Dal Makhani Creamy Lentils | Dal Makhani Instant Pot Recipe

Make this delicious restaurant-style Indian Dal Makhani Instant Pot recipe at home. Smooth, creamy, spicy, and hearty plant proteins for great taste, and good health.

Dal Makhani

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Why You HAVE To Try This Instant Pot Dal Makhani Recipe

  • Quick. Compared to the time it takes to cook lentils on the stovetop, this dal recipe is incredibly quick to make.
  • Easy. Barely more effort than your typical pour and cook recipe.
  • Authentic. All of the flavors of your favorite Indian dishes.
  • Vegetarian. Have a tasty, filling meal without adding meat.

Unless you LOVE to spend all day cooking so that you can eat everything you made in five minutes, you will want to make Dal Makhani according to my super simple recipe.

Dal Makhani has traditionally required hours and hours of very slow cooking to get the lentils to a perfectly soft, creamy cooked stage. Thankfully, the Instant Pot does a fine job of this, although it does take a bit.

I made 1/2 a cup of lentils for about 2-2.5 cups of finished dal and I set the lentils to cook for about 30 minutes. They were perfect when they were done.

What Does Dal Makhani Taste Like?

The first thing you will notice with your first bite of this Dal Makhani recipe is how incredibly creamy it is. Between the perfectly cooked dal and cream added as a finishing touch, it is velvety smooth.

Next, you will notice the lovely flavors of the spices used to make this one of the most popular Indian dishes. There is the slightest bit of spice from the garam masala and cayenne but it is quickly masked by the rich flavors of the cumin, coriander, and turmeric.

Is Dal Makhani Healthy?

Thanks to the high fiber and plant protein content of dal, this recipe is considered quite healthy. If you’re looking for a way to increase these things in a Vegetarian or Vegan diet, Dal Makhani is the perfect recipe for you.

If you’re concerned about keeping carbohydrates and natural fats low in your diet, you may want to avoid this recipe, as it has 16g carbs and 6g fats per serving.

What Are The Ingredients Of Dal Makhani?

Ok, I know that the list below seems extremely lengthy, especially for a recipe you’ve never tried before. Rest assured that a majority of the ingredients you will need are spices that you likely already have (or should totally already have for some other tasty dishes) in your pantry.

Which Type of Urad Dal Is Needed for Instant Pot Dal Makhani

You need a particular kind of dal for this called Urad Dal. To add to the confusion, Urad dal can be either split or whole. You need the whole kind. Here’s what it looks like.

Close up of Urad Dal in a jar.

And here’s why you can’t just tell me “Oh I love dal” or “I hate dal” Because I’m going to ask you which KIND of dal do you love/hate? These are just a FEW of the dals I have at home.

So the one to the left, labeled Urad (pictured below)? (Actually, I just realized I labeled it Udad, doh! I need to fix that). The creamy white one? It’s this same black Urad I have up there, except split and the skin has been peeled off (don’t ask me how. I don’t know).

Containers of Lentils on a shelf.

Hard to believe they’re the same right?

This is one of those dals that’s quite thick, but it gets its thickness, not from the typical onion masala that thickens many Indian dishes, but rather from some of the dal itself breaking down and adding a thickness to the finished product.

There are many complicated recipes for this dal on the internet, but I like to keep it simple, yet authentic. Most of us with jobs, families, children just really don’t have the time to do all the steps most of the recipes call for.

For more info on how to cook beans and lentils in your pressure cooker, check out my guide on How to Cook Beans in the Instant Pot!

Watch the Video on Making Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani

Which Garam Masala Is Needed For Dal Makhani

But there is one thing I’d urge you to consider taking the extra step for here, which is making the Punjabi Garam Masala. This is a little different from the other Garam Masala recipe I’ve posted here, although both are super easy and only require you to grind dry spices together. This one is different in that it provides what we refer to in my house as “chest heat”.

This dal is a particular favorite during winter, so warming your chest with the spices makes sense I suppose.

I can tolerate a lot of “mouth heat” from the cayenne. But I actually can’t tolerate as much “chest heat” (from cinnamon, cloves, etc), or “nasal heat” (from horseradish, wasabi etc.). If you’re just not sure if you’ll love this dal, then just use whatever Garam masala you have or make your own with this recipe.

Want A More Efficient Way To Make This Dal Makhani?

I decided to be #lazyefficient and mix the spices into the dal itself and cook it that way. You can follow what’s in the video (same as the cookbook), or my more streamlined instructions below, and still get a wonderful Dal Makhani either way.

