Idlis are traditionally a breakfast item but the fact that when served with Sambar and Chutney, they are a full meal and can be enjoyed at any time of the day! Idlis are steamed making them very healthy and very light. You’ll be amazed how many you can eat but then who’s counting? Making Idlis is a process that takes a couple of days but at the end of it, it’s absolutely worth the effort!

Soak time: 6 hrs
Prep time: 20 min
Ferment time: 8-12 hrs
Cook time: 15 min
Makes 25-30 idlis


Idli Rava/Cream of Rice – 2 cups (approx 350gms)
Urad Daal – 1 cup (approx 200gms)
Cooked Rice – 1/2 cup (approx 60 gms)
Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
Fenugreek Seeds – 1 tsp
Water – 1.25 cups (for grinding)


To Make the Batter:
1. Wash the Urad Daal till the water runs clear and then add the Fenugreek seeds and additional water and soak for 4-6 hrs.
2. Wash the Idli Rava and soak in additional water for 4-6 hrs.
3. Drain the water from the Urad Daal and grind it with about 1 cup of water to a smooth consistency.
4. Pour it out into a pot big enough for it to have room for the batter to ferment and rise.
5. Add the cooked Rice to the blender and add in a couple of handfuls of Idli Rava with the water squeezed out. Grind with approximately 1/4 cup of water till it is smooth.
6. Pour and add it to the Urad Daal batter.
7. Squeeze out the water from the balance of the Idli Rava and add to the Urad Daal batter.
8. Add 1 tsp of Salt or to taste.
9. Mix and whip up the batter with your hands till everything is blended well.
10. Cover and allow the batter to ferment in a warm place overnight or about 8-12 hours.

To Make the Idlis:
1. Once the batter has fermented, it will rise.
2. Mix well and add in water, slowly, till the batter is of dropping consistency.
3. Check Salt.
4. Grease the idli stand.
5. Spoon a ladle full of batter into the Idli stand.
6. Stack up the idli plates in alternates, avoid one directly over the other giving the idli space to rise.
7. In a stock-pot or a pressure cooker, add about an inch of water and allow it to come to a boil.
8. Place the Idli stand in the boiing water and close.
9. Make sure there is a vent for the steam to escape.
10. Once the cover is closed, set timer for 15mins.
11. After 15 minutes, take out the stand and spoon out the idlis from the idli plates.
12. Serve with Sambar and Coconut Chutney.

1. Idli batter and Idlis freeze very well.
2. Ferment the Idli batter in the oven – 180 degrees F, turn off the heat and place the batter in there overnight or ferment the Batter in an electric blanket.
3. Store the Idlis in an insulated box till ready to serve.

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0 thoughts on “Idli

  1. Thank you for this recipe! I usually use regular (not parboiled) white basmati rice to make dosas and I soak it for 12-24 hours. Is it OK to substitute the cooked rice and idli rava for soaked, white basmati?

  2. There are different kinds of rice available in market,so my question is: Which kind of rice use,when we make a rice idli
    thanks and regards
    mr.varun paul chopra.

    1. Hi Varun,

      Usually, parboiled rice is used for making idli. If you go to the Indian grocery store, the bag will say either “Idli Rice” or “Boiled Rice”. Your other option is to use Idli Rava (not sooji), which is powdered parboiled rice.

  3. Hello,

    After couple of failed attempts in making idlis, I had almost given up until I came across your post and decided to give it a shot. I watched the video and followed very closely and finally success!!!!! I just made the most amazing soft idlis, I couldn’t believe they came out so good. Thanks to you guys, ,love your detailed steps and videos. You guys rock!!!!

    Please post some eggless cake recipes, I’m looking out for those and I’m sure you guys will give some great recipes…. Keep up the good work :))

  4. Hey Hetal and Anuja,

    I am in germany.
    In india store i got an idli podi. I have not tried it yet.. do you have any idea is it ready to use powder for idli or do i need to ferment it.
    nothing is wriiten over it.

    1. Hi Khushbu,

      Idli podi is a type of chutney that is eaten with idli. Usually, you should add oil or ghee to the powder and serve with idli. No need to ferment.

  5. Hello Hetal and Anuja,

    I just wanted to let you know that you ladies are great and I love the way you teach recipes! You have been my best teachers along with my mom.:-)

    I saw your tips to reheat rice/ idlis on Tip Tuesday. Buy I had a quick question regarding the process of freezing idlis that are already made and the batter-

    Should I put the (unsteamed)batter and/or leftover idlis in the ‘deep’ freeze ( the top section of a refrigerator) or just the normal freezer ( the bottom section of a refrigerator), when I intend to reheat them on a later date?


