How to cook basmati rice in a rice cooker and make it perfect

Basmati rice is one of the most popular types of long-grain rice. Many people love basmati rice, and you probably ordered it in a restaurant.

If you want to cook basmati rice at home and you want to find an easy way to do it, then using the rice cooker is a great choice.

In this article, you will learn how to make basmati rice in a rice cooker and will get flavorful and fluffy rice.

What is basmati rice?

Basmati is a very fragrant, long-grain rice. It has a unique nutty flavor.

“Bas” in the Hindi language means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of,” hence the word Basmati — it means “full of aroma.”

Basmati rice has very long and slender grains, which can elongate to twice their length after cooking.

This variety of rice is very popular in India. It is also used in many Indian households for its taste, and nutritional value.

It is very aromatic and as it was already said quite many people love basmati rice.

Well-cooked basmati rice puffs up and becomes very fluffy. Such fluffy rice is fantastic for mingling with spicy foods and sauces.

Benefits of basmati rice

Basmati rice has many benefits:

  • It is quite low in fat. This is a good option for people, who want to lose weight.
  • This kind of rice doesn’t contain cholesterol, which means there is less risk to heart health.
  • Basmati rice has low sodium. It will help to control your blood pressure.
  • It is quite low in sugar. Basmati rice is ideal for diabetics because it has a quite low glycemic index.
  • Basmati rice has a high level of vitamine B1 (thiamine). It is very helpful for brain health. Also, it can improve your memory.
  • It has a lot of protein. That can help you to maintain your muscle mass.
  • Basmati rice also has a quite big amount of fiber. It helps to promote digestion.

Characteristics of well-cooked basmati rice

A well-cooked serving of basmati rice should be soft, and fluffy. But at the same time cooked rice must be just al dente.

The grains must retain their shape; are not broken, and are separate from each other. Also, cooked rice does not have to be mushy.

What is the best way to cook basmati rice?

There are different ways to cook basmati rice. You can do this by using a pressure cooker, an open-stove pot, an instant pot, or the rice cooker. But using the rice cooker is probably the easiest of them because it is quite simple and convenient.

Also, this method can be used even by inexperienced cooks.

How to cook basmati rice in a rice cooker?

If you want to make basmati rice in the rice cooker just follow these easy steps:

Step 1. Rinse the rice

For a start, you should rinse the basmati rice very well. Do this at least three times.

You need to do it to remove all extra starch from the rice. Do not skip this step, because the rinsed rice will be more light and fluffy.

Also, rinsed rice is easier to digest. Another benefit of rinsing the rice is that it will remove anything the rice may have picked up from the processing facility (dirt, dust, talc, etc.).

Step 2. Soak the rice

You need to take the rinsed rice in a bowl. Then you should add a cup of water to it and soak basmati rice for at least 10–15 minutes. But if you have enough time you can soak it longer, for about 30 minutes.

Soaking is optional, but it would be better not to skip this step.  When you soak rice it is cooked uniformly as all rice grains absorb water.

Soaking basmati rice will help the rice grain to acquire extra length, which is characteristic of this particular kind of rice. Also, soaked rice will be less sticky.

But if you are out of time, then you can skip it. The rice-to-water ratio will change when you soak basmati rice.

Step 3. Add rice and water to the rice cooker

You have to brush the rice cooker cooking pot with oil. By doing so, rice will not stick to the bottom of the pan. Using oil you will get fluffy rice, which also will be light.

After that, drain the water completely from the soaked rice and add it to the rice cooker.

Next, you need to add water and salt to the rice cooker.

Step 4. Optional flavoring

If you want to flavor the rice, you can add dry spices like cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaf, and cinnamon to the rice at this stage.

Step 5. Set it on

The next step is you need to close the rice cooker with its lid. If your rice cooker has options, select white rice, or else start the cook button.

Step 6. Fluff the rice

Once the cooking is over, leave the rice for 10 minutes in the cooker after you have turned it off. This step is better not to skip.

So if you followed all the steps correctly, rinsed and soaked rice, and made all remaining steps, you will get nice, non-sticky, and fluffy basmati rice.

How to serve basmati rice

Basmati rice pairs well with many different cuisines such as Indian, Pakistani, Israeli, Persian, Greek, and Armenian.

This type of rice is especially well suited to Indian cuisine and can be served as a side dish to the curry.

Also, basmati rice will go along well with popular Indian dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala and tandoori chicken gyros.

It is common to add to basmati whole seasonings like cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods. Also, you can add lemon juice to make rice more flavorful. The dish will have a very rich and delicious flavor.

Basmati rice is very versatile and can be prepared with butter or olive oil and fresh herbs. It can serve as an accompaniment or side dish to braised meats.

Tips and tricks

  • Always rinse uncooked rice under cool water, no matter what type of rice or method you’re using.It washes away loose, excess starch that can stick to the grains while cooking.
  • Rinse the rice in a large bowl, swirling it around with your hand then drain. Repeat till the water is no longer cloudy.
  • If you want to avoid bland basmati rice add salt and butter.
  • Let the rice rest is important to redistribute the steam and moisture.
  • Use the same liquid measuring cup to measure the rice and water. It gives you the correct rice-to-water ratio. And when you fill the cup with water and rice, always fill it to the top.
  • Do not fluff the cooked rice with a fork – it will break the long grains. It is better to use a rubber paddle or rice paddle.
  • The timing and water requirement might vary slightly with different brands of basmati rice.
  • If want to add more flavor to your basmati rice, you can use stock instead of water to cook it.Also, for additional flavor and color, you can add a few strands of saffron while cooking rice.Using these tips it will be easier to make perfect basmati rice.


