How to cook the perfect Basmati Rice Everytime

How to cook the perfect Basmati Rice Everytime

Published by Tolu on 5th Aug 2023

There's something undeniably magical about the fragrance, texture, and flavor of Basmati rice. With its long, slender grains and delicate aroma, Basmati rice has been a staple in cuisines around the world for centuries.

Whether you're whipping up an exquisite Indian biryani, a comforting Persian pilaf, or a delectable Thai coconut rice, achieving that flawless, fluffy outcome is an art that every aspiring home chef should master. 

Don't worry we've got you covered. here we'll show you how to cook basmati rice.

What is Basmati Rice?

Basmati rice, often referred to as the "Queen of Fragrance",  is a premium long-grain rice variety renowned for its unique aroma, distinctive flavor, and elegant appearance. Originating from the Indian subcontinent, Basmati has a rich cultural history that spans centuries. 

The name "Basmati" is derived from the Sanskrit words "bas" (fragrant) and "mati" (full of aroma), highlighting its most prized attribute – the delightful fragrance that wafts from the cooked grains.

Is Basmati Rice the same as White Rice?

Basmati rice is a type of white rice, but not all white rice is Basmati. White rice is a broad term that encompasses all rice varieties with the bran, germ, and husk removed, leaving only the starchy endosperm while Basmati is characterized by its long, slender, and tapered grains. 

The grains can grow up to twice the length of ordinary long-grain rice, reaching an average length of about 7 to 8 millimeters.

Is Basmati Rice Healthier than White Rice?

There are some nutritional differences when comparing Basmati rice to regular white rice, but whether one is "healthier" than the other depends on your dietary needs and preferences. It is interesting to note that Basmati rice has a lower glycemic index compared to some other white rice varieties. 

A lower glycemic index means that it causes a slower and more gradual increase in blood sugar levels after consumption. This can be beneficial for individuals concerned about managing blood sugar levels or those with diabetes.

Is Basmati Rice the same as Jasmine Rice?

Basmati rice and Jasmine rice are two distinct varieties of rice, each celebrated for its unique aroma, flavor, and texture, despite their similarities in appearance. Basmati rice, originating from the Indian subcontinent, is renowned for its long, slender grains that elongate and separate when cooked. Its hallmark characteristic is its delicate, nutty aroma that fills the kitchen while cooking. Basmati rice is cherished in various cuisines, particularly in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Persian dishes, where its ability to absorb flavors makes it a favored choice for biryanis, pilafs, and curries.

On the other hand, Jasmine rice is a staple in Thai cuisine and hails from Southeast Asia. It's recognized for its fragrant, floral aroma that is reminiscent of the jasmine flower, hence its name. Jasmine rice has a slightly sticky texture when cooked, allowing it to clump together, which is ideal for enjoying with sauces, curries, and other saucy dishes. Its shorter grains and characteristic aroma contribute to its popularity in Thai, Chinese, and other Asian cuisines.

While both Basmati and Jasmine rice share some similarities in terms of long-grain varieties and their association with aromatic qualities, their distinctive characteristics set them apart. Basmati rice tends to remain more separate and light when cooked, while Jasmine rice takes on a stickier consistency. The choice between the two often depends on the type of dish you're preparing and the specific flavor profile and texture you desire. Whether it's the elegant fragrance of Basmati or the perfumed scent of Jasmine, both types of rice add their own delightful dimension to culinary creations around the world.

How to Cook Basmati Rice

Cooking Basmati rice to perfection requires a few simple steps. Follow this method to cook rice in a fluffy, fragrant way every time:


