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

Leave a Comment on “How to Make Restaurant Perfect Basmati Rice at Home”

  1. 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 ๐Ÿ™

  2. 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.

  3. catherine bailey

    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.

  4. A. Harris


    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!

  5. 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.” โ€”Indian proverb

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Weird how I just stumbled to this site. Just the way my mum taught me to do it! My family has always cooked basmati the way you described. I agree – it is the best way to do it.

    Kudos to you – your basmati looks great. You rarely see cooked basmati properly – especially online – hell I’ve even seen chefs or experienced cooks mess it up!

    Next thing I can think of apart from basmati that lots of people fluff up – is dhals! People butcher that.

  9. saffron is recommended. Not turmeric. saffron gives a richer flavour and a much more meaningful flavor which the turmeric on rice – yuck. Good recipe though ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Larry

    Very nice recipe, thanks. I’ve made it four times. The first 2 times I followed the recipe precisely and felt it was “in the ballpark” of Kebob restaurant quality rice but not quite there. Then I made a few tweaks: 14 minutes instead of 15; 10 minutes sitting off heat, covered and undisturbed, after the 14 minutes on low heat; and saffron instead of tumeric. When I got done with those adjustments, I felt I truly had full restaurant quality rice on hand. Thanks again.

  11. Sorry, close, but no cigar; not close to restaurant quality. Fyi, when I ask cooks at Indian and Mideastern restaurants; they don’t measure they boil the rice like pasta; tried that too, no luck. The only fool-proof meathod in my experience is pilaf; the oil keeps grains separate, but it’s not the same; come on, this can’t be rocket science!

  12. Shandie

    Made this yesterday exactly how directed and it turned out perfect! So glad that I found this recipe because I was getting tired of throwing out mushy basmati rice. This will definitely be my go to way of cooking it!

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