Homemade Soft Idli Recipe - Steamed Rice and Lentil Cake

Idlis are a South Indian breakfast option and it is considered as one of the most healthy breakfast. It is a steamed dish made out of a fermented rice and urad dal batter and goes great with chutneys, gravies and sambar.

Archana Doshi
7354 ratings.

The Homemade Soft Idli recipe is a simple wholesome dish that you can make with ease. This idli recipe also has a video of how to make the Idli Dosa Batter and how to make soft Idli. Idli is all time South Indian breakfast dish that is savoured all over India and the World . It is made from fermented rice and lentil batter and steamed into Idli moulds to get the round shape.

In this recipe you will see how to make idli using the homemade idli dosa batter. I use the idli dosa batter to make idlis dosas, uthappams and many more. The important note here is, you make the idlis on the first day the batter is fermented. That's because the batter is fluffy and has air pockets in them that make the idli really soft. You can pack this into a lunch box or even have it for breakfast. You can also make idli upma, idli manchurian etc with leftover idlis.

Serve Classic Homemade Soft Idli with Coconut ChutneyThakkali Vengayam SambarIdli Milagai Podi & Filter Coffee for a delicious breakfast at home.

Course: South Indian Breakfast
Diet: High Protein Vegetarian
Prep in

480 M

Cooks in

20 M

Total in

500 M


4 Servings


  • 3 cups Idli Rice
  • 1-1/4 cups White Urad Dal (Whole)
  • 2 teaspoons Methi Seeds (Fenugreek Seeds)
  • 3 teaspoons Salt
  • Water , as required

How to make Homemade Soft Idli Recipe - Steamed Rice and Lentil Cake

  1. To begin making soft homemade idli, we will first make the idli batter. Soak the rice in water, such that the all the rice is completely immersed in water. Let it soak for about 6 hours.

  2. Soak the urad dal and fenugreek in water such that all of the dal is completely immersed in water. Let it soak for about 6 hours.

  3. First grind the urad dal into a fine smooth batter. While grinding add just enough water to make it into a very very smooth batter. The batter will look fluffy. Pour this batter into a large container.

  4. Grind the rice into a smooth paste, adding just the required amount of water to grind into a almost smooth batter. Adding too much water will make the dosa batter too watery. If required grind a little at a time to get a almost smooth batter .

  5. The rice batter is a little coarser, but the urad dal batter is super smooth.

  6. Combine the urad and rice batter, add salt to taste and set aside for at least 12 hours or overnight until the batter ferments. You will notice the batter would have risen in volume.

  7. Hence you should place the batter in a large container so it has enough room to increase in its volume.

To make the idlis
  1. Grease the idli molds with a little sesame oil. This process is purely optional. I like to do this as it adds to the flavor of the idli’s. Pour spoonfuls of the batter into these moulds.

  2. Do make sure you fill the idli batter only half way through as they will rise up to the top when steamed. Once all the plates are filled, place the filled idli racks one above the other making sure the holes are facing the filled portion.

  3. Prepare the idli steamer with a little water in the bottom. Place the filled idli racks in the steamer. Place the steamer on high heat and steam the idli’s for 10 minutes.

  4. After 10 minutes of steaming, turn off the heat. Open the steamer and insert a knife or a pick to test whether the idli's are cooked. If nothing sticks then the idlis are perfectly steamed.

  5. Now you can remove the idli’s from the steamer. Have a small bowl filled with water. Dip a spoon in the water and then scoop the idli's out starting from the edges. Dipping the spoon in water helps in the easy removal of idli from the plates.

  6. The wholesome homemade soft idli are now ready to be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  7. Serve Classic Homemade Soft Idli with Coconut ChutneyThakkali Vengayam SambarIdli Milagai Podi & Filter Coffee for a delicious breakfast at home.