Cook a mixture of brown and white rice in the same pot

Brown rice I'm doing my best to eliminate refined grains from our diet. We've been eating whole wheat bread all along, but I'm now placing pasta, rice, and breakfast cereals under the whole-grain umbrella. It's gone pretty smoothly…except for the rice. My kids do not like brown rice, and what has always been a reliable dinner staple has turned into a source of contention.

My stopgap solution: a mixture of half brown, half white rice. The addition of white rice lightens the whole dish enough that my kids eat it with minimal complaint. Problem: the hassle factor. Because brown rice cooks for so much longer than white, I would have to cook two separate pots then mix the cooked rice together. Pain.

But pain inspires a hack! I decided to ignore the "never lift the lid on a pot of rice" rule, and started the brown rice with twice the amount of water, then, 25 minutes in, added the white rice, stirred, then cooked the mixture for 20 minutes more. It worked! Both were perfectly cooked, lightning didn't strike my house when I lifted the pot lid, and I got my brown/white rice mixture with one pot to clean and no messy mixing.

The mixture worked best with brown and white basmati rice, but I'm sure you could do as well with brown and white long grain rice. Mixing short- and long-grain rice probably won't turn out as well.

Just to be clear, here's my "recipe:"


1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup white basmati rice
2 cups water
pat of butter (optional)

Bring water to a boil. Add salt to taste (and, if you like, butter) and brown rice. Stir, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add white rice, stir. If necessary, turn heat up just long enough to bring the mixture back to a boil, then turn down again to simmer for another 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.


  1. Liz Busby says

    Easier hack: buy a rice cooker. I put in 1:1 or 1:2 brown to white rice and cook as normal. Takes about 45 minutes and cooks both perfectly. Plus a great hassle- and space-saver in the kitchen.

  2. Lisa says

    I understand how adding a unitasker device like a rice cooker is a space-saver.

    Regardless, what I was thinking is that you can slowwwly shift the ratio until you get all the way to brown rice without them ever realizing. :-)

  3. Lisa says

    I don’t understand how adding a uni-tasker like a rice cooker is saving any space. Doesn’t it just take up more space?

    Regardless, great idea on the mixing. I bet you can slowly shift the proportions without them realizing, until you get to 100% brown rice.

  4. says

    Liz: SO many people love their rice cookers. I have a small kitchen with very little cabinet and counter space, so I hesitate, but…

    Lisa: That’s my plan! Gradually increase the proportion of brown!

    All: Anyone have a favorite rice cooker brand? Other ways to use it so it’s not a unitasker?

  5. says

    I bought one from Tupperware that I do not really recommend. My rice has not come out well yet. However, I had one before that was a wedding gift that worked wonderfully and could also be used for cooking pasta and steaming vegetables. It is from Progressive International Corp. and I am pretty sure it came from KMart or someplace similar. Also, it goes in the microwave, as opposed to the one my parents have that plugs in. It is completely dishwasher safe and doesn’t take up that much space in the cabinet.

  6. Becky C. says

    Oh, Asha, you gave away my secret! I have been increasing the brown rice proportion so as not to shock the delicate sensibilities of my adult and child picky eaters. I have also gone all maverick and added up to 1/4 the total quantity of grain as quinoa! Works like a charm in the rice cooker, no tricky timing needed. I am a distracted chef, to say the least, so the rice cooker has saved me from burned rice and boil overs many times.
    My philosophy on rice cookers is that the cheaper, the better. The Rival ones from the mega discount retailers work great, and if you decide that you really don’t need it, not a huge investment. And I do use the veggie steamer insert on top as well sometimes for smaller cuts of veggies.
    Glad you’re back, Asha!

  7. Natalie says

    Great idea – I can’t wait to try this! I have a bag of brown rice sitting around getting lonely, I know my family will go for this!
    Also, rice freezes well, so another idea would be to make double of your brown/white rice mix and freeze the leftovers in a zip-loc for another meal.

  8. Janice says

    We have a Zojirushi rice cooker and I love it. Expensive for a rice cooker, but came highly recommended (from a pacific islander friend who eats rice every day) and was a wedding gift. Ours is programmable, so it could be set to start the rice just before you get home from work, if needed.

    I don’t see how it could be considered a space saver, but it is a time and effort saver. Mine takes a little longer to cook the rice, but it’s always perfect and hot. Fill it, turn it on, and forget about it until you need to serve. We use it a couple of days a week, so it’s worth the extra object cost to us in our city kitchen.

    We’ve used it with rice mix and there are recipes and whole cookbooks out there for cooking in your rice cooker – apparently, if you get the non-intelligent fuzzy logic version, you can use it as a steamer? Only got through the first review of this book, but it looks promising.

  9. polymathamy says

    I use a cheap rice cooker from Target that came with a steaming basket on top. I can cook the starch portion of the meal (rice, potatoes, oatmeal…) on the bottom and steam the side dish (broccoli, asparagus, carrots, green beans…) on the top. So easy!!!

