Cooking tips

Perfect Basmati Rice

cooking instructions basmati rice

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

basmati rice

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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.

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Perfect Basmati Rice

By Jennifer Segal

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

Servings: 4 Total Time: 25 Minutes


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


  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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  • It turned out sticky/clumpy as a result of too much water. In general, basmati calls for 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water, not 1 3/4. But if you like it a bit clumpier, like Jasmine rice, this works. If dry, separated and fluffy is your preference, reduce the water.

    • — Ajwalazza on November 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • The recipe’s caption ‘light, tender, and fluffy’ says it all! This is the only recipe I will use now!

    • — Barbara K on October 30, 2021
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  • It came out perfectly – thank you so so so much!

    • — Cindy on September 28, 2021
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  • Best basmati rice I have made so howtomake.infor great side dish. Merci,Jenn Suzanne

    • — Suzanns Bussiere on September 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • I didn’t have measuring spoons, so I eyeballed as best as I could and it came out so lovely 🥰 thank you for your recipe.

    • — Sattire on September 8, 2021
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  • Hi Jen! I love all your recipes. I’m making the tikka masala tomorrow for the 100th time I think! Any thoughts on using brown basmati rice?

    • — Tess on August 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! 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 ratio 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 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • Omg… perfection at last! I am diabetic and must watch my portions. I package the rice in 1/3 c amounts and freeze it.

    Looking forward to Jenn’s new cookbook!

    • — Tomi Weddleton on August 31, 2021
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  • Made it according to the directions and it came out perfect! Served rice topped with Korean BBQ (bulgogi), mushrooms, and a Greek Tzatziki sauce.

    • — Howard on August 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • This was perfect! Turned out great!!

      • — Krissy on December 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Perfect … tasty … fluffy basmati rice recipe! Thanks!!!

    • — Sharon on August 23, 2021
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  • I have used this recipe many times. It is the best. I love how my rice turns out every time. @onceuponachef

    • — Shelley on August 19, 2021
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  • Turned out great !

    • — Pat Rush on June 6, 2021
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  • Buttery goodness! Wow!

    I bought a bag of basmati recently and when I wanted to get a reminder of the rice to water ratio, I saw this page. Got my ratio and then saw butter in the ingredients.

    The rice was revolutionized! This recipe is a keeper!

    • — Ryan on June 1, 2021
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  • Readmore: The 6 Most Expensive Foods on Earth

    Perfect basmati, thanks for the recipe! I am a real beginner at this – while stuck at home here in the UK I managed to learn how to cook some curries (Rick Stein’s book but using a bit less chili!) and I’m still very much following instructions. I batch-cooked 2 pints of rice for 15 minutes to your recipe and put it into 2-portion containers for the freezer. Slightly al dente going in but when you reheat in the microwave it finishes cooking to perfection!

    • — DerekL on May 24, 2021
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  • Followed recipe and rice was too clumpy and moist. Looking for seperation of strands and this didnt do it. Will be experimenting using less liquid and using lower heat to simmer / simmer longer.

    • — Bruce on May 23, 2021
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  • what a joke. Kept to a reciepe to the letter, rice came out pudding-like, stuck to the bottom, even tho I only kept it on a low/med heat after boiling. ruined my anniversary dinner. Never using this site again.

    • — Mat on May 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • also portion for 4 ppl turned out to be too be barely enough for 2. all over disappointment.

      • — mat on May 17, 2021
      • Reply
      • My mother and I ate a full portion for supper and had 2 small portions left over for lunch. Only a person with an unusually large appetite would say this barely fed 2….unless perhaps ALL they ate was rice with nothing as an accompaniment.

        • — Ajwalazza on November 23, 2021
        • Reply
    • That would be a mistake. I just had 8 houseguests for 6 days. Made every recipe I served from this website or cookbook to rave reviews.

      • — Brenda on June 3, 2021
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    • So, the rice ruined your anniversary dinner? Curious-is that all you served? Also, low/med heat is probably too high. Try it again on low.

      • — Mark on June 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious each and every time I make it. Thank you!

    • — Uyen on May 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great – turned out perfectly – simple and fast- as mentioned rinsing thoroughly was the key!

    • — Linda on April 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • If I make this rice in advance that is the best way to reheat for serving ?

    • — Niamh Field on April 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Niamh, I’d just reheat it in the microwave. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 10, 2021
      • Reply
  • it was PERFECTLY delicious!

