You no longer have to go to an Indian restaurant to enjoy a bowl of delicious dal makhani. This pressure cooker dal recipe is quick and easy to make in an instant pot!
What is Dal Makhani?
This popular Punjabi dal is so easy to make in an instant pot! Dal makhani is a rich and creamy dal recipe that calls for a combination of lentils: whole lentils that maintain their texture and split lentils that melt together to create a creamy dal. Stir some ghee into the dal before serving to give it a rich buttery flavor, and you’ve got the perfect bowl of lentil soup.
I’ve been eating dal makhani for as long as I can remember. I was a pretty picky eater as a kid, but I was always on board when it came to eating buttery lentils. A favorite childhood meal: dal makhani, roti, spicy achar (pickle), and dahi (yogurt). So simple but so tasty. Just thinking about it makes me nostalgic.
Speaking of nostalgia, that’s pretty much the whole reason I’m even sharing this recipe. My mom makes the best dal makhani and right after I got married, she made sure to share her recipe with me. By her recipe I mean, “Ash, just use a pinch of this, a handful of that, and a few scoops of this.”
In the past, her directions would overwhelm me… but now I think I’ve got the hang of converting “mom’s measurements” to actual measurements (#IndianKidProblems). Even though mom’s cooking is always the best, I have to say this dal makhani is absolutely spot on – or “on fleek” (wow… I feel super awkward and way too old to be using that phrase IRL. same with IRL…). The best part is, you can make this in your Instant Pot – a magical electronic pressure cooker that’ll have the dal done in no time at all. Trust me, this dal is restaurant-quality for sure.
How to Make Dal Makhani
So how do we make dal makhani in an instant pot? Easily!
There are very few steps – we saute onions first, then garlic, ginger, spices, and eventually tomatoes. Add soaked lentils to the pot along with some water and pressure cook. That’s it!
The hardest part about making dal makhani is the time you spend waiting for it to be done, and even that is thankfully shorter when you use the IP.
Dal Makhani Ingredients
- Whole and Split Lentils: I use a combination of whole black lentils, whole mung beans, whole masoor beans, red lentils, red kidney beans and I soak them in cold or room temperature water overnight.
- Spices: whole cumin seeds, bay leaf, garam masala, salt, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne
- Garlic: you can use minced garlic or garlic paste.
- Ginger: you can use minced ginger or ginger paste.
- Ghee: this is an important ingredient in dal makhani because it’s what adds the creaminess, the butteriness (makhan) to the dal.
Can I used canned beans instead of dried?
I’ve only tested this recipe using dried beans as I always keep dried beans in my pantry. Canned beans take up too much space in my little pantry and dried beans are also much more affordable. That said, I’m sure you can use canned beans but you’ll need to adjust the amount of water used in the recipe as canned beans are already cooked and won’t absorb water the way that dried beans will. My guess would be to start with two cans of beans. If you experiment, let us know how it goes! And if I get around to testing this recipe with canned beans I will be sure to update the post.
What can we eat with Dal Makhani?
Serve this dal with basmati rice and dahi (yogurt), and achar:
Here are some other recipes to serve with dal makhani:
- 1 cup whole and split lentils any combination of whole black lentils, whole mung beans, whole masoor beans, red lentils, red kidney beans, etc, soaked overnight
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil I like avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced ginger
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons ghee adjust to taste
- Cilantro garnish
- Drizzle of heavy cream optional garnish
- Soak the lentils in cold water overnight. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add the cumin seeds and once they start to brown, add the onion and bay leaf. Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes or until the onion begins to brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, spices and stir, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.
- Add the lentils to the pot along with the 3 cups of water and mix well.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 30 minutes at high pressure.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Stir in the ghee and garnish with cilantro if desired.
- Feel free to add more ghee to this recipe! Ghee is what gives this dal its delicious buttery flavor. You can also add a bit of heavy cream if you prefer!
Like this recipe? Then check out my cookbook: Indian Food Under Pressure for more Indian Instant Pot Recipes!