Brown Basmati Rice
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Brown Basmati Rice is Basmati Rice that has been minimally processed: only the Husk has been removed and the Rice Bran remains intact. Brown Basmati Rice belongs in the following Rice categories: Long Grain Rice, Aromatic Rice, and Starchy Rice.

“Basmati” is a Hindi word that is translated as “fragrant,” which describes the smell of Basmati Rice. The delicious smell is the product of a chemical compound called 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline and smells something like popcorn when cooked.


Brown Basmati Rice, like most Rice,is sown in the late Spring and harvested in the Summer.


See the General Rice Resource for broad Rice cultivation information.


Brown Basmati Rice grown in the U.S. has 4 standard grades: Extra Fancy Rice (U.S. No. 1), Fancy Rice (U.S. No. 2), Choice Rice (U.S. No. 4), and Sample Grade Rice.

See the General Rice Resource for more Rice production information.


Brown Basmati Rice is seldom found at retail as Converted Rice or Minute Rice.

Brown Basmati Rice tends to be more expensive than Jasmine Rice, which is a close substitute.

Most Basmati Rice is pre-packaged after processing making it hard to visually inspect the product. If the package you are considering has a “window” or other way to peek in on the product, look for Basmati Rice with the fewest number of broken kernels.

The most preferred form of Basmati Rice is Dehra Dun from India. You should be able to find Dehra Dun Basmati Rice at well-stocked South Asian markets.

Be aware that the Food Standards Agency in Britain found in 2005 that about half of all Basmati Rice sold at retail was “cut” with other types of long grain of rice. It is difficult for the average consumer to identify the more expensive, long, needle-like Basmati Rice grains and some unscrupulous types took advantage and mixed in crossbred Basmati Rice or plain old Long Grain Rice. With increased scrutiny, results improved, somewhat.

In a similar test in 2010 in the U.K., results improved by 47% to a still dismal 27% failure rate of the Basmati Rice samples provided by the wholesalers. That means that 27% of the Basmati Product submitted for testing was adulterated with cheaper rice. One sample had no Basmati Rice in it at all. Look for long, needle-like grains with a floral fragrance and nutty taste when cooked. If you feel you are being cheated, let your retailer and the manufacturer know.


Once opened, the risks to the shelf life are oxygen, light, heat, time and pests, including bugs and rats. Keeping the container sealed and airtight can protect against most of these risks.

Let the cooked Brown Basmati Rice cool to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Cooked White Rice will last about 4-7 days in the refrigerator but it is best to use it within 2 days.

Culinary Uses

Brown Basmati Rice has a “nutty” flavor and fragrance and is favored in many Indian or Middle Eastern dishes. Brown Basmati Rice is a Long Grain Rice and a Starchy Rice so it should cook up fluffy and light. The grains will feel “drier” and be easily separated. Basmati Rice does not tend to be sticky.

Smart Kitchen has an Exercise on Cooking Starchy Rice which demonstrates exactly how to properly cook Basmati Rice, where the ratio of water to Rice is roughly two parts water to one part Basmati Rice or put another way 1 cup of Brown Basmati Rice to 2 cups of water. 

Brown Basmati Rice is rougher, heavier, and more nutritious than White Basmati Rice. Brown Basmati Rice also cooks more slowly because it has so much more fiber (it will take about 50 minutes to an hour).

If the Brown Basmati Rice is still crunchy at the end of the Simmering time then the Rice is undercooked and you may need to add 1-2 T of liquid and Simmer a bit longer. If it’s falling apart then it is overcooked and you should start over. Remember, you can fix undercooking, but you can’t fix overcooking. Start checking the Rice early.

The same Simmering effect can also be achieved by Baking Brown Basmati Rice and liquid together in the Oven. Brown Basmati Rice can also be Pan Fried once it has been Simmered.

Because the Rice Bran (the brown layer that makes Brown Rice brown) is retained in Brown Basmati Rice, Brown Basmati Rice has a longer cook time than White Basmati Rice. Periodically check your water level; add some more if it has gotten low.


Jasmine Rice is a good approximate substitute for Basmati Rice. A near substitute would be any other Long Grain Rice.

Nutritional Value

Serving Size ¼ cup (57 grams)

Calories 160

Calories from Fat 15

Total Fat 1.5 g 3%

Saturated Fat 0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.244 g        

Monounsaturated Fat 0.255 g    

Cholesterol 0 mg 0%

Sodium 0 mg 0%

Potassium 0 mg

Total Carbohydrate 35 g 12%

Dietary Fiber 3 g 12%

Sugars 0 g            

Protein 3 g

Vitamin A 0%    

Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 0%                        

Iron 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


One cup of cooked Brown Basmati Rice contains 216 calories and 45 grams of complex carbohydrates. Brown Basmati Rice does not contain any Fat, Sodium or Gluten. Also, Brown Basmati is a cholesterol-free food. In fact, studies done at Louisiana State University in 2005 suggest that Brown Rice Oil (contained in the brown Rice Bran) reduces LDL or bad cholesterol. 

An added benefit of eating Brown Basmati Rice is that Brown Basmati Rice has 20% more fiber than other Brown Rice types. 

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie