Lemon rice is a delicious easy rice dish to be eaten as breakfast, snack and meal in South India. Lemon rice is also offered as prasadam at temples. It tastes better when it is slightly spicy in flavour. It is so simple to make especially with leftover rice. It is light and fulfilling.

Lemon Rice also called Chitranna is flavored with lemon juice. The dish is a complete meal in itself or it can be eaten with curd, raita, curries, or any chutney and is a wonderful way to use leftover rice. South India treasures trove this recipe which is simple and easy to make yet very flavourful, although people have an idea for South Indian food limited to Idli, Dosa and Uttapam.

This dish is so delicious and unique in terms of taste and flavour. It can be made in a jiffy. Made with limited spices and lemon juice, this can surely become favourite dish to pack in kid’s lunch box. It is typically made in sesame oil but olive oil or any vegetable oil of your choice can be used, too. It is cooked rice flavored with lime juice and tempered with mild spices.

Making it is a very easy process and it becomes even easier when you already have steamed rice ready. To make it, a tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, and curry leaves is made and is added to the cooked rice along with roasted peanuts and cashews. Lemon juice is added at the end to give it a slight tangy taste to rice. Turmeric powder is also added to give a beautiful yellow colour to this mixed rice. We definitely have all the ingredients in pantry to make this dish. You will need rice, lemon, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts, cashews, curry leaves, dry red chillies and green chillies. Try to serve it with some kind of Raita (Yogurt Dip) and Papad. You can even serve pickle and chutney. Coconut Chutney also pairs well with the dish.


  • Prep Time15 min
  • Cook Time15 min
  • Total Time30 min
  • Yield4 Plate
  • Serving Size125 g
  • Energy235 cal
  • Cuisine
    • Indian
  • Course
    • Breakfast
    • Main Course
    • Snack
  • Cooking Method
    • Cutting
    • Boiling
    • Sauteing


    • 3 cups cooked rice or leftover rice
    • 5 tbsp. peanuts raw
    • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
    • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
    • 1 sprig curry leaves
    • 1 tsp. split Bengal gram or chana dal
    • 1 tsp. grated ginger
    • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
    • 3-4 green chillies slit and cut
    • 1 large lemon juiced
    • 1 pinch asafoetida or heeng
    • salt to taste
    For garnish
    • 1 tbsp. cilantro or coriander leaves


  • Heat oil in a pan.

  • Add mustard and cumin seeds. Allow them to sputter.

  • Add 1.5 tbsp. raw peanuts and 1 tsp. chana dal or Bengal gram.
  • Cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add freshly grated ginger and curry leaves and stir well.

  • Add split green chillies, turmeric powder and salt to mix well.
  • Turn off the heat to add the cooked and cooled rice.

  • Add lemon juice.
  • Mix rice well with the spice mix.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

  • The tasty lemon rice is ready to serve.


  • When you want to have lemon rice slightly less tangy, add only 1 tbsp of lemon juice.
  • Use a days old cooked rice to make recipe. The day old rice grains are more separate and fries well with the spices.
  • While using fresh rice, refrigerate it for a few hours before tempering.
  • Use short grain to make this dish. It is traditionally made with sona masuri rice.
  • Adjust the amount of green chilli and lemon juice according to taste.
  • Lemon rice can be kept well in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Lemon rice is one of the best recipe to pack for lunch box.
  • Drizzle a tsp of ghee over the rice before serving to add more taste to it.
  • You may also add veggies like carrots, beans etc to rice to make it more nourishing.
  • 4 servings per container
  • Serving Size125 g
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories235
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat7 g8.97%
  • Saturated Fat4 g20%
  • Trans Fat0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat0 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg0%
  • Sodium3 mg0.13%
  • Total Carbohydrate37 g13.45%
  • Dietary Fiber2 g7.14%
  • Total Sugars1 g
  • Protein5 g10%
  • Calcium24 mg1.85%
  • Iron1 mg5.56%
  • Potassium114 mg2.43%
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)5 mg5.56%