    1. Hi Mona,

      You can freeze (top section) either premade idli or the batter if you will be using them after more than 1 week, up to 4 months. Under one week, you can keep them in the bottom refrigerator.

  6. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I have been following this recipe successfully for the past 2 years. I use the “leave it in the oven with light on” method to make the batter rise. Unfortunately the bulb in the oven broke while changing it out and I’m looking for alternate methods to ferment the batter. I am exploring the electric blanket option. Have you tried using one? What is your recommendation on the type of blanket to use, the time to use, etc.


    1. Hi Noosheen,

      We have not used an electric blanket so cannot comment. You could also try to preheat the oven to about 180 degrees F, turn if OFF, and then keep your batter inside.

  7. Hi Ladies,

    This is another question regarding fermentation of the idli batter. My second try at making idlis turned out good, however, although the batter did ferment, it did not rise. I left it to ferment overnight (at least 8 hours) in a stainless steel bowl in a warm oven. The next morning when I checked it, I saw that it had not risen, so I warmed the oven and put the batter back in the oven to ferment until later in the afternoon. Still no luck with the batter rising. But since I saw the air bubbles in the batter and I could smell that it had fermented, I went ahead and steamed the idli. They came out nice and soft and tasty. But, I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist and need to understand why my idli batter didn’t rise and what I can do to make sure it rises. Here is the method:

    -used whole urad dal, skinned (did not wash lentils to keep yeast for fermentation)
    -used parboiled rice (washed in tap water)
    -soaked urad dal and rice separately overnight (did not use fenugreek seeds in dal)
    -grind urad dal and rice separately then combined in big stainless steel bowl and mixed together by hand (did not add salt)
    -warmed oven then turned off and put batter, covered, into warm oven to ferment
    -batter did ferment but did not rise as discribed above

    Any insight you provide will be very helpful! I must master the idli! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you in advance,

    1. Hi Ondrea,

      hmmm…isn’t it funny how we do some things without even thinking about them (until someone asks)? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Even I have noticed that sometimes, the batter has tiny bubbles but has not risen. I just keep it to ferment longer. Sometimes, I allow the batter to ferment almost 18 hrs (and then, it definitely rises)!

      It is probably a good idea to wash the urad daal because you never know in what condition it was packed. The batter should rise anyways. The only difference I noticed is that you did not use fenugreek seeds…any reason?

      1. Hi Hetal!

        Thank you for replying to my post. I will try letting the batter ferment longer next time. I have made idli since my last post and the batter did rise but only just a little. Here again I believe it probably needed more time to rise to the 200% level since I kept the batter in a somewhat warm oven. And this time I did use fenugreek seeds!

        The reason I did not use the fenugreek seeds before is because I read (somewhere) that I did not need to use them… also because I don’t think I understood that their purpose was too help in the fermentation process. And you are right about washing the dal. I did not wash them because I read somewhere that the yeast on the unwashed dal aids in the fermentation process. But going forward, I will follow your advice: wash the dal, add the fenugreek seeds, and let the batter ferment longer! I’m really excited now, and will try my hand at idli again this weekend!

        Thank you so much,

  8. My batter just does not want to rise….even after leaving the oven light on…and even after preheating the oven to 105 F and switching it off. How long should I wait to see if it ferments or not? It’s been almost 12 hours so far.

  9. Hi,

    In the indian stores here idli rava comes in 2 varieties, one is parboiled rice and the other is raw rice.. can i use either one of these for this recipe?

    1. Wow…we only get the parboiled idli rava. We used the parboiled variety and have not tried this recipe with raw rice.

  10. Hello Hetal& Anuja,

    I love all you videos and tried many of your recipes.

    I tried your idli recipie and it turned out very well. Thanks for the recipie.

  11. hi mam, i m a big fan of idlis n dosas at my home, whn my mama makes idlis it becums v.hard n nt likedos soft ones which v get in hotels ….but aftr seeing ur recipey i hope it will change n il let u no dis again how did it happnd

    god bless

  12. Hi Hetal/ Anuja

    I left the batter to ferment overnight…and my excitement turned to disappointment when I opened the lid of the container….it just didn’t raise…..What could have gone wrong?

    I used whole urad dal? Could that have been the reason???? Also, after mixing the urad dal batter and the idli rava with hand i split it into 2 containers…could that have affected the fermentation process??? Please help….


    1. Hi Shalini,
      We don’t think that the Urad Dal made any difference. We think it is the warmth (or in this case not enough warmth) to allow the batter to ferment well.

      1. Hi Anuja

        Thanks for your response….Guess, that must have been the issue…I did leave it in the oven overnight….
        Did see a comment from someone about leaving the oven light on….thank god, I went through it this morn and left the oven light on for couple of hours…and yipeee…the batter raised beautifully!!! Made some idli’s for lunch..and they turned out soft :)…

        Thank you guys for the easy idli recipe :)…

  13. Wow, I’m late to the game….we always made idlis with regular uncooked rice and urad daal and it comes out fantastic. This is the first time I am hearing about idli rava and parboiled rice. I will have to give it a try but seems just a bit more work when it comes to straining the water from rava.

    We have always soaked rice and urad daal for couple of hours, grind it to smooth paste than ferment it and steam it in idli cooker with eno. Idlis are super soft.

  14. Hi Hetal and Anuja
    Cold wet weekend in the UK and we’re having a feast! Delicious idlis for breakfast, hot besan pudas for lunch and we’re on our second batch of namak pare!! What a taste extravaganza of comfort food! Thank you for making it all possible. Love the videos ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    Thx for the responses to freezing some of yr dishes. Can you give the proportions for parboiled rice to urad dal for idlis ? Is it the same as yr recipe above and then do we also add the cooked rice in the same proportion? I live in the UK so getting Idli Rawa from the online shops is sometimes impossible. Also can you give the similar recipe for dosas?
    Thx for all yr help- for people like me who love cooking yr site is a boon!!

    1. Hi Ranjani,

      The proportions should be the same. The cooked rice makes the idli extra soft but you can even leave it out if you want.

  16. Ladies,
    Thank You for this recipe. My idlies now always turn out soft ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have a qyestion : Can we freeze this batter after fermentation for a few weeks?

  17. hie hetal and anuja…
    was looking thru your site…do you have a recipe for the normal dosa?
    Is there a recipe of dosa where i dont have to grind the rice like the idli recipe…can i use idli rava to make dosa…
    do help…


    1. Hi Asha,

      We do not have regular dosa yet…maybe we’ll do it this season ๐Ÿ™‚ You cannot use idli rava for dosa because the texture will not come out right (at least we’ve never used it). Idli rava is grainy and the batter for dosa has to be really smooth. You could make rava dosa. Like rava idli, it uses sooji. Unfortunately, we do not have the video for that either at this time :(.

      1. actually using idli rava for dosa is a great idea. I am from south and we reduce the qty of rice and replace the rest with idli rava. soak it with rice and daal and grind it well.

    1. Hi Mits,

      Parboiled rice is rice that has been boiled in the husk and then the husk is removed. When cooked, the texture of parboiled rice is different from regular rice and makes the idlis soft without being mushy. Idli rawa is powdered parboiled rice. You can find whole parboiled rice in Indian stores as well (sometimes called Idli Rice). Unfortunately, we do not make our idlis in the microwave so cannot guide you on the proper technique. Maybe some of our other viewers can help here.

  18. What is the purpose of adding Fenugreek seeds?Can we omit it from the recipe?Also is it ok to keep the batter in the fridge after it has completely fermented,will this affect the texture of the Idlis?Thanks

  19. hai anuja & hital,

    i am leaving in qatar & i want to know how to make idlis with ready made rice powder ..i tried many times but idli is not puffy & soft.please can u tell me the detail procedure.

    1. Try making Idli dosa with raw rice 2 cups to 1 cup urad dal, soak together for 4 hours minimum. Then drain the water and grind in the mixture till the rice and dal are of smooth slightly grainy texture. Add 2 to table spoons oil in the mixture, along with a cup of water, green chilli to taste, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, salt to taste. Mix all and then put in pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Jay x

  20. Hi Hetal and Anuja…

    a very nice recipe, well I am from north India and I have tried making idlis for the first time before looking at your videos. and my recipe was: I have taken around 125 gms of urad dal, 250 gms of boiled rice, soaked both of these separately for around 4-5 hrs, used a grinder to grind together, added a pinch of salt and left this batter for around 5-6 hrs, then used this batter in idli stand (mine is stainless steel one) and steamed for around 15 mins. But unfortunately I was not able to eat even a sinle idli, when I opened my pressure cooker, everything was spread out of the stand and there was nothing. Can you please let me know what was the exact problem.

    And, as per your video I am only confused with one of the ingredient, what exactly is Idli Rava/Cream of Rice, is it sooji, because we never get exactly idli rava at our place in north india, please suggest me if I can use sooji or any other thing in its place.

    Thanks, Ritu!

  21. dear hetal and anuja,
    thank you so much for the recipe. the freezing of idli or idli batter is also a very good idea. thanks a lot. may god bless you.

  22. hi
    i just want to know is there any other option whr in we can use urad flour & idli that there’s no need to use a grinder/blender..??as it can make the work easy..i am really tired of trying idli’s as they dont comeout well..problem is after i steam also they look raw..i mean the batter wont be cooked..i even tried changing urad dal & idli rava…but the same prob continues..

    will appreciate if any1 can suggest on this..

  23. hie hetal and anuja,
    The idlis came out perfect! and it was my first time! thanks for the detailed recipe!
    Can you show some more salads and veg spaghetti recipes? thanks a lot!
    Tried to make the couscous salad…but I couldnt find it! can u tell em where u bought it from?

  24. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    I have a wet grinder which I use for grinding the dal and rice for the idli batter.
    I make it by soaking Urad dal and Idli Rice.
    I get the batter right meaning it ferments well.
    Also idlis are soft and fluffy most of the times.
    But sometimes my idlis crack.And sometimes the water from the idli cooker enters my last plate of the stand.Can you please help me to avoid these problems.
    Your reply would be of great help.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Bhavika,

      We’ve never had a problem with idli cracking but it may be due to lack of moisture in the batter. Is your idli batter too thick? Regarding the last plate getting water, you can reduce the amount of water you keep at the bottom of the cooker…just about an inch of water is enough. If you have room to spare at the top of the cooker, you can even put something at the bottom to prop up the stand an inch or two. Finally, if none of those options work, you can leave the last plate empty ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    Can I also grind the batter in a food processor? I have a mixie from India, but I don’t get the smooth consistency when I grind with it.

  26. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    We have a weird problem with the recipe and can’t figure out whats going wrong. We kept it to ferment overnight and part of the day as your recipe recommends. The fermentation was not as desired- how much should the mix rise? Secondly, the idlis came out reddish in color when I steamed them. I had seen a reddish tinge the first time but now it is worse. I am not sure what is going on. Please advise.

    1. Hi Archana,

      Wow…that is weird. The batter rises quite a bit (almost double or more) but I’ve never seen idlis turn red. The only time I’ve noticed things turn red is if you use baking soda in some recipes. Was your rice ok? Did the batter smell like it was spoiled?

      1. Thank you Hetal.
        As you suggested, I am guessing that my idli rava is too old- I have had it for more than a year and didn’t use it so far. The taste is a little sour, but it smelt ok to me. It just didn’t rise much. But, it is making pretty ok dosais. I didn’t use baking soda.
        I will get fresh rava and try it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Hello Archana,

      Today even my idli’s turned red. I am thinking it might be because of a red chili that I added to the batter for better fermentation. So was wondering did you too add any chilies to the batter?

      1. Hi Supreeti,

        Usually, idli batter does not have any chilies or chili powder added to it. We have not heard that it helps fermentation.

  27. Hallo! I’m from Italy and my little (adopted) boy from Bangalore kept talking about “idlis” and how good they were. So I bought an idli steamer (on the Internet) and I finally found your yummy recipe. I really want to try and make them, but I am having difficulties in finding the “idli rava”. What is it exactly? Is it raw ground rice ? Can I make it myself with a blender or in any other way?

    I’d be really helpful if someone could help me!

    Thank you in advance from Giuliana and Anil Kumar

    1. HI Giuliana,

      Idli Rava is roughly ground parboiled rice. If you cannot find it,รฏยปยฟ you can soak parboiled rice and grind it as you do with the daal.. Unless you have a special grinder, grinding dry rice does not work well. Hope you are able to make the idlis for your son :).

      1. I’ll go look for the parboiled rice tomorrow. Thanks a lot from me and especially from Anil, who hasn’t been eating idli in more than a year and can’t wait any longer…!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Hi Hetal, I soaked parboiled rice for about 4 hrs and when I went to grind, the texture was such that it was almost ‘ready to eat’ rice. Any idea what I possibly did wrong or how long to soak parboiled rice? Im thinking maybe its because I used warm water to soak the rice??

