How to make Idli?

how to make idli

Find out how to make idli, which is also known as idly / rice cake, and get the health benefits from this food, as it is steam-cooked and is free from fat.

One of the salient features of idlis is that they can be eaten at any time of the day or night. Of course, the idlis have to be at least warm, if not hot, to enjoy this food.

An important thing you have to know about how to make idli is the quality of the idli batter decides the quality of the idlis.

What is the the secret to making soft and tasty idlis? The better your idli batter, the better will be your idlis. With a good handle on how to make idli batter, you will become a pro in making idlis that melt in the mouth.

The idlis will be yummier if you add little ghee (clarified butter) / butter on each of them.

Coconut chutney and onion sambar, in my opinion, are the two best side dishes with idlis.

Take a chunk of ghee-smeared idli, dip it in chutney or sambar and eat. The goodness of the food will make you add idli to your list of favorite foods!

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Servings: Two to Three


1. Urad dal 1 cup
2. Idli rava 3 1/2 cup
3. Thick aval / poha / avalakki / beaten rice 1/4 cup


Cooked rice 1/2 cup
4. Sodium-bi-carbonate 1 pinch
5. Salt to taste

How to make Idli Batter?

1. Wash urad dal and aval.

Let it soak in water for 6-8 hours.

How to make idli S1
2. Grind the urad dal and aval or cooked rice into a smooth, fluffy paste.


If you are using the mixer:

- Grind the urad dal and aval till it becomes a coarse paste.

- Stop the mixer and wait till the paste cools completely.

- Add water to the paste and grind till you get a fine paste.

- Stop the mixer and wait till the paste cools completely.

- Add water to the paste and grind till the paste becomes fluffy.
Add luke-warm water to idli rava. Mix. Wait till the rava settles at the bottom. Drain the water slowly.

Wash idli rava twice as given in the tip above.
4. Add idli rava to the urad dal and aval paste and mix it well.

5. Keep the paste covered for fermentation for about 8-10 hours. The paste will rise.

Fermented paste
6. Add sodium-bi-carbonate and salt to the paste and mix it thoroughly.

The idli batter is ready.


How to Steam-cook the Idlis?

1. Coat the idli moulds in the idli plate with little oil.

2. Add about 1-and-1/2 cups of water to the idli cooker.

Heat the cooker till the water boils.
3. Pour the batter into each idli mould, ensuring the batter touches the rim or is just below the rim.
4. Place the idli plates in the idli stand.

Insert the idli stand in the cooker.

Make sure the water does not enter into the bottom idli plate.

5. Steam for 10-12 minutes on a medium flame, after the cooker begins to whistle.
6. Check if idlies are cooked:

Insert the back-end of a spoon into an idli.

Remove the spoon and inspect it. If the spoon does not have any batter, the idli is cooked properly. Otherwise, cook for few more minutes and test again.
7. Turn off the stove. Wait for 1 minute.
8. Remove the idli stand from idli cooker and set the stand aside for a few more minutes.

9. Use a spoon and remove the idlies from their moulds.

10. Serve hot with chutney and sambar.


The idli chutney or idli sambar combination with a spoon of ghee on the idli makes it tastier!

Learn how to make chutney for idli recipe.

Here is the sambar recipe for idli.

TIPS How to make Idli?
1. An important point to remember in the how to make idli steps is that the idli batter must be thinner than the rava idli batter.
2. Use a pressure cooker, if you do not have the idli cooker, without putting the whistle / weight.
3. If you want to have smooth-texture idlis, grind the idli rava so the paste has the fine-rava texture.
4. You should wash idli rava, as given in Step 3. Otherwise, the idlis will become hard and their color will be dull.