Skip to Content

Indian Pilau Rice – cooked in less than 10 minutes in your microwave oven

Indian Pilau Rice – cooked in less than 10 minutes in your microwave oven

Indian Pilau Rice Recipe

This simple Indian pilau rice recipe shows you how to make fragrant pilau rice in your microwave rice cooker.

Pilau rice is a common accompaniment to Indian curries, and you will find it served in many different ways and forms in different restaurants across the world. 

indian curry


How best to cook rice?

I have been cooking my chicken curry recipe for many years now and it remains one of my favourite dishes. I often make pilau rice to accompany it, or some naan bread, or parathas or both. 

indian curry pilau rice

Over the years I have tried different ways of cooking rice – in the pan and in the microwave and I must say using the microwave is the best way every time.

It always gives consistent results, irrespective of the amount of rice you are cooking.

Admittedly I do not have a rice cooker, and I have not yet tried our Instant Pot to cook rice, but the results I get in the microwave are superb.

It is a bit like a bread machine – you throw everything in, set the timer and let it do its work! And you do not need to constantly watch it to check if you have boiled off all the water!

pilau rice rice cooker

My recipe calls for only one water check halfway through the ten-minute cycle but apart from that, it is very simple. If you do not have a microwave rice cooker I suggest you get one – I have one from Pampered Chef that I have had for at least 20 years. It has definitely seen better days but is still going strong! I swear by it.

If you are going to buy a microwave rice cooker, they are likely to be made of plastic. Just remember to get one that is BPA-free (Bispenol A).

How to cook Basmati Rice

This recipe calls for Basmati rice which is a long-grained rice grown primarily in India and Pakistan. It has many different varieties and comes in white and brown forms. The white rice is the one we commonly see in the West.

In the past, I used to cook the rice without any preparation, which did not always give the right results. Sometimes I would end up with sticky rice, which is not what you want in a good pilau rice. The grains should be independent of each other and not stick together.  

pilau basmati rice

Soaking the rice

One of the most important tricks to cooking Basmati rice properly, either in a pan or in the microwave, is to give it a good rinse and a soak in water before cooking. What this does is remove the natural layer of starch from the outside of the rice grains, and allow the rice to absorb a bit of water before cooking. This reduces the cooking time and gives you long slender grains of rice.

This process is essential to stop the rice from sticking together. I wish I had known this earlier. If you don’t normally do this, then try it. You will see what I mean and what a difference it makes to the cooked rice.

fluffy pilau rice
Indian Pilau Rice

Ingredients for Pilau rice

As mentioned before Pilau rice varies a lot from place to place. This recipe is very simple and only includes a few spices as mentioned in the menu card below.

You can experiment by adding things like a cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, peas, fried onions and all sorts of other things if you are being adventurous. It’s up to you.

Some places even colour their rice grains to add some colour to the white grains.

pilau rice recipe

In this recipe, I have just used some turmeric and saffron to give the rice a nice yellow tint and add some colour to the dish. But you can also leave this out and serve it white if you prefer.

Just remember to soak the rice before you cook it for the perfect bowl of rice.

I hope you get on well with this easy pilau rice recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

How to prepare Pilau Rice

Save time producing tasty food for your family with Gav’s Weekly Meal Plan!

Just 19 US $!!

weekly meal plans, gav's kitchen products, meal prep

fluffy pilau rice

Pilau Rice - in the microwave

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes

This simple Indian Pilau rice dish, cooked in a microwave rice cooker, is a quick and easy way to produce a tasty pilau rice for your Indian curry


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 5 saffron strands
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Wash the rice well under a stream of cold water until the water runs clean.
  2. Soak the rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the rice until the dripping stops.
  4. Place the rice in the microwave rice cooker.
  5. Add the salt, saffron, turmeric, cumin seeds and cardamom pods and a layer of boiling water to just cover the rice.
  6. Heat on full power in the microwave for five minutes.
  7. Remove from microwave and check the water level. Refill with hot water to just cover rice if necessary. Give the rice a stir.
  8. Heat on full power again in microwave for another 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from microwave immediately and remove inner bowl from rice cooker. Throw away any remaining water and leave to rest in the rice cooker for 5 minutes before serving.


You may wish to remove the whole spices like the cardamom pods before serving 😃.

But keep the cumin seeds and mix them into the rice.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 587mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Eat this with these Indian recipes:
Authentic Indian Chicken Curry Recipe
Healthy Butter Chicken
Lamb Curry Instant Pot
Murgh Masala - Spicy Chicken Curry

And maybe one of these other accompaniments will go well?

Indian Naan Bread Recipe
Flatbread Recipe no yeast
Chapati Recipe (Roti bread)
Plain Paratha (made with All Purpose Flour)

Or some other Indian inspired recipes to try:

Instant Pot Chicken Biryani
Easy Coronation Chicken Recipe
Indian Raita Recipe

Or some other rice recipes:

Brazilian Rice and Beans
Creamy Mushroom Risotto Recipe
Cinnamon Rice Pudding
Chinese Fried Rice Recipe

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe