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 Northern part of 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.
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 making 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). 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.
Whole Spices – Whole spices like green cardamoms, cloves, black cardamoms, cinnamon, and black peppercorns add a nice warmth and flavor to the dal. Crush them lightly in a mortar and pestle to release all their flavor into the ghee.
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 Puree – Tomato puree adds that perfect amount of tartness to the dal. For better taste, I would recommend you to use canned tomato puree. You can replace tomato puree with tomato paste too.
Kasuri Methi – This is my favorite ingredient to add whenever I want to add that restaurant-style touch to my homemade dal and curries. Try it, it really makes a difference.
Others – Apart from the above-mentioned ingredients, you will also need bay leaves, dry red chilies, onions, ginger-garlic paste, Kashmiri 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 tablespoon Bengal gram and soak them 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 of Instant Pot.
When it says HOT, add 4 tablespoon of ghee to the pot.
When the ghee is hot, add 2 green cardamoms, 2 black cardamoms, 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, 3-4 cloves, 3-4 black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and 2-3 whole dry red chilies and saute for 4-5 seconds.
Tip – Crush the whole spices lightly for their flavors to enhance.
Add 1 cup of grated onions and saute for 8-10 minutes until they are pinkish in color.
Now add 2 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and fry until onions turn lightly browned (6-7 minutes). Keep stirring frequently.
Add 6 tablespoon of tomato puree (or 4 tablespoon tomato paste), 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, and 1 teaspoon grated ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the lentils and kidney beans to the pot along with 2 and ½ cups of water and salt to taste in the pot.
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 of 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 tablespoon of butter (salted or unsalted), ¼ cup of heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of Kasuri methi, and 1 teaspoon garam masala to the pot and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make a vegan dal makhani, you will have to substitute a few ingredients in the recipe. You can use vegetable oil instead of ghee, vegan butter instead of butter, and cashew cream 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 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 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.
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, just 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 would recommend you to use the store-bought tomato paste or puree as they are concentrated in flavor than homemade puree.
To make a vegan dal makhani, you will have to substitute a few ingredients in the recipe. Use vegetable oil in place of ghee, vegan butter instead of butter, and cashew cream or coconut cream instead of dairy cream.
To add that delicious smoky flavor to the Dal, follow the Dungar method or the Coal method. Heat a piece of raw coal or a whole cinnamon stick over direct flame until it is red hot. Keep a bowl over the dal and keep the hot coal in the bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon of ghee over the hot coal and immediately close the lid of the pot. Let the dal soak the smoke and become smoky. After 10 minutes, discard the coal and serve the smoky dal.
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.
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 for 3-4 hours on the kitchen counter. Reheat in a microwave or in a pan over the stove and serve.
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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
- 2 whole green cardamoms
- 2 whole black cardamoms
- 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 3-4 cloves
- 3-4 black peppercorns
- 1 cup grated red onions
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 2-3 whole dry red chilies
- 1 cup grated 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
- salt (to taste)
- 2-½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- Wash black lentils, kidney beans, and Bengal gram and soak them 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 of Instant Pot.
- When it says HOT, add ghee to the pot.
- When the ghee is hot, add green cardamoms, black cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and dry red chilies, and saute for 4-5 seconds. Crush the whole spices lightly for their flavors to enhance.
- Add grated onions and saute for 8-10 minutes until they are pinkish in color.
- Now add ginger-garlic paste and fry until onions turn lightly browned (6-7 minutes). Keep stirring frequently.
- Add tomato puree, Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin powder, and ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the lentils and kidney beans to the pot along with 2 and ½ cups of water and salt to the pot.
- 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 of 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 butter, heavy cream, Kasuri methi, and garam masala to the pot and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.