Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Steam Idli

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You can now easily make soft, fluffy idlis and thin, crispy dosas using homemade idli dosa batter, made in an instant pot!

You can steam idli right in the Instant Pot too. It’s so easy to do! I’m also sharing how to make crispy dosa with the batter.

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

Idli and dosa are often served for breakfast or brunch in south Indian homes, along with piping hot vegetable sambar. I myself am a north Indian married to a south Indian but have been eating idli and dosa since childhood.

Growing up, dosas were such a treat! My mom would occasionally make them at home, but it was mostly something we ate while out at an Indian restaurant. Now that I’m an adult, I can make idli and dosa as often as I’d like. My toddler loves eating them too, and it honestly makes me so happy when he “demands” dosa in the mornings (he’s 2, it’s cute for now, lol)! Thanks to the Instant Pot – this batter is so easy to make!

Why Should I Make Idli Dosa Batter in an Instant Pot?

Why should you use an Instant Pot to make this batter? Because it makes the fermentation process so easy! The instant pot makes fermenting this batter foolproof – even during colder months. With the IP, you no longer have to rely on an oven light to ferment the batter. With my recipe and proportions, you won’t have to worry about the batter overflowing either. I’ll also share how I make idlis in the instant pot – SO EASY.

What is Idli Dosa Batter?

This fermented batter is made up of idli rice and whole skinless urad lentils and can be used to make soft steamed rice patties or crispy crepes.

You can store the batter in your fridge for about a week or in the freezer for about a month. Use the fresh batter to make idlis the first couple of days, then use the batter to make crispy dosas or savory “pancakes” the rest of the week.

Depending on which Indian mom/aunty/parent you ask, you may get different advice regarding ingredients to use or the “perfect ratio” of rice to lentils. I use a 3:1 ratio of rice to lentils – if you switch it up a bit, it’ll still turn out fine. Some people will also add a handful of something or other to the batter – like poha (flatted rice) or rava – I don’t do this, but you certainly can if you’d like!

One important note: be sure to use rice that is labeled “Idli rice” when making this recipe. Idli rice is short grain parboiled rice and can be easily found at any Indian grocery store or on amazon along with whole skinless urad dal.

You’ll also want to use a high powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec to blend the rice and dal well. I also suggest blending the two separately and then mixing them together (see my recipe below). This results in a nice and fluffy batter. Oh, and hold the salt! I always add salt at the end after fermentation because salt can sometimes affect the fermentation process. Just follow my simple steps written out below, and you’ll be good 🙂

Can I Double the Batter Recipe?

No. Here is why: all of my recipes are tested using my 6 quart Instant Pot, and I have never had an instance of my batter overflowing. I would not suggest doubling this recipe as there’s a chance the batter could overflow. So no, do not double this.

What is Idli? How to make Idli in an Instant Pot?

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

Idli (savory rice and lentil cakes) are typically served with sambar or chutney during breakfast or lunch.

While idli is typically eaten in savory applications, you can also top them with ghee and sugar (my husband’s favorite way to eat them).

My favorite way to eat them is dunked in hot sambar with cool coconut chutney on the side. I have a tasty coconut peanut chutney I’ve been meaning to share – hopefully soon!

What is Dosa? How do I make Dosa?

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

A dosa is similar to a crepe or a pancake and can vary in thickness. I prefer to make thin, crispy dosas using the recipe I’ve listed below.

You’ll see below that I like to add a few extra ingredients to the batter when I make dosa. I add some besan to make it a bit more crispy and a bit of sugar, which gives the dosa a bit more of a brown color.

You can stuff the dosas with spiced potatoes to make masala dosas! I made masala dosas for a girls’ lunch not too long ago, and it was really fun! I served the masala dosas with sambar, coconut chutney, and avial. I really hope to share my instant pot aloo masala recipe with you guys soon. It’s so close to being perfect! I tell you – there isn’t enough time in the day to recipe test, write these posts, AND do laundry. At least, that’s what I tell my family when they run out of socks to wear. 😉

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

You can also make Uttapam (a savory pancake) with this batter!

