HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Basmati rice in rice cooker

  • m

Whenever I make basmati rice in my rice cooker, it always comes out sticky and clumps together. It never comes out light and fluffy like it is at a Persian or Indian restaurant. It's probably because I'm used to making short grain rice for Chinese food by just adding water and the same technique doesn't work for long grain rice.

So does anyone have some tips of how to make my Basmati rice come out properly? Do I need to add some oil? Maybe change the amount of water used?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It sounds to me like you haven't been washing the rice first. It's a very important step in making basmati rice.

    I use the bowl from the rice cooker - just cover the rice with water and swish around, then slowly pour off the water. It will take out bits of chaff as well as some of the surface starch from the rice. I don't worry if I lose a few grains of rice.

    1. The light and loose Persian or Indian method uses oil. Maybe this can be achieved in a rice cooker, but I'll say that whenever I've been to an Indian restaurant that uses a rice cooker, the rice is never right.

      Here's a recipe for chello -

      1. rinse the rice well and use less water.

        1. I always rinse the rice, usually 3-4 times, but the rice still comes out sticky.

          Thanks for the link Melanie. Although in the recipe it says to let the rice soak for 2-3 hours. I'm not sure if I have that kind of time, is it really necessary to soak it that long?

          Maybe I will experiment with using a little oil in the rice cooker next time I make basmati. I know it probably won't even be as good as making it in a pot but hopefully I can get something pretty close.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mliew

            If you soak the rice for 20-30 minutes, it will be stickier. Soaking counts for some steaming time. I haven't used Basmati for quite some time, but it definitely needs a modification of water quantity. I can't remember to add or subtract, but normal measure doesn't work. IIRC, Basmati needs more water.

          2. It could be the brand of rice you are buying. I never soak the rice and I make it the same way I would for all other kind of rice.

            rinc a few times with cold water.
            use equal amount of water to rice (I use the rice measureing cup that comes with the cooker)

            that's it, and it turns out fine.

            1. that is correct. equal amounts, not 2:1 like regular long-grain.

              1. Here's how I make basmati in my rice cooker, and it never comes out sticky.

                1. Rinse your rice well and several times (I saw that you already do that)
                2. Use a ratio of 1 measure of rice to 1.5 measures of water
                3. Add salt (half tsp per rice "cup")
                4. Add olive oil or butter - I prefer oil (1 good swirl per "cup" of rice)
                5. Start your cooker
                6. Once the rice is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes, ideally 15-30 minutes, without touching the rice.

                Good luck!

                7 Replies
                1. re: pâté chinois

                  Excellent instruction and perfect ratios. Folks this is your answer. Came out heavenly! Thank you pate chinois.

                  1. re: pâté chinois

                    This was the perfect recipe! All the instructions were accurate..my rice came out perfect! Thanks!

                    1. re: ktejaswini

                      I'm glad this was helpful! I guess having Persian friends helps in the rice cooking department :)

                      If you want to vary, add a few crushed and steeped strands of saffron. Do not add more water, just use a bit of the water you would normally use. MMMMmmmm! Saffron rice!

                      1. re: pâté chinois

                        I'm having a girls night on Friday and have purchased a rice cooker, I shall try your receipe, I want to add some herbs top add a bit of colour and flavour, what would you suggest and should I add them into the cooker with the rice. There will be 7 of us, how much rice shall I make?

                        1. re: Stefanieabarnett

                          Stfanieabarnett, I am really late replying, so I hope your rice came out well and you enjoyed it! I like to fold lime juice and zest and parsley once the rice is cooked, or make it more Persian with dill and fava beans (added to the rice before cooking it).

                          1. re: pâté chinois

                            This sounds good, will have to look into Persian rice when I get my rice cooker. I bookmarked the thread for your original explanation.

                      2. I have never used a rice cooker in my life, but I have grown up eating basmati rice and make it myself (my father is from India.) Here's how I learned how to do it: first soak the rice for maybe a half hour or so in a normal pot. I think longer is fine, but you do need to soak it for a bit. Next, drain the water from the rice and add twice as much new water as you have rice (1 cup of rice, 2 cups water, etc.) Put the pot uncovered on the stove on high heat and let it come to a boil. When the water boils, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. My parents always use a dish towel folded to fit over the pot but I use the lid to the pot, partially cracked. Let the rice finish cooking--try not to check it very much but if you do, just kind of use a spoon to check at the edge if all the water is gone. Don't let it go completely bone dry on the bottom, when the water has just disappeared, you can turn off the heat and leave the lid on until you're ready to eat it. Give it a little stir and you're good to go.

                        As far as brands, Tilda is good, but I have used other types all cooked in this fashion and I can't tell a difference.