Sometimes knowing how to cook basmati rice is not enough.

You may encounter these problems, and it would be very good to know how to troubleshoot them.

  • Water spillage – too much water, too much heat, or too much rice. It can happen because of any of these reasons. You have to check what needs to be lowered.
  • Burnt rice – something like this can happen if the heat is too high. You need to lower it.
  • Gooey, gummy rice – too much water, or probably you did not measure the water and rice properly. Take care the next time.
  • Rice is not cooked evenly – it can happen if the heat was not high enough. Rice will be cooking longer than usual.It will be undercooked inside or overcooked outside with just cooked inside.

Variations of basmati rice recipe

You can cook different variations of the plane basmati rice recipe, by adding some species, or coconut milk for example.

There are a few flavorful options, that you can make:

Indian spiced rice

For this recipe, you need to add to basmati rice quite many spices such as bay leaves, cardamom, and cumin seeds.

Add two bay leaves, ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 cardamoms, 2 cloves, and 1-inch cinnamon to the recipe.

You will have very flavorful Indian spiced rice to enjoy.

Cumin rice

This variation is cooking with adding of cumin seeds.

You need to add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds, two cloves, one bay leaf, two cardamoms, and a 1-inch cinnamon stick to the plain rice recipe. This variation is an ideal side dish for dals and curries.

Butter rice

For this version, you need to add butter and a few spices, such as bay leaf and cumin seeds to the rice.

Add butter, ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, one bay leaf, and 1-inch cinnamon stick to the basmati rice recipe.

By adding these ingredients you will get seasoned, buttery, fluffy rice.

Coconut rice

For this basmati rice recipe, you need to add coconut milk and turmeric powder to the rice. The addition of coconut milk gives this dish a very rich flavor.

Also for this particular recipe, you need to add to rice chopped onions, grated garlic, ginger, and salt.

How to freeze rice:

Having cooked rice in the freezer is very convenient. It is great to use for quick meals, especially if you don’t have much time for cooking. It can be reheated directly from the freezer without needing to thaw.

  • You need to cool the rice to room temperature.
  • Then divide rice into freezer-safe zip-lock bags. You have to make sure, that there is as little air left as possible.
  • Freeze (laying flat) for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • When you want to use the rice for the meal reheat it over low heat in a nonstick skillet with a tablespoon of butter or oil if desired.

Frequently asked questions

Is basmati rice the same as white rice?

Basmati rice is available in white and brown varieties.

Usually, people are using white basmati rice for cooking more often, than brown rice.

Brown basmati rice is higher in fiber and has a nuttier, more intense flavor with a stiffer texture, than white rice.

Also, brown basmati rice is suiting very well for people who choose more healthy food.

What is basmati rice used for?

Basmati rice is used for cooking dishes, such as Biryani. It is quite a famous rice dish from India. It is traditionally served with Indian food. It is ideal for dousing with rich, spice-infused curries.

Why do you soak rice?

Soaking basmati rice makes the grain softer. You will get more soft and fluffy rice.

Also, it reduces cooking time and you need less water too.

How much water do you put in a rice cooker for basmati rice?

When you are cooking basmati rice in the rice cooker you need to use a ratio of 1 ½ cups of water to 1 cup of rice. This water-to-rice ratio makes perfect basmati rice. The rice will be light and fluffy.

However, if you find that the rice is too dry or too wet because you are using a new bag of rice or switched brands try increasing or decreasing the amount of water the next time you make the rice.

Does basmati rice need more water in rice cooker?

No. Both rice cooker and stovetop methods take the same amount of water. However, the pressure cooker takes the least amount of water.

Can you use a rice cooker for basmati rice?

Yes, you can cook basmati rice in a rice cooker. The principles of cooking basmati rice in a rice cooker are similar to cooking rice in a saucepan.

Both ways utilize the absorption method.

How long to cook 1 cup of basmati rice in rice cooker?

It doesn’t take much time. It will take something around 10-15 minutes to do this.

How long does rice last in the fridge?

If you do not want to pull a moldy container of leftover rice out from the back of the fridge, it would be better to know how long it can be left in there. Your rice should keep for about 3-5 days in the fridge.

If you want to keep it longer, stick it in the freezer. Frozen rice can be left in the fridge for about 3 months or even a little longer.

Why need to keep rice on rest for 10 minutes after cooking?

You need to do this because if you stir hot rice, it will break as the grains are super soft.

So during this resting time, rice grains will firm up (but still soft), and they will not break while you mix or fluff up.


Cooking basmati rice may seem like a difficult task, but if you follow the correct technique and pay attention when you’re cooking, it is not so complicated.

Just following a few simple steps you will cook delicious and fluffy basmati rice every time. Also, there are some tips and tricks, that can make the whole process of cooking even easier. Read about Portuguese and Indian Rice Pudding

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