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Front shot of a big bowl of jeera rice with cardamom and bay leaf and chana masala on the side
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5 from 18 votes

Jeera Rice or Cumin Rice

A recipe for the perfect Jeera Rice or Indian Cumin Rice with deliciously spiced, long, separate grains of rice. This recipe needs just three ingredients, no soaking or prep time, and it goes from scratch to done in just over 15 minutes. You don't need to plan ahead for the perfect meal! A vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free recipe.
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, nut-free, Soy-free
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 179kcal


  • Large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups basmati rice (you can make this with brown rice too. See recipe notes below for instructions)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • 4 green cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1 large bay leaf (optional)
  • 4 cloves (optional)
  • A generous pinch saffron (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or any salt you like (use more or less per your taste, I find 1 teaspoon just enough to salt this pleasantly without making it too salty).
  • 4 cups water (vegetable stock is fine too and even better)


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and saute for a few seconds. Once they start to change color, add the other spices (if using all or some of them) at this point, one by one, and stir to mix in the end. Otherwise, skip to the next step.
  • Add the rice to the saucepan and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the rice starts to turn opaque.
  • Add four cups of water and the salt, stir, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 15 minutes, never removing the lid from the pan.
  • Once you turn off the heat, don't yet take the lid off. Wait at least 10 minutes, then open and fluff the grains of rice with a fork to separate.
  • Serve hot.


If making this recipe with brown basmati rice, after step 2, add 5 cups of water to the saucepan along with the salt and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight lid and cook 45 minutes over low heat. Let the rice stand 10 minutes before opening.


Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg