Perfect Basmati Rice

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This recipe makes light, tender and fluffy basmati rice every time.

basmati rice


Basmati is a fragrant, nutty-tasting long grain rice grown in the Himalayas and Pakistan. “Bas” in Hindi language means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of,” hence the word Basmati — or “full of aroma.” The key to making basmati rice that is light, tender and fluffy is to rinse it first, otherwise, the grains will be gummy and stick together. It only takes a minute or two. Simply place the rice in a bowl with water, and then swish it around to release any excess starch. The water will be cloudy at first but after several rinses, it will be clear.

Perfect Basmati Rice

This recipe makes light, tender and fluffy basmati rice every time.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Indian basmati rice
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Place the rice in medium bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Using your hands, gently swish the grains to release any excess starch. Carefully pour off the water, leaving the rice in the bowl. Repeat four times, or until the water runs almost clear. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain the rice.
  2. In a medium pot, bring the water, butter, salt, and rice to a boil. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. If the rice is still too firm, add a few more tablespoons of water and continue cooking for a few minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
  3. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: This rice can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Putting it in a flat layer in sealable plastic bags works well as it will take up less space in the freezer.) No need to thaw before reheating; remove it from the freezer and reheat in the microwave with 1 to 2 Tbsp. of water.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Awful mushy mess. I followed the recipe to a T and ended up throwing out and starting over. Total waste!!!

    • — Melissa on October 2, 2019
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  • This recipe is the opposite of perfect basmati rice. I followed the recipe exactly and what I got instead was a mushy mess. I ended up throwing everything away and wasting my time. The amount of water called for is simply not correct. After much searching the only basmati recipe that truly makes perfect basmati rice is the one from food52.com . Don’t bother with this one.

    • — Lauren on September 23, 2019
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  • Hi,
    I have tried the recipe and it didn’t work for me. I followed the measurements with regards to both rice and water and the butter and salt was a general measurement.

    The bottom of the pot had a significant portion of rice ‘stuck’.

    I placed all ingredients in as mentioned when it got to a boil and then I lowered the heat to a simmer (4 on my electric oven with a maximum heat of 9). I made sure to also remove as much starch as possible before…

    Would you have any suggestions?

    • — Marcin on September 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Marcin, It sounds like the rice got overcooked. I’m not familiar with electric ovens, but next time I would reduce the heat a little bit and/or check it for doneness on the earlier end of the 15 to 20 minutes. Hope you have better luck next time around!

      • — Jenn on September 9, 2019
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  • Does this rice hold up well in a crock pot on warm for a buffet?

    • — Barb Phillips on August 25, 2019
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    • Hi Barb, I don’t have a crockpot so am not 100 percent sure, but I think it should work.

      • — Jenn on August 25, 2019
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  • Perfect Basmati rice recipe !
    By the way my men (sons and son -in-law ) love all your soups !
    Before your book came out I ordered one for myself one for my daughter and 2 for my daughters -in -law ,they love it .
    How about a French onion soup for the Fall !!!
    Jeannine from Canada .

    • — Jeannine on August 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed the rice and thanks so much for purchasing the cookbook! And you’re in luck — I actually do have a French onion soup recipe. You can find it here. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 19, 2019
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  • Sorry, it may be me or the electric cooker but this turned out a mush and not even a good tasting mush.
    Confused by the universal good reviews. Didn’t work for me

    • — Mark O'Dowd on August 6, 2019
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    • I followed the recipe, it was easy and turned out great.

      • — Wendy on August 15, 2019
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  • Almost half the time that I cook basmati rice it comes out sticky, even when I rinse it. I will follow this recipe and see what happens.

    • — Richard Donahue on July 31, 2019
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    • Amazing! Thanks for the advice!

      • — Mike on August 9, 2019
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  • Followed the recipe to the “T” and the result was perfection.
    thank you,

    • — Luis on June 17, 2019
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  • This was perfect! I had previously made it with too little water and ended up with drier rice. The butter and salt are essential. I love your blog!

    • — Ryan P. on May 23, 2019
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  • This is my go to Basmati rice recipe now, sooooo good. I’m Pakistani and my mom always used a rice cooker, ours recently broke and this recipe has made it easy for me to transition from a rice cooker to stove top rice. Thank you Jen!

    • — Imran on May 5, 2019
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  • Rice far too tender, would use 1.5 parts water to 1 part rice next time.

    • — Richie on March 24, 2019
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    • yes! this is what i was told from the arabs and pakistanis and afghanis..for basmati rice, it’s 1.5 cups water to 1 cup of rice.

      • — asiila on June 29, 2019
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      • Hi, I’m going to try your recipe but I would like to use coconut water, what do you think??

        • — Denise on August 22, 2019
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        • I think that sounds like a great idea! I’d love to hear what you think of the results. 🙂

          • — Jenn on August 23, 2019
          • Reply
  • This worked perfectly. I was able to add a cinnamon stick and some cloves at the end for flavor.

