7 Ways How To Cook Basmati Rice Perfectly Every Time

Cooking basmati rice should be easy peasy. This guide shows you how to cook basmati rice perfectly every time in seven methods.

a bowl of basmati rice garnished with coriander leaves with a white napkin under the bowl and some raw rice grains near the bowl

Why We Should Cook and Eat Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is a unique long-grain rice type with a slightly nutty taste and a distinctive aroma. Like other grains, this rice also has many health benefits

The most notable one is that Basmati rice has a low glycemic index but a significant fiber content. This fact alone makes Basmati rice superior to other rice grains.

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cooked basmati rice garnished with coriander leaves in a blue patterned bowl with a white napkin underneath the bowl and some sprinkles of rice grains around

Allegedly, this type of rice is from the Himalayas. It has become the main rice staple in the Indian and Pakistan regions. All their rice dishes, such as biryani and pilau rice, use Basmati. Now, Basmati rice has become more and more popular across the globe. 

But to enjoy this rice properly, we have to know how to cook Basmati rice correctly. 

Fluffy Basmati Rice

The sign of perfectly cooked Basmati rice is when all the grains separate and do NOT stick to one another. 

They have a firm, bitey, al dente texture on the outside with softness inside. If the rice becomes too soft and mushy, it is a no-no. 

It is easy to cook fluffy Basmati rice that has the right texture. The key lies in the preparation, rice-to-water ratio, and cooking time. 

This guide will tell you how to cook Basmati rice the right way without fail. 

There are two types of Basmati rice, brown and white, and the latter has to undergo more processes to remove all the hull, bran, and germ. Meanwhile, the brown Basmati only goes to the hull and bran-eliminating processes. 

Here, the focus is cooking white basmati rice, as it’s the most commonly used type. 

Things to Prepare

  • 1 cup of aged Basmati rice.
  • 1¼ – 1½ cups of water.
  • ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil or ghee (optional).
  • Equipment you prefer to use, i.e., cooking pan with a lid for stovetop method, electric rice cooker, pressure cooker, microwave, Instant Pot, or oven. 

How to Prepare the Basmati Rice Before Cooking

Before cooking the rice, these small steps are essential to ensure the grains become fluffy, aromatic, and taste nicer.

  • Wash and rinse: Run the water through the rice and rub the grains until the water runs clear. You can do so by using a strainer/ sieve or a colander. Leave the tap water to run as you stir and swirl the rice carefully. You will see the cloudy white water coming out of the sieve. Take care not to break the grains as you rub the rice.
  • Soak the rice: If you use aged Basmati rice, you want to complete this step. Because leaving the rice immersed in the water would help the grains absorb the water so they become plump and fluffy. Leave the rice to soak for about half an hour after you have washed and rinsed it. The grains will become more prominent and opaque, whiter in color. 
  • Measure the rice-to-water ratio: The Basmati rice and water ratio is critical. It should generally be 1:1.5; e.g., if you cook 1 cup of rice, you need 1.5 cups of water. However, it can vary depending on the equipment you use.
A blue patterned bowl of cooked basmati rice garnished with coriander leaves. Underneath there is a white napkin and some rice grains

How to Cook Basmati Rice

There are numerous ways of cooking Basmati rice, depending on your equipment and process. This guide covers seven methods you can follow according to your kitchen gadget. 

1. Cooking Basmati rice on the stovetop

This method is the easiest and cheapest way of cooking basmati rice because you don’t need extra equipment. And, of course, the technique is close to the original.

Furthermore, there are two ways of cooking this rice on the stove: by draining the water in the process and without draining water.

1.1. Cooking the rice on the stove without draining the water:

  1. Follow the preparation steps of washing, rinsing, and soaking, then place the rice in the pan with 1½ cups of water.
  2. Start cooking at medium-high heat with the lid on.
  3. When the water reaches boiling point, add ½ teaspoon of salt, stir it, and continue cooking with the lid off.
  4. Once all the water evaporates, turn the heat down and cover the inner side of the pan lid with kitchen paper or a tea towel.
  5. Put the lid on and let it cook at low heat until the steam comes out.
  6. Turn the off and leave the rice until the steam finishes before removing the lid.  