                        1. I don't soak but rince twice. I then use the same amount of water that my rice cooker recommends for sticky rice but I add about a tablespoon of butter per cup of rice and a pinch of salt. Comes out great. It gets a bit dried out and hard if I leave it warming in the rice cooker for more than an hour. My rice comes out nice and fluffy and really fragrant.

                          1. In my family we eat basmati rice with nearly every meal and unless it is for a pullao or something, I always prepare it in a rice cooker. I do not have the clumpy problem. Actually, I get compliments on my rice. Here is what I do: I use Tilda brand rice because I have been using it for years and I know how it "behaves," you will have to practice with your brand of rice because some require longer soaking, etc. So for Tilda, wash well and soak for only 10 minutes but do not exceed 10 minutes or it will get mushy. You can skip the soaking if you prefer firmer rice. Then I use 2 cups water to one cup rice. I salt the water, add in the rice, and cook. When the button pops saying it is done, I allow the rice to "rest" for approximately 10 minutes by removing the lid once, allowing some steam to come off, then recovering it and leaving it alone. If you attempt to fluff the rice before this resting period, the grains will break apart. Basmati is finicky and sensitive. After ten minutes, I fluff the rice by stirring it with a fork and stir in a drop of ghee at that time. It always comes out fluffy. I have noticed though that if I do not fluff after 10 minutes and I let it sit there for a long time and then fluff, it will stick together and get clumpy. Even my hawk eyed mother in law complimented my rice saying it was perfectly "dumm" or cooked in the traditional parboiling method. She couldn't tell it was done in a rice cooker, hahaha!

                            1. Here's how to cook Tilda Basmati rice properly: Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over high heat until almost smoking. Add a 3-inch piece of a cinnamon stick that's been halved 2 whole cloves and 2 green cardamom pods, and cook, stirring until they pop. Add 1/4 thinly sliced onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup rice and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1-1/2 cups water and a teaspoon of table salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, over tightly, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed, about 17 minutes. Let it stand, covered, at least 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: teemai

                                Very good recipe and worked perfect, easiest way to make it.

                                1. re: teemai

                                  Where can I buy Tilda rice? Do I have to go to a specialty market?

                                  1. re: ChristeMihok

                                    I've purchased mine from Amazon. See http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_...

                                    for a number of different buys -- even Kosher!

                                    1. re: ChristeMihok

                                      Tilda Basmati is available at any Indian Stores, but it is the most expensive brand of Basmati. There are other cheaper brands, which when cooked properly, are as good as Tilda.

                                      I always wash/rinse the rice 3-4 times. If Basmati, 1:1 ratio with water and if Sona Masoori, 1:1.5 ratio. Sometimes we do Pulao like Teemai, but have been cooking a lot in the rice cooker lately. Add a couple tbspn of butter, a tsp of Cumin seeds, 1-2 crushed pods of cardamom, a piece of cinnamon, a bay leaf and you have "jeera rice" in your rice cooker. Dont forget to pull the cord out & fluff the rice within the first 5 to 10 minutes after the button pops to warm setting.

                                  2. As long as you put a teaspoon or so of olive oil in the rice to coat the rice and cook it for a minute or two BEFORE adding your water, it should stay separate. I had the same problem before learning that trick. :-)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ChristeMihok

                                      I don't get the point of coating the rice with oil first. Isn't the rice supposed to absorb the water?
                                      Anyway. Been using a rice cooker for many years. For basmati I rinse two cups of rice in cool water a couple of times using the rice cooking container, to remove some of the starch. I add two cups and about an extra ounce of water to the cooker. Remember the rice is already coated in water. I like to stir in a t of Better Than Bullion (chicken) for extra flavour sometimes. Sometimes not.
                                      Basmati rice perfect and fluffy every time.

                                    2. You need a high powered rice cooker with a long-grain rice setting. Check out the Tiger Induction Heating JKJ-G10U. The cooker has an on board cooking programs to handle the high heat and non soaking needed to cook Jasmine and Bhasmati. http://www.usa.tiger-corporation.com/...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: nt001112233

                                        I respectfully disagree; I have made long grain rice in a less-than-$500 rice cooker many times without it coming out sticky/clumped together.

                                      2. In college I bought quality basmati. I'd cook it in a rice cooker, used (1 cup rice/1.15 cups water) ratio. Rice and olive oil w/salt would be mixed until all the rice is coated (very simple, a little shake or mix will do it) then added water. I always got good results. Sometimes I'd let the rice soak a little as the package specified but not always or even usually. Salt/fat is essential IMO, I really don't bother rinsing but if you do make sure you do a good job rinsing (water runs clear) - I tend to get sticker results when I rinse. I believe I bought kohinoor a lot but didn't always get the same brand.

                                        PS: this was a 15 dollar vented target "Rival" rice cooker. You don't need a fancy cooker unless you want to make perfect brown rice IMO...(and even then the oven works...)