Should You Wash Basmati Rice: We Explain Why Or Why Not

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Water flowing and basmati rice in a wooden scoop with a text "should you wash basmati rice"

If I could only eat one type of rice forever, I would choose Basmati rice. It’s fluffy, aromatic, and perfect for almost all rice-based dishes! 

Basmati rice in printed plate with parsley on top  with spoon with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

Yet, when it comes to its preparation, we all have that one question – should you wash Basmati rice before cooking? 

You should wash or rinse your Basmati rice at least once to ensure that the rice is non-sticky, aromatic, and well-separated. Unwashed Basmati rice may have a waxy texture, along with some impurities. 

In this article, let’s learn why and how you should wash Basmati rice! 

Why Do You Need to Wash Rice?

Lady in kitchen rinsing rice in water.

First, let’s talk about why it’s necessary to wash rice. 

Rice has a high amount of starch in it, especially amylopectin. When boiling, amylopectin may absorb water excessively and make the rice mushy or sticky. 

Washing, rinsing, or soaking rice removes the extra starch from the grains and reduces the mushiness. 

The most significant advantage of Basmati rice is that it’s a long-grain rice variety. So, it has a lower amount of amylopectin and more amylose (25%) than short-grain rice varieties like Arborio rice.

Since the amylopectin content is low in Basmati rice, the grains are naturally more separated and less sticky once cooked.

As a result, you don’t have to wash or soak Basmati rice grains repeatedly as you do with some other rice varieties. 

Should You Wash Basmati Rice?

You may feel like skipping the whole rice rinsing and soaking process to remove the extra starch since Basmati rice has less starch. 

However, don’t make the same mistake as I did by not washing my rice even once before cooking! 

Instead, you should always rinse your Basmati rice at least once before you cook it. There are two major reasons why.

Reason 1: Get a Better Texture

Even though Basmati has a low content of amylopectin, the grains still have some extra starch. 

Amylopectin from these starch-covered grains may absorb the boiling water and make the rice sticky. 

When you wash your Basmati rice, you remove all the additional starch from the grains. This process significantly reduces the gumminess of the rice and gives it the ideal fluffy texture instead.

Reason 2: Remove Impurities

In addition to the texture, you should wash the Basmati rice to remove any impurities, too! 

Rice grains often contain unwanted substances that can cause your rice to have a dull color and sometimes even a weird taste. 

A simple wash or rinse can quickly eliminate dust or dirt covering your rice grains. 

Washed Vs. Unwashed Basmati Rice: Quick Comparison Table 

CategoryWashed Basmati RiceUnwashed Basmati Rice
TextureFluffy Sticky and gummy
AromaFresh aroma Slightly waxy
ColorMore towards whiteSlightly yellow/brown
StorageRemains non-sticky or gets slightly sticky after freezing Gets sticky almost immediately after freezing

Washed Vs. Unwashed Basmati Rice: What’s the Difference?

You may wonder what will happen if you don’t rinse your Basmati rice before cooking. Will it make a huge difference? 

So, I decided to boil Basmati rice both with and without washing. Let’s take a look at the differences I found after cooking them. 

1. Texture 

The main difference between washed and unwashed Basmati rice is in the texture. 

The washed Basmati rice has a lighter and fluffier texture. Each grain is separate from the other. 

On the contrary, the unwashed Basmati rice gets slightly sticky after cooling down. 

The rice grains clump together (as shown in the image below) and ruin the overall flavor. You can read more about how to make rice less sticky if this happens to you. 

Comparison of basmati rice washed and unwashed with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

2. Aroma and Color 

When you don’t rinse the Basmati rice before cooking, you can also notice slight changes in the color. 

Rice grains may contain impurities, which cause the rice to have a dull brown/yellow color after cooking. 

Also, the fragrance of the washed Basmati rice is fresh and aromatic, whereas unwashed rice grains have a waxy smell to them.

Note: The above changes vary depending on your rice grains. Some brands offer higher-quality and cleaner Basmati rice grains than others. They may not have a dull color or aroma,  even if you don’t rinse them.

3. Storage 

If you plan to store your Basmati rice, make sure you wash it before cooking. 

Unwashed Basmati rice grains get stickier than usual after refrigeration. However, washed Basmati rice only develops minimal stickiness. 

Step-By-Step Guide to Cook the Best Basmati Rice

Organic basmati rice on wood plate.

Apart from washing the Basmati rice, there are a few more critical steps to follow. Let’s take a look. 

Step 1: Rinse Your Basmati Rice 

Basmati rice soaked with water in a pan with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

You may already know the benefits of rinsing or washing your Basmati rice before cooking. 

All you have to do is add 1 cup of Basmati rice to a pot and rinse the grains well with water. 

You’ll notice that the water turns cloudy due to the presence of additional starch from the rice grains rinsing off. 

I recommend rinsing the grains using a wooden spoon or your fingers. This way, you can remove any impurities and ensure each grain is rinsed. 

Optional Tip: Soak your Basmati rice for 20 to 25 minutes before rinsing to get more separated grains. 

Step 2: Drain Your Basmati Rice

Basmati rice drained in a strainer with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

Take a strainer and drain the rice grains. 

Remember that the grains don’t have to be completely dry before transferring them to the cooking pot!

Step 3: Take a Pot and Fill It With Water

Pan filled with water with basmati rice with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

In the next step, take a huge pot, add 1 cup of Basmati rice, and 1 ½ cups of water. If you’re increasing the amount of rice to 2 cups, add 3 cups of water

The table below shows the proper measurements per cup of rice. 

Rice (in cups)Water (in cups)
1 cup1 ½ cup
2 cups3 cups
3 cups4 ½ cups
4 cups6 cups
5 cups7 ½ cups

Step 4: Let the Rice Cook

Rice cooking covered with lid with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

After adding the Basmati rice to the pot, put a tight lid on it. 

Then, keep the stove on high heat until the water is boiling. Once the water starts boiling, reduce to low heat. 

Allow the rice to cook until the grains absorb the remaining water. If you notice that the rice grains are undercooked and there’s no water left, add 3 to 4 more tablespoons of water and allow that to absorb

Note that the rice will take 15 to 20 minutes to cook. 

Step 5: Fluff the Basmati Grains and Serve Hot! 

Cooked basmati rice in aa printed plate with a logo of Fooducopia on the lower right side of the image.

Once the rice has absorbed the water, turn off the heat and wait for five minutes. Then, take a fork and gently fluff the grains. 

All you have to do is gently move around the cooked grains using a fork. Transfer the Basmati rice grains to a bowl, and you’re good to go!

Final Thoughts

Even if you don’t wash your Basmati grains before cooking, they’re not going to be as sticky as small or medium-sized grains. 

However, I always suggest washing the Basmati rice at least once to make the most mouth-watering and aromatic meal for you or your guests!

Saniya Baxi Avatar


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