Follow my tips for how to cook basmati rice perfectly every time! Tender, fluffy, and fragrant, this no-fail basmati rice recipe comes together in just 20 minutes. And it easy to make on the stovetop, but if you like, I included the rice cooker method as well.

A blue dish with a heap of basmati rice

What is basmati rice?

First, what is the difference between white rice and basmati rice? Basmati rice is a fragrant, delicious long-grain white rice. It is actually the longest grain of any rice! Basmati is traditionally grown in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. It is used a lot in South Asian cooking but it is also popular in parts of the Middle East.

When cooked properly, basmati rice is light, tender and fluffy - not sticky like other types of rice. This, combined with its fragrant taste, makes it a versatile rice to serve as a simple side that will go with virtually anything or as a bed to your favorite saucy dishes and stews.

You do not have to soak basmati rice before cooking, and it is easy to make on the stovetop in just 20 minutes! One of the easiest rice recipes you'll make!

What you'll need to make it

For the perfect basmati rice recipe, you only need four key ingredients--rice, extra virgin olive oil, water or broth, and Kosher salt. If you choose, you can add some additional flavors. Here are the ingredients I used in this recipe.

  • Basmati rice - I have used both the Royal brand and Dunar brand with success, but you may find other options in your grocery store.
  • Olive oil - While not a traditional ingredient, adding a splash of high-quality extra virgin olive oil is one of my secrets to making fragrant, tasty basmati rice.
  • Water or Broth as your cooking liquid.
  • Kosher salt - Salt is essential for flavoring the rice.
  • Cardamom pods and dry bay leaf - optional for additional flavor

Let me share a few tips that will help you make tender, fluffy, perfect basmati rice every time...

A blue plate of basmati rice

Tips for no-fail basmati rice recipe

  • Rinse basmati rice very well before cooking. Wash a few times (4 to 5) until the water runs clear. This will help remove starch from the surface of the grains. Starch is what makes cooked rice sticky and gummy, so for fluffy rice, it is important to remove the starch.
  • Use the right amount of cooking liquid. The ratio of basmati rice to cooking liquid (water or broth) is 1 cup of rice to 1 ½ cups of liquid. Any more or less will affect the texture of the rice.
  • Use a non-stick pot. To avoid any potential issues of rice sticking to the bottom of your pot, just use a non-stick pot.
  • Toast the rice before adding water. I like to start by toasting the rice in extra virgin olive oil first, this is not traditional but a great way to elevate the flavor and play up the nuttiness of the rice.
  • Add flavor. Season the rice well with Kosher salt. And if you like to add more flavor, try adding cardamom pods or bay leaf (this is completely optional).
  • Allow the rice to rest before serving. Once the rice is fully cooked, let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. It is tempting to remove the lid and immediately serve, but I've found these few minutes of rest essential in cooking perfectly fluffy and tender rice (I do the same with my Lebanese rice with vermicelli)

Now, with these tips in mind, here are the steps for how to make basmati rice (the print-friendly recipe to follow).

How to make basmati rice

In this recipe, you will use 1 cup of basmati rice to 1 ½ cups of water, this ratio of rice to liquid is important. Here is how to make basmati rice on the stovetop:

  • Rinse the rice. Rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Do not skip this step, it is crucial that you rinse the rice however many times it takes for the water to run clear.

    basmati rice soaking in water
  • Toast with olive oil. In your cooking pot or saucepan, heat a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high and toss the rice to coat. This is a great way to amp up the flavor!
  • Add water and seasoning. Add the water to the pot. If you're seasoning the rice with cardamom pods or bay leaves, add them now as well.

    Rice boiling in a pot
  • Cook the rice. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cover the pot and do not remove the lid for 15 to 20 minutes. During this time the rice will cook through and absorb all the liquid.

    Cooked long grain rice in a pot
  • Let rest and serve. Turn the heat off but leave the rice covered and undisturbed for 5 more minutes. If you added cardamom pods or bay leaves, remove them before serving, then fluff the rice with a fork and enjoy!

How long to cook basmati rice?

If you follow my basmati rice recipe and tips, your rice should take 15 to 20 minutes to cook on the stovetop. Budget 5 minutes more to allow the rice to rest before serving.

Basmati in the rice cooker

If you prefer to cook make it a rice cooker, you can absolutely do that. I don't use a rice cooker, but I have been able to borrow one to try this recipe. You'll combine the rice and rest of the ingredients in your rice cooker. Cover your rice cooker and select the normal (regular/sushi) setting. (Be sure to review your rice cooker safety instructions).

Serving ideas

In general, basmati rice is one of my go-to quick sides. You can pair it with anything from Mediterranean-Style Sauteed Zucchini and Shrimp or lamb kabobs, or use it as a bed for your saucy dishes like cilantro lime chicken, vegetable tagine, Moroccan fish, chicken stew...and more.

Basmati rice is also great to use in thickening soups as I do with my harira, and in one-pan meals like shrimp and rice or Middle Eastern chicken and rice.

Since leftovers store well, it's easy to keep extra in the fridge or freezer for a quick side dish when you need it!

How to store leftover cooked basmati

Basmati rice will keep well for about 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to allow the rice to cool before placing it in the fridge.

You can easily reheat your rice in the microwave but I prefer to do so on the stovetop. Add a tiny bit of water, cover and reheat on low.

Can I freeze cooked rice?

You can also freeze your cook basmati rice. Allow it to cool completely - you can even leave it in the fridge overnight - then transfer to freezer bags or containers. Freezing rice in single servings is ideal as you'll always have just enough whenever you need it! It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

There's no need to defrost frozen rice before reheating - you can even reheat it in the microwave (covered). Just add a splash or two of water to avoid drying it out.

