Jeera rice is a popular Indian rice dish that is naturally gluten-free and has the goodness of ghee, fragrant cumin, and Basmati. Learn to make this easy dish, perfect and fluffy, every time whether you make it on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker.
I am so excited to share this easy recipe with you! My daughters have grown up eating it and even today (they are not so little anymore), Indian cumin rice, or jeera rice as we call it at home, is their top favorite comfort food!
This recipe can be a great addition to your 'baby dinner ideas' list, without a doubt. Check out the section below to see how you can adapt this recipe for your toddler.
The trick to getting the perfectly fluffy rice every time is to get the rice water ratio and a few other things right. Master these tricks and you will make it perfect, blindfolded .
If you are a fan of intense cumin flavor, then do try this jeera aloo recipe post.
This post contains helpful notes and tips to help you make the perfect dish. However, if you are in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" link above or the "Jump to" links below to get to the section you want.
Allergens Free Labels
In addition to being naturally gluten free, this recipe is also free of:
It also does not have any mustard and tomatoes.
You can make it vegan by swapping the ghee with an oil of your choice.
A note about this dish
Cumin or jeera in Hindi has many health benefits. It is a great aid in gut health and an immunity-boosting spice in Indian cooking.
I use this spice a lot in my cooking, in whole, roasted and ground form. For example, the cumin powder and the coriander powder add a depth of flavor to this spicy couscous recipe. The whole cumin seeds add a great texture to this tangy yellow lentil soup. This curry powder substitute has roasted cumin and other warming spices.
In this fragrant jeera rice, cumin is the hero of the dish, of course. I have used both whole seeds and roasted cumin for more depth of flavor.
This dish is also called jeera pulao, jeera chawal or zeera pulao.
You can make this dish in two ways - the way that I have in this post or with leftover rice. See the section below for a quick explanation of how to make that version.
Which rice is best for jeera rice?
Basmati is the best rice for jeera rice.
The fragrance of Indian Basmati rice, along with the aroma of ghee and jeera, makes this dish iconic and deeply comforting. You can use any other long grain or regular white rice of your choice, but make sure it is not a sticky variety.
Making it with leftover rice: Add the cooked rice to the cumin, add salt and toss it well. Fry it all in the pan for a few minutes until the rice is warm. The ingredients from the list below that you will not require are water and lime juice.
Making it for your baby/ toddler: If making this recipe for your kid, just swap the whole cumin seeds for the same quantity of cumin powder. The rest of the process is the same as explained below.
Flavor: This dish is known for its mild flavors. Aromatic Basmati carries the earthy flavor of the cumin and the mellow warmth of the ghee. Some versions of this recipe add whole spices such as star anise, bay leaf, and cinnamon sticks, but I like the traditional version with simple ingredients: rice, cumin and ghee. One thing I would suggest here is not to skimp on the quantity of jeera. The finished dish should have the distinct flavor of cumin that you can smell from a distance🙂. I also under salt this dish on purpose because I always pair it with a curry or dal that have salt in them too.
Texture: The outcome of the dish depends on the type of rice you use. The crunchy cumin should contrast with the soft and fluffy grains and every grain of rice should be separate from each other and not sticky. The dish is moist when warm and a bit dry when cold. Check out the section below to learn how to reheat it.
Aged Basmati works perfectly for this recipe because the long grains expand well when cooked and do not get mushy easily.
Ease: Although this recipe takes about an hour to make, most of the process is hands-off. This dish is easy to make with no complicated cooking techniques involved. If you are a beginner cook, just follow my detailed instructions and you will get the perfectly fluffy jeera rice every time!
Tips for cooking basmati perfectly
One of the main things about making perfect cumin rice or any other dish with basmati is to cook it right. Follow these simple steps:
- wash the rice well until the water runs clear. This will wash off any white powdery stuff that can make the rice sticky.
- soak the rice for at least 30 minutes and up to a maximum of 1 hour. This will speed up the cooking process by giving the rice a head start. Do not skip this step especially if you are using aged basmati.
