Learn how to cook basmati rice perfectly every single time. With 3 simple ingredients and less than 20 minutes, you’ll be left with the perfect side dish fit for any occasion.
If you’ve been following for long, it may surprise you to know I LOVE plain basmati rice. Of course, I also love turning it into creative dishes, like coconut milk rice and curried fried rice, but in order to get creative, it’s important to learn the basics.
This recipe is deceptively simple, yet the results are anything but. The rice turns out light and fluffy, with a mild, delicate flavor that suits all sorts of dishes.
Table of Contents
- Foolproof. Everyone and their mother think they have a secret hack for making perfect basmati rice, but my advice is NOT to overthink it. Follow this recipe the same way every time, and you’ll always have perfect rice.
- Customizable. I don’t add much flavor to this recipe, so it’s easy for you to customize it for every meal.
- Inexpensive. I’m all about affordable weekly staples, and rice is about as cheap as it gets. This makes it a no-brainer to work into my weekly meal prep.
- Easy to scale. I’ll give you a simple water-to-rice ratio so you can make as much or as little rice as you need.
Just 3 simple ingredients are what’s needed to make this base recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Basmati rice. A type of long-grain rice grown in India and Pakistan. If you can’t find basmati, this recipe also works with jasmine rice.
- Water. For cooking.
- Salt. To taste.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make basmati rice
Step 1- Rinse. Rinse the basmati rice in a strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear.
Step 2- Boil. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add the salt. For every 1 cup of rice, use 2 cups of water and adjust accordingly depending on how much rice you are cooking.
Step 3- Add rice. Once the water is boiling, add the rice.
Step 4- Simmer. Cover the pan with the lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit in the pot for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the rice.
Pair the long-grained basmati rice with any of these hearty main courses for the perfect balanced meal.
- Butter chicken– Succulent chicken pieces in a creamy golden sauce.
- Chicken tikka masala– My favorite Indian dish, made even better than the restaurant version.
- Air fryer salmon– So simple and ready in under 6 minutes.
- Dahl– A hearty Indian stew that’s packed with protein and naturally vegan-friendly.
Recipe tips and variations
- Don’t skip the rinse. I know tossing the rice straight into the pot may be tempting, but trust me, it’s an important step! Rinsing the rice helps remove excess starch from the grains, making them separate and fluffy as they cook.
- Toast the rice. If you really don’t feel like rinsing rice, another option is to toast it. I find this brings a more nutty flavor profile and slightly chewier texture. To toast rice, add olive oil to a pan over medium heat, add the rice, and stir frequently until the grains turn white. Add the water, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until fluffy.
- Use stock. When I want to make a less subtle, more intensely flavored rice dish, I’ll swap the water for low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
- Add aromatics. Toss in garlic cloves and roughly chopped onions to infuse a subtle aromatic flavor.
To store: Allow the leftover basmati rice to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze: Store leftover cooled rice in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow the rice to thaw overnight in the fridge, or add more reheating time.
To reheat: Add a splash of water or stock to the rice and microwave in 20-second intervals, stopping to stir between each until it’s reheated.
Frequently asked questions
The best method for cooking basmati rice is to rinse it under cold water to remove excess starch from the grains. Then, it should be added directly to boiling water and simmered until it absorbs all the liquid and easily fluffs with a fork.
Soaking basmati rice before cooking can help to start the water absorption process and make it cook more quickly, though it’s definitely optional and does not significantly decrease the cooking time.
More rice recipes to try
- Rice salad– Sweet and savory rice salad made with almonds, carrots, and raisins.
- Rice pudding– Naturally sweetened, it’s the perfect wholesome, creamy dessert.
- Instant pot sushi rice– Made in less than 5 minutes and great for homemade sushi and poke bowls.
- Cauliflower fried rice– All of the flavor but none of the carbs.
How To Cook Basmati Rice
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Rinse the basmati rice under cold running water until the water runs clear.
- In a saucepan, bring the measured water to a boil, along with the salt.
- Once boiling, add the rice.
- Cover the bowl, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the rice sit in the pot for an additional 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the rice then serve.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.