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What To Serve With Idli – 18 Delicious Side Dishes

If you’re wondering what to serve with your idli, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I list 18 of the most popular side dishes for idli.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best dishes to serve with idli are coconut chutney, drumstick sambar, dosa, poondu thokku, and chicken ghee roast. Try masala smashed potatoes, vegan chili, and mushroom shawarma for unconventional but delicious options. You can also serve Goan fish curry, tomato rasam, and kumbakonam kadappa. 

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Coconut chutney

Start your morning right with a serving of fluffy idli and flavorful coconut chutney. 

It’s a classic pairing for a reason. 

The aromatics in this chutney have been tempered, which adds crunch and elevates the dish’s flavor. 

Want your coconut chutney to have a lovely green color? 

Follow Fun Food Frolic’s lead and add some fresh coriander leaves. 

They also give this dish a nice, refreshing kick. 

Drumstick sambar 

Idli is a healthy dish, but if you want to make an even more nutritious meal, serve it with a bowl of drumstick sambar. 

It’s a spicy and sour South Indian soup made of lentils and vegetables. 

I like using drumsticks (the vegetable, not chicken piece!) because of their flavor and health benefits. 

They’re great for aiding digestion.

Aside from the toor dal, this drumstick sambar is a straightforward recipe where everything comes together in just one pot. 


Got leftover idli batter? 

Make the most of it and whip up some dosas to add to your breakfast. 

Just water it down to a thin, pourable consistency, and you’re ready to get cooking. 

Like idlis, dosas are a popular Indian food that goes well with chutneys.

They are paper-thin like crepes, except they have irresistible crispiness that will leave you begging for more. 

Once you master the proper technique of pouring and forming them on your pan, you’ll be flipping perfectly crispy dosas like a pro. 

Poondu Thokku 

Take your idlis up a notch with a heaping serving of poondu thokku. 

If you’re a garlic lover, you’ll enjoy adding this to any meal. 

It has a tangy and spicy flavor that will knock your socks off. 

And the best part about it? It’s effortless to make. 

Ths poondu thokku recipe makes a sizable serving that can be kept for 2-3 months.

Chicken ghee roast 

Are you serving idli for lunch? 

Complete your meal by making a chicken ghee roast to go with your idlis. 

This South Indian dish is indulgent and spicy, with the tender pieces of chicken swimming in a sea of deliciously spiced ghee. 

Try dipping your idli in this ghee.


Chicken ghee roast is really easy to make – it’s basically foolproof. 

Just remember: Never skimp on the ghee. You can add, but definitely don’t reduce the amount! 

Goan fish curry 

Whether you’re serving idlis for lunch or dinner, Goan fish curry is an excellent accompaniment to them. 

It’s a tasty dish that won’t require you to break your bank. 

You can use virtually any fish with this curry – even frozen fish. 

What makes this curry really pop is a good curry paste foundation.

So I highly recommend you prepare your own instead of using the store-bought stuff. 

This recipe from RecipeTinEats will guide you in making the best Goan fish curry you’ll ever eat. 

Tomato rasam 


The best things in life are simple – like this delicious tomato rasam. 

Serve your idlis with a piping hot bowl of this clear soup for the ultimate comfort meal. 

This one-pot wonder has the perfect balance of spicy and tangy flavors that will definitely perk you up. 

Make sure to only use ripe, red tomatoes for this tomato rasam

Kumbakonam kadappa

Potatoes have always made for delicious dishes – and kumbakonam kadappa is no different.

It’s a stew made with potatoes and moong dal, typically served with idlis and dosas at breakfast. 

Imagine dunking your fluffy idlis in the thick, coconut-based stew – it’s heaven in a bite. 

This stew also has a subtle spiciness, making it ideal even for people with low spice tolerance. 

You’ll want to have kumbakonam kadappa every week once you’ve had your first taste.

Masala smashed potatoes

Want more potatoes? 

Make smashed potatoes to go with your idlis for a fun and delicious snack. 

They’re addictive on their own, but spicing them with chaat masala just takes them to another flavor level.

And you can dip them in the chutney to up the yumminess factor even more.

Make sure to prepare a double (even triple) batch of these masala smashed potatoes. I guarantee they’ll run out quickly!

Three-bean chili 

Looking for a more familiar dish to go with your idlis? 

You can’t go wrong with a fresh bowl of chili

It’s a fiber and protein-packed dish guaranteed to leave you full. 

You can enjoy it as it is, with a serving of idlis and chutney on the side.

Or you can add fun toppings like cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.

This chili is so good, you wouldn’t even guess it’s meat-free – but it is! 

It only takes 40 minutes and one pot for this three-bean chili to come together. 

Mushroom shawarma 

Go on a culinary adventure by making mushroom shawarma to go with your idlis. 

Like meat shawarma, these mushrooms are flavored with intense Middle Eastern spices that will make your mouth water. 

With how meaty and umami-loaded these mushrooms are, you won’t even think about this dish being completely vegan. 

Eat them alongside your idlis, or stuff them inside.

Whichever way you choose, you’re guaranteed to be satisfied with this dish combination.

This vegan mushroom shawarma is a quick and easy dish you can whip up even during busy weeknights. 

Best chutneys to serve with idli

Best sambar to serve with idli

Best side dishes for idli

  • Coconut chutney
  • Drumstick sambar
  • Dosa
  • Poondu Thokku
  • Chicken ghee roast
  • Goan fish curry
  • Tomato rasam
  • Kumbakonam kadappa
  • Masala smashed potatoes
  • Three-bean chili
  • Mushroom shawarma
  • Peanut chutney
  • Tomato chutney
  • Cilantro chutney
  • Coriander chutney
  • Onion chutney
  • Vegetable sambar
  • Small onion sambar

What To Serve With Idli

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your idli.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: idli side dishes, what to serve with idli
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 135kcal


  • 1 portion idli


  • Prepare your idli according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: coconut chutney, drumstick sambar, dosa, poondu thokku, chicken ghee roast, goan fish curry, tomato rasam, kumbakonam kadappa, masala smashed potatoes, three-bean chili, and mushroom shawarma.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 135kcal

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