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Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is a staple in our home. Prepare our foolproof basmati rice recipe on the stove top using only four ingredients for a side dish you can pair with everything. We serve ours with aloo keemamoong dal, and grilled tandoori chicken.

Basmati rice in a bowl.

What is Basmati Rice?

Basmati rice is long-grained rice most commonly associated with Indian, Persian, and Middle Eastern cuisine, but it’s a foundational meal for billions of people. I didn’t grow up eating rice, so it was a pleasant surprise for this Utah gal! Unlike other varieties, basmati expands twice its size during the cooking process for long and elegant grains – making it perfect for saffron rice, pulao, or biryani.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Basmati Rice: The key to making good rice begins with soaking it in water beforehand – the longer, the better! Soaking results in the long, restaurant-style basmati you’ve come to expect. 
  • Spices: Flavor the rice with salt, whole green cardamom, and bay leaves.

How to Make Basmati Rice on the Stovetop

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Wash the rice until the water runs clear.

Water pouring over basmati rice.

Step 2: Soak the rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes.

Rice soaking in water.

Step 3: Drain the soaking water and add rice to a sauce pan with one cup of water. Season with salt and add bay leaves and green cardamom pods. Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat.

Rice, water, bay leaves, and cardamom added to a sauce pan.

Step 4: Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender for about 10-15 minutes.

Basmati rice covered and cooking in a sauce pan.

Step 5: Remove the rice from heat and fluff it with a fork. Cover with the lid and set it aside to steam for 10 minutes before serving.

Basmati rice resting in the sauce pan.

Step 6: Serve the rice as is or top it with butter, and enjoy!

A close up of basmati rice in a bowl.

How to Cook Basmati Rice in a Rice Cooker

Okay, stovetop rice isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I know that. So if you’re a rice cooker fan, this is for you. Something to keep in mind, all rice cookers are different, so be sure to follow the instructions for your rice cooker.

Otherwise, perfectly cooked basmati rice in the rice cooker comes down to a ratio. Add equal parts water and rice, then season with salt, green cardamom, and a bay leaf.

Expert Tips

Follow these steps to cook perfectly fluffy and fragrant basmati rice on the stovetop.

  • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear; this helps to remove excess starch and prevent the rice from sticking.
  • Soak the rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes to an hour to soften the rice and reduce the cooking time.
  • While the rice is cooking, I like to wrap the lid with a towel to create even more of a seal.
  • Once the rice cooks, remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes; this allows the rice to absorb any remaining liquid and become fluffy.
  • Increase the water ratio by two tablespoons if you’re making rice at a high elevation.

If you enjoy this side dish, try one of these rice recipes!  

A close up of basmati rice in a bowl.

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
  • Freeze: Let the dish cool completely, and transfer it to a freezer-safe bag or container. Basmati rice freezes for 6 months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the rice in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheat: Warm the rice in the microwave or stove-top.
  • Repurpose: Make kheer, Din Tai Fung fried rice, or easy vegetable fried rice with the leftovers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare basmati rice?

1. Wash: Wash the rice until the water runs clear to remove excess starch and impurities. This will also prevent the rice from clumping as it cooks.

2. Soak: This step is critical! For long, luxurious rice, soak the grains for at least 30 minutes. This allows the rice to absorb moisture before it cooks resulting in long, separate grains.

Which basmati rice is best?

Best Deal and Best Overall: Royal Chef’s Secret
Best Length: Daawat Extra Long Grain

What is the correct basmati rice to water ratio?

Answers vary depending on who you ask, but as long as you have prepared your rice beforehand by soaking them thoroughly, you will need a 1:1 ratio of water and rice.

Is basmati rice the same as white rice?

Basmati is a variety of white rice, but differs from ordinary white rice or jasmine. What sets basmati apart is its ability to expand and double in size as it cooks.

More Indian Recipes:

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Basmati rice in a bowl.

Basmati Rice

Tressa Jamil
Make perfect basmati rice every single time using our simple, and easy to make recipe; pair the side with daal, curry, kabobs, and grilled meat.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Soaking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani, Persian
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 111 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom
Instructions
 
  • Wash the rice until the water runs clear.
  • Add the rice to a bowl and cover it with water to soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Drain the soaking water and add the rice to a medium sauce pan with one cup of water. Season with salt and add bay leaves and green cardamom pods. Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from heat and fluff it with a fork. Cover with the lid and set it aside to steam for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve the rice as is or top it with butter, and enjoy!
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear; this helps to remove excess starch and prevent the rice from sticking.
  • Soak the rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes to an hour to soften the rice and reduce the cooking time.
  • While the rice is cooking, I like to wrap the lid with a towel to create even more of a seal.
  • Once the rice cooks, remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes; this allows the rice to absorb any remaining liquid and become fluffy.
  • Increase the water ratio by two tablespoons if you’re making rice at a high elevation.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 111 kcal | Carbohydrates: 25 g | Protein: 2 g | Sodium: 393 mg | Potassium: 1 mg | Vitamin C: 1 mg | Calcium: 1 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating