How to Make Lemon Rice (Chitranna)

Lemon Rice is a widely known South Indian dish that is mostly paired with chicken or beef recipes. It can also be made if you want a break from the usual steamed rice. Read more for how to make lemon rice on a stovetop.

This is a nice leftover rice recipe originally from Karnataka and also called Chitranna. South Indians traditionally eat this dish with a chicken curry during lunch or dinner time. In this post, I will tell you our quick and simple recipe for Lemon Rice.

How to Make Lemon Rice:

The below recipe of Lemon Rice serves 4 people. The first step is to keep leftover rice. If you are craving lemon rice and don’t have leftovers, then go with freshly cooked steamed rice.

The key ingredients are lemon juice and vinegar. Turmeric powder also gives this rice a nice color. Use the former ingredients depending on how sour and tangy you like the rice. I prefer to keep it standard so the below recipe calls for the juice of 2 lemons for the serving size of 4.

Apart from the spices mentioned, using nuts like peanuts and cashew nuts really bring out the texture and make the Lemon Rice look more appealing.


Lemon Rice Recipe Step by Step


Lemon Rice

Prepared using leftover steamed rice, this is a nice and tangy side dish to your main course!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 cups leftover rice
  • 2 lemons squeezed
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp peanuts or cashewnuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • Peppercorns optional
  • 1 tbsp chana dal optional
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander for garnish


  • In a pan, add oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, peppercorns, dry red chilies, peanuts or cashewnuts, and chana dal. Sauté in a low flame for about two minutes
  • Once the nuts have turned golden brown, add garlic and onion. Then sauté again
  • Add turmeric powder, salt, vinegar, and lemon juice and cook for about 2-3 minutes
  • Add leftover rice to the mixture and let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Garnish with coriander and serve hot. You can also add more fried nuts to garnish
Keyword Lemon Rice, Quick Recipe

How to Eat South Indian Lemon Rice/ Chitranna

Chitranna or Lemon Rice can be eaten with Indian Pepper Chicken Gravy, Mutton Chili, and Chicken Karahi. You can also pair it with fried chicken.

READ: Basic Indian Chicken Korma Recipe

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This easy Lemon Rice recipe is surely one for your recipe books! Do you try variations of steamed rice like this turmeric lemon rice? If so, show us your creations and tag us on Instagram @youcookieatcom 🙂

Signing off now! xx

P.S. If you want to save and read later, here is a pinnable version 🙂


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