Rich, creamy, and buttery, this one-pot instant pot dal makhani is nothing less than amazing. Make this restaurant-quality dish with just a few ingredients in under an hour in an instant pot.
Want to try more instant pot recipes, then here are some of my everyday favorites to make at home – Instant Pot Tomato Soup, Instant Pot Hot Chocolate, Instant Pot Chicken Curry, Instant Pot Chicken Stew, and Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.
About This Recipe
Instant pot dal makhani is one of the best ways to cook this Indian classic recipe. Made using whole black lentils, kidney beans, lots of ghee, butter, and a few spices, this dal makhani cooked in an instant pot is rich, creamy, and comes together in under an hour (most of it is the passive time) without putting in much effort.
Dal Makhani also called Black Dal or Kali Dal is one of the creamiest and richest dal from the North part of India. You will find this one on the menu of almost every North Indian restaurant and no parties or special occasions in the Northern part of India are complete without it being on the menu.
Making this dal in a traditional way takes a few hours but now that I have started to make it in an instant pot, there is no looking back.
The results are quick and fuss-free. This creamy dal gets ready in under an hour and the taste is easily comparable to your favorite Indian restaurant’s version.
I make two versions of this Instant Pot Dal Makhani
- One Pot Method – In this method, the dal is cooked in instant pot from start to finish. This method is great as it saves time and dal is cooked in one pot reducing the clean up.
- The Other Method – I personally like to cook the lentils in Instant Pot until they are tender and then temper it in a pot over the stove top. This way, it get also gets slow cooked for sometime.
In today’s post, I am sharing the one-pot method, but do check out my classic Dal Makhani post to check out the other method.
Lentils – To make this delicious and buttery dal makhani, we will need two lentils, whole black lentils (whole black urad) and Bengal gram (chana dal). Adding chana dal is my secret to make the creamiest dal makhani.
Both these lentils are soaked in water for 8 to 10 hours or overnight so that they cook faster and also become easily digestible.
Kidney Beans – Along with lentils, we will also add red kidney beans (rajma) for a nice bite in the soft and creamy dal. These are also soaked for 8-10 hours or overnight and then cooked along with the lentils.
Ghee – I will always recommend you to make dal makhani in ghee. Ghee adds a distinct flavor, aroma, and richness to the dal.
Butter and Cream – These are must ingredients in dal makhani, as the name itself has ‘Makhan’ in it. So do not compromise on them.
Tomato Paste – Tomato paste adds that perfect amount of tartness to the curry. For better taste, I would recommend you to use the store-bought tomato paste or puree.
Kasuri Methi – This is my favorite ingredient to add whenever I want to add that restaurant-style touch to my dal and curries. Try it, it really makes a difference.
Others – Apart from the above-mentioned ingredients, we will need cumin seeds, onions, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, cumin powder, and salt.
How To Make Instant Pot Dal Makhani
Wash ½ cup whole black lentils, ¼ cup red kidney beans, and 1 tbsp Bengal gram and soak them in 5-6 cups of water for 8-10 hours or overnight.
Press the SAUTE button of Instant Pot. When it says HOT, add 4 tbsp of ghee to the pot.
When the ghee is hot, add 1 tsp of cumin seeds and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds.
Now add 1 cup of grated onions and 2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste and fry until onions turn lightly browned (6-7 minutes).
Add 4 tbsp of tomato paste and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Now drain the lentils and kidney beans and wash them once again. Add them to the pot along with 2 tsp of Kashmiri red chili powder, ½ tsp of cumin powder, and salt to taste.
Add 2 and ½ cups of water to the pot. If you like thinner dal, then add 3 cups of water.
Close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 30 minutes on HIGH PRESSURE. The instant pot will take some time to build the pressure and the timer to start.
Once the timer goes off, do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually by moving the vent to the venting position. Use a kitchen cloth to move the vent to prevent steam burn off the fingers.
Open the lid of the pot and mash the lentils very well using the back of a ladle or a potato masher until they are creamy.
Press CANCEL and then press SAUTE. Cook the dal for 8-10 minutes and keep mashing it as you go. Add some water if the dal is thick for your liking.
Add 2 tbsp of butter (salted or unsalted), ¼ cup of heavy cream, and 1 tbsp of Kasuri methi to the pot and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
You can also add a little garam masala powder at this stage.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make a vegan dal makhani, you have to substitute a few ingredients in the dal. You can use vegetable oil instead of ghee, vegan butter instead of butter, and cashew cream or coconut cream instead of fresh dairy cream.
Technically, you can use canned kidney beans but I see no advantage in using them in this recipe. Since the canned beans are already cooked, you will have to add them at the end of the cooking and cook for 5-6 minutes. It doesn’t save you any time. Canned beans are expensive than dry beans, so you will end up spending more too.
I add Kashmiri red chili powder to the dal which gives it a lovely red hue. If you want to get an even more intense red color, then soak some whole dry Kashmiri red chilies in hot water for 15 minutes. Discard their seeds and blend to make a smooth paste. Now use this paste in place of powder.
If you want to serve brown rice with dal makhani, then you can use the pot-in-pot method, where both brown rice and dal can be cooked at the same time. This method is not suitable for white rice as the cooking time for white rice is much less as compared to the cooking time for dal.
Follow the recipe to make the dal until you are ready to close the lid of the pot. At this stage, keep a trivet inside the pot (over the dal). Wash 1 cup brown rice and add it to a container along with 2 cups of water and ½ tsp salt.
Keep the container on the trivet and now close the lid. Pressure cook and open the lid. Take out the container with rice and then add the rest of the ingredients to the dal.
Soaking the lentils reduces the cooking time and also makes them easily digestible. But in case you have forgotten to soak them, then increase the pressure cooking time to 50 minutes. Follow the rest of the recipe as it is.
This dal tastes best the next day, so plan accordingly.
Let me tell you this dal makhani is my favorite dal to include in festive and special meals. Also, don’t forget to top it with extra butter while serving.
This dal tastes even better the next day, so prepare it a little more extra and enjoy it the next days too. If you are making it for your house parties or get-together, you can prepare it a day before and store it too.
This creamy North Indian dal will last in the fridge for 2-3 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat it in a pan or microwave and if you feel it has become a little thick, add in a little water, mix and heat it properly.
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Instant Pot Dal Makhani Recipe
- ½ cup whole black lentil (kali urad)
- ¼ cup red kidney beans (rajma)
- 1 tablespoon Bengal gram (chana dal)
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 cup grated red onions
- 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- salt (to taste)
- 2-½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi
- Wash whole black lentils, red kidney beans, and Bengal gram and soak them in 5-6 cups of water for 8-10 hours or overnight.
- Press the SAUTE button of Instant Pot. When it says HOT, add ghee to the pot.
- When the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds.
- Now add onions and ginger-garlic paste and fry until onions turn lightly browned (6-7 minutes).
- Add tomato paste and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Now drain the lentils and kidney beans and wash them once again. Add them to the pot along with Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin powder, and salt.
- Add water to the pot.
- Close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
- Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 30 minutes on HIGH PRESSURE. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually by moving the vent to the venting position.
- Open the lid of the pot and mash the lentils very well using the back of a ladle until they are creamy.
- Press SAUTE. Cook the dal for 8-10 minutes and keep mashing it as you go.
- Add some more water if the dal is thick for your liking.
- Add butter, heavy cream, and Kasuri methi and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve hot.