Vegan Indian Basmati Rice Recipe

Easy vegan basmati rice recipe

The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
593 Calories
11g Fat
114g Carbs
10g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 593
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 416mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 114g 42%
Dietary Fiber 7g 27%
Protein 10g
Calcium 125mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Wondering how that lovely, fragrant and flavorful white basmati rice is made in Indian restaurants? Good news, it's easy to duplicate at home, and, the recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free and gluten-free.

This restaurant-style Indian-flavored basmati rice recipe is seasoned with cinnamon, whole cloves and peppercorns with a bay leaf, all of which combines to create a wonderfully flavorful rice side to accompany just about any Indian vegetable dish. Vegetarians and vegans can pair this simple rice dish with Indian-spiced dal, curried vegetables or any kind of vegetarian curry for a basic and easy vegetarian meal.

This simple Basmati rice recipe is also gluten-free.


  • 1 cup basmati rice (uncooked)
  • Water for soaking
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (or peanut oil)
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick (broken in half)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 whole clove (you can use 2 to 3 if you really like cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion (chopped thin)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for basmati rice recipe
    The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes
  2. Cover the Basmati rice with water in a small bowl and set aside. Allow the rice to soak for 20 minutes.

    Cover basmati rice
    The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes
  3. Once the rice is done soaking (after 20 minutes), drain any excess water and move on to the next step.

  4. Over medium heat, warm the olive oil or peanut oil in a sauté pan or large skillet and add the cinnamon stick (break it in half), bay leaf, cumin seeds, whole clove and peppercorns. Warm these spices for just 10 to 15 seconds, then add the chopped onion and heat until the onion is well cooked, about 6 to 8 minutes.

    Olive oil in pan
    The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes
  5. Add the soaked but uncooked Basmati rice, and toast, stirring, for 20 to 30 seconds, just until lightly browned, then add the water and bring to a boil.

    Add rice
    The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes
  6. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and allow the rice to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until rice is cooked through and liquid is absorbed. You can stir occasionally, as needed. 

    Fluff rice
    The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes


  • You can, if needed, use any kind of rice in this recipe, but the delicate shape and natural fragrance of Basmati rice are what really pulls this dish together. Basmati is rarely the cheapest variety in the grocery store, but you really want to taste it in this recipe.