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a pair of hands removing idlis from the cooker using a spoon
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4.38 from 16 votes

Idli Batter Recipe With Idli Rava

Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to make idli batter recipe using idli rava and lentils. These vegan steamed cakes are soft, fluffy, and healthy! This South Indian delicacy is popular all around the world. It can be served as a snack or for breakfast!
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 30 idlis
Calories 61.18kcal



  • 2 cups Idli Rava
  • 1/2 cup Split Urad Dal
  • 1/4 cup Poha
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • Rock Salt
  • Water as needed


  • Rinse idli rava in a strainer first. Then soak idli rava in water for about 5-6 hours. You can also leave it overnight.
  • Similarly, rinse urad dal, methi seeds, and poha in a strainer under running water and then soak them all together in a bowl for 8 hours.
  • Drain the water from idli rava and transfer to the Hamilton Beach Blender Jar. Grind to a smooth paste by adding very little cold water gradually.
  • Pour the batter into a bowl. Then drain the water from urad dal, methi seeds, and poha.
  • Transfer to the blender jar and grind it similarly. Add cold water gradually only if needed to grind. The dal should fluff up and fill the grinder.
  • Pour that idli batter into the bowl. Add salt.
  • Mix both the batters together using your clean hand. The warmth in our hands helps with the fermentation. But you can also mix it with a spoon instead.
  • The batter should be of thick pouring consistency. Add little water if it's too thick.
  • Place the (uncovered) bowl in a warm, dry area for 8 hours or overnight. I usually place it in my turned-off oven with a plate underneath it.
  • I do that to save myself from cleaning the oven in case the batter overflows. I also leave the oven light on.
  • After 8 hours, you will notice the batter has risen and has a slight sour smell to it.  If it has not risen enough, leave for a couple of more hours.
  • Using a spoon, give the batter a quick mix and then place the bowl in the fridge to use as and when needed.
  • When ready to use, take them out of the fridge. Grease the idli molds with cooking spray. Then pour the batter into the molds.
  • Alternatively, you can also line the molds with silicone liners. Removing idlis becomes very easy plus no greasing or cooking spray needed.
  • Add a little water to the bottom of the Idli cooker, Instant Pot, or pressure cooker. Then place the idli plates on top. Steam them for 10-11 minutes.
  • Do not allow it to overcook. It might become hard and dry. Do not remove them from the molds immediately. It might stick. Leave it for 4-5 minutes, sprinkle water on them, and then spoon it out.
  • Idli is best served hot or warm. It's often paired with South Indian Coconut Chutney, Idli Molgapodi, and/or Sambhar.


Always grind urad dal and idli rava separately and then mix them together to get soft and fluffy idli. The reason being that they both need different time to grind.
Cooked idlis can last up to 2 days. That is why it's a great snack to take along on long-distance travel.
If you have some leftover cooked rice, you can use that instead of poha and grind it.
Similarly, you can also use soaked tapioca pearls or sabudana here. Some like to add a teaspoon of sugar to the batter to help with fermentation.
If the batter didn't ferment at all, add Eno fruit salt and try making Idlis. Alternatively, you can use it to make dosa.
Note, in winters especially, you may have to keep the batter longer to ferment. This time you can also add ½ teaspoon of baking soda and then ferment the batter.
How do you store leftover idli batter?
Idli batter stays well in the fridge for a week. I usually prepare my batter over the weekend to use it throughout the week.
It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Just transfer it to an airtight container. The frozen batter should be thawed 24 hours in the refrigerator before use.
Substitute for idli rava
While you can easily find Idli Rava in any Indian grocery store or Amazon. In case you don't have it handy, use regular rice instead.
Can Dosa Batter be used for idli and vice versa?
Idli batter can be used to make dosa, but for making idlis out of dosa batter, add little rice flour to the batter if it is too thin.
Do we need to add baking soda in the batter for it to raise?
No. Idli batter has to ferment and rise naturally. There is no need to add baking soda or powder.
Why didn't the batter rise?
When the salt is not added in the right amount, it causes the batter to not ferment. That is why it's important to add salt before the fermentation process and not after.
In such cases, pour lukewarm water to a plate and then place the batter bowl over it. Keep this in the turned-off oven to ferment.
How do you know the batter has fermented well?
You should be able to see a rise in its volume. Plus, it should also start to smell slightly sour, and become thick, and foamy.
Why are my idlis hard?
This happens if the batter is very thin and not well fermented. Always be cautious while adding water when making the batter.
The thin watery batter will not rise and the idlis will end up hard and flat. So do not add too much water while grinding.
How to ferment batter in an Instant Pot?
Disclaimer - I am yet to try this method.
Select the yogurt option and use the less mode. Place a small trivet in the IP steel insert. Keep the bowl with the batter on that trivet.
Cover and keep the vent position to venting. You can also use any glass lid instead. Set the time for 8-9 hours. Fermentation will depend upon the weather.
On warmer days, it will ferment quickly. On colder days, it may take a couple of hours more in the Instant Pot.


Calories: 61.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.83g | Protein: 1.82g | Fat: 0.13g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 0.98mg | Potassium: 15.96mg | Fiber: 0.88g | Sugar: 0.02g | Vitamin C: 0.14mg | Calcium: 5.88mg | Iron: 0.4mg