Perfect Basmati Rice is a recipe you’ll use repeatedly, and that is coming from someone who used to see rice as a sworn enemy in the kitchen. Hi, my name is Hailey, and I USED TO suck at making rice. Notice that is past tense because I have now mastered a fool-proof way to make fluffy rice, every single time.
If you too feel like your rice never turns out like the rice of your dreams, you’ve come to the right place. My rice was always more like porridge before I started using this technique. It had that gloopy, oatmeal texture that makes you wish you had made pasta or potatoes instead.
I would try following the recipe on the package, which was apparently complete shit, just like the rice it produced. It was so frustrating! I decided it was finally time to crack the code.
You won’t need a pen and pepper to remember these ingredients.
- Basmati rice: I have only tested this recipe with basmati rice, but it will work with any long-grain rice.
- Water (not pictured): You can use chicken, beef, vegetable, or seafood broth in place of water.
The trick to Perfect Basmati Rice is all in the technique. I’ve made this recipe with generic and branded basmati. It doesn’t make a difference. You just need to follow a few important steps.
1) Rinsing the rice is key
The first step to Perfect Basmati Rice is rinsing. You absolutely cannot skip this step. As you rinse the rice, you’ll see how cloudy the water becomes. That is all the excess starch you’re rinsing off that previously would take your rice from fluffy to porridge. Rinse and you’re halfway to fluffy rice.
2) Soaking is a close second
Rinsing is the biggest game-changer in making rice when you compare it to package instructions, but soaking rice is the secret to the quick cook time. After you’ve thoroughly rinsed the rice, let it soak in cold water for 30 minutes to start softening up the grains in preparation for a speedy cook time.
3) Remember the 2:3 Ratio
No matter what the package says, stick with the 2 parts rice to 3 parts liquid ratio for cooking, and you will never have soggy rice again. In my experience, the package usually calls for more liquid and no soak time which makes for mushy rice.
4) Pick a pot with plenty of room
A pot that barely fits your rice and water definitely won’t hold the cooked rice and it’s certain to boil over on the stove. I try to choose a pot that allows for 3-4 inches of empty space above the rice and water.
5) Wait for the water to boil
Most rice package instructions say to add the water and rice to a pot and then bring to a boil together. I have found that adding the rice once the water is boiling like you would when cooking pasta, helps ensure your rice is fluffy and light.
6) Let the rice cool on a sheet pan
This may seem somewhat wacky, but I promise it’s the secret to perfect rice. Once the rice has steamed in the lidded pot with the heat off, pour it onto a sheet pan. Spread the rice out and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This allows the rice to dry out and not overcook in its own steam. It’s an extra step, yes, but it’s so simple and helps ensure your rice isn’t sticky.
My favorite variation of Perfect Basmati Rice is Spanish-style. All you need to add is a packet of Sazon Con Azafran to your cooking liquid, and you’re on your way to classic orange Spanish rice. You can also sauté some tomato, onion, and jalapeno before adding the cooking liquid for an extra kick.
- Serve: Allow the rice to cool on the sheet pan for at least five minutes before serving.
- Store: Rice can dry out pretty quickly in the fridge. Store in an airtight container for up to three days. Once it's older than 3 days, it’s perfect for fried rice. Check out my Vegetarian Fried Rice!
- Freeze: I am not a fan of frozen rice. I don’t recommend trying to freeze this recipe.
- Reheat: If you’re using a microwave to reheat leftover rice, I recommend adding a single ice cube on top of the rice and covering it with a damp paper towel before microwaving. This helps steam the rice to keep it moist. Remove any remaining ice before serving.
Perfect Basmati Rice is the backdrop to so many recipes, but two of my favorites are Meatloaf Meatballs and Rice and Easy Spanish Chicken and Rice. Be sure to check both out.
Cooking rice shouldn’t be complicated, but a few extra steps make a big difference. Try this Perfect Basmati rice recipe and let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Perfect Basmati Rice
- 2 C basmati rice
- 3 C cooking liquid*
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Add rice to a small bowl and add enough water to cover completely. Stir and pour off water, being careful to not pour the rice out. Repeat 3 times. Add water for the fourth time, and let the rice soak for 30 minutes.
- Once the rice has soaked, drain off the excess water in a fine strainer and run water over the rice to rinse.
- Bring cooking liquid and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Once boiling, add rice. Stir to combine. Bring back to a boil.
- Turn heat down to low and cover. Cook for 6 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed. Don't be afraid to open the lid and move the rice with a spoon to check for excess liquid.
- Turn the heat off and leave the lid on the saucepan for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, pour the rice onto a sheet pan and spread into an even layer. Allow the rice to cool for 5 more minutes before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any long-grain rice will work.
No matter what the package says, stick with the 2 parts rice to 3 parts liquid ratio, but be sure to soak the rice first as instructed.
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I have always soaked the basmati for at least an hour. After several rinsings until the cloudiness goes. As for water - only enough to cover+ an inch.
How did I need a recipe to make rice? I definitely needed this one!
Because rice is so dang tricky! I used to f*ck it up constantly, so I finally documented how Chris makes it (his rice always comes out perfect) for those of us who are not natural rice makers. I'm glad it helped you too!
I love your method for cooking basmati rice! The ratio of rice to water is spot on. I ended up soaking the rice for two hours and it tasted like the rice at our favorite Indian restaurant. I have never been able to replicate the texture until now—thank you!! This recipe brought me to your site, and I’m excited to explore more of your recipes!
Thank you so much for the kind comment! It's great to hear the recipe is a success.
Basmati rice is my favorite go to rice! And this turned out perfectly!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I absolutely love basmati rice, but I've always had a hard time getting it to come out right.
Love all your tips and tricks for making rice! Turned out perfect! Easily, a new favorite recipe!
Perfect is right! This will be our go-to from here on out! 🙂