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Jeera Rice – Authentic Cumin Rice

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You are in for a treat with this jeera rice recipe!

As rice recipes go, this jeera rice really does tick all the boxes. The roasted cumin along with the other whole spices gives the rice a delicious flavour  and incredible aroma that is to die for! This jeera rice is an excellent side with curries but it is so good, you could eat it on its own.

Jeera rice - authentic cumin rice

About this jeera rice recipe

Over the years, I have experimented many times with jeera rice. Some of the recipes were quite different to this one but this is the one I wanted on my blog. 

Jeera means cumin in Hindi and it is the cumin that really makes this rice dish stand out. The cumin is first infused with other whole spices in ghee before adding the rice to cook it through. The end result is amazing.

Some recipes call for even more cumin but I hope you agree, this spice combo is exactly what a good jeera rice should be like.

How do you cook jeera rice?

The method for cooking the rice similar to my steamed Basmati rice recipe and I have included the process in the recipe card below. With my steaming method, you will get perfect results every time. 

The rice grains will be firm and not at all clumping together. With jeera rice, the soaked rice is added to ghee, cumin and whole spices and fried for a couple of minutes before covering with water.

You then cover the pan and bring that water to a boil. Once boiling, you turn off the heat and allow the rice to steam, untouched for 40 minutes. That’s it. Done!

How important is the Basmati rice you use?

Very! You want to look for the best quality, aged Basmati rice you can get your hands on. I use VeeTee Extra Long Premium Rice.

You could use other brands. Just ensure that the Basmati is excellent quality and well aged. Basmati rice actually gets better with age so if you like Basmati rice, you can safely purchase a large bag and keep it for when you want to cook up your next jeera rice.

Can you work ahead?

If more convenient, you can allow the rice to soak overnight. This is not at all necessary but it won’t hurt the rice to soak longer. 

How long does jeera rice keep in the fridge.

It is very important not to eat rice that has been sitting at room temperature for over an hour. So if you wish to keep the rice in the fridge, get it into a suitable bowl, allow to cool some and then get it into the fridge. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and consume within 3 days. 

Can you freeze jeera rice?

Yes. Place the cooked rice in a suitable, air-tight container. It will freeze well for up to 6 months. Just be sure to freeze it in portion sizes that work for you. You don’t want to freeze it all in one container if you only want to serve yourself.

How do you reheat jeera rice?

Whether you place it in the fridge or freeze it, the easiest way to heat up your jeera rice is in a microwave.

Jeera rice from the fridge should heat up in about a minute. You can microwave your jeera rice from frozen in the covered container in 3 to 4 minutes.

Can this recipe be upscaled or downscaled?

Yes. Just double or halve the ingredients. 

Generally speaking, 185g (1 1/2 cups) of raw rice will make two generous portions of cooked rice, though when served as part of a larger meal, you can probably stretch that to three people.

If upscaling, the water to raw rice ratio is 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water. 

If doubling this recipe, however it is important that you use a pan that is large enough or the rice won’t cook correctly.

When your rice is in your sauce pan covered with the water, the pan should be no more the 1/3 full so that the rice has plenty of room to expand.

What do you serve with jeera rice?

As mentioned above, you can eat jeera rice on its own and not be disappointed. You could also serve it topped with nice chutney or two

It’s also delicious served with dal, either on the side or over the top. Here are a few popular dal recipes for you.

Of course this rice will go well with pretty much any curry. Try some of these chicken, lamb, veggie and seafood curries. You might also like to try your jeera rice as a side for curry house style curry.

Step by step photos.

Ingredients for jeera rice

Ingredients for jeera rice.

Pounding the cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar.

This is optional, but for a stronger cumin flavour, try pounding the cumin seeds for about 10 seconds to crush lightly.

Infusing the spices in the ghee.

When ready to cook, heat the ghee in your pan and add the cumin and other whole spices to infuse for a minute or so.

Adding rice to the ghee and spices.

Add the soaked and strained rice. Gently stir the rice into the ghee to coat.

Adding water to the pan to cook the rice.

Pour in the water and cover the pan. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat. Allow to sit, undisturbed for 40 minutes.

Finished jeera rice

After 40 minutes, carefully move the rice grains around to separate. You will have perfect fluffy jeera rice just like this.

Pro Tips

  1. Always wash the rice grains in at least 5 changes of water. This will remove the excess starch and ensure your jeera rice is fluffy and not at all clumpy or sticky.
  2. When steaming the rice, do not be tempted to lift the lid! Walk away and come back in 40 minutes.
  3. After the jeera rice has steamed, stir it lightly with a fork or chopstick. Do not stir too vigorously as Basmati rice has a tendency to spit and become mushy if stirred too hard.

Yield: 4 - 6

Jeera Rice - Authentic Cumin Rice

Jeera rice - authentic cumin rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 280g (1 1/2 cup) good quality Basmati rice
  • 530ml (2 1/4 cups) water
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cassia (Indian) bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 - 2 red bullet chillies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


  1. Place the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water. Swirl the water around with your hand. The water will become milky from the starch on the rice. Pour this cloudy water out and repeat about 5 times until the water is almost clear.
  2. Cover the rice with water to soak for at least 30 minutes or a few hours.
  3. When you are ready to cook, heat a sauce pan that has a tight fitting lid over a medium-high heat and melt the ghee. Stir in the cumin, the other whole spices and red chilli (if using) and allow it all to sizzle in the hot ghee for about a minute.
  4. Stir in the soaked and strained rice and move it around in the pan to coat with the spiced ghee mixture. Add about a tsp salt or to taste.
  5. Add the water and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over a high heat and then turn off the heat. Do not be tempted to lift the lid. Just set a timer for 40 minutes and walk away.
  6. After 40 minutes, lift the lid and stir very gently with a fork or chopstick. Do not stir too vigorously as Basmati rice has a tendency to split and become mushy if stirred too hard.
  7. Top with the chopped coriander (cilantro) and serve on its own or with your curry, dal or chutney of choice.


For a more intense cumin flavour, place the cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar and grind or pound for about 30 second. Most of the seeds will still be whole but doing this will release more flavour.

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I hope you enjoy this jeera rice recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Kevin | keviniscooking

Friday 13th of March 2015

I love the simplicity in this and agree, cumin is amazing and this one would have been perfect the other night. Will Pin it to make soon. Have a great weekend Dan.


Friday 13th of March 2015

This is a very different version of 'jeera' rice that we normally cook, and it has me totally intrigued. I am going to try this. Thanks Dan :)

Marnely Rodriguez

Wednesday 8th of February 2012

I love cumin and rice, so this together is perfect!

Dan Toombs

Thursday 9th of February 2012

Thank you Marnely

I love your blog by the way. I just subscribed and look forward to reading all your recipes.



Saturday 3rd of December 2011

Hi Dan When does one add the ground cumin? During the cooking process/immediately after cooking/after the rice is cooled. Grateful for a clarification. Thanks Neville

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