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Jeera Rice

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Jeera rice is a flavorful spiced rice made with cumin, cinnamon, and other spices. It is simple and easy to make, and tastes great! Fluffy, perfectly cooked rice with full flavor!

two small bowls of jeera rice next to forks and serving bowls

Jeera rice is also known as cumin rice. Jeera in the Hindi language are cumin seeds (affiliate link), and the seeds in this recipe are what make it famous! Forget boring plain white rice! This easy side dish is a great accompaniment to your favorite Indian recipes!

overhead view of white bowl filled with rice

Mostly in America we use ground cumin, but cumin seeds (affiliate link) are commonly used in Indian cooking. They add a nutty, warm flavor and extra depth of flavor to dishes.

Fun fact – did you know that cumin was first made popular by the ancient Greeks and Romans? And the Ancient Egyptians used it both as a spice and as part of the mummification process! 

two small bowls filled with rice

What ingredients do you need to make jeera rice?

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This recipe uses some ingredients that you might not have on hand, but should search out! 

  • Basmati Rice – you want a good quality aged basmati rice
  • Ghee, which is essentially clarified butter. You can use olive oil instead, but the ghee adds a really rich flavor to this dish.
  • Cinnamon Stick (affiliate link)
  • Cumin Seeds (affiliate link)
  • Bay Leaves (affiliate link)
  • Whole cloves (affiliate link)
  • Whole Green cardamom pods (affiliate link)
  • Mace (traditionally mace strands are used. Did you know those are the fibers that surround the nutmeg? Its true!) They are really hard to source without going to an Indian grocery store, so in this recipe we substitute ground mace (affiliate link).
bowls of rice with forks

How to make jeera rice

This rice is easy to make! With only a few extra steps difference than making plain white rice, this cumin rice recipe is ready in no time!

  1. Wash and rinse your rice (see steps below).
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons of ghee or olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add in the whole spices and saute over medium heat until toasted and fragrant. Stir them frequently. This should only take a minute or so, just until you can really smell the spices. This is called “blooming” and helps to bring out the flavorful and fragrant essential oils in the spices. It helps take your recipe from good to great, so don’t skip it!
  4. Add in the drained basmati rice and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently (but gently, or you could break the rice grains and that will cause them to be mushy).
  5. Add in the water, salt, and ground mace (affiliate link).
  6. Cover and bring to a simmer. 
  7. Simmer until the water has evaporated.
  8. Turn off heat, and allow the rice to sit in the pot for an additional 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid before! 
  9. Fluff with a fork and serve.

*Recipe Note: The cumin seeds (affiliate link) are definitely edible, but you might want to remove the bay leaves (affiliate link), cardamom pods (affiliate link) and whole cloves (affiliate link) before eating (or just pick them out as you enjoy your rice) – they have a very potent bite to them!

collage showing blooming spices, toasting rice, adding ingredients to pot and boiling water

How to wash rice

Yes, you should totally wash your rice! Washing the rice before you cook it helps to remove the starchy powder residue that coats rice grains during packaging. By rinsing it off, you help to ensure that your rice cooks up nice and fluffy without getting clumpy and gooey. 

  1. Place your rice in a bowl or pot and cover with cool water.
  2. Use your hand like a claw and swish the rice around in the water a few times.
  3. Carefully drain off the water – see how cloudy it is? 
  4. Add more fresh clean water to your pot and swirl the rice around again.
  5. Repeat washing and draining your rice until the water you pour off is clear.
rinsing and draining rice

Prepping ahead of time

This rice is easy to make, and it stores well. You can store this rice in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It reheats well in the microwave. 

How to serve this to your family

Make this a complete meal by serving Jeera rice with easy chicken tikka masala, cucumber raita, mango lassi, and sourdough naan! These are all great family friendly Indian recipes that your whole family will love! 

close up of rice with serving spoon in bowl

Other global rice recipes:

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Yield: 6 servings

Jeera Rice Recipe

close up of rice with serving spoon in bowl

Jeera rice is a flavorful spiced rice made with cumin, cinnamon, bay leaves, and more. It is simple and easy to make, and tastes great! Fluffy, perfectly cooked rice with full flavor!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 Tablespoons ghee 
  • 2" piece of cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace

Instructions

    1. Wash and rinse your rice. Place the rice in a bowl or pot and cover with cold water. Swish around with your hands a few times and then drain off the water. Repeat rinsing and draining until the water that drains off is clear - about 4 or 5 times.
    2. Heat 2 Tablespoons of ghee or olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    3. Add in the whole spices and saute over medium heat until toasted and fragrant. Stir them frequently. This should only take a minute or so, just until you can really smell the spices. This is called “blooming” and helps to bring out the flavorful and fragrant essential oils in the spices. It helps take your recipe from good to great, so don’t skip it!
    4. Add in the drained basmati rice and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently (but gently, or you could break the rice grains and that will cause them to be mushy).
    5. Add in the water, salt, and ground mace.
    6. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
    7. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
    8. Simmer until the water has evaporated.
    9. Turn off heat, and allow the rice to sit in the pot for an additional 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid before!
    10. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Notes

Washing the rice helps it to cook up nice and fluffy and the grains be individual. Don't skip it!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

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Diana

Monday 26th of April 2021

What a great simple side dish to enjoy with my dinners.

Tanya

Monday 26th of April 2021

Amazing! I followed your step by step directions and it came out just perfect. Will definitely keep this recipe. Thank you!

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