How to Make Soaked Brown Rice: The Traditional Way

Soaked Brown Rice - Traditional Food Preparation
Soaked fluffy brown rice in black bowl with spoon pinit

Recipe adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon


In our busy modern world, many have abandoned the traditional practices of food preparation that were once integral to pre-industrialized cultures. Consuming soaked or fermented grains was a way of life for our ancestors and remains a staple in many Western and non-Western cultures today. Soaked brown rice is a healthier and more delicious alternative to regular brown rice. It’s also easier to digest and has a more nutty flavor. Learn how to make soaked brown rice the traditional way with this easy step-by-step guide.

Soaked and Fermented Grains for Better Nutrition

Short grain brown rice soaking in water with apple cider vinegar in a clear bowl.

While this may be unfamiliar to many in Western societies, there is a good reason why people all over the world prepare their food properly, including soaking. Legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds contain phytic acid in their outer layer, which can bind to important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc in the gut, preventing proper absorption. A diet high in unfermented whole grains can lead to serious mineral deficiencies and even bone loss. Unsoaked and unfermented grains can also cause chronic digestive problems, malabsorption of nutrients, and debilitating illnesses.

Soaking and fermenting breaks down and neutralizes the phytic acid in these foods, thanks to enzymes, lactobacilli, and other beneficial organisms. Soaking in warm water with a little acid for as little as seven hours can neutralize enzyme inhibitors. It also encourages the production of beneficial enzymes, which help increase vitamin extraction, especially B vitamins.

How Soaking Affects Gluten and Digestion

Soaking also makes certain grains, like those containing gluten, easier to digest. A diet high in unfermented, high-gluten grains, like oats, rye, barley, and wheat, can strain the digestive system and lead to allergies, celiac disease, mental illness, chronic indigestion, and candida overgrowth. In general, grains containing gluten, such as oats, rye, barley, and wheat, should be soaked or fermented before consumption.

The Benefits of Traditional Food Preparation

Traditional food preparation methods not only improve nutrient absorption and digestion but also provide additional benefits such as improved flavor and texture.

In conclusion, while traditional food preparation may take a little more time and effort, the benefits are well worth it. By consuming soaked or fermented grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, we can improve our nutrient absorption, digestion, and overall health.

Additional Resources

Curious about how to add even more nutrients to your meals?

Check out my post, 6 Sneaky Ways to Add More Nutrients to Your Meals Without Sacrificing Taste, to learn about other ways, besides soaking and fermenting, to enhance the nutritional value of your foods!

Learn about how to heal your gut with more traditional food preparation techniques

Is your gut in need of healing? Learn more about Traditional Food Preparation and how it can help heal your gut by reading my post, Improving Gut Health with Traditional Food Preparation.

Looking to heal your gut but don’t know where to start? Schedule a free 20-minute nutritional therapy consultation with me today to learn more about how to heal your gut naturally!

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How to Make Soaked Brown Rice: The Traditional Way

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 7 hrs Cook Time 45 mins Rest Time 10 mins Total Time 7 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


By soaking and/or fermenting, enzymes, lactobacilli, and other beneficial organisms break down and neutralize the phytic acid in whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Soaking in warm water with a little acid in as little as seven hours will neutralize enzyme inhibitors and encourage the manufacturing of several beneficial enzymes. These enzymes help increase the amount of vitamins that we can extract from these foods, especially B vitamins.

Soaking also helps break down the proteins in certain grains that are very difficult for most people to digest, i.e. GLUTEN. A diet high in unfermented high-gluten grains, like oats, rye, barley, and wheat, puts enormous strain on the whole digestive mechanism. This breakdown in the system is what has led to the increase in allergies, celiac disease, mental illness, chronic indigestion, and candida overgrowth that we see today. In general, grains containing gluten, such as oats, rye, barley, and wheat, should not be consumed unless they have been soaked or fermented.



  1. Soak the rice

    Place rice and warm water mixture in a flameproof casserole dish and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours, or overnight. Note: if you have a milk allergy, you can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in place of the dairy.

    If you're using apple cider vinegar, make sure to use a raw, unfiltered variety. This type of vinegar contains beneficial bacteria that can help to improve gut health.
  2. Cook the rice

    Rinse the rice well after soaking and draining it. This will help to remove any excess vinegar and/or phytic acid.

    Cook with 4 cups of gelatinous broth, such as bone broth.

    Bring liquid and rice to a boil and then reduce heat. Stir in sea salt, butter, and kombu stick. Cover with tight lid. 

    Without removing lid, cook on the lowest temp possible for 45 minutes. 

  3. Rest & Fluff

    After 45 minutes, remove the lid and check to make sure the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. 

    Replace lid and allow rice to sit for 10 minutes. 

    After 10 minutes, remove lid and fluff with a fork. 

  4. Servings Suggestions

    Serve with Soaked Basic Beans and sauteed collard greens for a complete, nutritious, filling, and budget-friendly meal.

    Try in your favorite soups or served on the side of a delicious curry, chili, your choice of protein and veggie. 

    Leftover rice makes a great base for a delicious fried rice. 

    For an easy and nutritious postpartum breakfast, I like to heat up leftover rice with scrambled eggs and sauteed mushrooms. 

Keywords: soaked brown rice, gut health, gut healing foods, better digestion, food preparation
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Jessica Sweet