Gettin’ Fluffy with the 7 Best Brown Rices

There are many different types of brown rice, each with its own unique flavors and textures, but the overall aesthetic is a chewy texture and a nutty, earthy flavor. Brown rice is often used in place of white rice because it’s thought to be healthier. It has more fiber, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Plus, fiber-rich foods tend to make you feel fuller. That said, I love to throw caution to the wind and use some leftover brown rice to make an utterly indulgent Thai fried rice with eggs and pork belly. Brown rice can be whatever you want it to be, and for that reason, we love it.

For this taste test, I cooked these all according to the specified package directions–I was in Mythical’s kitchen for a long, long time. Most packages suggested soaking the rice first before simmering it in a lidded pot. Some were microwaved, or suggested adding a pinch of salt; some even suggested adding broth (which I did not have). The most important criteria for brown rice is taste and texture. The texture should be chewy yet firm, and the taste should be natural, grassy, and nutty. Brown rice, while not as decadent as starchy white rice, should still have a similar flavor profile. Of all the brands of brown rice we tried, these seven were our favorites.

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best brown rice

Best of the Best

Seeds of Change Organic Brown Basmati Rice

Between its convenience and its taste, this brown rice is a no-brainer for our top pick. This deliciously buttery, earthy, and nutty rice only asks that you microwave it for 90 seconds. Ninety seconds! The sheer simplicity of this excellent product is the reason it’s number one. A lot of microwavable rice has a mushy texture and a bland taste, but not Seeds of Change. Each grain feels like it’s coated in deliciously fatty oil, which makes it quite addicting. This is a real win for microwavable rice. 

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best brown rice

Best Bagged Rice

Sukoyaka Genmai Brown Rice

This is my personal favorite on the list. I’ve never had Japanese Genmai rice before, and it completely blew me away. Genmai rice has the sweet, fluffy taste and texture of white rice but with the buttery, earthy notes of brown rice. It’s an amalgamation of all the best parts of both kinds of rice. Sukoyaka is noticeably starchier than the other brown rice we tried. After I soaked it, as I did with all the bagged rice on this list per the cooking instructions, it produced the cloudiest water by far. Mark Catangui, our social media manager, commented that this was almost like sushi rice, and I agree. This would make an excellent yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls), and searing it on a hot pan would deepen the nutty flavor even more. Sukoyaka is just super starchy, sweet, earthy, nutty, and delicious. It’s my new favorite rice. I’m so excited to explore all the possibilities with it at home.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best brown rice

Best Short Grain

Lundberg Short Grain Brown Rice

The quality of Lundberg is really great in general, and I like their short grain brown rice the most. The texture is toothsome, but also quite soft, and the taste is fresh and clean. It has the notably grassy, nutty flavor we expect from brown rice, although maybe not as much as a true basmati rice. This rice would be great as a side, or you could make it a whole meal as a rice bowl. Plus, it’s high in fiber and magnesium if you’re lacking those things. Short grain rice also tends to be a tad starchier and sweeter, so if you like your brown rice to feel more like a white rice, you’ll dig Lundberg’s short grain.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best brown rice

Best Basmati

Lundberg Brown Basmati

This has a really lovely taste and texture. There’s such a delightfully clean and natural taste to this rice that it almost feels like it’s been cooked with herbs. On the whole, basmati rice is quite floral and aromatic, and Lundberg Brown Basmati stays true to that aesthetic. This would make a really tasty rice pilaf or an Indian curry. Add protein and spice to this rice and it will only enhance the final product even more, although I’m in love with its natural taste.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best brown rice

Best for Fried Rice

Dynasty Brown Jasmine Rice

Dynasty Brown Jasmine Rice has a pleasantly plain flavor; it’s a blank slate which may inspire you to add a plethora of ingredients. Naturally, this being a Thai product, I am thinking about fried rice. Cooking this rice and frying it in a wok or hot-as-hell saute pan with some eggs and scallions would be a baller move. Really, this rice makes me want to add some fat—like eggs and oil, or some deliciously fatty chicken thighs. Or, go nuts and cook this with some bone broth. The world is yours, friend.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best brown rice

Best Chewy Texture

Nishiki Brown Rice

This rice is starchy like a white rice, which gives it a pleasant chewiness. Nishiki rice comes out fluffy but not sticky when cooked, so don’t try to use it for sushi. Still, this rice is super nutty and has a delightfully chewy texture, almost like faro. I had to soak it for 30 minutes before cooking, but it was well worth it. This would be great for any kind of grain bowl, fried rice, side dishes, or protein-and-vegetable combo plates. While I was holed up in Mythical’s kitchen preparing for this tasting, several staff members walked by and said they buy this rice. It’s apparently quite popular.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best brown rice

Best Earthy Flavor

Bombay Market Brown Basmati Rice

The flavor, aroma, and texture here is deliciously consistent with most basmati rice, only better. There’s this really delightful, clean, almost grassy aftertaste that feels like you’re eating something healthy and delicious. Whatever process they use to harvest this rice, I get the sense that it’s free of pesticides, chemicals, and other questionable additives. Earthy is the dominant flavor here, and it just feels like I’m eating something natural. I took this one (along with the Sukoyaka Genmai rice) home with me. Sometimes, you just want clean and simple flavors.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Ben’s Original Instant, Taj Brown Basmati, Minute Brown Rice, Rice Select Organic Brown Texmati, Lundberg Long Grain, Great Value Long Grain, Mahatma Jasmine Brown, Whole Foods Brown.

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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