How to Make Indian Basmati Rice

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spooning jeera rice

Basmati rice is a staple in any Indian household! Its nutty taste and floral fragrance make it perfect to serve alongside almost any Indian or Pakistani dish. It was originally cultivated and grown in India and Pakistan but has migrated to other countries. However, it is quite tricky to master.

If we use a 2:1 ratio of water to rice, we will end up with a glue-like consistency. Alternatively, if we amend the ratio to 1.5:1, we may get fluffy rice, but it will be prone to breaking since we attempt to allow the water to be fully absorbed. So, toss out this whole methodology of ratios altogether! Just get rid of them, for basmati rice at least.

The most foolproof method of cooking basmati rice is to cook it in a generous amount of water (so that the water covers the rice in excess of two  to three inches) in the pot. Boil it for exactly 8 minutes and then drain the excess water through a fine-mesh sieve.

With a few other tips we discuss below, you will end up with the most perfectly fluffy Indian basmati rice, every time, that is not overcooked, not broken, and not glue-like.

Looking for a more adventurous version of Indian basmati rice with loads of beautifully fragrant spices? Try our jeera rice.


Opt for High Quality Indian Basmati Rice

While not always possible, we recommend you purchase a higher quality long grain or extra long grain Indian basmati rice. The higher qualities varieties often come in a cloth or burlap bag. Moreover, they are often slightly golden but never gray. 

The reason for this is to ensure the success of your end product. Although not necessary, it is much easier to obtain the desired result with higher quality rice.

basmati rice uncooked in bowl

How to Soak the Rice

In order to ensure each grain of rice is separated, the rice is treated in numerous ways to remove the starch that coats each grain. 

Pour the rice into a mixing bowl and cover the rice with cold water. Run your hands through the water to release some of the rice’s starch into the water. Then, allow the rice to soak for 30 minutes.

This process will release much of the remaining starch on the grains of rice into the surrounding bowl of water. Additionally, add three drops of lemon juice to the bowl of water to enhance the results of this process.

basmati rice soaked in bowl

How to Rinse the Rice

Drain the cloudy water utilized during the soaking process, then rinse the rice. To rinse the rice, add fresh water to the bowl, and move it around the bowl with your hands to produce cloudy white water, and then, drain the murky water from the rice. Repeat these steps 3-4 times or until the water is clear.

Still unsure of how to rinse the rice? Watch this video.

Stop the Cooking with Cold Water

After cooking the rice for precisely 8 minutes:

  1. Strain the rice using a fine-mesh sieve.
  2. Run the grains of rice, in the sieve, under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Consider throwing the rice into a pan on medium-low heat for a few minutes if the rice appears wet.

All these steps will ensure that the rice grains are not only properly cooked but not easily broken.

basmati rice strained through fine sieve

What to Serve it With

  • Curry Chicken (coming soon)
  • Moong Dal (coming soon)
  • Sabji (coming soon)

Reheating and Storage

Store leftover rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute on 70% or in a saucepan on medium heat until warm throughout. 

You may also keep the rice in the freezer for up to 30 days. The best way to reheat frozen rice is by adding it to a lined baking sheet, sprinkling water over the rice, and placing it in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius) for 30 to 40 minutes.

Beware not to reheat the rice more than once as cooling and reheating it multiple times may lead to bacterial growth.

basmati rice strained through sieve
How to Make Indian Basmati Rice
Say goodbye to broken grains and that gluey consistency with a few key tricks to making the perfect fluffy long grain Indian basmati rice!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 38 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 338 kcal



1. Soak and Rinse the Rice

  • Add basmati rice to a mixing bowl, cover it with water and add 3 drops of lemon juice (if available). Allow the rice to soak for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, strain the rice.
  • Rinse the basmati rice 3 times until the water is relatively clear. Set aside.

2. Cook Rice

  • Place a saucepan on the stovetop at high heat.
  • Add rinsed rice to a pot with cold water. Ensure the cold water generously covers the rice.
  • When the water begins to boil, boil the rice for 8 minutes.
  • Strain the rice using a fine sieve and run it under cold water to stop the rice from cooking.

3. Finish the Rice

  • Season with additional salt to taste.
  • Serve and enjoy.


Calories: 338kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 7gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 300mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword authentic, cooking basics, Easy
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About Savory Suitcase
Hello, I’m Kristina, Founder and Head Blogger of Savory Suitcase… the one-stop-shop for the international foodie. 

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Hello, I’m Kristina, Founder and Head Blogger of Savory Suitcase… the one-stop-shop for the international foodie.


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