    • — Laura Farwell Blake on January 16, 2019
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  • Ah-mazing!

    • — Víctor de León on January 4, 2019
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  • Both my husband and I totally loved our basmati rice cooked this way !! Totally perfect , my husband couldn’t stop raving about it. Thanks

    • — Kelley on December 15, 2018
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  • I added less butter and this recipe still made perfectly cooked basmati

    • — G on November 15, 2018
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  • I live in Switzerland, I rinsed my basmati rice for an hour and the water didn’t run clear. Now I’m soaking for a half hour before I cook. Hopefully, everything will be good

    • — Torri Corti on October 23, 2018
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    • How did the rice turn out, Torri?

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2018
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  • Hello , what brand is the rice?

    • — Yasemine on October 3, 2018
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    • Hi Yasemine, I actually don’t have one brand that I’m loyal to. Any brand will work here. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 5, 2018
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  • What changes to make brown basmati rice?

    • — Marilyn on September 18, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Marilyn, I’ve never used brown basmati rice, so I can’t say for sure if any changes would be necessary. I suspect the water to rice ration would be the same, and the cooking time, similar, but keep an eye on it. (If after the 15 – 20 minutes of simmering, the rice is still too firm, add a few more tablespoons of water and continue cooking for a few minutes more.) Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 19, 2018
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  • How much is 1 cup of rice/water?

    • — Elizabeth on September 9, 2018
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    • Hi Elizabeth, I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you looking for the metric conversion for the amount of rice and water you need? If so, you’d need 180 grams of rice and 240 ml of water.

      • — Jenn on September 11, 2018
      • Reply
  • This rice came out delicious. Thanks for the detailed directions.

    • — Pauline on July 16, 2018
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  • This was truly perfect. It cooked faster than expected on the lowest setting of my gas range, but I checked it early when I started to smell it. Thanks.

    • — Annemarie on May 11, 2018
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  • woohoo thanks for your website. I’m not super confident in the kitchen & something like making rice can even stress me out a bit. Your step by step pics, guidance always is so helpful & this recipe turned out great. My kids & hubby loved it with the chicken curry & roasted curry carrots all on your site. Thank you again for being my life saver in the kitchen 🙂

    • — TracyV on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Quickly, I believe there are different rice cookers for medium grain/calrose/sushi rice and basmati/long grain rice. It is my understanding that you can NOT use the same rice cooker for both, unless your rice cooker has a setting for both. Thanks!

    • — Joe on December 3, 2017
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  • Can I make this rice ahead of time? If so, how do you recommend warming it up for serving so it’s still fluffy and tender?

    • — Candy on October 28, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Candy, yes you can make this ahead and reheat in the microwave. Just fluff it with a fork before serving.

      • — Jenn on October 28, 2017
      • Reply
    • Thanks for answering this question! It really helped me with my Indian food project for school!

      • — Catherine Stejskal on November 28, 2017
      • Reply
  • The amount of water to use is missing from the ingredient list. I know it varies between 1 1/4-2 cups, depending on how firm or soft you would like it.

    • Fixed! Thank you 🙂

  • I would like to know how much water and rice I use to make 8 cups of rice?

    • Hi Joanne, I’d suggest 3 – 3 1/2 cups of uncooked rice and between 4 1/2 – 5 1/4 cups of water. Consult the back of your package as brands vary a bit.

      • But according to your recipe, you say 1:2…..confusing…..for basmati, ratio is 1: 1.5 or 1:1.75 maximum (rice:water). So 1 cup rice and 1.5 cups water. 1 cups rice :2 cups water will make mush.

        • — Mike on September 30, 2019
        • Reply
  • Burnt and destroyed all basmati before this (;

  • Hi Jenn, very nice and simple instructions, you can also try adding few drops of lemon juice. Adding lemon juice helps rice to keep separated from each other. Also, cooked rice stays white after it is cooked and cooled.

  • Dear Jenn,

    What is the water ration to 1 cup of basmati? Is not specify in the recipe. The reason to ask is because on the back of the bag it says 4 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, is this too much water?

    Thank you

    • Hi Sara, The recipe does specify (at the beginning of the 2nd paragraph) that you should use 2 cups of water. 4 cups of water does sound like an awful lot for 1 cup of rice.

  • If you soak the rice for half an hour before rinsing it will be spectacular.

  • How would you use a rice cooker for perfect basmati rice?

  • 1st Mrs. Jenn let me say that you must be a mind reader because two weeks ago I made basmati rice and it was in a word terrible. My question is can you make basmati rice in a rice steamer or is this type of rice better to make on the stove? Thanks in advance for you help 🙂

    • Hi Stefan, You can make it on the stovetop or in a rice cooker — it doesn’t make much difference. However, the cooking instructions would be different…for this recipe, go with the stovetop 🙂

      • Thanks Mrs.Jenn for replying so quickly , I’ll try making the basmati rice again. I’m sure my wife and daughter will want to thank you as well because the last time it was like eating small grains of rocks. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes that you post, I’m a much better cook because of you !!!

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