How to Make Restaurant Perfect Basmati Rice at Home

Basmati Rice by

Puja taught me how to cook basmati rice many years ago but I was never completely happy with it because whenever we would go out to a restaurant the rice seemed so much better to me. It was a problem that lingered with me for years until I finally decided to sit down and figure out how to cook basmati perfectly. After doing some research and taking my time with it, it came out perfectly on the first batch, no experimentation needed. Because the trick is so easy. It just takes a little time.

The trick is, you have to soak the rice for 30 minutes. We were doing everything else right, but it was taking this one shortcut that made such a difference. When you let the rice soak the grains expand, blooming almost like a flower. The difference is all texture. And I’m not even sure I feel the difference in my mouth, but we eat first with our eyes. But I also think when you prepare the rice correctly it will absorb gravy better, which is all important when you eat some of my favorite dishes, like butter chicken, or paneer makhani.

Please trust me, take the full hour to prepare your rice instead of half, it’s worth it!

Basmati Rice by

Basmati Rice by

Basmati Rice by

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice by

  • Prep time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Total time: 45 min
  • Yields 3 cups of cooked rice


  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • A splash of oil (vegetable, olive oil or a bit of butter)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric (optional)


  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly with water to remove any excess starch.
  2. Soak the rice with plenty of water for 30 minutes. You can do this in a separate bowl or the pot you are going to cook the rice in.
  3. Drain the water.
  4. Add the soaked rice to the pot. Add 2 cups water, salt to taste and a splash of oil. The oil will help prevent the water from boiling over which is caused by the starch in the rice, and some people say it also adds flavor.
  5. Bring to a boil under medium-high heat, uncovered.
  6. When it starts boiling, cover and lower the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes.
  7. After fifteen minutes, take the lid off. If there is any excess water, allow it to boil off. Fluff with a fork, you are done.
  8. (Optional) You can add a bit of color by mixing about an eighth teaspoon of turmeric with a tablespoon of water, then adding a handful of some still hot rice to your mixture. Then mix this rice back into the white rice.
Nutrition Info
Serving Size 3/4 cup cooked Sodium 400mg
Calories 142 Trans Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 30g Fat 0.2g
Protein 2.5g Cholesterol 0g


  1. Catherine says

    I was taught to rinse it a half dozen times first then let it soak for half hour to one hour…always perfect

  2. Latanya Abdussalaam says

    Omg… I just made 5 cups of rice… ugh… completely WRONG… thanks for the advice… I’ll definitely be bookmarking this page.

  3. erin says

    i will try this method again but all i’ve ever gotten was broken down rice with no flavor left. i wonder if its the high altitude and lower boiling point :(

  4. Kim says

    Thank you so much, I also wondered why I couldn’t make my rice like restaurants do. I am going to try this right now!

  5. Sharon says

    I have no idea what I did wrong but following your recipe exactly, I ended up with soft, mushy rice! Decided to give it a go instead of using my rice-cooker as I don’t usually buy basmati rice, so thought I would look for a recipe. My son wouldn’t eat it so I immediately made another batch in the rice cooker without soaking first. 20 minutes later, perfect rice! So I won’t be using this method again. Thanks anyway.

  6. catherine bailey says

    Like Sharon, I followed the instructions exactly and ended up with soft, mushy rice. We eat it, because there was nothing else! My son always starts his rice by frying finely sliced onion, garlic, etc before he adds rice and water, and it always comes out perfectly. I was trying to impress him with my rice, and what a disaster! I have no idea where I went wrong, but it was awful.

  7. Trev. T. says

    Well like others I tried this reciepe, but cooked in a rice cooker. It came out perfect.
    I will follow this reciepe from now on.
    Thank you so much.

  8. A. Harris says


    For the water-to-rice ratio, is it that you double the cups of water for ever cup of rice, or is it the number of cups of rice of water + one cup water.

    In other words, if I am making 3 cups of rice, would I use 4 cups of water or 6 cups of water?

    Thank you!

  9. Ian Harris says

    Tried this today to go with another attempt at Chicken Madras. It worked out well. Super pleased. Madras was ok too. 😉

  10. says

    I can’t wait to try this. I’m sure that soaking the rice for at least 30 minutes is the missing link to achieve perfection.

    “Perfectly cooked rice grains are like brothers, close, yet separate.” —Indian proverb

    How much is “plenty of water” to rinse the rice?

  11. Rucha says

    Hi Puja,

    Great website and recipes though I would like to point out something. The yellow colored rice in Indian restaurants does not get its color from Turmeric. It’s either because of yellow food color or Saffron mixed with warm milk and sprinkled on top of the rice. That is the correct way. I believe turmeric would unnecessarily give the rice a weird taste.

  12. alank21 says

    we use Basmati rice frequently have always get wonderful results WITHOUT any pre soaking in water. We use the standard ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups broth/water in a covered pot and boil slowly over a low flame. In about 15 minutes we get wonderful individual grains, not starchy at all. The rice is NOT good for puddings, but excellent in stews, soups, and beans.

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