Ragi Idli recipe
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3.5 from 2 votes

Ragi Idli Recipe (Finger Millet Idli)

Ragi Idli is a healthy, nutritious South Indian Vegetarian Breakfast Recipe made with whole Ragi or Finger Millet. Step By Step Recipe to make perfect Ragi Idli Batter, with tips on fermentation, batter consistency for pillow soft and spongy idlis.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Keyword Finger Millet Idli, low oil recipes, Nachni Idli, Ragi Idli Recipe, Ragi Recipes, South Indian Breakfast Recipe
Servings 18 Idlis
Author Vidya Narayan



  • 2 cups Ragi or Finger Millet / Nachni 1 cup is 125 ml measurement
  • 1 cup Rice Idli Rice used here
  • 1 cup Urad Dal
  • 1/4 tsp Methi Seeds or Fenugreek Seeds
  • Water as required for soaking and grinding
  • 1-2 tsp Oil to Grease the Idli plates for steaming I have used sesame oil
  • Salt to taste Check notes below


  • Soak the rice with Ragi and Urad Dal with methi seeds. Soaking time should be atleast 6-8 hours.
  • After soaking, drain the water (some retain it too, but I avoid). Grind the Ragi and Rice together and the Urad dal with methi seeds.
  • Mix both the ingredients with hands gently (clockwise/circular motion) for atleast 5 minutes.
  • Keep the batter aside for fermentation by covering with a plate. I tend to also place a wide plate below the bowl so that excess batter, if overflows, doesn't go waste.
  • Fermentation takes anywhere between 8 to 10 hours. Ensure the bowl is not disturbed and kept in a warm place.
  • Once the batter is fermented, add salt to taste, mix lightly and keep aside (Avoid rigorous mixing as it would lead to dense idlis)
  • Prepare the steamer by heating some water and then grease the idli plates with oil
  • Carefully pour the idli batter on to the plates and steam them for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Do not open the steamer immediately. Allow it to rest for 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Remove the Idli Plates and once they cool slightly, demould them with a sharp knife or spoon
  • Serve piping hot with chutney of your choice.


  • Ensure you keep the batter in a warm place for fermentation, undisturbed and covered.
  • It is ideal to place a plate below the bowl or vessel as the fermented dough might spill and lead to wastage (as you can see in the step by step images in the post)
  • Soak your grains (Rice, Ragi and Urad Dal) for longer (6 to 8 hours) or overnight for smooth idli batter, especially when using a mixer grinder. 
  • Mixing the ground batter gently for 5 minutes, aids in good fermentation. 
  • I avoid adding salt to the batter before fermentation, just like my mother did. It doesn't affect fermentation nor in batter shelf life quality or taste. 
  • As stated above, this Ragi Idli Batter is multipurpose. You can dish out delicious Ragi Dosas with the same batter by adding a little water to achieve dosa batter consistency. However, once you add water, the same cannot be used to make Idlis. 
  • In case you do not have Idli Rice, you can opt for any short grain rice variety like Sona Masuri, Kolam etc too. The result would be same. 
  • This recipe yields 18 idlis and the batter stays fresh in the refrigerator for atleast 4-5 days.