soak Brown Rice: Everything You Need to Know

Published on:
Raw brown rice in wooden bowl and brown rice soaked in water in a clear bowl with a text "How Long to Soak Brown Rice"

Do you wonder whether to soak brown rice, why it’s beneficial, or how long to soak brown rice

Soaking brown rice is as easy as it can get, but its benefits are worth knowing. Once I got to know them, soaking brown rice became a mandatory part of my cooking process! 

You just need to take a bowl, add one cup of brown rice, and two to three cups of lukewarm water. Then, cover it with a lid and let it soak overnight. You can also let it soak for two to three hours if you are in a hurry. 

Why Should You Soak Brown Rice?

Making authentic pilaf: a cauldron-cooked recipe. Before cooking, soak rice in a pitcher of water.

When I used to cook brown rice, I never soaked it beforehand. After all, it was an additional step that I didn’t want to do. 

Thankfully, one of my friends, a self-proclaimed rice connoisseur, told me all about the benefits of soaking brown rice and why you should always do it. Let’s take a look at the advantages. 

1. Remove Impurities and Harmful Chemicals

As you may already know, brown rice has an outer bran layer. One of the major reasons behind soaking brown rice is to get rid of the impurities and harmful chemicals in this layer.

According to research, the outer bran layer consists of an antinutrient called phytic acid. 

After reading more about it, I came to know that phytic acid makes it difficult to digest brown rice. It may also inhibit the absorption of essential nutrients like iron and zinc! 

When you soak brown rice for some time, especially in lukewarm or warm water, an enzyme named phytase gets activated. It breaks down phytic acid and reduces its overall content in brown rice.  

Apart from phytic acid, soaking brown rice also removes any dirt or dust from its outer layer. 

2. Reduce Cooking Time

Asia dinner in the morning light, steaming rice on a black and white background with hot equipment and food covered up.

The one thing I hate about boiling brown rice is how time-consuming it can get! You need to wait for at least 40 to 45 minutes to cook it fully. 

However, soaking brown rice also helps reduce cooking time by at least 10 minutes. It generally takes me about 30 minutes to boil brown rice after soaking it. 

The reason behind the reduced cooking time is simple. Once you soak brown rice, the grains absorb the water and soften a bit on their own. This way, they are already slightly tender when you start cooking them. 

3. Better Texture

Many complain about brown rice’s natural texture because it can get chewy and hard. I highly recommend using soaked brown rice if you are one of them.

Soaked brown rice has a soft yet firm texture once cooked because of the water absorption. Note that it won’t be as tender as white rice. 

Soaking also removes any extra starch responsible for turning your brown rice mushy! This results in fluffy grains instead of sticky ones. 

How Long to Soak Brown Rice?

Brown rice soaked in water in a bowl and raw brown rice in a small bowl.

Let’s move on to the main question about how long you must soak brown rice. 

I suggest soaking your brown rice for either two hours or overnight

When I am short on time, I soak the grains in lukewarm water for an hour or two. This removes any impurities, including phytic acid, from their outer layer. It also turns the grains slightly soft. 

The best way is to soak your brown rice overnight. Trust me, it enhances the benefits of soaking! You can easily reduce your cooking time while getting softer and fluffier brown rice. 

Tip: Keep in mind that if you forget to soak brown rice beforehand, try to do it for 10 to 15 minutes. It won’t drastically change brown rice’s texture or cooking time, but it will still remove harmful chemicals from its surface. 

This YouTube video by nutritionist Karen Kennedy also talks about why you should soak brown rice. 

How to Soak and Cook Brown Rice?

Since you know why and how long to soak brown rice, let’s look at how to do it. 

This section also covers the steps after soaking brown rice, so you understand the whole process easily. 

Step 1: Soaking Brown Rice 

This part is our blog post’s focus today. Don’t worry, it is pretty simple and takes less than two minutes. 

You just need to add two to three cups of lukewarm water for every cup of brown rice. In the image below, I have added two cups of water to one cup of brown rice.

Brown rice soaked in water in a plate.

Once done, let the rice soak overnight or for at least two hours.

Step 2: Rinsing and Cooking Brown Rice 

You shouldn’t dump the soaked brown rice directly into the cooking pot and start cooking it! 

1. Instead, strain the rice first and rinse it under tap water for at least a few seconds.

Brown rice in a strainer.

2. Then, transfer the soaked and rinsed brown rice to a cooking pot. 

3. Add two cups of water and half a teaspoon of salt to one cup of rinsed brown rice.  

Brown rice in a pot with water.

4. Close the lid tightly and turn on the stove.

5. Cook the brown rice on medium-high heat until the water starts boiling

Boiling brown rice in a pot.

6. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook the brown rice for about 30 minutes.

Step 3: Checking When the Brown Rice Is Done Cooking

There are many ways to know when your brown rice is cooked well. It should have a lovely nutty aroma and a tender texture with a bit of chewiness.

Cooked brown rice in a pot.

However, add two to three tablespoons of water if the brown rice feels hard to chew and swallow, and cook it on low flame for 10 extra minutes. 

The above steps may differ if you cook brown rice in a microwave, pressure cooker, instant pot, or rice cooker

Cooked brown rice in a white bowl.

Final Thoughts

Soaking brown rice has numerous advantages, almost all backed by research. 

Start soaking your brown rice in lukewarm water for at least two to three hours or overnight to improve its texture and nutrients and reduce the cooking time!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours we should soak brown rice?

You should soak brown rice for at least two hours. It is recommended to soak it overnight in lukewarm water to see the most effective results. 

How long should you soak brown rice to remove phytic acid?

If you want to remove the majority of phytic acid from your brown rice, you must soak brown rice for about 24 hours. However, soaking it overnight or for a few hours can also help remove some. 

Why do you soak brown rice overnight?

The most important reason to soak brown rice overnight is to reduce the amount of the antinutrient named phytic acid. It makes it hard to digest brown rice and also affects nutrient absorption. 

How long to soak brown rice to remove arsenic?

Brown rice has a higher concentration of arsenic than white rice. Therefore, soak it for about 12 to 16 hours to reduce the arsenic levels by at least 50%. 

Can you soak brown rice too long?

Soaking brown rice for more than 24 hours can cause the grains to ferment and release a foul odor!

Saniya Baxi Avatar


Leave a Comment