There is so much you can do with this dosa idli batter!

Sometimes spreading out the batter so that it’s thin enough to make dosas can be tricky. If you find yourself having trouble spreading out the batter to make thin dosas or feel like trying something new, then make something called uttapam! Uttapam is basically just a thicker dosa with toppings cooked into it (think: thick dosa pancake).

To make uttapam, follow my instructions for making dosa but instead of oil, sprinkle the flatbread with chopped onions, tomatoes, and green chilies before you flip it over to cook the other side!

Another idea: I’ve seen a lot of people in my facebook group (Instant Pot for Indian Food) make waffles with this batter. I have yet to try, but it’s on my to-try list!

I hope you enjoy making this batter and love all the tasty things you make with it once it’s done. Let me know what you make with it and how it turns out for you!

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter

This batter is made up of rice and lentils and can be used to make soft steamed rice patties or crispy crepes. You can store the batter in your fridge for about a week or in the freezer for about a month. Use the batter to make idlis the first couple days, then use the batter to make crispy dosas or savory “pancakes” the rest of the week. One note, be sure to use rice that is labeled “Idli rice” when making this recipe. Idli rice is short grain parboiled rice and can be easily found at any Indian grocery store or on Amazon.
4.73 from 11 reviews
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Cuisine Indian

Ingredients
 

Idli & Dosa Batter

Instructions
 

How to Make Idli & Dosa Batter:

  • To prepare the batter, soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 5-6 hours. In a separate bowl, add the whole skinless black lentils (urad dal) and fenugreek seeds and soak in cold water for 5-6 hours. Drain the water.
  • Put the drained rice in a blender and slowly pour in 1 cup of cold water while blending. Blend until the rice is mostly smooth. Pour this into the steel pot. Add the drained urad dal and methi seeds to the blender and slowly pour the in remaining 1 cup of cold water while blending. Blend until the dal is a fluffy, almost foam-like consistency. Pour this into the steel inner pot. Mix the blended rice and dal together.
  • Press the yogurt button and set the time to 12 hours on normal mode. Secure the lid. You can close the valve or leave it open as it does not matter in this case.
  • Once the time is up, you should see that the batter has doubled in size and looks light and airy. Gently fold the salt into the batter. Also add more water if needed – the consistency should be that of cake batter or thick waffle/pancake batter.
  • Use the batter to make idlis the first couple days, then use the batter to make crispy dosas or savory “pancakes” the rest of the week. You can store the batter in the fridge for up to a week, or keep it in the freezer for up to a month. 

How to Make Idli (Steamed Rice Cakes):

  • To make idlis, spoon the fermented batter into a greased idli mold.
  • Place 2 cups of water into the steel inner pot of the Instant Pot, then place the idli mold inside.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 1 minute at high pressure (the idlis will cook while the machine builds pressure).
  • Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
  • Serve with sambar.
    Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

How to Make Dosa:

  • To make dosa, pour 1 cup of idli/dosa batter into a bowl along with 1 tablespoon of besan/chickpea flour and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix until well combined.
  • Slowly add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the batter is slightly runny (you may need 3-4 tablespoons of water total).
  • Heat a well-seasoned or non-stick crepe pan over high heat, then ladle the batter onto the pan and spread it around the pan slowly.
  • The edges of the dosa will lift from the pan when the bottom side is done. Sprinkle a few drops of oil on top of the bread, then flip the dosa over to cook the other side for 30 seconds.
  • Serve dosa with sambar.
    Instant Pot Idli Dosa Batter + How to Make Idli in an Instant Pot

Notes

  • Soak the rice and lentils in the morning so you can prepare the batter in the evening and allow it to ferment overnight.
  • You may need to adjust the consistency of the batter by adding a bit more water once it’s done fermenting. It should resemble cake batter or thick waffle or pancake batter.
  • If you’re wondering where to buy an idli mold: you can typically find an idli mold at your local Indian grocery store – I suggest calling ahead to make sure they have them in stock. I also found this idli mold available on amazon – according to reviews it appears that it will fit a 6 quart.
  • Sometimes I’ll add golden raisins and cashews right into the idli mold with the batter – this makes for sweeter idli with a bit more texture! My hubby enjoys eating these with ghee and sugar.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.

