Learn how to cook Basmati Rice with my tried and tested methods. This is more like a guide to basmati rice where you can choose from three methods - stovetop, instant pot and traditional pressure cooker.
Cooking rice, any kind of rice, shouldn't be complicated. And honestly it isn't. And everyone should know how to cook basmati rice well. Because it's a beautiful variety of rice - fragrant, long grained and deserves a special place.
Characteristics of well cooked Basmati Rice
A well cooked serving of basmati rice should be soft, fluffy but just al dente. It's important that the grains retain their shape; are not broken, and are separate from each other.
I'm not trying to intimidate you. But if you achieve this, you are a master of your kitchen, the king of kings and you'll learn to really appreciate why basmati is the most popular variety of rice.
Identifying Basmati Rice from Long Grain Rice
Basmati Rice is long grained, but every long grain rice isn't basmati. Its as simple as that. When buying basmati, look for the word 'basmati' on the packet. Preferably buy basmati thats aged for a year or two. I love 'Daawat's extra long Basmati Rice' which is aged over 2 years.
Basmati Rice to Water Ratio
There is some debate around this, but after a lot of testing, I've arrived at certain measurements that always work. Depending on the method you are choosing, the rice to water ratio can vary between 1:1.25 to 1:1.5. I've detailed this for each method in the recipe box below.
Important Steps while cooking Basmati
- Wash the Rice: Washing basmati rice before cooking gets rid of any impurities and extra starch, and it prevents the rice from clumping and sticking to each other. Rinse it 3-4 times in cold water till the water isn't as muddy or milky as the first time.
- Soak the Rice: Soaking basmati rice before cooking isn't essential, but in my experience, it produces better results. So don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Soak the rice for just 30 minutes before cooking. This helps the rice absorb some water and helps the grains relax. This produces softer grains.
- Use the soaking water for cooking: You don't need to discard the liquid in which you soaked the rice before cooking. You can use the same liquid. Just make sure you follow the rice to water ratio listed below.
- Don't stir it: You don't need to stir the rice while its cooking. Stirring can actually break the grains, and we are looking for super long grains that are fully intact in shape.
More Flavour Options
If you'd like to add more flavour to your basmati rice, you can use stock instead of water to cook it. Alternatively, you can make the popular jeera rice instead of plain basmati rice. You can also add a few strands of saffron while cooking the rice for both colour and flavour.
I've been eating quality basmati rice my entire life, and we are particular about how well its cooked. Its an amazing variety of rice if treated right. I hope these cooking times and measurements work out for you.
Please remember that different brands of rice and differently aged rice may need slightly less or slightly more water. Some of that comes with trial and error. But overall, these cooking times should work. If they don't, please leave me a comment below and I'll be happy to troubleshoot this with you so that you can get perfectly cooked basmati rice every single time.
Serve Basmati Rice with
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 1 ¾ cup Water
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 1 ¼ cup Water
Traditional Pressure Cooker:
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 1 ½ cups Water
- ½ teaspoon Oil
- Place rice in a bowl and add enough water to cover the rice by 1-2 inches. Use your fingers to gently rub the rice and swirl the water around. The water will start to look muddy and milky. Drain the water and repeat this process 3-4 times till the water starts looking pretty clear. This process washes away the starch, reducing stickiness in cooked rice.
- Regardless of the method you are using, soak the rice in the amount specified above (refer to the method you are using) for 30 minutes. Use the vessel you are planning to cook the rice in for soaking because we won't be draining the rice. For example, if you plan to use your IP, soak the rice in the inner pot with the water amount specified above for the instant pot.
- Add washed rice and required water to a pot and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Place the soaked rice and water on the stove and bring it to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, reduce the flame to a simmer and cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 5 more minutes. Basmati rice cooked on the stovetop is ready to serve.
Instant Pot Method:
- Transfer the washed rice and required water to the inner pot and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, cook the rice by selecting manual pressure for 4 minutes. Once the 4 minutes are up, and the the beeper goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, release pressure manually. Rice is ready for serving.
Traditional Pressure Cooker Method:
- Add washed rice and required water to the pressure cooker and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Add oil and fix the lid on the pressure cooker and place it on the stove. Cook on medium high heat for two whistles. Turn off the gas once you hear two whistles and let the pressure release naturally. Basmati is ready to be served!
- The timing and water requirement might vary slightly with different brands of basmati rice.
- Do not skip washing the rice. If skipped, this is the #1 reason for basmati rice being sticky. Rinsing the rice washes away excess starch.
- If you'd like to add more flavour to your basmati rice, you can use stock instead of water to cook it. Alternatively, you can make the popular jeera rice instead of plain basmati rice. You can also add a few strands of saffron while cooking the rice for both colour and flavour.
- To store, pack loosely in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator. This stays fresh for 3-4 days. Sprinkle a few drops of water while reheating.