Is Brown Rice Chewy?

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Brown rice in a wooden plate with a text "is brown rice chewy"

Brown rice is gaining popularity as a healthier alternative to white rice. Brown rice comes in short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain varieties. Should brown rice be chewy?

Brown rice is naturally chewy. It’s firmer and denser than white rice since it contains more layers of the rice grain. When cooked, brown rice should be slightly firm on the outside, with a chewy center. 

Should Brown Rice Be A Little Chewy?

Yes, brown rice should be a little chewy. I aim to create plump, slightly chewy, soft grains when I cook brown rice. I want each grain to be cooked through but not to be mushy or gummy. 

Why Is Brown Rice Chewy?

Brown rice contains the whole grain: the bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran, or the outer coating of the rice grain, makes brown rice chewier than white rice

Short-grain brown rice is the creamiest and chewiest type of rice. Short-grain rice is perfect for risotto or sushi. Medium-grain brown rice is slightly creamy and chewy. Long-grain brown rice is firmer but still chewy. It’s excellent for pilaf or salads. 

Think about dishes made with whole grains like whole wheat flour or steel-cut oats. They have a heavier, slightly chewier texture than white flour or quick-cooking oats. Since brown rice is a whole grain, it has a denser, chewier texture than white rice. 

How Do You Make Brown Rice Not As Chewy?

If you consistently find brown rice too chewy, try cooking it with the ‘pasta method’:

  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water. 
  2. Rinse 1-2 cups of brown rice and add it to the pot.
  3. Boil the rice until it’s soft–about 50-60 minutes. 
  4. Strain the rice and return it to the pot.
  5. Place the lid on the pot and set it aside for 10 minutes to allow the rice to absorb leftover moisture. 
  6. Serve. 

If you cook your brown rice like pasta, it won’t be gummy or tough. It will still be slightly chewy since it’s a whole grain, but it will turn out lighter and fluffier. 

If you don’t like chewy rice, avoid short-grain varieties. Since short-grain rice grains naturally clump together, they often turn out very chewy. If I’m not in the mood for extra chewy rice, I cook a long-grain variety like basmati or jasmine rice. 

How Can You Tell If Brown Rice Is Overcooked?

Just because your brown rice is chewy doesn’t mean it’s overcooked. Brown rice is overcooked if it’s:

  • Burnt
  • Falling apart
  • Gummy
  • Mushy

Brown rice should have a slight “bite” rather than a mushy texture when perfectly cooked.

Best Dishes For Brown Rice

Check out these suggestions if you’d like to switch to brown rice or looking for new recipe ideas: 

Buddha Bowl

Brown rice is perfect for your next Buddha bowl. Buddha bowls are designed to promote nutrition without overeating of anything. 

Buddha bowls typically have whole grains, proteins, vegetables, sauces, and toppings. 

Make a Buddha bowl with: 

  • Brown rice 
  • Chickpeas 
  • Lettuce 
  • Tomato 
  • Cucumber 
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage

Layer all the ingredients in your bowl, and drizzle with tahini. Add a sprinkle of salt, and enjoy!

Healthy bowl: Chicken, rice, avocado, veggies, chickpeas, nuts. Good mix for a balanced meal. Top view.

Burrito Bowls

My favorite local restaurant makes unique burrito bowls. Sometimes, I create a burrito bowl at home when I feel like a night in. To create your burrito bowl, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice, seasoned with your favorite spices 
  • ½ cup cooked meat or other protein (chicken, steak, tofu, etc.)
  • Toppings: tomato, cucumber, lettuce, onion, cheese, salsa, avocado, corn, or cilantro

Start with a layer of rice, then add protein and toppings. Drizzle more salsa, sour cream, or lime juice on top and serve!

Chicken bowl on table with wood.

Fried Brown Rice

Fried rice is my favorite way to use up leftover rice. Brown rice adds flavor and fiber to this quick, easy meal. Some members of my household are sensitive to eggs, so I don’t include them when I make this fried rice. You’ll need:

  • 2 eggs (optional)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup cooked chicken, shrimp, or tofu
  • 2 cups of veggies: peas, carrots, or cabbage
  • Soy sauce and sesame oil

Scramble the eggs and set aside. Then, add your veggies to the pan. Cook them for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through. 

Add your protein, rice, and eggs. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes until everything is warm. Remove from the heat and drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil on top. Serve! 

Yummy Chinese Shrimp Rice in a Bowl with Chopsticks - A Tasty Takeout Treat!

Final Thoughts

Brown rice is naturally chewy since it is a whole grain. It shouldn’t be mushy or hard when cooked. Brown rice has a fragrant, nutty flavor, making it a great addition to fried rice or bowls. 

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