You have come to the right place to learn how to cook basmati rice. Perfect fluffy plain rice is so simple to make when you know the correct rice to water ratio.
We give you the water to rice ratio in UK grams and mls as well as the US measurements in cups. Tell you how much basmati rice per person to use and the cooking time needed for this rice absorption method. It is so easy when you know-how, you will never fail again!
We also tell you how to flavour the rice with spices and how to store cooked rice.
How to cook Basmati Rice?
We have tried many ways to find the best way to cook basmati rice and this is the one we have settled on for perfect basmati rice every time!
Here is a quick video showing how to make rice for 2 people, these are generous portion sizes so could serve 3 or 4 people if you like a smaller portion or serving to children.
I have included more advice below for what to cook rice in, how much rice per person. Flavouring rice, US and UK measurements for rice to water ratio, storage & reheating advice.
To get on with the recipe you can jump straight to the recipe card below.How to cook Basmati Rice
What rice to use?
We like to use the Tilda basmati rice sold in a big 5kg bag, Tilda brand of rice is a little more expensive than supermarket own brand but it is worth the extra cost as it is top quality pure original basmati rice.
Tilda actually removes any broken grains, which helps prevent the rice from becoming sticky and mushy.
If you do want to buy a cheaper brand, be aware that it may not be pure basmati but a cheaper version that looks like basmati. Make sure to look through the rice yourself whilst washing it to remove any broken grains!
How much basmati rice per person
We like a big serving so we make 100 grams (½ cup) of dry uncooked rice per person.
Remember basmati rice almost triples once cooked so it may not look like much when measured out before cooking. However, once it has soaked up all the water each grain swells and becomes bigger.
How much uncooked rice weighs once cooked?
I tested this before writing, 2 cups (400g) of uncooked rice will make over 5 cups (780g) of rice once cooked! Which is enough for 4 adults to share!
Do I need to wash basmati rice?
Yes, you must wash basmati rice before cooking, this is not because it is dirty! It needs to be washed to remove excess starch. It is an important step that takes a matter of seconds and helps achieve perfect separate grains of rice which don't clump together.
What to cook rice in?
For best results cooking rice on the hob similar to a rice cooker use a large deep heavy-bottomed saucepan or stock pan with a lid. It is fine for the lid to have a little hole in the top where the steam releases.
You do not need to use foil or cover up the hole we add extra water to allow for the release of steam from the lid hole.
The pan we have has a glass lid which is great as you can see through it whilst the rice is cooking. But it is ok if you have not got a clear lid!
Stainless steel or non-stick pan?
We always use a stainless steel pan, when cooking rice and it does not stick to the pan! With that being said you can still use a non-stick pan with a lid if that's what you have!
Rice to water ratio in US cups
Rice : Water = 1:1 (+ an extra ½ cup water)
The correct rice to water ratio for basmati rice cooked perfectly using the absorption method is an equal measure of 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water, plus an extra ½ cup of water.
This extra ½ cup of water stays as ½ a cup, regardless of how many cups of rice you are cooking.
I have simplified below included how many people it will serve from a single serving of rice to 8+ people. Please note I have been very generous with portion sizes here.
|How many people serve - |
generous size portion
|Rice in cups||Water in cups|
|1||½ cup||½ + ½ = 1 Cup|
|2||1 cup||1 + ½ = 1 ½ Cups|
|4||2 cup||2 + ½ = 2 ½ Cups|
|6||3 cup||3 + ½ = 3 ½ Cups|
|8||4 cup||4 + ½ = 4 ½ Cups|
In all honesty, even though we are English we always use the American cup method to cook rice as it is a lot simpler! However just like Americans don't all own weighing scales, many British people don't own cups!
For those who do not own cups here is the same chart for how to make basmati rice using British measurements of grams and millimetres
Rice to water ratio in UK grams and millilitres
When measuring rice in the UK for absorption method use 100 grams of rice per person, the amount of water needed is 125ml, plus an extra 125ml to allow for the release of steam.
The 125ml extra water for the release of steam will always be 125ml regardless of the amount of rice cooked.
Do not double the amount of water when doubling the amount of rice always use the ratio of 125ml water to 100g of rice than an extra 125ml of water on top.
So as an example to serve rice for 3 people. Use 3 x 100g rice + 3 x 125ml water + an extra 125ml of water. In total enough rice for 3 people is 300 g rice to 500ml of water. I hope that makes sense!?
I have simplified below including how many people it will serve. These rice portion sizes are large and you may be able to make it feed more if serving in smaller portions!
|How many people serve -|
generous size portion
|Rice in grams||Water in millilitres|
|1||100g||125 + 125 = 250ml|
|2||200g||250 + 125 = 375ml|
|4||400g||500 + 125 = 625ml|
|6||600g||750 + 125 = 875ml|
|8||800g||1000 + 125 = 1125ml|
How long to cook rice?
As long as you have followed all the advice already given, which I will go over one last time.
Wash rice, use correct rice to water ratio for the number of people you are serving, in a pan which you have a lid for.
Then the last thing you need to know is the cooking time for rice, this is made up of the time it takes to bring to the boil (about 7 minutes), plus 8 minutes steaming and finally, 5 minutes resting.
