Need a basmati rice substitute? Find the best replacements for basmati rice in this FAQ, complete with helpful tips to make your culinary choices easier.
Our top 5 basmati rice substitutes each offer unique flavors and textures, but they share characteristics similar to basmati rice:
- Jasmine Rice
- Long-Grain White Rice
- Texmati Rice
- Sushi Rice
Basmati rice is a staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and is a popular choice for biryani, pulao, pilafs, and many other dishes.
For whatever reason, if you cannot find basmati rice, it’s out of your budget, or this specific rice doesn’t suit your recipe, there are many substitutes that can step in and serve as a suitable alternative.
Understanding basmati rice substitutes is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it enables you to swiftly find an alternative when you’ve run out of the original rice, ensuring your meal preparation remains uninterrupted.
Also, exploring these substitutes introduces new flavors and textures into your cooking, adding variety to your meals and making your culinary experiences more interesting.
With the help of this guide and a bit of experimentation, you can find the one that suits your personal tastes or gives a new twist to a beloved dish you love preparing.
Understanding Basmati Rice
The word Basmati comes from two Sanskrit words: “vas” means aroma, and “mati” means origin.”
This fragrant rice is a long-grain native to the Indian subcontinent and has a nutty flavor and delicate, fluffy texture with a strong, aromatic fragrance.
Basmati rice is cultivated in specific climatic conditions in flooded fields, and after harvesting, it’s dried, milled, and often aged to enhance its aromatic qualities
It’s common in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian cuisine, but its versatility also extends to cuisines that feature risotto, paella, and fried rice.
And unlike stickier varieties, basmati, when cooked right, offers distinct grains, making it ideal for dishes like biryani, pilaf, and other recipes where distinct grains are desired.
To cook basmati rice, rinse it in cold water, add it to a pot with water and salt, let it boil, and fluff it out once it is fully cooked. For a comprehensive guide on how to cook basmati rice, refer to this post.
This rice has a nutty flavor and fluffy texture with separate grains. If you need a substitute, these alternatives can help you achieve the taste and texture you want in your dish.
Top Substitutes for Basmati Rice
If you’rein the middle of cooking and realize you’reout of basmati rice, don’t worry; a trip to the grocery store may be avoidable.
Depending on what you have readily available at home, you may have a good alternative ready in your pantry.
Just keep in mind that when choosing a substitute, consider the the dish you’re preparing as some alternatives may have distinct flavors or textures that could alter your meal’s outcome.
Some of the best alternatives to basmati rice include jasmine rice, long-grain white rice, quinoa, texmati rice, and sushi rice.
Jasmine rice is one of the top picks for basmati rice substitutes as it shares basmati’s versatility and long-grain texture.
This rice variety has a light and slightly sweet flavor that can pair well with many of the flavors that are present in dishes that normally go with basmati.
It also has a slightly stickier texture than basmati, so if you are making stir-fries or other Asian-inspired dishes, this can be a great replacement.
It can be cooked using the same methods as basmati, such as by boiling or using a rice cooker.
Use 1 cup for every 1 cup of basmati.
Long-Grain White Rice
While not as aromatic as basmati, long-grain white rice makes a great substitute thanks to its neutral taste and firm texture.
In the US, it’s a popular substitute for basmati because of its wide availability in stores. It also shares the fluffy texture of basmati but is slightly firmer and more tender.
Replace basmati rice with long-grain white rice at a 1:1 ratio.
Though not a rice variety, quinoa often serves as a fitting substitute for basmati in numerous dishes—such as pilafs, grain bowls, stuffed bell peppers, and cold salads—thanks to its nutty and earthy flavor profile.
A distinct advantage of quinoa is its ability to easily absorb and complement the flavors of other ingredients, reducing flavor clashes.
When cooking, be aware that quinoa typically cooks in about 15 minutes, quicker than the 20 minutes often required for basmati.
Swap basmati rice with quinoa at a 1:1 ratio.
This whole-grain version of basmati rice is a hybrid of basmati and white rice. Its aroma resembles that of fresh popcorn with some subtle, nutty flavor, just like basmati.
Cooking Texmati is similar to basmati; however, it may take a little bit less time, so be sure to keep an eye on the rice.
Using it can add southwestern flair to your dishes, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
Substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
If you’recooking an Asian-inspired dish, consider sushi rice as an alternative to basmati rice.
It’s much stickier and slightly sweeter than basmati, so certain dishes, like sushi, are better suited for it.
To cook sushi rice, rinse it multiple times, boil in equal water amounts until tender, and then mix with a vinegar solution.
Use 1 cup for every 1 cup of basmati.
How to Use Substitutes in Recipes
Incorporating substitutes into recipes that call for basmati rice is straightforward but requires some thought to be taken.
Flavor and texture
Begin by carefully weighing the flavor and texture of your chosen substitute. While many alternatives offer similar taste profiles, ponder whether you desire a stickier rice that melds with your dish or one where individual grains remain distinct.
Adjust cooking times
Adapting cooking times is often necessary to ensure your rice alternative doesn’t end up overcooked or undercooked. Tailor the time according to the specific substitute you’re using.
Keep in mind that subtle flavor variations exist among substitutes, necessitating potential adjustments to your seasonings. Approach this with a touch of experimentation—add gradually, taste along the way—to harmonize the flavors within your dish.
The bottom line
Basmati rice, known for its great flavor and aroma, isn’t always available. But don’t worry! There are substitutes that can take its place with just a few adjustments in your recipe.
Each substitute has its unique qualities, adding a twist to your dishes. Whether you choose long-grain white rice, jasmine rice, sushi rice, or texmati rice, these alternatives will still make your meals delicious.
More About Basmati Rice
- Jasmine Rice - 1:1 ratio
- Long-Grain White Rice - 1:1 ratio
- Quinoa - 1:1 ratio
- Texmati Rice - 1:1 ratio
- Sushi Rice - 1:1 ratio
- Swap basmati rice for one of our top five recommended options.
- Use one of the above ratios when substituting for basmati rice in a recipe.