Rich, creamy, and buttery, this One-Pot Instant Pot Dal Makhani is nothing less than impressive. Make this restaurant-quality dish with just a few ingredients in under an hour in an instant pot (vegetarian, gluten-free).
About One-Pot Instant Pot Dal Makhani
Dal Makhani (Black Dal, Kali Dal) is a rich, creamy curry made with lentils and butter. It is one of the creamiest and richest dal in northern India.
You will find this dal 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.
It uses whole black lentils, kidney beans, ghee, butter, and spices. Traditionally, it was made by slow-cooking the lentils overnight until they become creamy.
I am sharing a One-Pot Instant Pot Dal Makhani Recipe in this post. Dal Makhani, made in an instant pot, tastes just like the ones made traditionally, minus all the time and hard work.
This Instant pot makhani dal recipe is quick, fuss-free, rich, and creamy, and it comes together in under an hour (most of it is passive time) without putting in much effort. The taste is easily comparable to your favorite Indian restaurant’s version.
You can also check out my classic Dal Makhani post to make it more traditional.
I made this recipe in my 6-quart instant pot. If you want to scale the recipe, use a bigger pot (8 qt).
If you want to try more instant pot recipes, 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
- Instant Pot Cuban Chicken Soup
Lentils – To make this delicious buttery dal makhani, you will need whole black lentils (whole black urad) and Bengal gram lentils (chana dal). Adding chana dal is my secret to making the creamiest dal makhani.
Both these lentils are soaked in water for 8 to 10 hours or overnight to cook faster and become easily digestible.
Kidney Beans – Add red kidney beans (rajma) along with lentils. These are also soaked for 8-10 hours or overnight and then cooked with the lentils.
Ghee – I will always recommend you make dal makhani recipe in ghee. Ghee adds a distinct flavor, aroma, and richness to the dal.
Butter and Cream – These are must ingredients in a dal makhani recipe, as the name itself has ‘Makhan.’ So do not compromise on them.
Tomato Puree – Tomato puree adds perfect tartness to the dal. For better taste, I would recommend you use canned tomato puree. You can replace tomato puree with tomato paste too.
Kasuri Methi – This is my favorite ingredient whenever I want to add that restaurant-style touch to my homemade dal and curries. Try it; it makes a difference.
Others – You will also need bay leaves (tejpatta), green cardamoms (hari elaichi), red onions, ginger-garlic paste, fresh ginger, Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, and salt.
How To Make Instant Pot Dal Makhani
- ½ cup whole black lentils
- ¼ cup red kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon Bengal gram
with water and soak them together in 5-6 cups of water for 8-10 hours or overnight.
Drain the water and wash the lentils once again. Drain well and set aside.
Press the SAUTE button on Instant Pot.
When it says HOT, add 4 tablespoon of ghee to the pot.
When the ghee is hot, add 2 green cardamoms and 2 bay leaves and saute for 4-5 seconds.
Add 1 cup of grated onions and cook for 8-10 minutes until they are pinkish.
Now add 2 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and cook until onions turn lightly browned (6-7 minutes), stirring frequently.
- 6 tablespoon of canned tomato puree (or 4 tablespoon tomato paste)
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- soaked lentils and kidney beans
- 2 and ½ cups of water
- 2 teaspoon salt
to the pot and stir well.
Close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
Press CANCEL, press PRESSURE COOK, and set the timer to 35 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 or a spoon to push the vent to prevent steam burn on the fingers.
Open the pot lid and mash the lentils very well using the back of a spoon or a potato masher until they are creamy.
Press CANCEL and then press SAUTE button again.
Cook the dal for 8-10 minutes and keep mashing it. Add some water if the dal is thick for your liking.
- 2 tablespoon of butter (salted or unsalted)
- ¼ cup of unsweetened heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of Kasuri methi
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
to the pot and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Check for salt and add more if needed.
Garnish with heavy cream swirls and crushed Kasuri methi, and serve!
Frequently Asked Questions
To make a vegan dal makhani, you must substitute a few ingredients in the recipe. You can use vegetable oil instead of ghee, vegan butter instead of butter, and cashew or coconut cream instead of 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 must add them at the end of the cooking and cook for 5-6 minutes. It doesn’t save you any time. Canned beans are more expensive than dry beans, so you will spend more too.
I add Kashmiri red chili powder to the dal, giving it a lovely red hue. If you want to get an even more intense red color, soak some dry Kashmiri red chilies in hot water for 15 minutes. Discard their seeds and blend them to make a smooth paste. Now use this paste in place of chili powder.
If you want to serve brown rice with dal makhani, you can use the pot-in-pot method, where both brown rice and dal can be cooked simultaneously. This method is unsuitable for white rice as the cooking time for white rice is much less than for dal.
Follow the recipe to make the dal until you are ready to close the pot lid. At this stage, keep a trivet inside the pot (over the dal). Wash 1 cup brown rice and add it to a container with 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon 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.
You can Dhungar it to give a restaurant-style smoky taste to dal makhani. Heat a piece of charcoal over direct heat until it is red hot. Keep a small bowl in the dal’s center and the charcoal piece in it. Now drizzle one teaspoon of ghee over the charcoal and immediately close the pot lid. Let it rest for 10 minutes. The charcoal will release smoke absorbed by the dal making it smoky. Discard the charcoal after 10 minutes, stir the dal, and serve.
Pro Tips By Neha
Do not skimp on ghee and butter.
This dal tastes the best the next day. So if possible, make it a day before serving.
If you have forgotten to soak the lentils, wash and add them to the pot and increase the pressure cook time to 50 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally, and then open the lid.
For better taste, I recommend using store-bought tomato paste or puree, as they are more concentrated in flavor than homemade puree.
This dal tastes best the next day, so plan accordingly.
This dal makhani is my favorite dal for 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 extra and enjoy it the next day too. If you are making it for your house parties or get-together, you can prepare it a day before and store it.
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 a little water, mix, and heat it properly.
You can also freeze this dal. Let it cool down completely, and then transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter for 3-4 hours. Reheat in a microwave or a pan over the stove and serve.
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One Pot Instant Pot Dal Makhani Recipe
- ½ cup whole black lentil (kali urad)
- ¼ cup red kidney beans (rajma)
- 1 tablespoon Bengal gram lentil (chana dal)
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- 2 whole green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
- 2 whole bay leaves (tejpatta)
- 1 cup peeled and grated red onions
- 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
- 6 tablespoons canned tomato puree (or 4 tablespoon tomato paste)
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 2-½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
- ¼ cup unsweetened heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon crushed Kasuri methi
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- Wash black lentils, kidney beans, and Bengal gram, with water and soak them together in 5-6 cups of water for 8-10 hours or overnight.
- Drain the water and wash the lentils once again. Drain well and set aside.
- Press the SAUTE button on Instant Pot.
- When it says HOT, add ghee to the pot.
- When the ghee is hot, add cardamoms and bay leaves and saute for 4-5 seconds.
- Add onions and cook for 8-10 minutes until they are pinkish in color.
- Now add ginger-garlic paste and cook until onions turn lightly browned (6-7 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Add tomato puree, chili powder, cumin powder, and ginger, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the soaked lentils and kidney beans along with water and salt to the pot and stir well.
- Close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
- Press CANCEL and then press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 35 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 or a spoon to move the vent to prevent steam burn on 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 button again.
- 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 butter, cream, Kasuri methi, and garam masala to the pot and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Check for salt and add more if needed.
- Garnish with heavy cream swirls and crushed Kasuri methi and serve!