Super fragrant and fluffy, this easy cumin Jeera rice is loaded with warm spices like cinnamon and star anise. It’s the perfect Indian rice side when you’re looking for a bit of added comfort.
Easy Homemade Jeera Rice Recipe
Studded with earthy spices, this cumin rice packs all the fragrance and aroma your Indian meals need. Every bite is full of warm, cozy flavors from the combination of star anise, cinnamon, and cumin.
With a 30-minute cooking time and simple instructions, this rice still manages to come out nice and fluffy. The secret is in letting it soak before adding it to the pot. After that, bloom the beautiful spices and watch your kitchen transform into a traditional Indian restaurant.
Topped with fresh coriander for a pop of color, Jeera rice, aka jeera bhaat, will become your new favorite side for lunch and dinner. Fresh or frozen and thawed, it’s a comforting bowl of rice you’ll always enjoy.
What Is Jeera Rice?
“Jeera” means “cumin” in Hindi, so jeera rice is essentially an Indian rice dish seasoned with cumin seeds. Spices and aromatics like whole cloves, star anise, and cinnamon add more flavor. Due to its particular spice combination, it’s best with other Indian sides and dishes.
It’s easy to make and is an everyday side in most Indian households.
Time to stock that spice cabinet! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- Basmati rice
- Ghee: Vegetable, corn, and canola oil work too. Unsalted butter is a good substitute as well.
- Indian bay leaves: Regular bay leaves work too.
- Cumin seeds
- Whole cloves
- Cinnamon stick
- Strand mace: It’s an aromatic spice used in Middle Eastern and Indian foods. If you can’t find it at a specialty baking store or online, you can substitute it for a tiny pinch of ground nutmeg (less than 1/4 teaspoon.)
- Green cardamom pods
- Black cardamom pods: You can substitute these for green cardamom pods if needed.
- Star anise
- Green chili
- Low-sodium veggie broth: Feel free to use water instead.
- Fresh coriander
Do I Have To Use Basmati Rice?
Not necessarily. Jasmine rice is a great substitute! Most kinds of long-grain white rice will work for this recipe too. Don’t use short-grain white rice, though.
How to Make Jeera Rice
Making cumin rice is like making any other kind of seasoned rice. It’s easy! Don’t forget to read the Tips section for some extra guidance.
To Wash and Prepare the Rice
- Rinse the rice. Place the rice in a large container and cover it with water. Stir the rice for 2 minutes. Strain it and then repeat the process 2-3 more times until the water is almost clear. Strain it and set it aside.
- Soak the rice. Add the rice back into the container and cover it with at least 3″ of warm water. Let it rest for 1 hour. Strain it and set it aside.
For the Cumin Rice
- Bloom the spices. Melt the ghee in a pot over medium heat. Add the Indian bay leaves, cumin seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, strand mace, green cardamom, black cardamom, and star anise. Stir constantly and cook the spices for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the green chili and mix to combine. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the rice. Transfer the rice to the pot and gently spread it out, stirring occasionally. Let it cook for 3 minutes. Don’t move it around a lot or the rice grains will split and break as the rice cooks.
- Add the broth. Pour the veggie broth in and add the salt. Stir gently. Taste the broth and adjust the saltiness as needed. Increase the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil.
- Cook it. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook the rice according to package instructions until the broth is absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest covered for another 20 minutes.
- Fluff the rice. Remove the lid and add the coriander. Use a fork to gently fluff up the rice while mixing the coriander in. Let it rest for another 5 minutes.
- Serve. Add it to your serving plates and enjoy it with your main dish.
Tips for Success
With these tips, making Jeera rice and any other type of rice will be a breeze from now on.
- Don’t rub it. When washing the rice, don’t rub it with your fingers or the grains will split during cooking.
- Avoid hot water. When soaking the rice, don’t use hot or boiling water, otherwise, you’ll affect the cooking time.
- Don’t serve it right away. Once ready, let the rice rest in the pot (covered) for at least 20 minutes. If you skip this and serve it right away, the rice will be too moist.
- Skip the blooming. If you’re in a rush, you can skip the blooming and add all the spices and aromatics into the pot when you pour in the veggie broth. Don’t forget the ghee, though!
What to Serve With Indian Cumin Rice
Cumin rice is perfect with my Indian-style mains like Curry-Yogurt Marinated Chicken Thighs and Sheet Pan Tandoori Chicken. Don’t forget to pair it with various veggie sides for a complete meal. I love it with some Sweet and Spicy Carrots and Green Beans, Pan-Fried Oyster Mushrooms, Sesame Snap Peas, and Roasted Artichokes.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- Refrigerate this thoroughly cooled cumin rice in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To reheat it, sprinkle it with a few teaspoons of water and stir it. Microwave the rice for up to a minute or until warm.
- You can also heat it in a pan over medium-low heat, occasionally stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes.
Can I Freeze Jeera Rice?
- Yes! Once fully cooled, transfer the rice to freezer-friendly bags in serving-size portions. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Freeze it for up to 3 months. You can also use freezer-friendly containers, but the chances of freezer burn are much higher, affecting the texture of the rice.
- Thaw the rice overnight in the fridge a day before serving. Reheat it as usual.
More Rice Side Dishes
Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice)
- 3 cups Basmati rice
- 4 ½ tablespoons ghee
- 2 Indian bay leaves
- 3 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 7 whole cloves
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 strand mace
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 1 small star anise
- ½ green chili, finely chopped
- 3 ¼ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Place the rice in a large container and cover it with water. Use your hands to stir the rice for 2 minutes. Strain it and then repeat the process 2 to 3 more times until the water is almost clear. Drain.
- Add the rice back into the container and cover it with at least 3 inches of warm water. Let it rest for 1 hour. Strain it and set it aside.
- Melt the ghee in a pot set over medium heat. Add the bay leaves, cumin seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, mace, green cardamom, black cardamom, and star anise. Stir constantly and cook the spices for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the green chili and mix to combine. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the rice to the pot and gently spread it out, stirring occasionally. Let it cook for 3 minutes.
- Pour the veggie broth in and add the salt. Stir gently. Taste the broth and adjust the saltiness as needed. Increase the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil.
- Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook the rice according to package instructions. Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest covered for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add the coriander. Use a fork to gently fluff up the rice while mixing the coriander in. Let it rest for another 5 minutes.
- Add it to your serving plates and enjoy it with your main dish.
- Rice: Jeera (cumin) rice is almost always prepared with Basmati rice, but you can also use Jasmine rice or long-grain white rice.
- Indian Bay Leaves: You can use regular bay leaves if that is all you have.
- Ghee is clarified butter – butter that has been simmered and strained to remove all the water.
- Cumin Seeds: You can use 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to replace 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.
- Strand of Mace: Mace is derived from the coating of the nutmeg seed. You can use about 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg if you don’t have mace.
- Green Chili: You only need one small green chili pepper, but feel free to use about a teaspoon of canned green chilis.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.