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How To Cook Basmati Rice

How To Cook Basmati Rice: Learn how to make an authentic Indian Basmati Rice Recipe that is light and fluffy every single time!

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Best Basmati Rice Recipe

Have you ever wondered how to cook authentic Indian Basmati Rice that is light and fluffy every single time?

This is the recipe you’ll want to bookmark on your phone, so that you can refer back to it time after time until it eventually becomes muscle memory. 

But first, what is basmati rice? Where did it come from? How is it different than other types and rice? Why should you prepare it a little differently?

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Indian Basmati Rice

India is not only the second largest consumer of rice, but also the second largest producer of grain in the world.

Basmati Rice is grown in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in India. Yet, the best quality Basmati Rice is grown in the old Karnal district, known as the “rice bowl of India.”

Basmati Rice gets its name from its enticing aroma, soft, silky texture, and distinctive long, curved grains. The word basmati literally means ‘fragrant’ in Hindi.

The aging process is different than other rice aging processes, which sets it apart from most varieties. Basmati Rice gains its unique nutty flavor and fragrance from the elongated aging process. Typically Basmati Rice ages for 9 months. However, premium brands of Basmati Rice can age up to 18 months. 

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Perfect Basmati Rice Ingredients

  • Basmati Rice – It’s kind of important. *wink*
  • Salt – Absolutely key in flavoring the basmati rice.
  • Water – The rice absorbs the water making it light and fluffy!
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How To Cook Basmati Rice

This easy method for How To Make Basmati Rice is exactly how it’s prepared in India. Once you taste it, you’ll be glad you took the time to soak the rice.

  1. Wash. Rinse the rice with cold water FIVE times to remove all excess starch. The water should be pretty clear on the last wash.
  2. Soak. Pour the rice into the bowl. Add salt and luke warm water. Soak the rice.
  3. Drain. Carefully drain the rice, pouring it through a sieve.
  4. Simmer. In fresh water, bring the rice to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
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Get The Full (Printable) Basmati Rice Recipe Below

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How To Make Basmati Rice FAQ

Is Basmati Rice Healthy?

Basmati Rice contains dietary fiber and essential fatty acids that are important to a structured diet. Brown Basmati Rice has even more vitamins and minerals than White Basmati Rice. Plus, Brown Basmati Rice also has a nuttier flavor!

Do You Have To Soak Basmati Rice?

No, but, you should. Basmati Rice is soaked in room temperature water before cooking to release and enhance the natural flavor of the rice. It tastes better when it has been soaked.

Why Is My Basmati Rice Sticky?

If your basmati rice is sticky once cooked, you either did not rinse it well enough, or you added too much water to the pot.

Where Is Basmati Rice Grown?

Basmati Rice is traditionally grown in Himalayan region of India and a few parts of Pakistan.

How Did Basmati Rice Get Its Name?

The roots of the word comes from the Hindi language. “Bas” means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of”. Together “Basmati” means “full of aroma.”

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Make this Basmati Rice recipe the next time you make a curry dish, you’ll be so glad you did!

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5 from 8 votes
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How To Cook Basmati Rice

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Learn how to make authentic Indian Basmati Rice that is light and fluffy every single time.
Servings: 6



  • Place the rice in a large sieve, with a fine-grade mesh. Set the sieve over a bowl in the sink. Rinse the rice with cold water, dunking the sieve down into the water, and shaking gently. Then dump out the starchy water and repeat with clean water. Wash and rinse the rice FIVE times to remove all excess starch. The water should be pretty clear on the last wash. Try not to handle the rice too much, as it might break the long grains into pieces.
  • Dump the rice into the bowl. Add luke warm water and 2-4 tablespoons salt. Add 2 tablespoons at first. Then taste the water. It should taste like sea water. If it doesn’t add more salt.
  • Let the rice soak in the saltwater for 2 hours.
  • Carefully drain the rice, pouring the rice and water back through the sieve.
  • Place in a medium saucepot over high heat. Add and rice and 3 ½ cups fresh water to the pot.
  • Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When the rice is done, there will be vent holes in the top of the rice, and all the liquid will have absorbed.
  • Remove from heat, and rest covered for 5 more minutes.
  • Gently fluff the rice with a fork and serve.


Serving: 0.75cup, Calories: 225kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 391mg, Potassium: 71mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Sommer Collier

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13 comments on “How To Cook Basmati Rice”

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve tried for years to make my basmati rice like my favorite Indian restaurants and have always failed until I tried your method. Although I have always added salt to my rice cooker, I never thought to soak my rice in salted water (esp. for 2 hours) first. I began 1-1/2 cups of uncooked basmati rice (Khazana brand, which I highly recommend), and I soaked it in lukewarm water in 1-1/2 TBS of Morton’s coarse kosher salt (which is what I always cook with). At the end of 2 hours, I drained the rice, but didn’t rinse it, and then cooked it in my rice cooker as I normally do, but I omitted adding salt. I found the rice separated beautifully, but it lacked flavor. I think the next time, I will still add salt to the rice cooker. If you have any further suggestions for me, I would be happy to hear them! Thank you again!

  2. Are the nutritional facts for cooked or uncooked rice? .75c

  3. Thanks for the recipe. Tried today . Came out well except the cooked rice was salty even after taking care not to add to much salt when soaked in salt solution (step no. 3).

    After step no. 4 the rice is still covered with a coating of salt water which makes the cooked rice a bit salty, which is not good. I request your feedback on this.

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Jayakumar,

      You can certainly rinse the rice at this point, but that is not how it is usually done in India. Did you add in the salted water for cooking or did you place it in fresh water as directed?

  4. This looks like a great way to switch up my rice game. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Excellent recipe, thank you.
    Question: can you freeze the cooked rice and how?

  6. You can add star anise, or some cumin while cooking, to make the rice more fragrant. A dash or lime juice will make sure the grains dont stick to each other. I prefer to add a spoonful of ghee (clarified butter) while cooking basmati. Try it, you will love it.

  7. Love these fool proof instructions since so many times I over cook the rice and it becomes so mushy. Thank you!!

  8. This turned out perfect tonight! Can’t wait to try it again!

  9. I have a friend that loves to use basmati rice but often complains the texture isn’t what she wants. I need to share this with her.

  10. LOVE how this rice turns out just right every time! So tasty too!

  11. This looks like a great way to switch up my rice game. Can’t wait to try it!