More rice recipes

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4.95 from 19 votes

No-Fail Basmati Rice Recipe (two ways)

Suzy Karadsheh
A blue dish with a heap of basmati rice
Learn how to cook basmati rice perfectly every time! Tender, fluffy, and fragrant rice is ready in 20 minutes. Stovetop and Rice Cooker methods included.
Prep – 5 mins
Cook – 15 mins
Total – 20 mins
Cuisine:
Middle Eastern, South Asian
Serves – 4 servings
Course:
Side Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • kosher salt
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed, optional
  • 2 dry bay leaves, optional

Instructions
 

  • Put the rice in a bowl and rinse with cold water 4 to 5 times or until the water runs clear.

Basmati Rice Stovetop Method

  • In a medium cooking pot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers a bit, add the rice. Toss for a bit until the rice is well coated with the oil. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt.
  • Add the water, and if using, add the cardamom pods and bay leaves.
  • Bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot and leave it alone for 15 to 20 minutes. The rice will cook through and absorb all the water.
  • Turn the heat off. Leave the rice covered and undisturbed for 5 more minutes. Remove the cardamom pods and bay leaves before you fluff the rice up with a fork and serve it.

Basmati Rice- Rice Cooker Method

  • Put the rice in your rice cooker. Season with kosher salt and add the oil and water. Stir to combine. (you can add the cardamom pods or bay leaves, if using).
  • Cover the rice cooker with the lid securely. Follow the rice cooker use safety instructions. If your cooker has several settings, select the normal (regular/sushi) setting and turn it on.
  • When the rice is ready, allow it to sit in the rice cooker undisturbed for a few minutes longer before you fluff and serve it.

Video

Notes

  • What brand of rice to use? I have used both the Royal brand and Dunar brand with success, but you may find other options in your grocery store.
  • Rinse the rice very well before cooking. Do not skip rinsing the rice, it makes all the difference to the texture of the rice.
  • For rice cooker: I do not own a rice cooker myself, but I have been able to borrow one to try this recipe. Your rice cooker will come with tips and instructions, be sure to review those for best results and for your safety.
  • Leftovers & Storage: Let the rice cool completely and transfer any leftovers to a tight-lid glass container to store in the fridge. If stored properly, basmati rice will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. 
  • Visit our shop for quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 199.9kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 3.3gFat: 3.8gSaturated Fat: 0.6gSodium: 6.8mgPotassium: 53.5mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 3.1IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 16.1mgIron: 0.4mg
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Comments

  1. Hi Suzy,
    I apologize if this seems like a dumb question but for this method can I cook more than one cup of rice as long as I follow the ratio you have indicated?

  2. 5 stars
    This ratio is always perfect and is the one I use. There is no such thing as a liquid measure or a dry measure. I am 62 and I have never seen such a thing. This basmati rice recipe is the one to use. It will be perfect every time.

  3. 5 stars
    Haven't made this yet but i noticed you put 1.5 water ratio should I do that even though the back of the royal rice bag says 2 cups per 1 ratio please reply and let me know so I can cook tonight thank you!!!!!

    1. Hi, Need. So sorry I'm just seeing this. I'm not always able to get to questions right away. I typically make this recipe just as written and it works well for me, personally: 1 cup of rice and 1.5 cups of water.

    1. Hello! I'm sure that is possible. I would refer to your Instant Pot's instructional guide/recipe book for instructions for using that specific button, though.

  4. There's a difference between a dry cup measure and a liquid cup measure. Why do you measure dry rice in a liquid cup measure? Is there some specific reason? I've not tried this way of cooking Basmati rice yet, although I have a ten-pound bag of it. Perhaps for supper!

    1. Hi, Anita! I have found that the exact type of measure cup does not matter here. Hope you enjoy the rice!

    2. 5 stars
      I cooked our Basmati Rice (we buy the Basmati Rice in large burlap bags) using Swanson’s Chicken Broth instead of water and seasoned it with a bit of salt and a pat of organic butter. Once the rice came to a boil I turned the heat to low it actually took 25 minutes. I turned the burner off leaving the stainless steel pot on the burner and let it sit for 10 minutes. I then removed the lid and gently fluffed the rice with a fork. No rice stuck to the pot. I also used a liquid measuring cup for broth and a dry measuring cup for the rice (like the cup you use for measuring sugar, flour, etc.). IT WAS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS AND PERFECT!

  5. 5 stars
    I have trouble with my rice being either overdone and gummy or underdone and crunch, so thanks for all the great tips.

  6. 5 stars
    Sounds delicious! Can I substitute ground cardamom if I don’t have any cardamom pods? If so, how much would you suggest trying? Thank you

    1. Hi, Tammy! Yes, you can. I would use just a pinch of ground cardamom, though. Because it is ground, it may affect the color of the rice. The cardamom is totally optional.

    1. There is! Brown basmati rice will take more water, likely 2 cups, and a bit longer to cook (about 25 to 30 minutes or so).

  7. I absolutely love your cooking videos. I have tried several recipes and everyone has been amazing! On a sidenote, would love to know where you got that beautiful pink shirt in the basmati rice video. Thank you from Lisa that lives in Lawton Oklahoma.

    1. Hi, Marcia. You can! Brown basmati rice will take more water, likely 2 cups, and a bit longer to cook (about 25 to 30 minutes or so).

  8. Hello Suzy,
    I love basmati rice and would love to try this recipe, but I don’t have any cardamom pods. Can I substitute some ground cardamom? If so, how much would you suggest?
    I love your recipes and videos! Thank you 💜

    1. Hi, Tammy. You sure can us ground cardamom! Probably just a pinch, though. Because it is ground, it may affect the color of the rice. The cardamom is totally optional.