How to Cook Basmati Rice
Learn how to cook basmati rice on the stove. It is a very easy recipe and this method produces perfect basmati rice every time.
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Basmati is a long-grain rice that is typically associated with Indian cooking. It is fragrant and fluffs well and is ideal for curry or rice pilaf.
We make ours on the stovetop. It is very easy and turns out perfectly every time. With this method (and a little tip about which type of basmati rice is the best) there is no need to clutter your kitchen with a rice cooker.
READ MORE: Spicy Mexican Rice
How to cook basmati rice
- The first step in cooking basmati rice is to properly measure your ingredients. For perfect basmati rice, you need 1 cup of basmati + 1 ½ cups cold water.
- Bring the pot to a boil. Put the pot on high heat with the lid off. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot.
- Simmer the rice. Set a timer for 12 minutes. Don't peek at the rice!
- Let the rice rest. Move the pot off the heat and let the rice rest for 10 minutes with the lid on. This step is very important and will give you the fluffy rice that you are looking for!
- Fluff the rice with a fork. Use a fork or spoon to gently fluff the rice before serving.
Full recipe in the recipe card below.
Basmati Rice Recipe FAQ
Basmati rice is a variety of long-grain rice that is most commonly grown in Nepal, India, and Pakistan. The word basmati is derived from the Hindi word for fragrant, which refers to the popcorn-like flavor and aroma that is typical of basmati rice.
You'll find both white basmati rice and brown basmati rice at most grocery stores. This recipe uses white basmati.
Basmati rice is a type of white rice that is characterized by its long and slender shape. It has a dry yet fluffy texture with a nutty flavor and the grains do not stick together when cooked.
Basmati rice is a healthy rice option that has the lowest glycemic index of any rice. It's also high in fiber. If you enjoy eating white rice, basmati rice is a healthy option.
There are many different types of basmati rice, although you'll rarely see the type of rice listed on the package. From our experience, Indian basmati rice (which is often sold in cloth bags, like this one) produces the fluffiest rice. Californian basmati tends to be a lot stickier. A good rule of thumb is to avoid basmati that is sold in plastic bags.
No! Soaking rice prior to cooking is not necessary. In this recipe, we cook the rice without soaking it as we find it more convenient. However, soaking the rice does help preserve the compound (2-acetyl-1-pyrroline) that gives basmati rice its distinctive aroma.
If you buy rice in a package from a grocery store then rising it is not necessary.
Storing and reheating rice
- How long does cooked rice last in the fridge? Cooked basmati rice will keep for up to 6 days in a covered container in your fridge.
- Can you freeze rice? Yes! Rice freezes very well. Cool the cooked rice completely (overnight is best) then pack it into freezer bags in single-use portions. We love these reusable Stasher Bags for freezing. The 15-ounce size is ideal for 3-4 servings of rice.
- How to reheat rice. A microwave works well for reheating rice. We prefer to reheat rice in a pan on the stovetop. Simply add it to the pan with a tiny splash of water, cover the pan, and reheat the rice on low heat.
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What to serve with basmati rice
- Chicken Tikka Masala is a wonderful Indian curry with lots of sauce to pour over the rice.
- Juicy Baked Pork Chops taste delicious alongside basmati rice, especially if you mix some butter into the rice!
- Easy Palak Paneer is a spinach curry with lots of sauce.
- Coconut Vegetarian Korma is another saucy Indian curry that tastes great served with basmati.
How to Cook Basmati Rice
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- 1 cup basmati rice, preferably Indian basmati rice
- 1 ½ cups cold water
- Add the rice and cold water to a medium-sized pot over high heat. Bring the pot to a boil then immediately cover the pot and reduce the heat to low.1 cup basmati rice, 1 ½ cups cold water
- Simmer the rice (no peeking!) for 12 minutes.
- Remove the rice from the heat and let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Use a fork or spoon to gently fluff the rice before serving.