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1.5 cups of cold water
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  1. Place the Basmati rice in a fine-mesh sieve or a strainer and rinse it under cold running water. Gently swirl the rice with your hands while rinsing to remove excess starch, which helps prevent the rice from becoming sticky during cooking. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.
  2. Soaking Basmati rice for about 30 minutes before cooking can help improve the texture and reduce cooking time. However, this step is optional, and you can skip it if you're short on time.
  3. For every cup of Basmati rice, use 1.5 cups of water. The water-to-rice ratio may vary slightly based on personal preference and the specific type of Basmati rice you are using, but this ratio generally works well.
  4. In a medium-sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, add the measured water and a pinch of salt (if using). Place the saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil.
  5. Once the water is boiling, drain the soaked Basmati rice (if you soaked it) and add it to the boiling water. Give it a gentle stir to ensure the rice is evenly distributed in the water.
  6. Lower the heat to low or the lowest setting possible this will ensure you cook basmati rice without it burning.  Ensure to cover the saucepan with the lid. Allow the rice to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Avoid opening the lid during this time, as the steam helps cook the rice evenly.
  7.  After the cooking time is up, turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for a few more minutes (about 5 minutes) to allow the steam to continue working its magic. Then, remove the lid and use a fork to gently fluff the rice, separating the grains.

How to cook Basmati Rice with Rice Cooker

If you have a rice cooker and are looking for an alternative way to cook basmati rice, you can try using a rice cooker. It's quite similar to how you cook rice (white, brown). Cooking Basmati rice in a rice cooker is a straightforward process and very quick.

Ingredients you'll need:

  • Basmati rice
  • Cold water
  • Salt (optional)


  1. Rinse the Rice: Measure the desired amount of Basmati rice using a cup and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky. Rinse until the water runs clear.
  2. Measure Water: The general ratio for Basmati rice is 1:1.5, which means for every cup of rice, use 1.5 cups of water. You can adjust this ratio slightly depending on your preference for rice texture.
  3. Add Salt (Optional): If desired, add a pinch of salt to the rice and water mixture. This will enhance the flavor of the rice.
  4. Add Rice to the Rice Cooker: Place the rinsed rice into the rice cooker's inner pot.
  5. Add Water: Pour the measured water into the rice cooker's inner pot with the rice. Make sure the water level is consistent with the 1.5:1 ratio.
  6. Start the Cooking Process: Close the rice cooker's lid and start the cooking cycle. Most rice cookers have an automatic setting, so all you need to do is press the appropriate button.
  7. Wait for Cooking: The rice cooker will automatically control the cooking process. It will start by bringing the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer the rice. Once the rice cooker indicates that the rice is done (usually by switching from "cooking" to "warm" mode or a similar indicator), let it sit for an additional 10-15 minutes with the lid closed. This allows the rice to steam and finish cooking.
  8. Fluff the Rice: After the steaming time, open the rice cooker's lid and use a fork or rice paddle to gently fluff the rice. This will help separate the grains and make the rice light and fluffy.

How to Cook Basmati Rice in the Microwave

Cooking Basmati rice in the microwave is a convenient and quick method. Follow these steps for perfectly cooked Basmati rice:

Ingredients you'll need:

  • Basmati rice
  • Water
  • Salt (optional)


  1. Rinse the Rice: Measure the desired amount of Basmati rice using a cup and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Rinse until the water runs clear. This step helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky.
  2. Measure Water: The general ratio for Basmati rice is 1:1.5, which means for every cup of rice, use 1.5 cups of water. Adjust the ratio slightly based on your desired rice texture.
  3. Add Salt (Optional): If desired, add a pinch of salt to the rice and water mixture. This enhances the flavor of the rice.
  4. Combine Rice and Water: Place the rinsed rice in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the measured water to the bowl with the rice.
  5. Cover the Bowl: Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap. Leave a small vent or gap to allow steam to escape.
  6. Microwave Cooking: Place the covered bowl in the microwave. Cook on high power for about 10-12 minutes. Cooking times may vary depending on your microwave's wattage and the quantity of rice.
  7. Check for Doneness: After the initial cooking time, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and uncover it. Fluff the rice with a fork and check its texture. If it's not fully cooked, you can add a splash of water and return it to the microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  8. Resting Time: Once the rice is cooked to your liking, let it sit in the covered bowl for about 5 minutes. This allows the rice to steam and finish cooking.
  9. Fluff and Serve: After the resting time, fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains. Your Basmati rice is now ready to be served as a side dish or paired with your favorite dishes.

