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How to Cook Black Rice

How to Cook Black Rice

Last Updated on 22nd December 2021 by

Black rice might look strange and different but it tastes great. This whole grain rice goes by a few different names I found as I started to research it. This isn’t a very common kind of rice, and it may be called forbidden rice, Chinese black rice, or purple rice. It changes colour as you cook it too, from its natural black state to purple, so it’s a great way to add some colour to your dishes.

I love the different look you get with this rice, and it is something I reserve for special occasions. I don’t think I would use black rice as a substitute for brown or white rice in most dishes, but I like how it offers something different and really stands out.

What kind of dishes do you use black rice in? Well, this is a chewy, thick rice that has a bit of a nutty taste to it, similar to brown rice, I think. It can also be a bit sticky, if you cook it a certain way. So, I use it in many of the same dishes that I would use brown rice or wild rice for. That would be rice soup, burritos, and pilaf. It also works on its own as a side dish.

This distinctive taste of this food means that you can’t just use it as you would any other rice and expect the same flavour and texture. You have to work with it knowing what it tastes like and how it will accentuate the dish you are using it in.

Why Use Black Rice?

There are certain advantages to using black rice other than just the flavor and color it gives you. I want to tell you briefly about the health benefits, and that may convince you to give this strange looking rice a try.

  • Lowers Cholesterol- Black rice contains phytochemicals, which help to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) risk.
  • Antioxidant- This is the most powerful antioxidant of any grain, and it might even be more powerful as an antioxidant than blueberries, according to some sources.
  • Anti-Inflammatory- Black rice is used in China to treat inflammation.
  • Reduces Spread of Cancer- One study showed that black rice could help reduce tumour growth.
  • Lots of Protein- This is a protein rich food that is great for building muscle.
  • Good for Your Brain- Black rice is used to treat Alzheimer’s patients because it has been shown to be good for brain function and memory.

How to Cook Black Rice in a Rice Cooker

Black rice is fairly easy to cook, as are most kinds of rice, but if you try to cook it the same way you do white rice, with the same proportion of rice to water, you will be disappointed with the results. This is a hardy, tougher rice grain, so it requires a different set of instructions. You can still use a rice cooker with it, and we will show you how to cook black rice in rice cooker for fast and easy preparation.

You only need the rice and some water, with salt to taste. This is probably the simplest and most fail proof way to get black rice to turn out great every time. You can cook black rice a few different ways, but it might be inconsistent- sometimes mushy, sometimes not cooked all the way. I personally think the rice cooker is the best way to prepare black rice because of how simple it makes things and how the rice turns out great every time.

Keep in mind that some rice cookers are meant to accommodate large batches of rice (10-cup variety) and some are designed to handle much smaller batches (3-cup cookers).

Start by rinsing the rice and then draining the water off. You are trying to get rid of excess starch and make it have the right taste and texture. Make sure all of the race gets rinsed. You can move it around with a large serving spoon or your fingers. Use a fine mesh strainer to sift the rice and get rid of the water.

Next, your rice can be added to the rice cooker. Any black rice how to cook recipe will tell you that you can add the rice straight into the cooker without any further prep work, once the rice has been thoroughly washed. It is really starchy, so please don’t skip the rinsing step.

You might end up with some extra water in the cooker during this step. If that happens, use a dish towel or paper towel to soak up the excess water. You only want the water you are measuring out to be in the cooker and nothing more. You don’t have to take out the interior pot from the rice cooker as you prepare to cook black rice.

The next step is to add in water. For every cup of black rice, you will need 2 ¼ cups of water. If you want softer rice, you can add in an extra ¼ cup of water for every cup of black rice, but otherwise, stick to this ratio.

You can then season with salt at this point. I would advise about a pinch of salt for every cup of rice, but it is up to you. If you are making a dessert or some other sweet dish with the rice, then the salt won’t be necessary.

At this point, you will be glad you are using a rice cooker. All you have to do is cover the rice cooker and turn it on for 30 minutes. That’s it. The cooker will do the rest for you, making this a very simple and easy way how to make black rice.

Your rice cooker might have a brown rice setting, and if so, then you can use that. Both kinds of rice require similar cooking times.

How to Cook Black Rice in a Pressure Cooker

If you have a pressure cooker instead of a rice cooker, the procedure is very similar. You will still need to rinse the black rice before you can cook it, so make sure you go through that process carefully. This not only removes the starch; it can also remove any debris or bugs that could have gotten into the rice when it was being packaged.

So, after that step, how to cook forbidden black rice in a pressure cooker? If you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you can just cook the rice at a ratio of one cup of black rice to one cup of water. Cook on high for 18 minutes. If you are using an Instant Pot, then you should set it to pressure release for 10 minutes afterwards. Allow the pressure out and be careful when handling the rice. It will be very hot, but it will also be cooked perfectly.

How to Cook Black Rice on the Stove

You have learned a few methods now for how to cook black rice, and we want to share one more with you. Stovetop preparation is perfectly fine for this food, and that’s how most people around the world prepare it, since pressure cookers and rice cookers are considered luxuries in most areas of the world.

Stovetop preparation is a bit different, so pay close attention to the instructions. Don’t assume the method is the same as it was for the other kinds of black rice cooking methods.

If you are cooking on the stove, just cook it like you would pasta. Use a high heat and add plenty of water. This tough grain takes a bit to cook through, so 20 minutes should be enough. You can salt your water when you add it to make the rice more savoury. Once again, remember to rinse the rice before you cook it. You don’t want the finished product to be super starchy.

Closing Tips

How long to cook black rice for depends on which method you use. Stovetop preparation takes just 20 minutes, while cooking it in a pressure cooker is a little slower but less work. If you cook it on a stovetop, you will need to stir it to ensure it all cooks and does not clump together. Just stir every five minutes or so to ensure even cooking and soft rice.

What should you have with your black rice? If you want to do a black food theme, then by all means cook it up with some black beans. How to cook black beans and rice together to save some time? We don’t recommend it. The black beans take a lot longer and need time to soak as well. You can definitely warm them together once they are cooked  and then season them at once as well. They go great as partners in a burrito.

Wild rice or wild black rice is a different food than plain black rice or forbidden rice. It takes longer to cook and needs a specific ratio of six cups of water to one cup of wild black rice. Cook it for 45-55 minutes on a low heat on the stovetop to ensure the rice cooks all the way through. How to cook wild black rice to perfection? Just check it every so often after the 45 minute mark and see if it is soft enough. It will have a tougher outer shell than other kinds of rice since it isn’t technically a rice grain but is really a grass.

That’s all I have to share with you about black rice for now, and I hope you will give this superfood a try. It has all sorts of health benefits to offer, and it tastes pretty great too. Plus, black rice has a distinctive look that will be a great addition to a colourful plate of food.


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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!