How to Cook Basmati Rice – Fluffy, aromatic basmati rice ready in half an hour – what could be better? So put away that rice cooker and get ready to prepare your new go-to side dish on the stove like a pro. 🧑🍳
If you’ve ever felt like cooking rice on the stovetop is too hard, you aren’t alone. I’ve been there myself. My first few attempts resulted in everything from undercooked, crunchy rice to soggy, burnt rice. It took some practice, but I eventually got the hang of it. I’m excited to share my best tips with you so you can get it right the first time – and avoid all the mistakes I made along the way! 😅
Probably the best part of mastering how to cook basmati rice is all the ways you can use it! It’s the perfect side dish for…well, literally anything. Plus, it has the most beautiful aroma that will make your kitchen smell absolutely cozy. Trust me; your family will gravitate toward this pot of rice.
What Do You Use It For?
What Do You Use Basmati Rice For?
Basmati rice is a long-grain rice variety that grows in India, Pakistan, and all around the Himalayas. Not surprisingly then, it’s a top pick for curry dishes. It has a nutty flavor and a gorgeous floral aroma, making it great for rice pilaf. In reality, basmati rice is a great side for just about any recipe. It also works well in soups, stews, and any other recipe where you want rice that soaks up plenty of flavors.😋
- Basmati Rice – This nutty rice comes in white and brown varieties. The closest substitute is Jasmine rice, another long-grain rice with a nutty flavor and strong aroma. Jasmine rice is quite a bit stickier, so keep that in mind when planning your meal.
- Water absorbs into the rice as it cooks, leaving it fluffy and tender. How much you use will depend on how much rice you’re cooking, but you can use this recipe as a guide, multiplying or dividing the measurements as needed.
- Salt – To enhance the exquisite flavor of this one-of-a-kind rice, we’ll add just a touch of salt.
- Butter also gives basmati rice a richer flavor, but you can leave it out if you prefer.
How to Make Basmati Rice
- Wash – Place the rice in a bowl and fill it with water. Wash and rinse it gently by hand. Repeat this 2 or 3 times until the water is not too cloudy.
- Drain the rice in a colander, then transfer it to a saucepan.
- Combine – Add butter, salt, and 1⅛ cup of water to the saucepan with the already rinsed rice.
- Heat – With the lid off, heat to medium-high and bring the rice to a boil.
- Simmer – Then, turn the heat to low and put the lid on the pan. Cook rice for 12-15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed by the rice.
- Rest – Next, take the pan off the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Serve – Finally, fluff the rice with a rubber spatula or rice paddle and serve warm.
Here are a few variations to try with your Basmati rice:
- Pilaf: Make a Basmati rice pilaf! Saute the rice for a few minutes with diced onions and garlic. Then, cook it per recipe instructions, using chicken or vegetable broth instead of water.
- Herbed Rice: Cook your basmati rice as usual, then add lemon juice and chopped herbs like parsley, thyme, and oregano. It goes awesomely with grilled chicken and fish.
- Coconut Curry Rice: Cook your basmati with coconut milk and curry powder for a flavorful side dish. Or make it a one-pot meal by adding sautéed veggies and cooked chicken or beef.
- Cheesy Mushroom Rice: Sauté sliced mushrooms in butter, then stir them and some grated Parmesan into the cooked rice for a satisfying side dish.
- Rice Salad: Toss leftover cooked rice with diced cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, and feta cheese, then add a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil for a refreshing and healthy salad.
Tips and Tricks
- Here’s my number one tip for a good pot of stovetop rice: Don’t mess with it at all while it’s cooking. That means no peeking and definitely no stirring. Either can mess with the steaming process, resulting in unevenly cooked or undercooked rice. It can be hard to resist the temptation, but don’t do it! Leaving that pot alone is the only way to get perfectly cooked rice.
- Don’t skip the resting period. Those last 10 minutes of resting are crucial. In fact, it’s part of the cooking process. If you skip it, your rice will be overly wet and possibly undercooked or sticky. 😬
- Don’t use a fork or metal spoon to fluff or serve basmati rice. It will break up the grains. Stick with wooden or rubber spoons instead.
- If you like your rice moister, add an extra ¼ cup of water.
I think you’ll find this rice tastes best straight off the stovetop, and it’s so easy you won’t mind making it fresh. That said, you can make it ahead of time if you need to. You can store portions in the fridge or freezer. It will keep refrigerated for 3-5 days or 3 months frozen in an airtight container.
To reheat it, add a tablespoon of water per cup of rice and reheat it in the microwave or stovetop. If you use the stovetop, keep the burner on the lowest heat setting while it warms back up. You can follow these instructions to heat up leftover rice too!
The debate rages on. I’m no doctor, and it’s a high-carb grain. However, some experts say it has a lower glycemic index (good for people with diabetes) than other white rice.
If you had an overflow of starchy water at any point during the cooking process, you’ve probably set the heat too high. Another possible issue is using a saucepan or pot that is too small for the amount of rice you’re cooking.
Again, you’ve probably got the heat too high. You want the steam to cook the rice, not burn it. So lower that temperature. You might want to use a heavy-bottomed pan too. A thin-bottomed pan makes rice more prone to burning.
What Goes With Basmati Rice
This rice is the favorite pick for curries, with good reason. It soaks up so much of the curry flavor and really rounds out the dish. Therefore, I’d make this rice as a side to complement chickpea curry or a saucy dish like chicken roti.
More Rice Recipes to Rave About
Enjoy perfectly cooked basmati rice for a pantry staple side to whatever you please! Got some fantastic stovetop rice tips for basmati or another variety of rice? Drop your best advice in the comment section below! 🙏
Watch How to Make It
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- 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
- Water for washing rice
- 1⅛ cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Place rice in a bowl and fill it with water. Wash and rinse.
- Repeat this 2 or 3 times until the water is not too cloudy.
- Drain the rice in a colander, then transfer it to a saucepan.
- Add in butter, salt, and 1⅙ cup of water.
- With the lid off, turn the heat to medium-high and bring the rice to a boil.
- Then turn the heat to low and put the lid on the pan. Cook rice for 12-15 minutes or until the rice absorbs the water.
- Take the pan off the heat and let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes.
- Fluff with a rubber spatula or rice paddle and serve warm.