Is Brown Rice Supposed To Be Hard?

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Brown rice in a wooden bowl with a text "is brown rice supposed to be hard"

Brown rice offers numerous health benefits. It’s easy on your blood sugar and a good source of healthy carbs. It has a firmer, chewier texture than white rice. But should brown rice be hard?

Brown rice is firmer than white rice but shouldn’t be hard after cooking. Since brown rice has more layers than white rice, each grain is thicker. It’s firm after cooking but should still have a pleasant, chewy texture. 

Should My Brown Rice Be Hard After Cooking?

After cooking, your brown rice should no longer be hard. Brown rice is firmer than white rice because it contains the bran and germ layers. Cooking softens brown rice and gives it a chewy texture. Though it has a dense texture, it shouldn’t be hard after cooking.

Brown rice bowls and lemony green tea.

Why Is My Brown Rice Still Hard After Cooking?

The most common reasons your brown rice is still hard after cooking are:

  • You need to use more water when cooking
  • You need to cook your brown rice longer

Brown rice takes longer to cook because it is a whole grain. The water needs more time to break through the layers of rice and soften the grains. Whole grains offer many health benefits, including controlling cholesterol levels, helping weight management, and supporting healthy blood pressure.  

Why Is My Brown Rice Never Soft?

Brown rice is tougher and chewier than white rice, but it shouldn’t be hard after cooking. 

Check Your Cooking Method

If you struggle with cooking brown rice, use a rice cooker. Using my rice cooker is my favorite way to cook rice. I add the amount of rice I want to cook, add the amount of water recommended by the manufacturer, and use the “brown rice” cycle. I have perfect brown rice in about an hour.  

If you prefer to cook on the stovetop, use a large pot with plenty of room for the rice to boil. Ensure you have a tight-fitting lid on your pot the whole time your rice cooks. 

Add Enough Water

If you constantly end up with hard brown rice, soak your rice for 15 minutes before you cook it. Soaking helps the rice grains absorb moisture and soften before they cook. 

Then, add twice the amount of water you usually add. If there’s extra water in your pot after your rice is done, simply strain your rice. Then, return it to your pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve!

If you use a rice cooker, soak your rice before cooking, but add the amount of water recommended by the manufacturer. If you add too much water, your cooker may boil over. 

Raw brown rice in a ccoking pot with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

Cook For A Longer Time

Brown rice takes about twice as long to cook as white rice. If you cook on the stovetop, brown rice takes about 50 minutes. If you use a rice cooker, brown rice takes between 50 and 60 minutes. 

Cooked brown rice in a rice cooker with plastic ladle with a logo of fooducopia in the lower right side of the image.

How Do You Soften Brown Rice?

To soften hard brown rice, try these methods:

  1. Stir in water or broth after cooking. I add broth if I need to add liquid to my brown rice after it cooks. Broth adds moisture and flavor but doesn’t make it watery. I pour in a few tablespoons of broth and stir my rice until I like the consistency.
  2. Add half or a whole cup of water and return your rice to boiling. Let your rice cook for about 15 more minutes, and then check the consistency. 

How Can You Tell If Brown Rice Is Overcooked?

Sometimes, brown rice may be tough and overcooked. If your brown rice is overcooked, it will be:

  • Crunchy: your rice may be very overcooked and slightly burnt. 
  • Mushy: medium and short-grain rice gets mushy and sticky when overcooked.

2 Easy Ways To Fix Overcooked Rice

Your rice may also stick to the pot. If your rice sticks:

  1. Scrape out as much rice as possible. Most of the rice may still be edible. 
  2. Use a stiff plastic spatula to scrape the bottom of your pot. 
  3. If rice grains remain stuck, add a tablespoon of oil and place your pot on a burner set on low heat. 
  4. Scrape the bottom as the pot gently heats. 

Your rice may stick together. If your rice grains clump:

  1. Pour the rice grains into a strainer and rinse to remove excess starch. Starch causes the rice grains to stick together. 
  2. Preheat your oven to 350° and spread your rice on a baking tray. 
  3. Bake your rice for about 10 minutes to dry it out. 
  4. Serve as normal.

How To Cook Brown Rice

The perfect pot of brown rice begins by rinsing or soaking your rice. I used to skip this step, and my rice would always boil over. I found it frustrating and rarely cooked rice. 

Now, I know better. I always rinse or soak my rice before I cook it. If you aren’t used to rinsing your rice, try it next time you cook!

Rinse Or Soak

Measure your rice and rinse until the water runs clear. Then, soak your rice in water for about 15 minutes. Soaking is optional, but you should always rinse. 


Get out your largest pot or set up your rice cooker. The usual water-to-brown rice ratio is 2:1. So you’ll need two cups of water to cook one cup of rice. If you have problems with hard brown rice, increase the water by a half cup. 

Plan to let your rice boil for about 50 minutes. Then, open the lid and check the consistency of your rice. Let it cook for ten more minutes if it’s still hard. If your rice has absorbed all the water, add another half cup before cooking. 


Once your rice is done, turn off the burner and set your pot to the side. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes with the lid on. Then, fluff your rice with a fork and serve.

Final Thoughts

Brown rice is firmer than white rice after cooking. To cook brown rice, add plenty of water and cook for at least 50 minutes. If your brown rice is still too hard, add more water and cook it for ten minutes. 

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