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How to Cook Basmati Rice


This guide breaks down how to cook basmati rice in just 20 minutes. It’s so easy to make rice on the stovetop, and it’s budget-friendly too!

bowl of basmati rice

If you’ve never made rice on the stovetop before, you likely have a lot of assumptions about the process — that it’ll take a long time to cook, that you’ll burn the rice by mistake, that the rice won’t taste as good as what you’ve had at Indian restaurants. Actually, cooking basmati rice at home is a quick and painless process that takes all of 20 minutes to complete. Not to mention that buying a large bag of dry basmati rice and cooking it on the stove will save you a lot of money in the long run compared to if you bought an equal amount of pre-cooked rice packets.

In the recipe card below, we’ve shared step-by-step instructions on how to cook basmati rice on the stovetop. This recipe is foolproof and makes the fluffiest rice!

What is Basmati Rice?

The first time you buy rice in bulk at the store can be overwhelming simply because there are so many varieties of rice to choose from. Basmati rice is a long-grain rice that’s much less sticky than American white and brown rice. India produces around two-thirds of the world’s basmati rice, which is why Indian food is almost always served with this special type of rice.

The word “basmati’ comes from the Hindi word for “fragrant,” which is fitting since basmati smells quite nutty once cooked. It pairs especially well with saucy curries, as the long grains of rice nicely soak up the extra liquid.

Basmati vs Jasmine Rice

Basmati and jasmine rice look almost identical, but they’re actually two very distinct types of rice. Jasmine rice originated in Thailand and is used in many Southeast Asian dishes. The main differences between the two kinds of rice are most noticeable after you’ve cooked them. Jasmine rice forms more clumps once cooked, whereas basmati rice grains separate and don’t stick to one another.

Although both types of rice are delicious, you want to use traditional basmati rice when making Indian dishes.

How to Cook Basmati Rice

To make the best basmati rice, you’ll need just water, salt, and dried basmati rice. Add the water to a saucepan and season with salt. Then bring the water to a boil and pour in the dried rice. Cover the pot with a lid and turn down the heat, then continue simmering the rice until it’s cooked through.

Tips for the Best Basmati Rice

  • You must season the water with salt, otherwise your rice will be flavorless.
  • Only stir the rice once near the beginning of the cook time. If you stir the rice too much, it’ll become sticky.
  • At the end of the cook time, remove the rice from the heat and let it rest, covered, for a few minutes. This will create steam, which will make the rice extra fluffy.

More Indian Recipes:

How to Cook Basmati Rice

This guide breaks down how to cook basmati rice in just 20 minutes. It's so easy to make rice on the stovetop, and budget-friendly too!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword basmati rice
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Pour water into a deep saucepan. Bring it to a boil and add a teaspoon of salt to the water.

  2. Pour in rice to the boiling water.

  3. Stir once, or just enough to separate the rice.*

  4. Cover the pot, turn down the heat and let the rice simmer for 15 mins. Then put the flame off and let it steam in the pan for another 5 mins. The rice is ready.

Recipe Notes

*Only stir the rice once near the beginning of the cook time. If you stir the rice too much, it'll become sticky. 

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