In this guide on how to cook basmati rice, you’ll learn the ins & outs of nailing this fragrant grain of rice. Super simple method & perfect each time!

Basmati rice in a bowl with a spoon.

Making perfect basmati rice on the stovetop is super simple, but slightly different than making typical short-grain white rice. In this quick hitter guide, you’ll master the technique and never be subjected to mushy or undercooked basmati ever again.

What is Basmati Rice?

Basmati is a form of long-grain rice that’s primarily grown in India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Aromatic, fragrant and touting a slightly nutty flavor, its perfect for everything from curries to fried rice to an everyday side dish.

  • Flavor Profile: Basmati is aromatic, fragrant and touts a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Texture: Basmati is beloved for it’s light and fluffy texture. It’s also unique in that the grains of rice don’t clump together
  • Time: From prep to table, basmati takes just over 15 minutes to make.

Did you know? Indian basmati rice is naturally a drier grain than typical white rice. This means the water ratio is 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of rice instead.

The Best Way to Prepare Basmati Rice

To make the best basmati rice, all you need to do is follow a straightforward cooking method.

  • Boil the Rice: In a pot with a lid, pour in the cold water. Add in the rice and salt and bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer the Rice: Next, cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat to low. Simmer the rice for 12 minutes.
  • Cool the Rice: Take the rice off of heat and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Fluff the Rice: Lastly, fluff the rice with a fork and dig in!

Note: If your rice is burning to the bottom of the pan, it likely means that your stove temperature runs hotter than typical. Correct this by turning the heat down low!

3 Pro Tips for How to Cook Basmati Rice

A couple of handy tips will help you get perfectly light and fluffy rice each and every single time.

  • Don’t rinse basmati rice. Unlike typical white rice, you don’t need to rinse basmati before cooking it. This will keep it nice and fluffy.
  • Don’t open the lid or play around with the rice at all. During the simmering process, avoid opening the lid or playing around with the rice. You need to keep the pan sealed so that the steam will cook the rice evenly. Resist the urge to stir!
  • Adjust the heat according to your stove top. Every stovetop is different, so adjust the heat as you see fit. If yours doesn’t run super hot (this is common with an electric stove), you may need to bump the heat up to medium-low.

Hot Tip: For an extra pop of flavor, cook the rice in equal parts chicken broth or coconut milk instead.

Different Ideas for Serving

The fragrant, floral-like aroma of basmati rice is perfect for pairing with savory protein and curries. We love to serve basmati with lamb kabobs, pork kabobs (shashlik), or leg of lamb. Rice also pairs well with seafood entrees such as lemon butter baked tilapia or salmon. You can also use it to make shrimp fried rice, Young Chow fried rice, or serve with shrimp stir fry or use it to make old-fashioned rice pudding.

Storing & Reheating Leftover Basmati Rice

Whether you’re meal prepping or storing away your leftovers, you’ll want to make sure to store your basmati properly so it doesn’t dry out.

  • Refrigerator: To keep the rice fresh for up to 7 days, store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Freezer: If you want to hang on to your rice for even longer, freeze it! To do so, first let it cool completely. Next, spread the rice into a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop the baking sheet into the freezer. Once the rice is completely frozen, transfer it into a plastic storage bag for up to 3 months.

Reheating Tip: To reheat refrigerated or frozen rice, throw it in a microwave safe container with a splash of water. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel and microwave the rice for 2-3 minutes.


Can you cook basmati rice in a pressure cooker?

Yes, you can cook basmati rice in an Instant Pot or any other pressure cooker. Typically, the appliance will have a setting specifically for rice. If it doesn’t, 10 minutes of cook time and a quick pressure release will do the trick.

Can you cook basmati rice in the microwave?

It’s not a good idea to cook basmati rice in the microwave. The key to nailing the texture is boiling the rice and then taking it down to a low heat. In a microwave, you can’t control the temperature like this and would end up with very unevenly cooked rice.

Can you cook basmati rice in a slow cooker?

You should avoid cooking basmati rice in a slow cooker. It’s too difficult to control the temperature appropriately and it would be very easy to overcook the rice.

Can you cook basmati rice in the oven?

You can cook basmati rice in the oven in a pinch, although the outcome is not as good as on the stove top. To do so, place the rice, water, and salt in a baking dish and cover the top with aluminum foil. Bake the rice in the oven at 375°F for 25 minutes, fluff with a fork, and serve.

Can you cook basmati rice without soaking it?

You do not need to soak basmati rice before cooking it. In fact, it’s not a good idea to do so as this will wash off all the wonderful starch that makes the rice nice and fluffy.

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.