- Use a rice to water ratio of 1∶1.5 i.e., for 1 cup basmati rice you will need 1 and ½ cups water. This will give you perfectly cooked, fluffy grains of rice.
- lower the heat to cook the rice after you have cooked it uncovered for a few minutes.
- do not peek in. Opening the lid will make the steam escape and interfere with the cooking process.
- let it rest for at least 10 minutes before fluffing it up. This is my top tip for making fluffy cumin rice every time.
This easy recipe requires only 5 ingredients plus water and salt, of course.
Check the recipe card for quantities.
Rice: I use white Basmati for this recipe. You can use any other fragrant rice of your choice. Any other long grain, regular white rice or brown rice will also work, but check the package instructions for the rice water ratio. Also bear in mind that the cooking time will also vary.
Ghee: The warm, mellow goodness of ghee gives this dish a comforting smoothness. If you are not a fan of ghee, use olive oil or any other oil of your choice.
Cumin: The recipe calls for whole cumin, but if you are not a fan of biting into the seeds, or if you are making this for your baby, you can use cumin powder instead. I like to add a little bhuna jeera, roasted cumin, at the end to add a more intense flavor. You can skip the roasted cumin.
Lime juice: This helps keep the rice grains white and bright. Skip it and your dish will still turn out good 🙂.
Have a question regarding the ingredients? Feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will try my best to answer it for you.
You can make this recipe in two ways: on the stovetop, by the absorption method, or in the pressure cooker (or an Instant Pot).
Also see the video at the end of the recipe card.
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients.
Soak the rice: Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water looks clear. Soak it in enough water for 30 minutes. Soaking helps it cook faster.
Heat the water: To avoid slowing down the cooking process, add hot water to the rice.
Measure the rest of the ingredients and keep them ready.
Step 2: Make the jeera pulao by absorption method.
Heat ghee in a cooking pan on medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them darken in color and release their aroma.
If you are adding any other aromatic spices, then add them at this stage.
As the cumin fries, drain the rice. Make sure you drain out all of the water. Add the rice to the cumin and stir fry for a minute or two. This will coat the rice with the ghee and the jeera.
Then, add the hot water, salt, and lime juice.
Bring the water to a boil and cook the rice, uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until the water and the rice are almost at the same level.
Place the lid and cook on low heat for 6-7 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed.
Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid and add the bhuna jeera, if using.
Place a kitchen towel on the pan and put the lid back on the pan. Leave it for 10 minutes. The rice will cook some more and become fluffy in its own steam.
After resting for 10 minutes, remove the lid, take off the kitchen towel and gently fluff up the rice by sliding a spatula down the side of the pan. The rice will be very delicate at this stage, so be extra careful not to break the grains.
Serve warm with a side dish of your choice. See the section below for suggestions.
The pressure cooker method: To make this in the pressure cooker, follow the same process until adding the hot water, salt and lime juice.
Bring the water to a boil and then place the lid of the pressure cooker. Lock the valve and cook on high pressure for 5-6 minutes (2 "whistles" in a traditional pressure cooker).
Allow the pressure to release naturally and then let it be, with the lid on for another 10 minutes.
Take the lid off, add the bhuna jeera, if using, and gently fluff the rice up to separate the grains.
And that's it! You have just learnt to make restaurant style aromatic jeera rice in 2 different ways, yay!
Serving, storage and reheating
Zeera rice is the perfect vehicle for Indian curries, dal, soup or stew. Here are some ways I enjoy it:
My girls love it when I serve jeera rice with their favorite paneer dishes - either palak paneer or paneer butter masala and a raita.
Storage: To store any leftovers, let it to cool down room temperature and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Reheating: As I mentioned earlier, this rice becomes quite dry when cold. It is best served warm, so that it is moist and soft. To reheat, put the quantity that you need in a microwave-safe container. Sprinkle a few drops of water and cover it with a kitchen or paper towel. Microwave on high until it is evenly warm.
Any doubts or questions? Feel free to ask via the comments below. I will try my best to answer them for you. - Padma
Frequently Asked Questions
Jeera rice is made of rice, cumin, and ghee.
