What Does Basmati Rice Taste Like? (Honest Answer)

Did you know that basmati is a Hindi word that means aromatic in English? 

That’s why it’s the perfect name for basmati rice—that highly fragrant rice often served with Mediterranean dishes.

You might have heard of it. Heck, you might have even already tasted it with curries and biryani.

But think about this: do you know what basmati rice tastes like on its own? Most probably not!

So, what does basmati rice taste like?

Short answer:

It has a starchy taste with hints of nutty, spicy, and floral notes. 

Yes, basmati rice is more flavorful as compared to other rice varieties out there. But of course, it will depend on the type, quality, and brand that you’ll buy.

Lucky for you, we’ll share some tips on how to buy the best basmati rice in this article, so keep on reading!

What Does Basmati Rice Taste Like?

Overall, basmati rice has a neutral flavor. However, what makes it unique is it gives off hints of spicy, nutty, and floral flavors that are more intense than other varieties but still a lot less potent than chilies and nuts

Another thing that makes basmati rice unique is its texture. Compared to most varieties, basmati is considered to be lighter, fluffier, and more tender. 

Why Does Basmati Rice Taste Different?

No other rice types can come close to basmati’s taste and texture, and it’s all because of basmati’s 2-year aging process. 

This aging process is performed to ensure that the grains are as dry as they can get. Since its moisture content is significantly reduced, the grains become drier and fluffier instead of soft and sticky. 

Not only that, but the drying process also causes its flavors and aromas to be highly concentrated, so they become more distinct after cooking. 

What is Basmati Rice?

Basmati is a long-grain rice that’s known for having a stronger aroma than other variants. It’s widely produced in India and Pakistan and commonly used in making different Indian and South Asian recipes. 

Another unique feature about basmati rice expands only lengthwise when cooked, so it’s a lot slimmer than most types. 

But wait, there’s more. The grains tend to double in size after cooking, so it features an impressive length as compared to most grains after cooking. 

What are the available varieties?

There are two varieties of Basmati rice—brown and white. Both of them have that distinct taste and smell that they are known for. 

However, they differ in the method of cultivation. The white version is considered to be highly processed because its hull, bran, and germ are all removed. On the other hand, only the hull of the brown variant is removed. 

Of the two, the brown version is stickier, more expensive, and has a more floral aroma. It’s also a lot lower on the glycemic index. 

On the other hand, the white variant is softer, more affordable, and has a more fragrant scent. And since it’s highly processed, it’s also a lot easier to digest. 

Is Basmati Rice Healthy?

Yes, it’s as healthy as any other type of rice can get. When it comes to nutritional profile, it’s comparable to other grains. There might be a slight variation in their calorie, carb, or fat content, but it’s not enough to make a difference.

To give you a better idea of the nutritional content of basmati, one cup (163 g) of cooked basmati rice will yield: (*)

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 4.4g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbs: 45.6g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 399mg

It also contains different types of trace minerals like Folate, Selenium, Thiamine, Iron, Copper, and many more.

Fun Fact: The brown variant has slightly higher carbohydrate, calorie, and fiber content. 

How to Buy the Best Basmati Rice?

The flavor gets more pronounced the better the quality of the grains, That’s why you must learn how to choose your grains wisely. 

To do that, here are the things that you need to consider: 


A good basmati rice is long and a bit tapered at the ends. 


Since the grains are aged, you can’t expect them to have a white color. However, it shouldn’t have a gray hue either. Instead, they will have a bit of a golden shade. 


Always look for one that has the extra-long grain label in the packaging, so you can enjoy its best shape and size. 

Also, keep in mind that good quality basmati rice doesn’t come in plastic packaging, so make sure to go for ones in cloth packaging. 

How to Cook Basmati Rice?

After choosing the best product, the next thing you need to do is to learn how to cook it properly. With that said, here are some of the things you need to know:

Rice-to-water Ratio

To achieve its fluffy texture, add 1 ½ cups of water for every 1 cup of the grains. 

Cooking Time

The ideal cooking time for this grain is only around 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t cook it for longer to prevent it from getting burned.

The Pilaf Method

There’s no better way to cook basmati rice than with the pilaf method.

However, it requires an additional step and that is sautéing the uncooked grain with minced onion and olive oil. This simple step coats each grain with oil which will prevent them from sticking with one another, ensuring fluffy rice every single time. 

After that, place it in the pot and add either a boiling broth or stock. 

Finally, put the pot in the oven (only closely covered) and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed. 

Best Serving Ideas

Allow the rice to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. 

Pro Tip: You can serve this plain or add saffron or turmeric to further improve its taste or impart some color to it. 

Basmati rice is best served with vegetable, meat, or seafood curries as well as roasted or braised meats. 

Final Words

What does basmati rice taste like? It gives off a nutty, floral, and spicy taste that you can’t find in any other rice types. 

With its distinct taste, fragrant aroma, and unique texture, there’s no doubt that basmati is a top-tier grain. However, you can only enjoy all of its amazing qualities when cooked right so make sure to follow all of our tips from how to buy basmati to how it should be prepared and served. 

Up Next: What Does Cauliflower Rice Taste Like? Does It Taste GOOD?

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