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Quick-Cooking Basmati Rice
Are convenience versions of basmati rice any good?
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What You Need To Know
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.
Everything We Tested
With “little aroma” and “muted flavor,” this “snowy white” rice was “almost sweet” and “a little on the bland side,” though we liked its “distinct” grains that had “nice separation.” One taster thought it “tasted like average white rice you would get with Chinese takeout.”
Recommended with reservations
“Nutty,” with a “fake buttery flavor” and “an aroma almost like dry hay,” this “very yellow” rice was a bit too “rubbery” and “bouncy” in texture, and slightly “greasy” or “oily,” though tasters praised its “nice distinct grains.” One taster summed it up as a bit “disappointing.”
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.
Lisa is an executive editor for ATK Reviews, cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube, and gadget expert on TV's America's Test Kitchen.