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Dal Makhani In Instant Pot

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Dal makhani is a nutritious Indian lentil curry also known as Madras lentils. It is a vegan, gluten-free, one-pot meal that can be made by pressure cooking in the instant pot. Dal makhani is served with Indian bread or rice.
Dal Makhani in a serving wok and garnished with cilantro and butter.

Dal makhani is an Indian lentil curry made with black gram or whole black urad dal and kidney beans. A restaurant-style dal makhani can be made at home in the instant pot with just few easy steps.

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What is dal makhani?

Dal makhani is a popular vegan and gluten-free Indian lentil dish and is commonly served in Indian restaurants with naan and rice.

Dal makhani translates to buttery lentils in English. Another name used for dal makhani is Madras lentils.

Traditionally dal makhani is slow cooked for 10-12 hours. But it can be made by in an easy way by pressure cooking it in the instant pot.

Dal makhani ingredients

Dal makhani is made with skinned whole black urad dal, also known as matpe beans. A handful of kidney beans are also added.

It is best to soak the dal and beans for about 6 hours or overnight. After soaking the dal will change to greenish color. Dal makhani can be made without soaking the lentils as well by pressure cooking it longer.

collage of 4 images of unsoaked urad dal, and rajma beans and soaked ones.

This is a no-onion dal makhani recipe so only tomato puree is used along with some ginger garlic paste. A few basic spices used in Indian cooking are added to get the flavor.

Spiciness can always be adjusted to taste by using more or less of red chili powder and garam masala.

Dal makhani is creamy and usually a lot of butter is added while cooking and after cooking. Some amount of cream is also added but it is optional.

Finally while serving, add some lemon juice and garnish it with some chopped cilantro.

Dal Makhani in a serving wok and garnished with cilantro and butter.

How to cook dal makhani in instant pot?

Traditionally dal makhani is slow-cooked for 10-12 hours in a slow cooker or on stovetop. With the instant pot, a restaurant-style creamy dal makhani can be cooked in just about an hour's time.

The best part of pressure cooking in the instant pot is that dal makhani can be made without soaking the dal too in case you forget to soak it. Dal makhani made with unsoaked dal will take a little longer to cook.

Personally, I like to soak the dal and kidney beans for about 6 hours or even overnight. It helps get rid of any residue and debris.

Dal makhani can be made in the instant pot in a few easy steps. First turn the saute mode on, once the instant pot is hot, add ghee (or oil for vegan). Once ghee is hot, add the bay leaf, cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute it for a few seconds and then add the tomato puree and all the spices. Give it a good mix and allow it to saute for 2-3 minutes.

This is a no onion dal makhani recipe, if you want to add onions you can add before the tomato puree and saute for 2-3 minutes.

collage of 6 images of making dal makhani in instant pot including sauteing, adding tomatoes, spices, beans, and cooked one.

Add the water and deglaze the bottom of the instant pot liner with the help of a spatula. Now add in the soaked dal, beans, and salt and give it a quick mix.

Press cancel and come out of the saute mode. Close the lid with the pressure knob in the sealing position. Pressure cook on high-pressure mode for 30 minutes followed by a natural pressure release.

Adjust salt and garam masala to taste. Dal makhani has a creamy texture, I have not added too much butter to keep it healthy, but butter or heavy cream can be added at this stage.

Remove the bay leaf and then insert the hand blender and give it a few quick pulses to make it creamy and smooth in texture. Do not over blend, you are looking for a creamy texture and don't want to end up making a paste.

While serving, add some lemon juice and garnish it with some chopped cilantro.

What to serve with dal makhani?

Dal makhani goes well with Indian bread like naan, roti or chapati, laccha paratha. It is also served with plain rice, brown rice, jeera rice, or peas pulao.

To make a complete meal, a few accompaniments like raita (yogurt condiment), papad (lentil crackers) and pickles, can be served on the side.

Dal Makhani in a serving wok and garnished with cilantro and butter.

What to do with leftover dal makhani?

Dal makhani can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and it can simply be reheated in a saucepan, microwave, or in the instant pot before eating.

Leftover dal makhani will dry up a bit once stored in the fridge and is perfect for making stuffed flatbread or paratha. You can add some chopped onions and mix them in the dal for the stuffed paratha filling.

Can you freeze dal makhani?

Yes, just like other dals, dal makhani freezes well. Once it completely cools down you can portion it and store it in freezer-safe containers or zip lock bags.

When you are ready to eat, simply thaw it by putting the container in the fridge overnight. If you forget or running short of time, you can defrost it in the microwave.

Dal makhani works well for meal planning and is one of the perfect one-pot make-ahead meals to freeze. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

dal makhani pin.

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📖 Recipe

Dal Makhani in a serving wok and garnished with cilantro and butter.

Instant Pot Dal Makhani

Dal makhani is a nutritious Indian lentil curry also known as Madras lentils. It is a vegan, gluten-free, one-pot meal that can be made by pressure cooking in the instant pot. Dal makhani is served with Indian bread or rice.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Alpa Jain

Ingredients

Oil and spices

For garnishing

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lemon juice

Instructions

  • Turn on the saute mode on the normal setting.
  • Once the instant pot is hot add the oil (or ghee).
  • Once oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
  • Add bay leaf, ginger paste, and garlic paste.
  • Saute it for a few seconds and add the tomato paste.
  • Add all the remaining spices and salt (from oil and spices* ingredient list).
  • Saute for about a minute or two and then add the water.
  • Deglaze the bottom of the instant pot liner with the help of a spatula.
  • Add dal and beans.
  • Press cancel to come out of the saute mode.
  • Lock the lid with the pressure knob in the sealing position.
  • Cook on the high-pressure mode for 30 minutes followed by the natural pressure release.
  • Open the lid and give the dal a quick mix.
  • With the immersion blender attachment of a hand blender, give a few quick pulses (about 8-10) to make the dal of a creamy consistency.
  • Adjust salt and garam masala to taste, if needed.

Notes

Optionally, you can add a tablespoon of butter and heavy cream after cooking.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Dal Makhani
Amount per Serving
Calories
170
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Sodium
 
502
mg
22
%
Potassium
 
129
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
21
g
7
%
Fiber
 
8
g
33
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
9
g
18
%
Vitamin A
 
326
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
46
mg
5
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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