The Easy Way You Can Make Basmati Rice Fluffier

Despite being a staple pantry item, rice can be surprisingly hard to get right even for the most experienced cooks among us. Whether you've inadvertently chosen the wrong-sized pot, neglected to wash your rice, used too much heat, lifted the lid while cooking, or dared to stir the rice as it cooks, it's all too common to find yourself with grain that's undercooked, overcooked, too hard, too mushy, underseasoned, or even scorched (via Epicurious).

But perhaps the most common complaint is rice that doesn't turn out fluffy. After all, that's the texture we all want to sink our teeth into, whether eating rice plain or spooning it alongside our favorite dishes. This is especially true for one particular variety of rice: basmati. This fragrant, long-grain rice hails from India, Pakistan, and the Himalayas, according to The Spruce Eats, and is ideal for steaming into pilafs and for soaking up rich curries. So how do you ensure your basmati rice turns out fluffy?

Soak the rice before cooking

As with most varieties of rice, a pre-cooking soak helps the finished product turn out fluffy, evenly cooked, and not too mushy, according to The Guardian. The outlet points out that cooking rice is essentially just hydrating the dried grain. Soaking completes this same process. As a result, it helps you toward your end goal and helps the rice steam more evenly.

When it comes to basmati rice, this step is even more important. Pre-soaking helps long-grain rice varieties like basmati to plump up fully, according to Fine Cooking. No wonder cooks such as Madhur Jaffrey and Meera Sodha soak their basmati. To do so, just measure out the rice you'll be cooking and cover it in plenty of cold water. Before cooking, drain the rice, and measure out the exact amount of water you'll need for steaming. Want an extra guarantee of fluffy rice? After the rice is finished cooking, take the lid off the pot, drape a clean kitchen towel over the rice, replace the lid, and let the rice sit for an additional 10 minutes (via Lifehacker). The towel will absorb any leftover steam so it doesn't drip down into the pot and leave the rice grains disparate and fluffy.