1.2. Cooking Basmati rice on the stove and draining the water

  1. This method is probably the trickiest way of cooking basmati rice. Follow the preparation steps of washing, rinsing, and soaking, then place the rice in the pan with 2-2½ cups of water.
  2. Cook at medium-high heat until the water reaches boiling point; remove the lid and stir in ½ teaspoon of salt. 
  3. Continue cooking until the grains look plumped up but still firm. Their color will be between opaque and translucent. If you try it, it will be slightly bitier but softer than a raw rice grain. 
  4. Drain the water and put the rice back in the pan. You can drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil or sunflower on the bottom of the pan before putting the rice back.
  5. Cook the rice with the lid on at low heat until the steam comes out. Please leave it to finish steaming before taking the lid off.

2. How to cook Basmati rice in a rice cooker

  1. Wash, rinse, and soak the rice. 
  2. Drain the rice and place it in the rice cooker’s bowl.
  3. Add 1½ cup water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir it.
  4. Put the bowl in the rice cooker and put the lid on.
  5. Turn the rice cooker on and leave it to cook. Once the cooking has finished, the rice cooker will stay in warm mode. 

3. How to cook in a pressure cooker

  1. Follow the preparation steps until you soak the rice.
  2. Drain the rice and place it in the pressure cooker pan. 
  3. Add 1¼ cup of water, put the lid, and set it tightly.
  4. Cook the rice at medium-high heat until the vent comes up, then turn the heat down. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes before turning the heat off.
  5. Leave the pressures to finish naturally, and it’s safe to open the lid. 

4. Cooking Basmati rice in an Instant Pot

  1. This method is similar to the pressure cooker above as you use the pressure cook feature of IP. 
  2. Prepare the rice by washing, rinsing, soaking, and draining.
  3. Place the rice in the IP bowl and add 1¼ cup of water.
  4. Set the bowl inside the IP and put the lid on for pressure cooking. 
  5. Set the venting knob to the sealing position, and set the IP to pressure cook at High Pressure for 3 minutes with 10 minutes of Natural Release. 
  6. Once the Natural Release ends and the venting knob is down, carefully open the lid. 

5. How to cook Basmati rice in a microwave

  1. Prepare the rice as explained above, washing, rinsing, and draining it. Then, place it in a microwaveable plastic bowl with a lid like this one.
  2. Pour the hot boiling water onto the rice according to the ratio needed (1:1.5 for the rice to water).
  3. Put the lid on and cook the rice in the microwave at high power (800+ watts) for about 12 minutes. The water will evaporate and get soaked by the rice. Leave the rice covered for 2-3 minutes before removing the lid. Take care when you open the lid, as the steam will be scalding.

6. How to cook in an oven

  1. Prepare the rice as explained above, and place the drained rice on an ovenproof dish tray or bowl. Ensure the dish is big enough to fit the water you need. 
  2. Pour 1¼ cups of hot boiling water into the dish and stir the rice and water quickly. Then, cover the dish with aluminum foil and scrimp on all the sides to ensure it’s all sealed. Put the dish in the preheated oven (gas mark 6/ 392°F/ 200°C) and bake the Basmati rice for about 15-17 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice becomes fluffy.   

FAQ on cooking Basmati rice

Can you cook Basmati rice without soaking it?

Yes, you can cook Basmati rice without pre-soaking it in water. The difference is that the cooked grains will not turn as plumped up as you pre-soak them because there is no water content in the grains before you cook them.

Can you cook Basmati rice in coconut milk?

Of course, you can. I often make Indonesian Nasi Uduk or Nasi Kuning using coconut milk. 

If you want to cook Basmati rice in coconut milk, boil it until the oil slightly separates from the milk, and then cook the rice in it. If you cook the rice in raw coconut milk immediately, your rice won’t taste nice and will be just greasy and fatty. Use the same ratio of coconut milk as the ratio of water to rice. 

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.


Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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