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Comments

  1. Aravind kumar Chitram says

    5 stars
    I hit the yogurt function and it set the default temperature at 109F. I use it for yogurt all the time and never needed to change. The batter started to stick to the pot, it was too hot for it. Then I reduced the temp to 80F. Do you have any specific temp you leave the batter at or your IP does not have the temperature?

  2. Bhy says

    For those in Cole climate, I was having trouble with IP and batter rising, after previous successes. I’ve found a small towel over the clear glass IP lid seems to ensure success! As well as using water from soaked urad dal. We use “smoothie” setting on vitamix so batter doesn’t get too hot and sometimes add some ice cubes before grinding.

  3. Safa Khan says

    5 stars
    Dosas came out great! I never thought to use an Instant pot for this before. I also never used idly rice either. I always mixed cooked rice with raw and it worked well. However, this recipe was WAY EASIER than my old school method. I used a Vitamix to grind everything. I fermented the batter in my instant pot for 15 hours. The batter needed to be a little more finely ground, so I ground it again in the Bullet. We decided we like our dosas a little more sour, so I added homemade yogurt instead of water to thin the batter down. I added the salt, besan and sugar at that point as well when grinding in the Bullet. Also, I used an onion speared with a fork to spread the ghee on the tawa. The dosas were beautiful and tasted like the restaurant. Thanks Ashley for making dosas easier for me. My previous method was way harder and more time consuming for nearly the same result.

  4. Surbhee says

    Hi Ashley can u show how to make idli in instant pot as I just bought instant pot duo gourmet and it doesn’t have steam function so that i have an idea how to .make

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Surbhee, I will add this to my list of videos to make! If you saw my earlier reply, please ignore that – you don’t need the steam button – you can use the manual/pressure cook button! I hope that helps!

  5. Kara says

    5 stars
    I highly recommend this recipe; it is simple and easy to follow. My husband and I were pleasantly surprised by how fluffy our idlis turned out this morning! This batter recipe is effective and inexpensive- I’m happy that I no longer need to buy pre-made idli/Dosa batter!

  6. Jenny says

    Question: I’m not ready to invest in an idli stand. Do you think it would work to make them in a silicone egg bite mood or similar? Any other ideas on making idli without a stand? Thank you

  7. Nita says

    5 stars
    First time ever the batter rose!
    Thanks.
    I followed the recipe and kept on yoghurt mode for 12 hrs.
    Next day nothing…batter was flat.
    I went through your recipe to see what I missed…
    I hadn’t added the 2 cups of .water while grinding rice and dal.THIS was my mistake in all my previous attempts I always thought less water meant smooth batter in Blendtec.
    So I added a Cup of water to instant pot and mixed i not really expecting anything. Set on yoghurt more for 4 more hours.
    And lo behold the batter rose till the brim…happy dance!!
    To others who have trouble please try by adding the required water !!
    Thanks again…finally the jinx is broken😄

  8. Vidya says

    Thanks for this IP recipe. I have a dosa question. I’ve been taught to simply water down slightly the batter for consistency to make dosas. I’ve NEVER added besan or sugar. What does this add and is it necessary?

  9. Rosie Heinert says

    Hi Ashley,
    Do you have a dosa aloo recipe in the instant pot? I see a few online, but I feel like my mom adds some sort of tomato component that makes the color more orange vs. yellos.

  10. Anne says

    Hi Ashley! I’m in love with your recipes! Question – I only found idili rava (not idili rice) – is that the same and will it work?

  11. Ruchita says

    Hi Ashley,

    We have quickpot but don’t use it very often. So basically in my quickpot , yogurt option firstly starts boiling so when I had poured the blended rice and dal in the pot, it started heating it up and some of my batter was stick to bottom of the pot as well. I immediately took the batter out in other container and kept it in the oven. But can you help me understanding the way of using quick pot and yogurt option correctly ?

