Jeera Aloo is a vibrantly spiced side dish that’s as satisfying to eat as it is easy to prepare. This classic potato recipe is loaded with cumin and fresh herbs, and is naturally gluten-free and vegan. Try it for a healthy and comforting lunch or as an addition to your favorite dinner dishes!
About This Recipe
Jeera aloo is Hindi for “cumin potatoes,” which is about the most perfect name for this deliciously spice-ful dish. Lots of earthy, rich cumin seeds are the foundation in this recipe.
They are complimented with green chilies, turmeric, chili powder and lemon juice, and all together create a fantastic blend of bold and tangy flavors. Every bite of tender potato tastes so warm and comforting!
You can also add a bit of fresh minced ginger, if you like, for even more spice. And although I don’t include garlic or onion here, feel free to add them when you try this easy jeera aloo recipe for yourself.
The recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Whole potatoes are boiled with the skins on, then cooled, peeled and chopped, and sautéed with spices.
Jeera aloo is great for making as a filling and healthy lunch, or hearty side for any number of main dinner dishes.
Below you’ll find my step-by-step photos, video and instructions for making the best jeera aloo recipe, plus yummy serving ideas!
How to Make Jeera Aloo
Cook the Potatoes
1. First, scrub and rinse 5 to 6 medium-sized potatoes (500 grams) in water.
2. Boil or steam the potatoes along with ½ teaspoon salt in a stove-top pressure cooker, Instant pot or a pan, until they are tender and cooked well. Do not overcook or they’ll become mushy!
a) In a stove-top pressure cooker: Place the potatoes and add enough water which just about covers the potatoes in a 3 or 4 litre pressure cooker. Pressure cook on medium-heat for 7 to 9 minutes.
b) In a pan or pot: Peel, and chop the potatoes in small cubes. Chopping will make them cook faster in a pan. Add water enough to cover the potatoes. Sprinkle salt. Cover and simmer on a low to medium-low heat until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain all the water and set aside.
c) In the Instant Pot: Place a trivet in the steel insert of a 6 quart IP. Keep the potatoes on top of the trivet. If you do not have a trivet, you can use a steaming pan which fits in the IP. Pressure cook for 20 to 25 minutes on high pressure.
3. For the stovetop pressure cooker, wait until all the pressure falls in the cooker and then remove the lid.
For the Instant Pot, do a quick pressure release (QPR) after 5 to 7 minutes.
The potatoes should be just cooked until barely fork-tender. You want them to still be firm enough to withstand additional cooking in a skillet next.
Get the Potatoes and Other Ingredients Ready
4. Once they are cool enough to touch, peel the skins and chop the potatoes into bite-sized cubes.
5. Next I recommend that you go ahead and measure out all of the ingredients you’ll need per the recipe below. A bit of prep work ahead of time will make cooking the jeera aloo much easier!
Fry Cumin (Jeera)
6. Now it’s time to make the aloo jeera. Firstly, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
7. Reduce the heat and to the hot oil add 3 teaspoons cumin seeds (jeera) and let them crackle for a few seconds as you continuously stir. They should brown but not burn, so be sure to keep them moving.
The cumin seeds must crackle and you must get the lovely earthy aroma from them.
Add Green Chillies
8. Once the cumin seeds crackle and change color, then add 2 to 3 finely chopped green chilies (1 to 1.5 teaspoons finely chopped green chillies or serrano peppers).
TIP: Green chillies add the pungency and heat to the dish. If you are sensitive to spice, then skip adding them or add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of chopped chillies.
9. Stir well to combine the chilies and cumin seeds.
10. Next, add the boiled potato cubes to the pan.
11. Mix together so that the potato cubes are evenly coated with the cracked cumin seeds and green chilies.
Add Ground Spices
12. Sprinkle the potatoes with ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon of red chili powder, and salt to taste. You can also add 1 pinch asafetida if you are not looking for a gluten-free dish.
13. Saute the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes on low to medium-low heat, stirring often to keep the potatoes from sticking and overcooking. The smell of the seasonings together is absolutely amazing!
Add Lemon Juice
14. Next add 2 to 3 teaspoons of lemon juice, depending on how much sour flavor you like. Start with 1 teaspoon, and taste as you add a bit more of the lemon juice at a time to reach just the right level of tanginess.
The brightness from the lemon really brings the flavors in the dish together. 3 teaspoons of lemon juice makes the dish nicely tangy and if you love tangy food, you will like it.
