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How To Steam Brown Rice In A Steamer How To Steam Brown Rice In A Steamer


How To Steam Brown Rice In A Steamer

Written by: James Anderson

Learn how to steam brown rice using a steamer in this informative article. Discover the perfect technique for cooking healthy and delicious brown rice.

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Steaming brown rice is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy this nutritious grain. Unlike white rice, brown rice retains its outer bran layer, making it higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Steaming is a gentle cooking method that preserves the integrity of the rice and enhances its natural flavors.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of steaming brown rice and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to steam it perfectly using a steamer. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this article will help you master the art of steaming brown rice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Steaming brown rice preserves its nutrients, enhances its flavor, and offers health benefits like improved digestion and controlled blood sugar levels. Follow simple steps to steam perfect, fluffy brown rice for a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal.
  • Elevate the flavor of steamed brown rice by adding optional ingredients like herbs, spices, coconut milk, or roasted nuts. Pair it with your favorite dishes and enjoy the versatile, nutrient-rich, and satisfying goodness of perfectly steamed brown rice.

Benefits of Steaming Brown Rice

Steaming brown rice offers a host of benefits compared to other cooking methods. Here are some key reasons why you should consider steaming your brown rice:

  1. Nutritional Value: Steaming brown rice helps retain its natural nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Unlike other cooking methods that involve boiling, which can cause nutrient loss, steaming preserves the nutritional value of the rice.
  2. Fiber-Rich: Brown rice is already higher in fiber compared to white rice, and steaming it helps maintain its fiber content. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system, aids in weight management, and helps lower the risk of various diseases.
  3. Improved Digestion: The gentle steaming process breaks down the complex carbohydrates present in brown rice, making it easier to digest. This can be beneficial for individuals with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
  4. Low Calorie and Fat Content: Steamed brown rice is a low-calorie and low-fat alternative to other starches like potatoes or pasta. It is a suitable option for those watching their calorie intake or trying to maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Controlled Blood Sugar Levels: Steamed brown rice has a lower glycemic index compared to refined grains, meaning it has a lesser impact on blood sugar levels. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals with diabetes or those looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  6. Enhanced Flavor and Texture: Steaming maintains the natural flavors and textures of brown rice, resulting in a nutty, chewy, and aromatic outcome. It offers a more enjoyable eating experience compared to other cooking methods that might result in mushy or sticky rice.

With its numerous health benefits and delicious taste, it’s no wonder that steaming brown rice is gaining popularity in kitchens worldwide.

Preparing the Steamer

Before you start steaming your brown rice, it’s essential to properly prepare your steamer. Follow these steps to ensure your steamer is ready to go:

  1. Clean the Steamer: Ensure that your steamer is clean and free from any debris or residue. Wash the steamer thoroughly with warm soapy water and rinse it well before using it.
  2. Add Water to the Steamer: Fill the water reservoir of your steamer with the appropriate amount of water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will vary depending on the size and type of steamer you are using.
  3. Preheat the Steamer: Heat up your steamer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Preheating is essential to create the steam required for cooking the brown rice. Make sure to allow enough time for the steamer to reach the desired temperature.
  4. Prepare the Steaming Basket: If your steamer has a removable steaming basket or tray, place it inside the steamer and ensure it is secure. The steaming basket will hold the brown rice during the steaming process.
  5. Check for Proper Fit: Ensure that the steaming basket fits properly in the steamer and allows enough space for the steam to circulate around the rice. This will ensure even cooking and prevent any grains from falling through the basket.

By properly preparing your steamer, you’ll ensure optimal cooking conditions for your brown rice and achieve the best results.

Washing the Brown Rice

Washing brown rice is an important step to remove any excess starch and impurities. Follow these steps to wash your brown rice before steaming:

  1. Measure the Rice: Start by measuring the desired amount of brown rice you wish to cook. A typical serving size is around ½ cup of uncooked brown rice, which will yield around 1 cup of cooked rice.
  2. Rinse the Rice: Place the measured rice in a fine-mesh sieve or colander. Rinse the rice under cold running water, gently stirring it with your fingers. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.
  3. Soak the Rice (Optional): Some people prefer to soak the brown rice for a few hours before cooking. While not necessary, soaking can help to reduce cooking time and improve the overall texture of the rice. If you choose to soak, place the rinsed rice in a bowl and cover it with cold water. Let it sit for 2-4 hours, then drain before steaming.
  4. Drain the Rice: After rinsing or soaking, drain the excess water from the rice. Make sure to shake the sieve or colander gently to remove any trapped water.

Washing the brown rice removes any dust, debris, or excess starch that could affect its texture or taste. Taking the time to wash your rice will result in a clean and flavorful final product.

