How to cook black rice

Updated April 17, 2017

Black rice is a whole grain grown in Asia. It is high in fibre and nutrition, with a sweet nutty flavour that forms the base for exotic desserts and savoury side dishes. There are numerous varieties of black rice, ranging from black to purple when raw, and from lavender to dark purple when cooked. Black rice can be cooked using the same methods as for whole-grain brown rice for a simple yet interesting accompaniment to a meal, but follow these steps to create an authentic sweet black rice that preserves the grains' rich flavour and delightful colour.

Measure two cups of black rice into a metal sieve and rinse with cold water. Then place the black rice in a medium sauce pan, cover with cold water, and let it soak overnight.

Drain the black rice through the sieve. Return the black rice to the sauce pan and add four cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Bring contents of sauce pan to a boil over high heat. Cover the sauce pan with a snug-fitting lid, and reduce burner setting to simmer.

Simmer black rice for 20 minutes, then check the texture. It should be soft yet chewy. If the rice feels too tough, replace the lid on the sauce pan and cook for five to 10 more minutes.

Shut off burner. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve or use in place of whole-grain brown rice in any pilaf or side-dish recipe.

Measure two cups of black rice into a metal sieve and rinse with cold water. Then place the black rice in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and let it soak overnight.

Drain the rice through the seive, then return it to the sauce pan with 2 cups of water, 2 cups of coconut milk, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cardamom. Bring the sauce pan contents to a boil. Cover with a snug-fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes, then test to see if the rice is cooked. It should be comfortably chewy but not tough; if there are still spots not quite cooked, re-cover the pan with the lid and let cook another five to 10 minutes.

While the black rice is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small sauté pan. When the butter is melted, turn heat to medium-high and add the banana slices and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. When the banana slices are cooked on one side, gently flip them over, and add the pineapple chunks. When the pineapple chunks have warmed through, turn off the burner for the sauté pan.

When the black rice has finished cooking, add the contents of the sauté pan to the black rice. Gently turn the sautéed fruit through the rice, re-cover the sauce pan, and let the dish warm through for one to two minutes.

Turn off the burner for the sauce pan. Serve the black rice warm from the sauce pan or serving dish, or turn it out into a glass or ceramic bowl or casserole dish, cover, and refrigerate and serve cold.


Black rice does not cook terribly well in a rice-cooker; use the methods outlined above for the best results. Black rice should be purchased fresh for use. If you are buying in bulk quantities, refrigerate the rice and use it within three months of purchase. Substitute fresh fruit of your choice for the bananas and pineapple in this recipe. Mango, plums, and mandarin oranges all work well with black rice dishes.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups Forbidden Rice or other variety of black rice
  • 4 cups water OR 2 cups water and 2 cups coconut milk
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple cored peeled and cut into chunks, or one can chunked pineapple
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp. Cardamon
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 medium sauce pan with close-fitting lid
  • 1 small sauté pan
  • metal sieve
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.