If you are not a fan of tangy or sour food, then add 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
15. Lastly, add ¼ cup of chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves.
16. Gently mix the coriander into the jeera aloo, and turn off the heat.
Storage and Leftovers
Refrigerate any leftovers for 1 to 2 days. I usually make wraps or grilled sandwiches with any leftover jeera aloo. The earthy spiced tangy potatoes taste fabulous in a toasted sandwich or wraps.
What are the best potatoes to use for making jeera aloo?
There are several different potatoes that work well for this jeera aloo recipe. Yukon gold (yellow potatoes), red skinned potatoes, baby potatoes, and russet potatoes are all well-suited for Indian cooking.
What else can I use instead of lemon juice?
If lemon juice is not available you can use 2 teaspoons of dry mango powder (amchur powder) or 2 teaspoons dry pomegranate powder (anardana powder) to get the lovely sour note. Add dry pomegranate powder, at the step when you add turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
How can I make aloo jeera without boiling the potatoes?
If you do not want to boil the potatoes, then follow these steps:
- Fry the cumin seeds and green chillies in the oil as I have explained above in the step-by-step guide.
- Add potato cubes (rinsed, peeled and preferably cut in 0.5 to 1 inch cubes). Mix and then add the spice powders and salt.
- Cover the skillet or pan tightly and cook the potatoes until tender on a low to medium-low heat. If they start sticking to the pan, add some splashes of water. Mix, cover and continue to cook until potatoes are tender.
- Finish with the coriander leaves and lemon juice.
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Jeera Aloo Recipe
For cooking potatoes
- 5 to 6 potatoes 500 grams, medium-sized
- ½ teaspoon salt
- water as required
- 3 tablespoons oil – sunflower, peanut or any neutral tasting oil
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 to 3 green chilies – finely chopped or 1 to 1.5 teaspoons green chillies or serrano peppers – check note 4 below
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper or paprika
- salt as required
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice or add as per taste
- Scrub and rinse potatoes very well in water.
- Steam or cook the potatoes in a pan, stove-top pressure cooker or in the Instant pot.
- a) Cooking in a stove-top pressure cooker: In a 3 or 4 litre pressure, add the potatoes and pour enough water which just about covers the potatoes. Pressure cook on medium-heat for 7 to 9 minutes. When the cooking is complete, wait until all the pressure falls in the cooker and then remove the lid.
- b) Cooking in a pan or pot: Peel, and chop the potatoes in small cubes. Add water enough to cover the potatoes. Sprinkle salt. Cover and simmer on a low to medium-low heat until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain all the water and set aside.
- c) Pressure cooking in the Instant Pot: Place a trivet in the steel insert of a 6 quart IP. Keep the potatoes on top of the trivet. If you do not have a trivet, you can use a steaming pan which fits in the steel insert. Pressure cook for 20 to 25 minutes on high pressure. Do a quick pressure release (QPR) after 5 to 7 minutes.
- The potatoes should be just cooked until barely fork-tender and not crumbly.
- If you have cooked the potatoes, in a stove-top pressure cooker or in the Instant pot, then let the potatoes become warm or cool at room temperature, then peel them and cut into small cubes.
Making jeera aloo
- In a pan, heat oil on medium heat. Let the oil become hot.
- Lower the heat and add cumin seeds and let them crackle in the oil taking care not to burn them. Stir them when they begin to crackle.
- Now add chopped green chillies and mix very well.
- Add the potato cubes and mix again.
- Sprinkle turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt as required. Mix thoroughly.
- Saute the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes on low to medium flame stirring often.
- Next add 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, depending on how much tangy flavor you prefer. Start with 1 teaspoon, mix and taste as you add a bit more of the lemon juice at a time to reach just the right level of tanginess.
- Finish off with ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves.
- Combine and mix thoroughly. Switch off the heat.
- Refrigerate any leftovers for 1 to 2 days. You can wraps or grilled/toasted sandwiches with the leftover jeera aloo.
- Lemon juice: You can add 2 teaspoons of dry mango powder (amchur powder) or 2 teaspoons of dry pomegranate powder (anardana powder). For adding pomegranate powder, add it in the step when you add the turmeric and red chilli powder.
- Potatoes: Use yukon gold (yellow potatoes), red skinned potatoes, baby potatoes, or russet potatoes.
- Spice & herb variations: You can add about 1 teaspoon minced ginger. 1 teaspoon of ground coriander (coriander powder) and ½ teaspoon of garam masala powder also gives good flavors.
- Green chillies: Green chillies bring in the pungency and heat to the dish. If you are sensitive to spice, then skip the green chillies or just add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of chopped chillies or serrano peppers.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This jeera aloo recipe post from the archives (September 2011) has been republished and updated with better photos, FAQs and a video on 21 March 2021.