Pile of Brown rice with a wooden spoon

Cooking brown rice in a slow cooker depends on the type of slow-cooked dish you are making and the characteristics of your slow cooker.

Crock pot brown rice is a great way to make brown rice in large batches, but it's important to know how to prep and store it since it's so different from white rice. Brown rice still has its outer hull (which is what gives the grain its namesake color), a nutty flavor, and a chewy texture. Because of this hull, cooking brown rice often requires more water and soaking time than white rice. The process of slow cooking your brown rice requires a little bit of mindfulness in your prep.

How to cook brown rice in your slow cooker

To cook only brown rice in a slow cooker, you have two options:

  • Cook on a high setting
  • Cook with a rice or brown rice function

To cook brown rice without a dedicated brown rice function, set the slow cooker to high and then add the required amount of water.

The amount of water needed for dry brown rice is:

  • 1 cup rice to 2 cups water
  • 2 cups rice to 3 2/3 cups water
  • 3 cups rice to 4 3/4 cups water

Less water is needed when cooking brown rice in a slow cooker because of the long cooking time needed for a slow cooker. It can take anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 3/4 hours. To cook brown rice in your slow cooker overnight, just put the setting on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.

Lightly use butter and salt

Rub your slow cooker with a tablespoon of butter and a dash of salt to prevent the rice from sticking to the cooker. You can also add 1 to 3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil to the rice for seasoning.

Liquid with rice and other foods

No more slow cooker rice mush! Here's how to determine the right amount of liquid to use when slow cooking a rice and meal combo.

If you're planning to add your crock pot brown rice to a stew, chili, or soup, a soupy texture is actually better. To cook brown rice with other foods, you don't need to worry as much about adding too much water. In general, add your brown rice to the rest of your meal that's cooking in your crock pot:

  • 2 hours before your dish is finished if cooking on a high setting
  • 2 3/4 hours before your dish is finished if cooking on a low setting

In all cases, add a minimum of 2 more cups of liquid for the brown rice to absorb during cooking.

How to store your cooked crock pot rice

If you made your crock pot brown rice in large batches, you can save some of it for later by putting the leftover rice in the fridge or if you're planning to store it for a longer period of time, your freezer.

The best way to do this is to cool your leftover rice first. To cool down the rice, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Take it out of the fridge and transfer the cooled rice into an airtight storage container or a Ziploc plastic bag. Remember to remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it. Store your crock pot rice in the refrigerator. When you reheat the rice, sprinkle a teaspoon of water over the top to loosen the grains and then reheat in the microwave on medium power until the rice is hot, stirring as needed.

To store your leftover rice in the freezer, first transfer the cooled, cooked rice into a Ziploc freezer bag. Press the bag to remove air before sealing and store it flat in the freezer.

Enjoy your crock pot brown rice—it's a highly nutritious way to kick off your slow-cooked meal prep!