How to Cook Basmati Rice

Rice is a staple grain for almost half the world’s population and yet with over 400 different types of rice available commercially, rice cooking can still be a nightmare. We’ve all been there with sticky gloop or burnt pots.

However, I’m happy to say that I have cracked the rice cooking conundrum and now I am sharing my tips with you. Go on, try it…

BTW – I would recommend using wholegrain basmati rice. It’s much better for you and tastes great.


  1. Measure the uncooked rice grains and place in a cup (20 – 30 grams per adult and 10 – 20 grams for children.) Alternatively use American cups  - ¼ cup to ½ cup per adult.
  2. Place the rice in a large sieve. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This removes dust, arsenic and starch, which is partly responsible for rice sticking together when cooked.
  3. Pour the rice into a suitable sized saucepan.
  4. With the same cup used to measure the rice, measure twice as much cold water. Over the years I have found that the more accurate I was with the water the better the texture of the rice.
  5. Optional, add a pinch or two of salt. Salt does bring out the nutty flavour of basmati rice. However if you are serving the rice with dishes or sauces that are salty (i.e. soy sauce) omit this step.
  6. Bring the cold water to boil and leave to bubble for 3 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat off and place a tightly fitting lid onto the saucepan. If the saucepan has a lip for pouring liquids or a hole for escaping steam, it is important to seal the lid with cling film or foil paper.
  8. Leave the rice to cook in its own heat for 25 minutes (white basmati rice) or 35 minutes for (wholegrain basmati rice). DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO TAKE A PEAK. If you give into temptation, the steam and heat will escape and the rice will not cook in the expected time.
  9. When the time is up, remove the lid, fluff up with a fork and serve immediately. Perfect nutritious rice every time.

The advantage of cooking rice this way is that you can take the pan off the hob to cook leaving extra space on the hob for busy mealtimes or when entertaining. It has the added bonus too of being left alone to cook and keep warm for up to an hour.

Practice makes perfect, so why not try one of these recipes:

Chilli Con Carne and Rice

Grilled Chicken with Sweet Pepper Salsa and Rice

Vegetarian Curry and Rice

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About the Author


Sian Breslin is a qualified home economist, Mum of 3 boys and teacher for over 25 years. She is founder of Sian's Plan and believes that healthy eating can be made convenient with a little organisation.
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  • Sharon

    This is the only technique that worked for me! Thank you :)

    • Sian Breslin

      Our pleasure Sharon. Love sharing cooking tips that work!

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  • Sheila

    This works a treat for me too. I also put a towel over the saucepan when it is off the heat. keeps the rice nice and hot for longer I think! Thanks Sian