So in all, it takes about 20 minutes to cook rice. Please go ahead to the recipe card now to get on with cooking, this next bit of writing explains each part of the process should you want to know more, read on!
Absorption method in more detail
There are 3 stages to the absorption method of cooking rice. Boil, steam and rest.
It is important to always start with cold water, bring the rice to a boil, the time will differ depending on how much rice/water you are cooking. It can also differ depending on your hob size and type.
We recommend using a medium-size hob ring as the largest hob can be a bit fierce! Turn heat to maximum and allow it to come to a boil.
It will take anywhere between 5 - 10 minutes to get to a boil.
Once at the boil give a quick stir, and pop the lid on. Turn the heat down to the minimum, steam for 8 minutes. The low temperature allows the water and steam to continue cooking the rice without stick to the bottom of the pan.
It is very important not to remove the lid during the rice steaming and rest period!
Once the 8 minutes are up, turn the heat off but do not remove the lid still, allow to rest for 5 minutes. This is the last stage where the rice continues to cook in the leftover steam and soaks up any remaining water
Finally, you can remove the lid, use a fork to fluff up and marvel over the beauty of perfectly cooked rice.
How to flavour rice?
You can add simple ingredients to the rice during cooking to infuse some flavour into the rice.
When serving rice as a side dish to different cuisines try adding any of the following to match it to the dish.
Middle Eastern - Saffron and cloves and cinnamon stick
Indian - cardamom pods, turmeric and curry leaves.
Chinese - Star anise or Chinese 5 spice.
French/Italian - Dried mixed herbs
Mexican - Chilli powder and cumin
Thai - A stick of Lemongrass or fresh chillies
How to serve?
When serving rice, it is up to you how you like it, either on the side of the plate, as a base in a bowl to pour the main on top so it can soak up the sauce, or served in a separate bowl.
You can make a neat serving by compressing the rice into a small bowl and tipping it upside down on the plate you are serving it on as seen above.
How to store cooked rice?
It is very important to note that rice must be eaten with one hour of being cooked. It should not be sat around at room temperature for longer than 1 hour as it is very susceptible to growing bacteria making the rice unsafe to eat.
As long as it has been placed in the fridge within an hour after cooking, leftover cooked rice should be kept in an airtight container. The recommended time according to NHS UK is surprisingly only 1 day.
But this is news to me, I personally have kept it for 2 days with no ill effect for many years?
Reheating cooked rice
As long as the rice has been stored correctly you can eat it cold the next day or reheat it in a pan with a splash of water to keep it from drying out or in the microwave, again with a splash of water.
Reheat until piping hot!
How to Cook Basmati Rice
Makes enough rice for 4 people, generous portion size! (see notes for correct water to rice ratio to serve less or more people)
- 400 grams Basmati Rice
- 625 ml Cold Water
Optional rice flavouring to add during cooking
- Optional Herbs / Star anise / Cardamon pods / Cinnamon/ Tumeric
- Wash the rice in a seive until the water runs clear.400 grams Basmati Rice
- Place basmati rice into a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan. Pour in the measured COLD water (see notes for correct rice to water measurements)625 ml Cold Water
- Optional - If desired, flavour the rice depending on what you are serving it with?Indian - Cardamon pods, tumeric or cinnamonChinese - Star anise or 5 spiceItalian - Dried herbsOptional Herbs / Star anise / Cardamon pods / Cinnamon/ Tumeric
- Bring to the boil with the lid off, this will take about 7 minutes.
- Once it reaches the boil, stir, then turn the temperature to the lowest setting.
- Put lid on and simmer for 8 minutes. DO NOT remove lid at any point, the steam needs to build up.
- After 8 minutes turn off the heat. DO NOT remove lid.Leave to sit off the heat for 5 minutes with the lid still on to allow remaining steam to cook and any remaining water to soak into the rice. This is part of the cooking time do not be tempted to lift the lid!!
- Ok permission to remove lid now! Use a fork to fluff up the perfectly cooked rice!
- The rice is ready to serve straight away. See blog post for storage and reheating advice.
Basmati rice to water ratioHere is the correct measurement for rice to water. UK gram rice:water ml measurement 1 person - 100 grams rice - 250 ml water 2 people - 200 grams rice - 375 ml water 4 people - 400 grams rice - 625 ml water 6 people - 600 grams rice - 875 ml water US cup rice : water measurement 1 person - ½ cup rice - 1 cup 2 people - 1 cup rice - 1 ½ cups water 4 people - 2 cups rice - 2 ½ cups water 6 people - 3 cups rice - 3 ½ cups water
How much does rice weigh once cooked?100 grams (½ cup) of uncooked rice will make about 200 grams (1 cup) once cooked which is a large serving for 1 person.
Other Rice Recipes
We also have a recipe for how to cook sticky jasmine rice. Or add some more excitement and flavour to your rice dishes try out one of our other fabulous rice recipes, where you add more to the rice than just herbs and spices during cooking.
Like our popular rice salad served cold, Indian coconut rice or this flavoursome onion rice. Click through the images below for recipes!
We hope that you are now perfecting your basmati rice using this absorption method to cook rice. Leave us a comment and feel free to ask any questions you may have about cooking rice?
Please also share this recipe with others so they can learn how to cook basmati rice and hopefully no one has to have mushy, sloppy or undercooked rice again!