It is a simple and flavorful Indian rice dish that is cooked with whole cumin seeds and ghee. It is usually served with curries, dals, or other dishes. It is easy to make and has a mild and aromatic taste.
Jeera rice is good for you in moderation.
It is a nutritious and delicious dish that has the benefits of rice, cumin, and ghee. Rice provides carbohydrates and energy, cumin aids digestion and immunity, and ghee adds healthy fats and flavor. However, it should be consumed in moderation, as it is high in calories and carbs.
Jeera rice is a rice dish with cumin and ghee.
It is a simple and flavorful Indian rice dish that is cooked with whole cumin seeds and ghee. It is easy to make and has a mild and aromatic taste and is usually served with curries, dals, or other dishes.
Jeera rice is not the same as Basmati.
It is a dish made with Basmati rice, cumin seeds, and ghee. Basmati is a type of long-grained, fragrant rice that is used in many Indian dishes. Jeera rice is one of the ways to cook Basmati rice and add flavor and aroma to it.
Jeera rice uses whole cumin seeds or jeera.
Jeera is the Hindi word for cumin, a spice that adds flavor and aroma to the rice. It is a simple dish that is cooked with whole cumin seeds and ghee or butter. Some people also use cumin powder or roasted cumin for more intensity.
If you like this recipe, please take a moment to leave a comment and a rating below. This will motivate me to create more good content for you! You can also engage with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. - Padma
Stovetop Jeera Rice: Easy Indian Cumin Rice Recipe
- 1 heavy bottomed casserole or wok with lid
- 1 spatula
- 1 bowl to soak the rice
- 1 kitchen towel
- 1 tablespoon ghee, see notes
- 1 tablespoon jeera (whole cumin)
- 1 cup (190g) basmati rice, see notes
- 1 and ½ cups water, plus more for soaking
- ½ teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon lime juice, optional, see notes
- ½ teaspoon bhuna jeera (roasted cumin powder), optional
Prepare the ingredients
- Soak the rice: Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water looks clear. Soak it in 2 and ½ cups of water for 30 minutes. Soaking the rice helps it cook faster.
- Heat the water: To avoid slowing down the cooking process, add hot water to the rice.
- Measure the rest of the ingredients and keep them ready.
Make the cumin rice by absorption method
- Place the cooking pan on medium-high heat. Add ghee and when it is warm, add the whole cumin seeds. Let them darken in color and release their aroma.1 tablespoon jeera (whole cumin), 1 tablespoon ghee,
- As the jeera fries, drain the rice. Make sure you drain out all of the water. Add the rice to the cumin and stir fry for a minute or two. This will coat the rice with the ghee and the jeera.1 cup (190g) basmati rice,
- Then, add the hot water, salt, and lime juice. Bring the water to a boil and cook the rice, uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until the water and the rice are almost at the same level.1 and ½ cups water,, ½ teaspoon salt,, ½ teaspoon lime juice,
- Lower the heat, place the lid and cook for 6-7 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed.
- Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid and add the bhuna jeera, if using. Place a kitchen towel on the pan and put the lid back on the pan. Leave it for 10 minutes. The rice will cook some more and become fluffy in its own steam.½ teaspoon bhuna jeera (roasted cumin powder),
- After resting for 10 minutes, remove the lid, take off the kitchen towel and gently fluff up the rice by sliding a spatula down the side of the rice. The rice will be very delicate at this stage, so be extra careful not to break the grains.
Pressure Cooker method
- Follow the same process until adding the hot water, salt and lime juice. Bring the water to a boil and then place the lid of the pressure cooker. Lock the valve and cook on high for 5-6 minutes (2 "whistles" in a traditional pressure cooker).
- Allow the pressure to release naturally and then let it be, with the lid on for another 10 minutes. Take the lid off, add the bhuna jeera, if using, and gently fluff the rice up to separate the grains.
- Serve warm with a side dish of your choice. See the section above for suggestions.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only.
The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.