Measuring the Rice and Water Ratio

Getting the rice-to-water ratio right is crucial for perfectly steamed brown rice. Follow these guidelines to ensure you achieve the correct ratio:

  1. Measure the Brown Rice: Determine the amount of brown rice you want to cook. For every 1 cup of uncooked brown rice, you will generally need about 2 cups of water. Adjust the quantities according to your desired serving size.
  2. Use a Measuring Cup: It’s important to use a proper measuring cup to ensure accuracy. A standard measuring cup with markings for both dry and liquid ingredients is ideal.
  3. Water-to-Rice Ratio: As a general rule of thumb, the water-to-rice ratio for steaming brown rice is 2:1. This means that for every cup of brown rice, you will need 2 cups of water.
  4. Adjust for Soaked Rice: If you soaked the brown rice before steaming, reduce the amount of water slightly. Aim for a ratio of 1¾ cups of water for every cup of soaked brown rice.
  5. Ratio Modification: Depending on your desired texture, you can adjust the water-to-rice ratio. For softer and more tender brown rice, you can increase the water slightly (e.g., 2¼ cups of water per cup of rice). For firmer rice, you can reduce the water (e.g., 1¾ cups of water per cup of rice).

Remember to adjust the water amount based on any modifications to the rice quantity.

By following the appropriate rice-to-water ratio, you’ll ensure that your brown rice cooks evenly and retains its ideal texture and moisture levels.

Add a splash of olive oil or a pinch of salt to the brown rice before steaming to enhance the flavor.

Adding Flavors (Optional)

While steamed brown rice is delicious on its own, you can elevate its flavor by adding some optional additional ingredients. Here are a few flavorful options to consider:

  1. Herbs and Spices: To enhance the aroma and taste of your brown rice, consider adding herbs and spices. Common options include bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, or turmeric. You can add them directly to the rice before steaming.
  2. Broth or Stock: Instead of using plain water, you can cook your brown rice in vegetable, chicken, or beef broth for added depth of flavor. Simply replace a portion of the water with your preferred broth or stock.
  3. Coconut Milk: For a rich and creamy twist, you can substitute some of the water with coconut milk. This will infuse your brown rice with a pleasant coconut flavor that pairs well with many cuisines.
  4. Garlic and Onion: Sauteed garlic and onion can add a savory kick to your steamed brown rice. You can lightly cook them in a separate pan before combining them with the rice for steaming.
  5. Soy Sauce or Tamari: To give your brown rice a touch of umami and a slightly salty flavor, you can drizzle soy sauce or tamari over the steamed rice before serving. Be sure to taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
  6. Roasted Nuts or Seeds: For added texture and a nutty flavor, you can sprinkle some roasted nuts or seeds, such as almonds, cashews, or sesame seeds, over the steamed brown rice. This will provide a satisfying crunch and additional nutritional benefits.

Feel free to experiment with different flavors and combinations to find the ones that suit your taste buds. Adding these optional ingredients will take your steamed brown rice to the next level of culinary delight!

Steaming the Brown Rice

Now that you have prepared the steamer, washed the brown rice, and determined the rice-to-water ratio, it’s time to start steaming. Follow these steps to steam your brown rice to perfection:

  1. Add Water to the Steamer: Start by ensuring that there is enough water in the steamer’s reservoir. The water should be at a level that will generate sufficient steam throughout the cooking process.
  2. Transfer the Rice to the Steamer Basket: Gently transfer the washed and drained brown rice to the steaming basket, ensuring an even layer and avoiding any clumps.
  3. Place the Steaming Basket in the Steamer: Carefully place the steaming basket with the rice inside the preheated steamer. Make sure the basket is securely placed and that there is enough space for the steam to circulate around the rice.
  4. Cover the Steamer: Close the steamer with a tight-fitting lid to trap the steam inside. This will allow the rice to cook evenly and retain moisture for optimal texture.
  5. Start the Steaming Process: Turn on the steamer and set the timer according to the recommended cooking time for brown rice. The typical steaming time for brown rice ranges from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the specific variety and desired firmness.
  6. Resist the Temptation to Open: While the rice is steaming, resist the urge to open the steamer and check on the rice. Opening the steamer can release the steam and affect the cooking process. Trust the steaming method and let it work its magic.

During the steaming process, the rice will absorb the steam and cook gently, resulting in fluffy and tender grains. The exact cooking time may vary, so it’s important to consult the package instructions or recipes for specific guidelines.

Now that your brown rice is steaming away, you can prepare accompanying dishes or make the final touches to your meal in anticipation of its delicious completion.

Checking for Doneness

Checking for doneness is a crucial step to ensure that your steamed brown rice is cooked to perfection. Here are a few methods to determine if your rice is done:

  1. Visual Inspection: Take a peek through the steamer’s lid to visually assess the rice. The grains should be plump, separate, and tender. Avoid stirring or disturbing the rice during this process.
  2. Texture Test: Use a fork or spoon to gently fluff the rice. The grains should be soft and easily separate from one another. If you notice any hard or uncooked grains, close the lid and continue steaming for a few more minutes.
  3. Taste Test: Take a small portion of the steamed rice and let it cool slightly. Taste it to check for doneness. The rice should be fully cooked, with a slightly chewy texture. If there is any rawness or hardness, continue steaming for additional time.
  4. Internal Temperature: If you have a food thermometer, you can use it to check the internal temperature of the rice. It should register around 200°F (93°C) when fully cooked.