How to Store and Reheat Basmati Rice

Storing Basmati Rice

  • Allow the Rice to Cool: After cooking Basmati rice, let it cool to room temperature before storing it. This helps prevent condensation, which can make the rice soggy.
  • Use Airtight Containers: Transfer the cooled Basmati rice into airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Refrigeration: Store the rice in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Properly stored, cooked Basmati rice can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

Reheating Basmati Rice

  • Use Gentle Heat: When reheating Basmati rice, use gentle heat to prevent overcooking or drying out the rice. You can use a microwave, stovetop, or oven for reheating.
  • Microwave Method: Place the desired amount of rice in a microwave-safe container. Sprinkle a few drops of water over the rice to add moisture. Cover the container with a microwave-safe lid or a damp paper towel. Heat the rice on medium power in short intervals, fluffing with a fork between each interval until heated through.
  • Stovetop Method: To reheat on the stovetop, add a small amount of water (1-2 tablespoons) to the pan, then add the rice. Use low to medium heat and gently stir the rice until it's heated evenly.
  • Oven Method: Preheat your oven to around 300°F (150°C). Place the rice in an oven-safe dish and add a little water or broth to prevent drying. Cover the dish with foil or a lid and heat for about 10-15 minutes until the rice is heated through.

What to Serve Basmati Rice With

  1. Curries: Basmati rice is a classic choice to serve with various types of curries, such as Indian butter chicken, Thai green curry, Pakistani chicken korma, or vegetable curry. The fluffy rice complements the rich and flavorful sauces of the curries.
  2. Biryani: Basmati rice is an essential component of biryani, a beloved South Asian dish that combines spiced rice with meat, fish, or vegetables. The fragrant and long-grain Basmati rice perfectly absorbs the aromatic flavors of the spices in biryani.
  3. Kebabs and Grilled Meats: Serve Basmati rice alongside grilled meats, such as chicken kebabs, lamb chops, or tandoori-style dishes. The light texture of the rice balances the heartier flavors of grilled meats.
  4. Dal (Lentil Dishes): Basmati rice pairs wonderfully with various dal dishes, such as Indian dal tadka or dal makhani. The combination of lentils and rice provides a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

how much water should I use for basmati rice?

The basic rule is one part rice to one and a half parts water.

Do I need to Soak Basmati Rice Before I cook It?

Soaking Basmati rice before cooking is not mandatory, but it can be beneficial in certain situations. Whether you should soak the rice or not depends on your personal preference and the time available for cooking.

How long should I soak Basmati Rice?

The ideal soaking time for Basmati rice is typically around 30 minutes to 1 hour. Soaking the rice for this duration allows the grains to absorb water, which can lead to a more even texture and reduced cooking time.

How Long does Basmati Rice take to Cook?

If you soaked Basmati rice for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking, the average cooking time is around 10 to 12 minutes. If you choose not to soak the Basmati rice, the average cooking time is around 15 to 18 minutes.

How many Calories are in Basmati Rice?

The number of calories in Basmati rice can vary slightly based on factors such as the specific brand and cooking method. However, on average, Basmati rice contains approximately 200 to 210 calories per cooked 1-cup (195 grams) serving.

How to make Basmati Rice not Sticky?

Overcooking can cause the rice to become sticky. Follow the recommended cooking times for soaked or unsoaked Basmati rice. 

Once you add the rice to the boiling water, reduce the heat to low or the lowest setting possible. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid to trap the steam. Cooking over low heat with a covered lid ensures the rice cooks evenly and prevents excess moisture from escaping, leading to non-sticky rice.

Refrain from stirring the rice while it's cooking. Stirring can break the rice grains and release excess starch, making the rice sticky.

Where to Buy Basmati Rice?

You can get Basmati Rice in your local supermarkets near you, but if you're looking for high quality basmati rice to be delivered to your door step, why not try our African Store in the UK.


Armed with the knowledge of how to cook Basmati rice, you are now ready to savor the fragrant allure and unrivaled satisfaction that this exceptional grain brings to your dining table and implement it in your curries, biryanis and so on.