Search this site

Cooking Brown Rice For Your Baby

Updated: Oct 17th, 2023

We are sometimes asked if it’s OK for babies to eat brown rice and if brown rice is better for babies than white.

Brown Rice Baby Food

Well, the answer to both of these questions is a big YES!

Brown rice is not just the healthiest choice for your baby – it’s good for the whole family and is packed with important nutrients.

Please note: You should always discuss the introduction of new foods to your baby with his doctor.

Remember that all new foods should be introduced separately, at least four days apart, to help you identify possible food allergies and digestive problems.

Why is brown rice better for baby than white?

A grain of rice is composed of several different layers.

Only the outside layer, the ‘hull’, is removed during the production of brown rice and very little goodness is lost by the grain in the process.

But during the production of white rice, the grains are milled to remove more layers – the bran and almost all of the germ.

This process strips the grains of the majority of their nutrients.

In the final part of the process, another layer called ‘aleurone’ is removed and the grains are polished.

But aleurone is a good source of essential fats, which play such an important role in your baby’s diet.

So what are you left with?

White rice – a refined starch that offers your little one very little in the way of nutrition.

Why is brown rice such a healthy choice for baby?

Just look at what it contains!

  • vitamins B1, B3 and B6
  • manganese (essential for healthy bones, manganese also reduces the symptoms of asthma and is a powerful, energy-providing antioxidant)
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • selenium
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • fibre

Other important benefits gained from eating brown rice include a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and lower levels of cholesterol.

Yet a very large percentage of these valuable nutrients are lost during the production of white rice.

By law, white rice in some countries must be ‘enriched’ and certain nutrients must be added back in.

So it should be just as good for you as brown rice, right?

Wrong – because the nutrients are not in their original form, they are far less beneficial to health.

Brown rice is full of flavour

Some people say that brown rice does not taste as good as white.

But these people have often grown up ONLY eating white rice, which actually has very little flavour (unsurprising, when you consider how much is removed from the grain to produce it!).

Brown rice does taste VERY different to white!

Its flavour is almost nutty and – conversely – people who regularly eat brown rice find white rice very bland and unappetizing.

That’s why it’s a good idea to get your baby accustomed to the full flavour of nutritious brown rice from an early age – you’ll probably find that he turns his nose up at starchy old white rice in the future!

Storing brown rice

Uncooked rice

Carefully check the ‘best by’ date on any packets of brown rice that you buy for your family.

Once you get it home, store it in the refrigerator.

This is because, unlike white rice, the oily germ of brown rice is intact.

There is the possibility that this could turn rancid if the rice is not stored at a sufficiently cool temperature.

Cooked rice

You have to be very careful when storing cooked rice, as bacteria can multiply very quickly.

Many sources say that you can store it for up to 4 days in the refrigerator – but we prefer to err on the side of caution and suggest that you only cook rice for your baby on the day that you plan to serve it to him… and throw any leftovers away!

Alternatively, you can make up a batch of brown rice and freeze it.

Because the bacteria in rice multiply so rapidly, it is important to cool cooked rice very quickly if you plan to freeze it.

The best way to do this is to spread it out in a shallow container – but never leave rice sitting for more than one hour at room temperature.

Once the rice has cooled, freeze it in individual freezer bags, so you have handy portions available for your baby’s next meal.

You can store frozen rice for up to 6 months.

Is it dangerous to reheat rice?

Learn more about how to freeze baby food

Cooking brown rice for your baby

The easiest way to prepare brown rice for very young babies is to first rinse it, then grind it in a food processor that’s built for the job!

The Cuisinart Mini-Prep Processor is ideal and is great for making purees, too!

Here’s a simple recipe for baby cereal that you can try. You may also like to check out our Infant Cereal FAQ.

Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice…

Around twice as long, in fact.

But you can get around this by measuring out the amount of water you will need to cook it, then soaking it overnight – it really speeds up the cooking time!

Ideas for your baby using brown rice

Brown rice can easily be substituted for white in any recipe calling for rice – but do bear in mind that it will take longer to cook unless you have pre-soaked it.

Here are some other suggestions…

  • Combine cooked brown rice with warm breast milk or formula, then add a little touch of cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Mix cooked brown rice (either ground or regular) with a dollop of unflavoured natural yogurt and a fruit puree of your baby’s choice!
  • Combine cooked brown rice with steamed vegetables – you can either puree them before mixing, or just chop them if your little one is happy to chew!
  • Cook brown rice for your baby in homemade chicken, beef or vegetable stock/broth for a rich, interesting flavour.
  • Cook a little batch of short grain brown rice, clump it together with your fingers and serve it to your baby as a very healthy finger food.