Remember that steamed brown rice will have a slightly chewier texture compared to white rice. If you prefer a softer texture, you can steam the rice for a little longer. It’s better to slightly overcook the rice than to undercook it.

Once you’re satisfied with the doneness of the rice, it’s time to remove it from the steamer and get ready to enjoy a delicious meal.

Serving and Enjoying the Steamed Brown Rice

Now that your steamed brown rice is perfectly cooked, it’s time to serve and enjoy it. Follow these steps to serve your steamed brown rice:

  1. Fluff the Rice: To ensure that the grains are light and separate, use a fork to gently fluff the rice. This will prevent it from clumping together and allow for even distribution of flavors.
  2. Transfer to Serving Dish: Carefully transfer the steamed brown rice from the steamer basket to a serving dish. Use a spoon or spatula to ensure that all the rice is evenly distributed.
  3. Garnish (Optional): If desired, you can garnish the steamed brown rice with some fresh herbs, such as chopped cilantro, parsley, or green onions. This adds a pop of color and freshness.
  4. Pair with Your Favorite Dishes: Steamed brown rice is incredibly versatile and can be paired with a wide range of dishes. It complements stir-fries, curries, roasted vegetables, grilled meats, and more. Consider incorporating it into your favorite recipes or enjoying it as a side dish.
  5. Customize with Condiments: Enhance the flavor of your steamed brown rice by adding condiments such as soy sauce, tamari, hot sauce, or sesame oil. These additions can elevate the taste and provide a unique twist.
  6. Enjoy! Sit down, relax, and savor the deliciousness of your homemade steamed brown rice. Enjoy the nutty flavor, tender texture, and nutritious goodness that it offers.

Steamed brown rice is not only a healthy and wholesome option, but it also provides a wonderful base for a variety of meals. Share it with family and friends or savor it as a comforting solo dish.

Remember to store any leftover rice properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be reheated and enjoyed for up to 3-4 days.

Now, sit back, take a bite, and revel in the satisfaction of a job well done in steaming the perfect batch of brown rice.


Steaming brown rice is not only a healthy cooking method but also an excellent way to preserve its nutritional value and bring out its natural flavors. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily steam brown rice to perfection and enjoy its numerous benefits.

We discussed the benefits of steaming brown rice, including its higher fiber content, improved digestion, controlled blood sugar levels, and enhanced flavor and texture. Steaming retains the nutrient integrity of the rice and results in a delicious, fluffy, and nutrient-rich final product.

Properly preparing the steamer, washing the brown rice, measuring the right rice-to-water ratio, and adding optional flavors can elevate the taste and overall experience. Checking for doneness through visual inspection, texture testing, or even using a food thermometer ensures that your brown rice is cooked to perfection. Once the steamed brown rice is ready, you can fluff it, transfer to a serving dish, and enjoy it alongside your favorite dishes.

Remember to get creative with garnishes, condiments, and pairings to add your personal touch and explore different flavor combinations. Steamed brown rice is a versatile and nutritious staple that can complement a variety of cuisines and dishes.

So, the next time you’re looking for a healthy and satisfying grain option, try steaming brown rice. With its nutritional benefits, delicious taste, and ease of preparation, it’s a fantastic addition to any meal.

Now, go ahead, steam some brown rice, and savor the goodness it brings to your table!

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Steam Brown Rice In A Steamer

Can I use a regular steamer to cook brown rice?

Yes, you can use a regular steamer to cook brown rice. Just follow the same steps as you would for white rice, but keep in mind that brown rice may take a little longer to cook.
What is the ideal water-to-rice ratio for steaming brown rice?

The ideal water-to-rice ratio for steaming brown rice is 2 1/2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. This will ensure that the rice cooks evenly and doesn’t become too mushy or too dry.
How long does it take to steam brown rice?

It typically takes about 45-50 minutes to steam brown rice. This longer cooking time is due to the outer bran layer of the rice, which takes more time to soften compared to white rice.
Can I add flavorings or seasonings to the brown rice while steaming?

Yes, you can add flavorings or seasonings to the brown rice while steaming. Consider adding a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, or even some herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of the rice.
What are some tips for achieving perfectly steamed brown rice?

To achieve perfectly steamed brown rice, make sure to rinse the rice thoroughly before steaming to remove excess starch. Also, avoid lifting the lid of the steamer while the rice is cooking, as this can disrupt the steaming process and result in unevenly cooked rice.

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