How to Cook Basmati Rice

Long grain rice cooks perfectly using this quick and easy method! Here’s how to cook basmati rice (both brown and white).

How to Cook Basmati Rice

Long grain basmati rice is perfect for serving with curry or grain bowls. But what’s the best way to cook it? Alex and I have stumbled on the perfect way: it’s called the pasta method for cooking rice. Wait, pasta? We’re cooking rice here, right? We promise: your basmati rice will come out perfectly. And brown rice cooks in almost half the time! Ready for all our secrets? Let’s go.

Got a pressure cooker? You can also make Instant Pot Basmati Rice.

How to cook basmati rice: a tutorial

The Pasta Method for cooking rice means cooking rice like you would pasta. That is: boiling a pot of water, then cooking the rice at a boil and draining it. Most standard methods of cooking rice you simmer the rice with water until it’s all absorbed. But this way, it’s easier to end up with crunchy or soggy rice. The Pasta Method makes long grain basmati rice come out light and fluffy every time! Here’s how to do it.

How to Cook Basmati Rice

Step 1: Rinse the rice.

Use a strainer to rinse the rice in cold water, then drain it. Is rinsing rice really required? Well, rinsing can remove surface starch on the grains, which can cause the rice to clump together or get gummy. (Full disclosure: we’ve also made this recipe without rinsing and it still works great! So if you’re feeling lazy…) Here’s more about Rinsing Rice.

Step 2: Boil water, then add rice. Boil 10 minutes (white) to 20 minutes (brown).

In a saucepan over high heat, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice and stir. Then continue to boil uncovered, bubbling rapidly. You’ll cook for 9 to 12 minutes for white rice or 18 to 25 minutes for brown rice. At the earliest time, taste a grain of rice. If it is tender, remove the pan from the heat. Then pour the rice into the strainer.

How to cook white rice

Step 3: Allow the rice to steam.

Return the rice to the pot and cover it. Steam for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff it with a fork. Add kosher salt and it’s ready to serve! That’s it: all you need to know about how to cook basmati rice!

Brown basmati rice vs white basmati rice

Is brown basmati rice healthier than white rice?

Now, if you’re like us you might be wondering: is brown rice healthier than white? Is it better to make that for my meals: and is it worth the time investment? Great question! Calorie-wise, brown and white rice are very similar. Brown rice actually has more calories than white rice, about 216 calories per 1 cup vs. about 200 calories for white rice.

However, brown rice is packed with more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In the processing of rice, white rice has its hull, bran and germ removed: those are the parts with the most nutrients. Brown rice keeps these nutrients, since it only has the hull removed. It also has more fiber than white rice. So, if you have the time to cook it, brown rice is a great choice!

Recipes using basmati rice

Chances are if you’re making basmati rice, you already have an idea on how to serve it. But if you’re looking for rice recipes, here are some of our favorite ways to eat it:

This basmati rice recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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How to Cook Basmatic Rice

How to Cook Basmati Rice


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (17 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x

Description

Long grain rice cooks perfectly using this quick and easy method! Here’s how to cook basmati rice (both brown and white).


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or rice long grain / basmati rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Rinse the rice: Using a strainer, rinse the rice under cold water, then drain it completely.
  2. Boil the rice using the “Pasta Method”: In a saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice, stir once, and continue to boil uncovered, bubbling rapidly, for 9 to 12 minutes for white rice or 18 to 25 minutes for brown rice. Taste a grain of rice; if it is tender, remove the pan from the heat, then pour the rice into the strainer.
  3. Steam the rice: Return the rice to the pot (without the heat). Cover the pot and allow the rice to steam for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the kosher salt.

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Basics

Keywords: How to Cook Basmati Rice

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

8 Comments

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    January 16, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Does this work with other types of rice? I have regular brown rice but don’t know if this would work for that as well?

  • Reply
    Mike
    January 28, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Can you explain what the purpose of briefly take the rice out of the pot and placing it into a strainer does if you are just going to put the rice back in the same pot to steam? I don’t understand…

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 28, 2020 at 7:58 pm

      Hi! It’s cooked in excess water like pasta, so you need to drain the water before steaming.

  • Reply
    Jon
    March 26, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    I have to watch iron intake. I’ve got a package of Kroger brand Basmati rice that says it has 0% iron. Any thoughts on whether or not this is bogus information? I’m skeptical, but it would be nice if true.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 27, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      I’m not sure about this, sorry!

  • Reply
    Margie
    June 3, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you SOO much for sharing this info about rice!! I have had a ‘difficult’ relationship with rice for many years but after cooking brown basmati rice twice now using the ‘pasta method’ I’m happy to say our relationship has improved dramatically! All thanks to you! I’ve used other ‘tips’ before but never worked like this. Wonderful info! Any other advice for me?? LOL! Thanks again!!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 3, 2020 at 5:55 pm

      Haha! Glad it worked for you!

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