How to Make Perfect Idli in Instant Pot: Easy Recipe and Tips

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving the soft, fluffy goodness of idli but short on time? The Instant Pot has got your back! This South Indian staple, traditionally made with a fermented rice and lentil batter, is now easier than ever to prepare.

Using an Instant Pot not only speeds up the cooking process but also ensures perfectly steamed idlis every single time. Whether you’re new to making idlis or a seasoned pro looking for a quicker method, you’ll find this recipe both convenient and foolproof.


To make perfect idlis in your Instant Pot, gather the following ingredients. These will ensure you achieve the authentic taste and texture.

  • 2 cups idli rice (soaked for 4-6 hours)
  • 1 cup urad dal (split black gram) (soaked for 4-6 hours)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional) (soaked with urad dal)
  • Water as needed (for grinding and adjusting batter consistency)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil or ghee for greasing idli molds

Equipment Needed

To make perfect idlis in your Instant Pot, you will need a few key pieces of equipment. Below is the list of essentials to ensure a smooth cooking experience.

  1. Instant Pot: You will need an Instant Pot with a yogurt function to ferment the batter and a steam function to cook the idlis efficiently.
  2. Trivet: Place this at the bottom of your Instant Pot to elevate the idli stand above water level during steaming.
  3. Idli Stand/Mold: An idli stand that fits inside your Instant Pot is essential for holding and shaping the batter into soft, fluffy idlis.
  4. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial for achieving consistent results.
  5. Ladle: Use a ladle for scooping fermented batter into molds without spilling.

Ensure all equipment is clean and dry before use to maintain hygiene and achieve optimal results when making your delicious South Indian delicacies in the Instant Pot.


Follow these detailed steps to prepare your idli batter and ferment it for the perfect outcome.

Making Idli Batter

  1. Gather Ingredients: You will need 1 cup of urad dal (split black lentils), 2 cups of idli rice, and 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds.
  2. Rinse Dal and Rice: Rinse the urad dal, idli rice, and fenugreek seeds separately under cold water until the water runs clear.
  3. Soak Ingredients:
  • Soak the urad dal with fenugreek seeds in a bowl with enough water to cover them. Let it sit for 4 hours.
  • In another bowl, soak the idli rice in enough water to cover it for at least 4 hours as well.
  1. Grind Urad Dal: Drain the soaked urad dal and transfer it to a blender or wet grinder. Add a small amount of water (about ¼ cup) gradually while grinding until you achieve a smooth, fluffy texture.
  2. Grind Idli Rice: Drain the soaked rice and grind it separately using minimal water until you get a slightly coarse paste.
  3. Combine Batters: Mix both batters together in a large bowl or container using your hands for better aeration.

Activating Fermentation in Instant Pot for Idli Batter

  1. Set Instant Pot: Transfer the combined batter into your Instant Pot inner pot.
  2. Activate Yogurt Setting:
  • Close the lid but keep the valve on venting mode if applicable to your model.
  • Select ‘Yogurt’ setting on normal mode and set time for 8-10 hours based on ambient temperature; warmer climates may require less time.
  1. Monitor Fermentation:
  • Check batter after fermentation period; it should have doubled in volume with bubbles on top indicating it’s ready for making idlis.


Now that you have your fermented idli batter ready, it’s time to move on to the cooking process. Follow these steps carefully to ensure perfect idlis every time.

Greasing the Idli Molds

  1. Lightly grease each mold in your idli stand with a few drops of oil.
  2. Use a brush or a small piece of cloth to spread the oil evenly across the molds.
  3. Ensure all molds are well-coated to prevent sticking and ensure easy removal post-cooking.

Pouring the Batter

  1. Stir your fermented batter gently.
  2. Using a ladle, pour the batter into each greased mold until it is about three-fourths full.
  3. Avoid overfilling as this allows room for the idlis to rise and fluff up during steaming.

Setting Up The Instant Pot

  1. Pour 1 cup of water into the inner pot of your Instant Pot.
  2. Place the trivet at the bottom of the pot.
  3. Carefully place your filled idli stand on top of the trivet.
  4. Close and lock the lid of your Instant Pot, ensuring that its valve is set to ‘Sealing.’
Setting Time
Steam 12-15 minutes

Steaming Idli in Instant Pot

  1. Select ‘Steam’ mode on your Instant Pot and set it for 12-15 minutes depending on how fluffy you prefer your idlis.
  2. Once cooking is complete, allow natural pressure release for about 10 minutes before opening.
  3. Open carefully and use a spoon or knife edge to gently lift out each soft and fluffy idli from its mold.

After Cooking

Once the idlis have cooked for 12-15 minutes in ‘Steam’ mode, it’s time to remove them from the Instant Pot and prepare them for serving. Follow these steps to ensure your idlis come out perfectly.

Removing Idli from Molds

  1. Cool Slightly: Allow the idli molds to cool for a few minutes before handling.
  2. Use a Spoon: Gently slide a spoon around the edges of each mold to loosen the idlis.
  3. Lift Carefully: Lift each idli carefully with the spoon and place it on a serving plate.

Serving Suggestions

Idlis are best enjoyed fresh and warm. Here are some popular ways to serve them:

  • With Chutney: Pair your idlis with coconut chutney or tomato chutney for a traditional touch.
  • Sambar: Serve hot sambar alongside for dipping and soaking.
  • Ghee & Podi: Drizzle ghee over your idlis and sprinkle with spiced podi powder.
  • Curd & Pickles: A side of curd (yogurt) and pickles adds an extra layer of flavor.


Making idlis in the Instant Pot revolutionizes your kitchen routine. With its convenience and reliability, you can enjoy perfectly steamed idlis without any hassle. From preparing the batter to serving delectable combinations like chutney and sambar, the process is straightforward.

By following these steps, you’ll consistently achieve soft, fluffy idlis that delight every time. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, using an Instant Pot simplifies this traditional recipe while maintaining its authentic taste.

Give it a try and elevate your South Indian culinary experience effortlessly!

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