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fermented idli batter is on the table.
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5 from 4 votes

Idli Batter Recipe (Soft Idli Recipe)

Soft and fluffy idlis dunked in onion sambar or a side of chutney can be too good to pass. Known not only for how nutritious and delicious it is but also for how easy it is to prepare when you pay attention to certain details.
Prep Time4 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
fermenting time9 hrs
Total Time13 hrs 20 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan
Allergen: Dairy free, Gluten free
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 220kcal



How to make idli batter

  • Soak the idli rice, urad dal, and methi in a bowl for 4-6 hours. you can also soak them in a separate bowl. Soaking makes the grains soft and plumped up. It's then ready for the next step, grinding.
    1¼ cup Urad Dal, 4 cups rice (idli rice), 1 teaspoon methi seeds
  • Blend the soaked grains with just enough water to get the right consistency of the batter. If you are living in cold climates, use warm water to blend the grains. This helps in making a fine and fluffy rice batter.
  • Transfer the batter into a large bowl. Keep in mind that that batter doubles in volume as it ferments. So be sure to use a sufficiently large bowl to mix the batter.
  • Leave the batter covered in a warm place (but not high heat) to ferment for anywhere between 8-12 hours.
  • The time depends on room temperature. The warmer it is, the faster it ferments. This is the most important step in getting proper fermentation and the perfect idli batter.
  • During cold weather, I place my idli batter in a relatively warm place like the oven and leave the oven light on to raise the temperature. with the light on.
  • After 8-12 hours, you will notice that the batter has risen considerably. Add rock salt, sea salt, or table salt to the batter and mix evenly.
  • You will also notice that the rice batter is more fluffy and thick after fermentation. Add a cup of water if required.

How to steam

  • Grease the idli plates with oil and drop the batter into the idli molds.
  • Heat water in an idli steamer (traditional way) or a pressure cooker.
  • Steam it for 10 - 12 minutes. Idlis are ready when a toothpick pierced into them comes out clean. Be sure not to overcook the idlis.
  • Take the idli plates out of the steamer and let it sit for 5 minutes before scooping out the idlis.
  • Your soft idlis are ready to serve. Enjoy them served hot with sambar and chutney.

Ferment the batter in instant pot

  • Here's one more method of fermenting idli batter...using the Instant pot. Yes, you read that right...you can ferment batter in the instant pot. Just add salt to the batter and mix thoroughly with a wooden spatula. Place the batter in the inner pot and press the "yogurt" setting and set the timer for 9-12 hours.
  • NOTE: Do not close the Instant pot lid. Use a lid to cover that lets a little air through.
  • In 9 hours, the batter would become lighter and doubles in volume as it ferments. Now you are all set to cook the batter to prepare soft and tender Idlis.

Idli In Instant Pot

  • Add water to the (cleaned) inner pot and turn on the saute mode to boil the water.
  • While the water is heating, grease the Idli molds with oil.
  • Add a small amount of batter to each mold and stack them in Instant Pot.
  • Close the lid and keep the Instant Pot in steam mode in the venting position. The timer function on the instant pot does not work in the venting position. So you have to use a separate timer.
  • In 12- 14 minutes, Idli will be cooked.
  • Repeat this for the remaining batter.
  • Hot spongy Idlis are ready to be served! Pair them with coconut chutney or sambar for a delectable experience.

Using Stainless Steel Egg Bite Molds

  • If you do not have an Idli stand, you can still prepare soft and tender idlis with EggBite molds! They easily fit inside the inner pot and offer an easy way to get 7 idlis done in one shot.
    Just pour the batter halfway inside the molds and steam cook for 15 minutes for a soft tender consistent idli!



  • The procedure for making idli batter is as simple as soaking the ingredients and blending them to a fine consistency.
  • Add just enough water when you blend the soaked grains, to get the right consistency of the batter. Check out my videos for details. Keep in mind that you can always add water later. So you'd rather add less at this stage and adjust later.
  • In traditional Indian homes, using a stone grinder is common but any blender is just fine as long as the final consistency is smooth.
  • Add salt to the idli batter only after fermentation. That way the batter will not taste sour and ferments better.
  • You can store your idli batter in steel containers. This will help it stay fresh for a couple of days. However, after a few days, the batter tends to become sour.
  • If you have a stone grinder, use that to make idli batter. A high-speed blender like Blendtec works just fine.
  • The fermentation process will take up to 10 hours.


Serving: 4idli's | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Fiber: 8g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 3mg