        Thanks in advance

        1. The warm water is probably the culprit. You should soak rice in cold water. Even after its been soaking overnight, the texture still shouldn’t be like cooked rice. Did you buy the rice from the Indian store? Just make sure it is not the “instant” type of rice you get in American grocery stores.

  28. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Thanks for the awesome recipe. I do not have a pressure cooker – can you advise for how long I will need to steam the idlis in a regular pot?


    P.S. I have an electric cook top

  29. Hi,

    I just tried making idli for the first time, and it turned out very sour and tasted wrong. Is it possible that the batter fermented too long? If so, how can I stop the fermentation from happening after the batter already rose? I used the oven to start the process…could it have gotten too hot?

  30. Hi,
    I tried your recepie, the idlis were soft, but they didnt rise, the way restaurant idlis do. So I told tht to one of my south indian friends, she told me the dal to rice ratio should be 3:1 Since the dal was more in my batter the idlis didnt rise that much. My batter was well fermented .

  31. Hi Leena,
    The bleander we have and love is a ‘Cusinart blender’.
    We got it from Bed Bath and Beyond.The model# isModel # CBT-500.
    Hope that helps.

  32. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    My blender stopped working last week while I was making Idli batter. Which brand blender are you guys using? I’d like to buy a good one.

  33. Hello Hetal and Anuja,

    I live in Toronto, Canada, where it is cold for 9 months of the year. I have been trying to make idlis ever since I came to this country 12 years back. But, everytime, I was unsuccessful.
    After a friend of mine suggested your website, I tried the idlis and they are soft as ever. I have tried your recipe two or three times and it has been successful. Now, I am confident of making soft idlis even for large get togethers.
    I have a suggestion or a tip to offer.Leave the batter in the oven overnight for fermentation with the oven light on. The heat from the light is enough to ferment the batter. Next day., you will find the batter rise and the idlis turn out very soft.

    To make yogurt at home:
    Boil 1 litre of milk in the microwave for 13 minutes. Cool for sometime, till it is lukewarm. Take a tablespoon of yogurt with a little lukewarm milk and mix well. Add this to the lukewarm milk and mix well. Leave it overnight in the oven with the oven light on. Next morning the yogurt is ready.

  34. Namaste’
    I was wondering how long you can ferment the idli batter, before it has off taste? Is 24 hours way too much? I hope not, or else dinner will be ruined. It happens.

    Also, you were correct about advising people not to use aluminium pressure cookers, but non-stick is also toxic – it releases chemicals when it gets hot. There is a lot of information on this but people love the convience.

    I’s great to have you in our kitchen with us!!


  35. Hi Hetal & Anuja,
    I tried your idli-sambhar recipie and it turned out very well. Thanks for the recipie.

    Keep posting.

  36. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I really love your recipes.
    We make lot of idlis and dosas,iam shopping for blenders in USA.Do You suggest any US brand Blenders(especially for idlis,dosas and masalas)

    Thanks in Advance,

  37. Hi Anuja and Hetal,

    Your idlis are awesome. I want to know from where u guys got non stick idli stand. I want to buy that stand.


  38. Hello mam,

    Nice to see u both making idli sambar. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the reciepe. Will surely try this version.

    Can i give a suggestion? Hope u don mind.

    1. If ppl have mixie,they can go ahead with boiled rice (variety of rice)or idli rice instead of idli rava. I do understand that if u us a blender,the batter will heat up while grinding. So,ur recipe is best in this case.
    2. Also ,some of my frnds here have actually hav got the grinder itself to US! ๐Ÿ™‚ So,ppl can use rice itself.
    3. Also,i make a batter which i use both for idli and dosa so…i guessed u have two recipes in one.:-)

    Here is my version:

    Parboiled rice – 1 glass
    Raw rice – 1/2 glass
    fenugreek seeds – 1 teaspoon
    urad dal – half of 3/4. Between 1/4th and 1/2th.
    Cooked rice – 2 handfuls(i take 1/4th glass of raw rice n cook it)

    Soak it like u did. I have a mixie that i got from india. Gring urad dal first and then the rice. I don add in salt since some salt varieties don allow yeast to grow which is the main thing that happens during fermentation.

    Hope this is useful .

    Thank u once again for all ur recipies. U ppl are just wonderful.


    1. Hi Priya,

      I have inherited a dosa and idli blender from one of my friends who moved back to India, but it has been sitting in my basement unused as I am not sure how to use it as I did not inherit a recipe. Can you please let me know how your friends go about using their blender from India.


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