  12. Christina Nunes says

    5 stars
    Hello,

    May I use brown rice instead of the parboiled short grain rice? Thanks for your input. This looks delicious and I look forward to trying to make it for my kids.

  13. Christina Nunes says

    This sounds so interesting to me and want to make it for my children. Can I make this with brown rice? I’m having a hard time finding parboiled rice. Thank you!

  14. Jaswinder Soggi says

    Hi Ashley

    If I was to use idli rice flour instead of rice,what would be the flour to daal ratio?

  15. MADHURI TULLIMALLI says

    I tried this recipe of making Idli batter yesterday. I am a south indian in US and boy, never was i ever successful in making a frothy batter and fluffy Idly like this …up until yesterday. Thanks a ton for your proportion ratios and details on instant pot magic. The south Indian in me finally proud of herself 😉

    P.S i tried your Kheema biryani recipe in IP, and it is so bomb for weekday meals !!!! Love your site, Sista <3

  16. s says

    Hi I just made this batter exactly per instructions and the batter has an absolutely awful smell to it. This just doesn’t feel right. Is it expected to smell terrible, or did something go awry? Can / Should I still use this – I hate to waste it but the stench is just awful. Thanks again

    • My Heart Beets says

      It shouldn’t have an awful smell and while I can’t say for sure my best guess is that either the rice or the dal may have been bad? You can also try asking this question in my facebook group – someone there may be able to help troubleshoot as well, especially since there you can also share a photo.

  17. Sang says

    Hi Ashley, if I’m using fermented batter that was refrigerated — should I bring it to room temperature before placing in molds to steam in the IP? Or can I use the batter straight out of the fridge?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sang, you can use it straight out of the fridge 🙂 Remember though, idli batter is best during the first couple days after the batter is made – after that I’d make dosas.

  18. Heena Gupta says

    Hi Ashley, I followed this recipe step by step, 8 hours on yogurt mode now and my batter has not fermented at all.

    – I used Idli rice, whole skinless urad dal
    – I also added Methi seeds to the urad dal
    – using instant pot, yoghurt mode, normal

    I still have 4 hours to go. Is it still a chance that the batter will rise ?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hmm it should have fermented by now – did it end up rising? You can also ask this question in my facebook group (instant pot for indian food) to get advice from anyone else who may have experience this issue…

      • Heena gupta says

        It did rise up a little and then settled down.. I could tell by the traces on the sides of the pot that it did rise.. it didn’t double for sure. Anyhow I made the idlis from the batter and they came out very good !! Thanks a lot.. i’ll try again next time !

  19. Alvina says

    3 stars
    Hi Ashley,

    I love your website! I have enjoyed so many of your recipes and thank you so much…

    Regarding this dosa/idli batter, I am using a regular blender and I couldn’t get it to get that smoothS it isna little gritty. I am 6 hours in on the fermentation, and I have not seen any change in the batter.

    I worked up to the ice crush mode but it wouldn’t remove the grittiness in the idli rice. Also for the dhal, I did not see a fluffy air like consistency but it is smooth.

    Any suggestions?

  20. rhin says

    Can you please provide a rough estimate of the amount of time it takes to grind the rice and also the dal? I get that grinding time will vary, but just want to get a general idea of what to expect. 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Etc.? Also, how often do you stop in between to check the consistency and avoid overheating the motor? Thanks!

  21. Deepthy says

    Hi Ashley,
    You got a cool space here….And thank you so much for this recipe.I am totally new to Vitamix and Instant pot.Planning to try your instant pot recipes one by one. Can you clarify in which speed you did grind the idli batter? I think high speed may be too much for idli batter. So medium speed ( on 6 or 5) should be ok right? Thanks again my friend. Yiur site is really a boon to me. Regards..