Steps To Make This Dal Makhani Instant Pot Recipe

1. Add dal, bay leaves, garlic, ginger, and water to your Instant pot and cook for 30 minutes under high pressure. Allow to naturally release.

Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani cook dal with spices

2. Once the dal is cooked, mash it with the back of a spoon. You are doing this to make the dal very creamy and thick.

02 Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani mash the dal with the back of a spoon

3. Meanwhile, mix the yogurt with the remaining spices.

03 Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani Mix yogurt, half and half and spices

4. Heat a small saucepan or a tadka ladle and add ghee. To the hot ghee, add cumin seeds, and tomato paste and cook for a little bit.

Lentils being stirred in a pot with a spoon.

5. Add the tomato paste mixture to the dal.

06 Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani cook add in tomato paste and ghee mixture

6. Add the yogurt and half and half mixture to the dal.

05 Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani add in yogurt mixture

7. Add a little water if needed, and serve with rice, chappatis, or basmati pilau.

Dal Makhani Creamy Lentils being stirred in a pot.

8. ENJOY!

Tips and Tricks for Making Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani

  • Use whole black urad dal. If you need to use split urad dal, cook for 10 minutes under pressure.
  • You do not need to soak the ural dal. You can just cook it from dry without any prep.
  • I ask you to mash the dal with the back of a spoon. This is so that you can have a nice, thick, creamy dal.
  • If you are vegan or dairy-free, you can use soy yogurt, coconut oil, and coconut cream in place of the yogurt, ghee, and half and half. We know this works because Joey Leone made it and I saw the video of the finished product and it looks perfect! (Thank you, Joey!)
  • This dal freezes very well, and tastes even better the next day so make extra!
  • Ideally, you would use Punjabi gram masala for this recipe. If you don’t want to, you can use my regular Garam Masala recipe for it. If you don’t want to make it, I recommend this one.

Want More Easy Dal Recipes?

Dal Makhani

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overhead view of dal makhani in a small brass wok

Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani Buttery Lentils

Make restaurant-style Indian Dal Makhani at home in your pressure cooker. Smooth, creamy, spicy, and hearty plant proteins for great taste, and good health. 

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #ffffff; }

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Course: Main Courses

Cuisine: Indian

Keyword: Instant Pot Dal, instant pot dal makhani, pressure cooker dal makhani

Servings: 4

Calories: 156kcal

Author: Urvashi Pitre

Click on highlighted ingredients or Equipment to see exactly what I use to make this recipe

Ingredients

Cook Under High Pressure

Mix Together

For Finishing

Instructions

  • Wash the dal well and drain.

  • Add dal, bay leaves, gingerf, garlic, and water to your Instant Pot.

  • Set the Instant pot or pressure cooker to high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, and then release all remaining pressure.

  • Meanwhile, mix together the yogurt, remaining spices, and milk/cream of choice.

  • When the dal is ready, open up the Instant Pot and using the back of a spoon, gently mash in some of the dal to make a thicker dal, leaving most of the dal intact.

  • Turn your Instant Pot onto its Keep Warm Setting, adding a little water if needed.

  • Heat a small saucepan or tadka ladle, add ghee when hot, and add in the cumin seeds which will start to sputter.

  • Put in the tomato paste and cook it for a while, until it absorbs all of the ghee.

  • Pour this paste into the dal and mix well.

  • Pour in your yogurt mixture and mix well, garnish with chopped cilantro if desired, and serve with naan, chappatis, or rice, or eat plain by the spoonful, which is what I do.

Watch The Video

  • Use whole black urad dal. If you need to use split urad dal, cook for 10 minutes under pressure.
  • You do not need to soak the ural dal. You can just cook it from dry without any prep.
  • I ask you to mash the dal with the back of a spoon. This is so that you can have a nice, thick, creamy dal.
  • If you are vegan or dairy-free, you can use soy yogurt, coconut oil, and coconut cream in place of the yogurt, ghee, and half and half.
  • This dal freezes very well, and tastes even better the next day so make extra!
  • Ideally, you would use Punjabi gram masala for this recipe. If you don’t want to, you can use my regular Garam Masala recipe for it. If you don’t want to make it, I recommend this one.

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Nutrition

Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g

Tried this recipe?Follow @twosleevers and Pin it!

Originally Published April 14, 2017

Don’t forget to check out my other Best-selling Instant Pot Cookbooks!

Indian Instant Pot, Keto Instant Pot, Instant Pot Fast and Easy, Healthy Instant Pot & Vegetarian Instant Pot.