  10. Melane says

    Trash the rice cooker and use the Alton Brown Baked brown rice recipe. It is sooooo yummy! We were die-hard rice cooker fans until this recipe and now I don’t even like white rice anymore.

  11. says

    Brilliant! Why didn’t I think about this before?? I’ve been doing the pasta combo thing for years now (half whole wheat half regular pasta) using the same method, but it never occurred to me to do the same with rice. Thanks!!

  12. Heather says

    Another thought: I’ve been trying brown _jasmine_ rice from trader joe’s. It has a much more delicate flavor than brown rice, but still has the bran and the germ. Another good “transitonal” rice!

  13. Ginger says

    We used to be a white rice family, and the transition was met with complaints from the kids (we went cold turkey.) But I’m happy to say they now eat brown rice just as readily as they used to eat white. It’s just one of those things they get used to after a while. Good luck!

  14. Jenn says

    Forgive me, I’m not including a link, but I know I recently saw a combination rice cooker, pressure cooker and slow cooker. Perhaps on Amazon?

  15. chris says

    We were able to transition to brown rice very easily by using the boil bags of brown rice. It’s still processed and I’m sure not as good for you as real rice but the kids didn’t notice the difference. Hubby griped a bit but got over it. We had that for probably about a year before going to real brown rice. I make it in the rice cooker. It takes too much attention on the stove and the starchy boil-overs aren’t any fun to clean. Our first real brown rice meal, hubby ate without complaint and the kids said it looked funny but they ate it anyway.

  16. Make the most of your small appliance says

    Rice cookers are just not meant for cooking rice, u can steam vegetables, dumplings,etc., cook lentils, beans, etc. and i also use it to make boiled eggs. With a little experimenting it can be used to boil or steam anything. I have not tried poaching in it, but do not see why it wouldn’t work.

  17. Liz Busby says

    Yes, rice cookers are pretty much a faster crock pot–although not so great for doing meat. You can cook lots of meals in the rice cooker.

    I actually was thinking of saving space on the stove-top. I’m always running out of burners and having spoons hitting each other, so moving this process to another counter far away is great.

    Also good for summer cooking–much less hot than boiling water for 20-40 minutes. You can start it at any time and it keeps the rice fresh and warm for hours.

  18. genie says

    Luckily, I switched over to whole grains years before my kid was born. The only time she has ever had refined grains was when we were not eating at home. She just doesn’t know any better, so eats it all. Of course, she’s only 2. After a while, I got so that I actually prefer whole grain everything to processed – it actually has a taste. Plus, I physically feel better after eating it, takes longer to digest I guess. I used to have a great rice cooker, the one by Zoruji or however you spell it, loved it, but after years of service, it finally gave up. I prefer these to plastic microwaves ones – cooking anything in plastic is NOT healthy, even a whole grain rice.

  19. says

    I’ve been regretting giving them white rice in the first place. My kids won’t eat brown rice. Now I’ll try your half/half idea and see how that works.

  20. lisa says

    You can also try the frozen rice from Trader Joe’s – brown, white, jasmine. Takes 3 minutes in the microwave and turns out just great. I just don’t have the time to cook rice – rice cooker or not.

  21. Natalie says

    The kidlet won’t eat brown rice, so I’ll definitely have to try this hack!

    I’ve been adding pearl barley to our brown basmati rice, and husband has not noticed. I had a lot left over from a soup recipe that was yummy but too complicated to be in the regular meal rotation, and noticed the cooking time was about the same. You can’t see it unless you really look for it, and I like to think it makes the brown rice better for you.

  22. Yevgeniya says

    I found short grain brown rice at the local Asian market. Easy to make in a very cheap rice cooker, and nobody can tell the difference. My parents and my kids are eating it without complaining.

  23. says

    Yes another choice to ease them away from white rice: Mix in some —quinoa—! It’s high in protein, tastes great, and cooks pretty quickly, so you can add it to your white rice pot late in the game.

  24. says

    Here’s my “must haves”:

    1) microwave with a “rice” button. (Really. That’s the one requirement my husband had for the new microwave)
    2) Texmati “light brown” rice. I don’t know if you can find this outside of Texas, but it’s rice that has only half of it’s bran/hull/whatever you call it polished off.

    The *wonderful* thing about it is that it cooks as fast as white rice — in other words, you throw it in the microwave, hit the button, and ~20 minutes later you have rice with less fiber than brown rice, but more than white.

    I’ve also discovered you can cook quinoa in the microwave with the rice button. That was a major discovery!

  25. MB says

    For those who say a rice cooker is a unitasker obviously haven’t lived in a dorm room/small apartment. Think about it, a device that boils, and steams. Here’s a few things I’ve made with my rice cooker: oat meal, pasta, sauteed sausage, eggs and rice. Rice pilaf, boiled water for tea, hot chocolate etc. You can also make cakes, cheesecakes, fondue, some people cook chili, stews, soups, shrimp scampi, steamed veggies. Here you go a little inspiration:

    hope it helps