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Ragi (Finger Millet) Idli: A South Indian Breakfast Recipe

Rajan loves cooking dishes from his native Indian cuisine. He enjoys sharing his favourite recipes with his online readers.

Ragi idli

Ragi idli

Idli is a savoury rice cake that is a popular breakfast food of South India. Typically, idli is prepared with rice and a lentil like urad dal (split and skinned black gram).

In this recipe, however, we are replacing the rice with ragi, which is a very healthy finger millet. Ragi is a gluten-free grain; it is actually a seed from the grass family.

Although idli is typically a breakfast food, it can be also eaten for lunch or dinner. Try this variation to the popular rice idli and share your feedback.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

18 hours

1 hour 30 min

19 hours 30 min

24-25 Idlis


  • 1 cup ragi (finger millet), soaked in water for 6 hours
  • 1/2 cup urad dal (split and skinned black gram), soaked in water for 6 hours
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil as needed, for greasing the idli moulds
  • water as needed, to make the batter and steaming the idli batter


  1. Strain out the soaked water from the urad dal and discard. Also, strain out the water from the ragi and save it for grinding.
  2. Grind the ragi, adding a little of the soaking water, to get a thick, flowing batter. Transfer the batter to a large pot. Now grind the dal, adding the same ragi soaking water, to make a thick, flowing batter. Add this batter to the ragi batter.
  3. Stir until the two batters combine nicely. Cover with a plate and leave it for 10-12 hours to ferment.
  4. Add the salt and water to adjust the consistency. Whisk in one direction only for about 5 minutes until the batter becomes soft and fluffy.
  5. Fill the idli steamer with water and keep it for boiling, on medium flame, while you grease the idli moulds with oil and pour a ladleful of the batter into each pit of the moulds.
  6. When the water comes to a boil, put in the idli batter-filled moulds in the steamer. Cover with the lid and raise the heat to high. Steam for 20-25 minutes or until the idlis are cooked.
  7. Demould the idlis and serve them with sambhar and coconut chutney.

Ragi (Finger Millet) Idli Recipe

© 2021 Rajan Singh Jolly