How To Make Brown Rice in the Slow Cooker

updated May 1, 2019
How To Make Brown Rice in the Slow Cooker

Need a set-it-and-forget-it method for meal prepping rice while your oven is busy? Here's how to cook brown rice in the slow cooker.

Serves8

Makesabout 12 cups

Prep7 minutes

Cook2 hours to 3 hours

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Hearty whole grains are a secret staple for meal prepping — you can toss them into salads, stir them into soups, or use them as a base for savory dinner bowls. Brown rice is one of our favorites for its low price and versatility. Many of us have a favorite method for cooking brown rice (mine’s the oven), but trust me — cooking it in the slow cooker is revolutionary for meal prep.

Here’s why we love it: This set-it-and-forget-it method can be started before you begin your meal prep and finishes just as you’re washing the dishes. It’s also very forgiving, and bakes up tender, buttery, and perfectly cooked — without any fuss. Ready to add brown rice to your meal prep routine? Here’s exactly how to do it.

Perfect Brown Rice from the Slow Cooker

Every method for cooking brown rice has a time and place. Need just a little bit of rice quickly? Cook it on the stovetop. Want a hands-off method for just a few cups? Try baking it. But when you want a large batch of perfectly cooked brown rice, the slow cooker really is your best friend. Because of its shape and size, it can cook up to four cups perfectly without any mushy middle or undercooked edges.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Another reason we love this method is that the timing works perfectly for Sunday meal prep and yields enough rice to be eaten throughout the week or frozen for future enjoyment.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

3 Steps for Perfect Slow Cooker Brown Rice

  • Use a large, wide slow cooker. As much as I love my smaller slow cooker and my Instant Pot, you don’t want to use either for this recipe. You need a six-quart or larger slow cooker that allows proper absorption and evaporation. One with an oval or oblong crock is best.
  • Boil the water to jumpstart cooking. You’ll need to bring the water to a boil before adding it to the slow cooker. Starting the rice in cool water will cause it to cook up gummy.
  • Cover the rice with parchment as it cooks. The key to perfectly cooked brown rice in the slow cooker is ensuring that the water evaporates slowly over the 2- to 2 1/2-hour cook time. Adding a layer of parchment paper directly over the water and rice mixture slows evaporation and makes sure every single grain is perfectly cooked.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Storing and Serving Slow Cooker Brown Rice

If you plan to eat your rice right away, add a little butter, taste, and season. If you’re storing it, quickly transfer the rice to containers (or freezer bags) to prevent it from overcooking (don’t let it sit in the slow cooker). Store cooked brown rice in the fridge for up five days or frozen for up to three months.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How To Make Brown Rice in the Slow Cooker

Need a set-it-and-forget-it method for meal prepping rice while your oven is busy? Here's how to cook brown rice in the slow cooker.

Prep time 7 minutes

Cook time 2 hours to 3 hours

Makes about 12 cups

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 5 cups

    water

  • 4 cups

    long-grain brown rice

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • 6-quart or larger slow cooker

  • Parchment paper

  • Kettle or saucepan

Instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan or electric kettle. Meanwhile, rinse the rice.

  2. Rinse the rice. Rinse the rice under cool running water.

  3. Combine the rice and salt in the slow cooker. Place the rice in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the salt and stir to combine.

  4. Add the water, cover with parchment, and cook on HIGH. Pour the boiling water over the rice. Place a sheet of parchment paper directly on the rice and water so that the paper is touching the water. Cover and cook until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours on the HIGH setting.

  5. Add the butter and fluff with a fork before serving. Add the butter and fluff the rice with a large fork before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)