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Quick-Cooking Basmati Rice

By Lisa McManus Published

Are convenience versions of basmati rice any good?

We know there are times on a busy weeknight that you just want to make a quick starch to go with dinner, so when we spotted two nationally available convenience versions of white basmati rice, we decided to give them a try. We tested Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Basmati ($2.49 for 8.5 ounces) and Success Boil-in-Bag Rice, Basmati White ($2.49 for 14 ounces), preparing them according to package directions and serving them plain in a blind tasting to a panel of 21 America’s Test Kitchen staffers, who rated them on texture, flavor, aroma, and overall appeal. 

Their preparation methods varied: Uncle Ben’s comes precooked in a shelf-stable plastic pouch, which you tear slightly to vent and microwave for 90 seconds. The box of Success rice contained four “boil-in” bags, perforated plastic pouches of rice that you submerge in a saucepan of water, bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 10 minutes before lifting out the pouch to drain and cutting it open to serve. Both were fairly simple to prepare.

However, our tasters were not overly impressed by the aroma, flavor, or texture of these rices. In the end, we found the Success rice acceptable, though several tasters remarked that the snowy white grains had “zero flavor.” We had reservations about the Uncle Ben’s rice due to its slightly “greasy” texture and “funky yellow color.” In a pinch, we might reach for the Success product, but cooking it didn’t take much less time or effort than cooking our winning basmati from scratch.

These convenience products do expedite cooking time: 12 minutes for the Success rice and a mere 90 seconds for the Uncle Ben’s rice. But hands-down tasters preferred the texture, flavor, and aroma of our winning Daawat basmati, which takes only about 24 minutes to prepare.

Taste Test Quick-Cooking Basmati Rice

Are convenience versions of basmati rice any good?

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.