Brown rice baby food recipes

Peach and brown rice breakfast (6 months+)

2 oz (1/4 cup) brown rice

1/2 ripe peach

8 fl oz (1 cup) water

a little breast milk or formula

  1. Using a food processor, grind the brown rice into a powder.
  2. Then, peel the peach, remove the pit and cut the flesh into little cubes.
  3. Bring the water to the boil in a small saucepan.
  4. Stir in the rice powder, lower the heat and continue to stir.
  5. Add the peach cubes, then – stirring often – simmer gently for 10 mins.

If the texture is too thick for your baby at the end of the cooking time, thin it with a little breast milk or formula. Breakfast is ready!

Baby’s brown rice pudding (6 months+)

2 oz (1/4 cup) cooked brown rice

2 dried apricots

2 tbsp apple juice

1/2 small, ripe banana

tiny pinch nutmeg

  1. Before you start, soak the apricots in water for around an hour to soften them.
  2. Then, put all the ingredients into a food blender and process until nice and smooth.

To adjust the texture of this brown rice pudding for your baby, just add a little more – or a little less – apple juice.

The following recipes give a ‘lumpier’ texture, so you may prefer to mash or puree these dishes for your baby. If the texture is a little too thick after pureeing, then add a little stock, water or juice to achieve the desired texture!

Apple and pear brown rice (6 months+)

2 oz (1/4 cup) brown rice

4 fl oz (1/2 cup) apple juice

1 oz (1/8 cup) raisins

1/2 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1/2 small pear, peeled, cored and chopped

  1. Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Stir well, then reduce the heat and cover with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Simmer the mixture for around 30 mins – by the end of the cooking time, the rice should have absorbed all the apple juice and should be nice and tender.

Savoury baked brown rice (6 months+)

Baking brown rice gives it a fluffier texture than boiling it – and it’s very simple to do…

8 oz (1 cup) brown rice

12 fl oz (1 1/2 cups) water or homemade stock/broth

1 stick of celery (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F/180 deg C.
  2. Pour the rice into a frying pan/skillet and, stirring constantly, warm over a medium heat until the grains turn golden brown. This step is entirely optional – but it makes the final result much more tasty!
  3. In the meantime, chop the celery and saute until it’s tender – this is another optional step but it really does flavour the rice and is a particularly important ingredient if you’re only using water to cook the rice.
  4. Combine the sauted celery, rice and water/stock in an oven-proof dish, cover and put in the oven.
  5. Bake until the rice has absorbed all the water (35-45 mins).
  6. Cool to a safe serving temperature and serve to your baby as a delicious side dish.

Yummy one-pot brown rice dinner (7 months+)

One pot cooking is ideal for busy Mums! Little preparation beforehand – and little to clean up afterwards! This easy dinner is nutritious and tasty – why not increase the quantities and serve it to the whole family?

4 oz (1/2 cup) brown rice

2 oz (1/4 cup) cooked chicken, cut into strips

8 fl oz (1 cup) homemade chicken stock or water

1 oz (1/8 cup) carrots, peeled and diced

1 oz (1/8 cup) broccoli florets

1oz (1/8 cup) courgette/zucchini, diced

2 oz (1/2 cup) grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

little pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)

  1. Pour the water/stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then add the rice, stir and bring back to the boil.
  2. Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid, then reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 30 mins.
  3. Briefly remove the lid and add the remaining ingredients (except for the cheese).
  4. Put the lid back on and cook for 10 more mins, then remove from the heat.
  5. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and set aside until cool enough for your baby.

You can chop this dish or mash it for your baby if the texture is a little too lumpy!

Brown rice casserole with tuna (6-7 months+)

5 oz (just under 3/4 cup) brown rice

10 fl oz (1 1/4 cups) water

4 oz (1/2 cup) celery, chopped

2 oz (1/4 cup) natural yogurt

4 fl oz (1/2 cup) milk (you can use breast milk/formula if you prefer)

little pinch dried tarragon

6 oz (3/4 cup) tuna canned in water

6 oz (3/4 cup) courgette/zucchini, diced

4 oz (1 cup) grated Cheddar

  1. Bring the water to a boil and stir in the brown rice. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 35 mins. Remove from the heat.
  2. Stir in the celery, milk, yogurt, tarragon, tuna and courgette/zucchini, then mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour into a casserole and bake at 350 deg F/180 deg C for 30 mins.
  4. Top with the grated cheddar and serve – yummy!

You may also like:

Black Bean and Brown Rice Dinner with Avocado and Apple – a complete protein baby food recipe


Mayo Clinic (Whole Grains)

Try something different…

Visit our barley baby food recipes page

Try our hummus recipes for baby

A banner for our baby food accessories page, with feeding equipment, baby travel gear and more

Copyright © 2005-2024  Homemade Baby Food Recipes   |   All Rights Reserved.   |   Disclaimer and Privacy Policy is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to or