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thanks Deepthy! I hope you love all of the recipes that you try from my site! As long as the consistency is as I describe in the recipe then you can blend at any speed but typically low or medium is easier to manage and easier to stop once you get the right texture. I hope that helps! Let me know how this turns out for you 🙂

  22. Bob says

    Thanks for this recipe, it worked really well but I’d like to share some minor tweaks that have also worked well in my 6QT IP. I soak 120g white urad/methi and 360g idli rice all day. Then drain and preserve the liquid (contains naturally occurring yeast). Then in my Vitamix I blend the dahl, slowly increasing the speed while adding both a little iced water and the preserved liquid. I do the dahl first because it has to stay cooler than the rice to avoid killing the yeast. Empty the dahl into the IP and repeat with the rice, but mostly using the preserved fluid and not the iced water (temperature is less critical here). Stir everything in the IP and set to Yoghurt mode for 12 hrs (overnight) and it’s nearly overflowing by the morning. Add salt now or when using it for cooking – I prefer the latter since I use it for a few days and don’t want the salt to slow down the on-going fermenting. Thanks again for your recipe – it really helped me!

    • Manisha says

      Hi, how long does it take to grind the dal and the rice in vitamix?
      Could you also please note the speed that you use.
      Thanks so much !

  23. Lygia Figueiredo says

    4 stars
    I am so frustrated and I do not know what I am doing wrong. I have followed every step of the recipe, twice, with no luck in getting the batter to rise to double for idles. The first time I used Idli rice & whole skinless urad. The batter did not rise sufficiently and I ended up making dosas (not bad, for my first attempt). The next time I used regular parboiled rice – it was a disaster, but I improvised and made modified utapams (?) The taste in both attempts was perfect! I really want to do it again for the third time, but would like some pointers. Much appreciated.

    • My Heart Beets says

      That is odd – I’m not sure why the batter isn’t rising for you but let’s try to troubleshoot! You used methi/fenugreek seeds as well, correct? And you used the yogurt button? Are you using an Instant Pot or another brand? You can try fermenting it for a few more hours but it should be done in 12. The more details you can provide the better – you can also try asking about this in my facebook group: Instant Pot for Indian Food to get more help from others!

    • Srinivas says

      We currently use a wet grinder to make idli/dosa batter, although we used to use a vitamix. Our batter never came that fluffy in the vitamix until I later realized that we probably had to grind it a longer time. We currently grind rice and dal separately for for 45 min. each in the wet grinder. My mom said that this long time grinding is the way to get fluffy idlis. How long do you mix each in the vitamix for?

    • Trent Ferguson says

      Michelle, you can use split, but unshelled urad dal. This will make your idlis fluffier, but they won’t look as nice.

  24. Michelle says

    5 stars
    My idlis came out great but I would like them a little fluffier. Should I ferment them longer? Or add more water?

    Thanks

    michelle

  25. Smita says

    Hi Ashley! If I wanted to add in tempering of some mustard seeds and curry leaves. Would I add that to the batter before fermentation or after when it’s ready to be cooked in the IP?

  26. Kanchan says

    Hi Ashley,
    I have the 3 qt IP, not the 6 qt. Do you think I can use half of the measurements from your 6 qt recipe and make the idli batter?

    Thanks,
    Kanchan

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Kanchan! I think that would be fine but can’t say with 100 percent certainty. If you try it out, please let us know how it goes! Hopefully another reader may be able to reply/help if they try first.

  27. Courtney says

    Hi Ashley, your recipe looks great. I usually buy the skinless split urad dal for dosa. Is it better to use the whole skinless urad dal instead? Also, where did you get the idli stand that will fit in the 6 qt. instant pot? Thanks so much!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thanks Courtney! I’m sure skinless split urad dal will work out fine too – I’ve just always used whole skinless urad dal. I’ve had my idli mold for years and it happened to fit perfectly. You can call your local Indian grocery store to see if they have some in stock! You can also try amazon – I’ve linked to one that is supposed to fit in a 6 quart. Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  28. Vijitha says

    Hi Ashley thanks for the recipe. I don’t have the yogurt option in the instant pot, what setting should I use for the fermentation process? TIA

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Vijitha! I’m not sure it’s possible to do it without the yogurt setting… you may just have to do it the old fashioned way, sorry! You can try asking in my Instant Pot for Indian Food facebook group – maybe someone there will have some ideas?

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