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soft idli recipe

How to Make Soft Idlis (Step-by-step Recipe)

Idlis are a favoured Indian breakfast that is delicious, healthy and very nutritious. I have shared tips in this post to make superb soft spongy idlis at home.
Course Breakfast | Snack
Cuisine South Indian
Keyword idli recipe, soft idli
recipe idli recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 110kcal


  • Pressure cooker


  • 1 cup urad dal
  • 2 cups idli rice or parboiled rice
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • OR
  • 4 tbsp. thick poha or beaten rice
  • Some cold water for grinding


  • Wash and soak urad dal and rice separately in water for about 6 hours.
  • If you are using fenugreek seeds, soak it along with dal. If using beaten poha, soak it separately after washing it. Don't use both of them together.
  • Now drain the water and blend soaked dal with fenugreek seeds along with some cold water till the dal is completely blended and looks frothy. Don’t make it too runny.
  • Now blend the soaked rice with very little cold water till blended but not too fine.
  • Mix the rice with dal and mix with your hands.
  • Keep in a warm place to ferment it. Depending upon the weather, It may ferment overnight or may take many more hours.
  • Once fermented, it will almost double in volume.
  • Gently stir but not too much else all the air will go out from the batter.

Steam Idlis:

  • Heat water in an idly steamer or pressure cooker. Now oil the idli moulds with some oil and put a ladle full of batter in each mould.
  • Steam for 10 minutes and turn off the gas.
  • Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Open and demould.
  • Your soft, spongy idlis are ready to serve. Have them hot with sambar and chutney.


  1. Add salt to the idli batter only after fermentation. That way your batter will not taste sour.
  2. Use cold water for blending your dal and rice so that your idlis do not become too dense.
  3. You can pack the idlis for lunchbox, have them for lunch or dinner. They are very tasty and satisfying.
  4. If you want you can use more rice in the recipe. The consistency of your idli will be slightly different.
  5. Use steel containers for fermenting your idli batter.
  6. This idli batter can be stored for a couple of days after which it gets very sour.
  7. I generally make dosas with the same batter by diluting it with water and mixing it. You can also make these tasty paddus with leftover batter.


Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg