It’s hard to cook black rice, or so most people think. It’s not.  

You can easily cook black rice the way you usually would with any other type of rice. You can cook black rice in a large pot or a rice cooker such as this top-notch Japanese rice cooker. If you don’t have a rice cooker and you’re thinking of buying one, see these tips for buying the best rice cooker.
How to Cook Black Rice

Two things that you need to remember about black rice

  • Black rice takes longer to cook than your usual rice, such as basmati rice
  • Black rice turns into a lovely purple color once cooked. But be warned though: It stains anything and everything --- from your cookware, countertops, and clothing. So, use glass or metal pot and immediately wipe any purple liquid spills on the counter or kitchen area. 

3 Techniques for cooking it

You can cook black rice using any of these 3 methods: absorption, pasta, or pilaf method.

#1: Absorption Method

This method is the traditional way of cooking rice. You cook rice in a specific amount of liquid such as water or broth.


  • 1 cup black rice
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • Salt to taste


  1. Measure one cup of black rice in your pot. Wash and rinse the black rice 2 to 3 times.

  2. Add 2 cups of water or broth. If you’re using broth, remember that this will give your black rice a saltier taste.

  3. On medium heat, bring water to a boil. Reduce the heat and add salt to taste. Simmer for about 30-35 minutes.

  4. Let the cooked black rice sit for about 15 minutes. Do not stir.

  5. Fluff the black rice and serve.

#2: Pasta Method

You can cook black rice like you would your pasta. You can cook it in a large amount of water in a pot. This method gives your black rice a “nice, non-sticky” consistency as well as you can always check the black rice for doneness.


  • 1 cup black rice (rinsed)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a large pot, add the water, salt, and black rice.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook for about 30-35 minutes or until the black rice is “tender and chewy.”
  3. Strain the black rice using a colander.

#3: Pilaf Method

In this method, the grains are first “lightly toasted” in oil with aromatics such as herbs, spices, or vegetables. These grains are then simmered in water or broth.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 cup black rice

  • 2 1/4 cup water

  • 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)


  1. In a large saucepan or wok, sauté the onion and garlic in oil over medium heat.

  2. Add the black rice and mix until it is well covered in oil and becomes fragrant.

  3. Add the water and salt, and bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook the black rice for about 30-35 minutes or until it is tender and chewy.

  5. Turn off the heat. Let the black rice sit (covered) for about 5-10 minutes.

  6. Fluff the black rice and serve.

What is black rice?

Black rice, also known as purple rice and forbidden rice, is a type of gluten-free medium-grain rice. It contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant, which makes black rice black. It turns to an appealing purple once cooked. It’s very nutritious as it is rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein, and iron.

Should you soak black rice?

Yes, you should. Like other types of rice, pre-soaking black rice will reduce its cooking time. It also ensures that your black rice will not clump.

What does black rice taste like?

Black rice tastes like brown rice, but with a slightly “nutty” flavor. It’s dense, chewy, and can be quite sticky. Chinese black rice, a type of black rice, is mildly “sweet, floral, and fruity.”

Is black rice supposed to be chewy?

Yes, it is. It’s the way it is. Black rice is supposed to have that chewy texture. Even when you cook black rice perfectly, it will not have the same crunchy texture or flavor as the traditional white rice.

Why is black rice called “forbidden” rice?

In ancient China, black rice was reserved and served only to the Chinese emperor to “ensure his health and longevity.” Others were strictly “forbidden” to have a taste of it. This is why it earned the name “forbidden rice.”

How long is cooked black rice good for?

When cooled and stored in the refrigerator, black rice is still good to eat for about 4-7 days. It is best, though, that you consume it within 2 days.

Does black rice go bad?

Yes, it does. But with proper handling and storage, it will last for a few months.

If you’re planning to use the black rice within a few weeks, store it in a sealed and airtight container in your pantry or any cool, dark place. This tip lengthens the shelf life from 3 to 6 months, but it’s best to consume it for only a few weeks.

Store your unused black rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. When stored in the fridge, your black rice may last for 6-12 months. In your freezer, it will last for 12-18 months.

How to Cook Black Rice

Can I freeze black rice?

Yes, you can store your black rice in the freezer. When frozen, your black rice will last for 12-18 months.

How to serve black rice

You can serve your black rice in your salad, as a side dish, or with your meat and vegetables. If you want to go the vegan/clean eating option, you can serve your black rice with Baked Orange Cauliflower. This recipe calls for cauliflower to be coated in panko crumbs then baked to “golden-brown” perfection and topped with a sweet orange chili glaze.

Kitchen/cooking tools to use

Rice cooker

A rice cooker is one of the essential tools in most Asian households. It comes in different styles/settings and price tags. You can check this buying guide to find the rice cooker that will give you that perfect rice, every time.


The wok is the heart of most Asians’ kitchen. It will be perfect for sautéing and cooking your black pilaf rice. Check out these carbon steel woks in Amazon.


When cooking your black rice using the pasta method, you’d need to use a colander to remove the liquid. This is one tool that is good to have in your kitchen arsenal.

Black rice: your healthier option

Black rice is your healthier option to white rice, or even to brown rice. It’s rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein, and a good source of iron. It’s easy to cook, too. You can serve it as a side dish, a desert, in your salad, and in other different ways.

So, the next time you think of serving rice, think of black rice for your “health and longevity.”

About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

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