    • — diana on March 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is by far the simplest and best recipe for basmati rice. I didn’t use butter, I added a couple of drops of olive oil instead. I won’t dare tell my Indian family that I used this recipe!! 😀

    • — Ruby on January 30, 2021
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  • Just as the name suggests…turned out perfectly!

    • — Linda on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I tried this method last night after not trusting the packaging ratios and the rice turned out great. It cooked well and didn’t clump or stick to the bottom of the pot.

    • — Jonathan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve tried a few different methods, this one is the best! My rice is perfect and fluffy every time. The one adjustment was to turn the burner to low, rather than medium low. It depends upon your pot probably, mine always require a little lower setting because they hold the heat. Perfect water to rice ratio!!

    • — Suzanne M Antonelli on January 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great recipe ! Thank you

    • — Val on December 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Truly perfect! Nice and fluffy, kids couldn’t get enough.

    • — Blayne on November 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • First time I have ever cooked rice, I followed the instructions to the letter, I must say its the best rice I’ve ever tasted, no hard bits, just so soft and fluffy, thank you xxx

    • — Vanessa on October 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • Really easy, quick, and turns out really well! I’ve used this recipe many times and comes out the same every time.

    • — CB on September 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m a good cook but have never been able to consistently make decent rice – until now! Perfect every time!!

    • — Liz Firalio on September 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Your recipe calls for “Indian Basmati” rice. Some packages of Basmati rice indicate the basmati rice is actually grown in US. Does this mean it’s not really Basmati? Thank you,

      • — Diana on July 23, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Diana, it doesn’t matter where the rice is grown as long as it’s basmati rice. (I just updated the recipe to avoid confusion). Hope that clarifies!

        • — Jenn on July 27, 2021
        • Reply
  • I doubled the recipe and the rice came out perfectly! Thank you!

    • — Lisa on August 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hot view: Your Cart

      Do you keep the time the same when you double?

      • — Zaina on March 8, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Zaina, It should be around the same time, but, prior to removing it from the heat, make sure you check it to see if all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. If not, give it an extra minute or two.

        • — Jenn on March 9, 2021
        • Reply
  • I have avoided Basmati rice because the one time I made it, it came out terrible. With that said, I am absolutely thrilled that this recipe turns out perfectly every time I make it!! I follow it exactly as written and have no issues.

    • — Lynn on August 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Jennifer – Thanks to your recipe we had the best Basmati rice I ever cooked at home. I was surprised to see salt and butter in the recipe, but it makes the end product so flavoursome! I cooked the rice less long though as the suggested time was only 10-12 min, so I stuck to that. Amazing result – I can highly recommend it.

    • — Sandra on July 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • How to cook brown basmati rice in a rice cooker? What is the proper ratio?

    • — Shahesta on July 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Shahesta, I don’t have experience using a rice cooker, but you may find these tips helpful.

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Awesome recipe! I could never make fluffy basmati rice until now. Thank you so much!!!

    • — Maya on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Rinse the rice & it soak for about 30 mins to get non sticky grains. Also one alternative of making basmati rice is boiling rice with a lot water (approx 3-4 cups of water for 1 cup of rice) until cooked and then draining the extra water. That way you wouldn’t need to measure any ingredients. Also here in India, we don’t usually add salt or butter to plain rice. Some people might add ghee to cooked rice. Hope you try making rice using this method. Do let me know how it turns out.

    • — Saloni on June 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Soloni. Prior to cooking, I prepared the rice using your recommendation, and it worked out beautifully. Thanks for the tip.

      • — Maya on June 26, 2020
      • Reply
    • Gujarati here. My family always added salt and ghee to our rice. Back when we did the stove top method and the current – and vastly superior – rice cooker.

      second the rinse and soak for the rice. Basmati always needed that soak.

      And for the basmati – it’s usually more than salt and ghee. We usually have spices in it. I usually use the standard long grain rice for kichidee. The basmati was always for the meals we wanted special which means biriyani or something like that with a meat associated with it. Or kheer. You can’t make kheer without basmati.

      To anyone who is reading this.. do try and look up how to make kheer. It’s just a rice pudding dessert and it’s delicious. If you’ve ever had ras malai, it’s very very similar to that.

      • — j on November 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Best tasting rice I ever cooked. I will always cook my rice this way.

    • — Robert Kilpatrick on June 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Thank you, thank you thank you! I have been struggling with making rice and this method worked beautifully! No more gummy rice!

    • — Kathy S on June 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • Doubled the recipe came out perfectly used olive oil instead of butter. Its a keeper. Thanks.

    • — Susan on June 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • I doubled the recipe. The rice came out perfect!

    • — Mia on May 19, 2020
    • Reply

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