Instant Pot Everyday Dal and Rice (PIP)


This recipe for everyday dal calls for a very short list of ingredients and takes minimal effort to make.

instant pot everyday dal

Everyday Dal

So what’s in this everyday dal? Just split lentils and water. A little salt and turmeric too. That’s it.

I realize this “everyday dal” might sound bland… BUT, the key to making this dal flavorful is in the tempering. Depending on where you’re from, you may call it tadka, chhonk or vaghar. The idea is the same: you sizzle spices in hot oil or ghee. And then you pour that flavorful spiced oil on top of the dal just before serving.

Feel free to switch up the tadka to give this dal some variety, especially if you end up making it often. Try it with sliced garlic or caramelized shallots/onions or curry leaves or with a pinch of hing.

“I made this earlier in the week and it was delicious! My hubby is the primary cook in the house (lucky me!) and he is particularly good at making dal. He was so impressed with how this turned out and my mother-in-law called it “restaurant quality”. I was most impressed at the dal consistency, it was absolutely perfect.”

everyday dal

Cook dal and rice at the same time in the same pot!

The cook time for this dal is the same as that of basmati rice, and so I usually cook the two together in the same pot. Just put a trivet into the pot with the dal and place an oven-safe container with rice and water on top of the trivet. I’ve included these “pot-in-pot” directions in the recipe card.

instant pot everyday dal

Everyday Dal is for Everyone!

This is a great way to make dal for the whole family because the tadka is easy to adapt to taste and spice preference.

I usually make a spicy tadka for me, my husband, and our toddler (that’s the tadka I’ve shared in the recipe card below) and a mild but flavorful tadka for my infant.

I get a lot of questions from parents about how to introduce Indian food to little ones. I think this dal is a great way to do that. (But I’m also just a food blogger, so please talk to a pediatrician before starting your kiddo on solids).

My youngest, Ace, is now 8-months-old and eats non-spicy spices. And so when I make this dal, I’ll make a separate tadka for Ace using ghee, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and spices like garam masala, paprika, black pepper.

I also mix soft veggies/purees into his dal, so he gets more food variety/nutrients. He really enjoys this dal – for now anyway, heh.

(2022 Update: Ace is nearly 3 years old now and still loves dal – all types. He can handle fairly spicy food too – there have been several times when I’ve thought something was spicy but he happily eats without complaint – must take after his dad there, lol).

This everyday dal is a great dish to make on days when you’re short on time/energy but still want to enjoy a homemade meal. I hope you love this dal for its simplicity.

instant pot everyday dal

Instant Pot Everyday Dal and Rice (Pot-in-Pot)

instant pot everyday dal

Instant Pot Everyday Dal and Rice (Pot-in-Pot)

This is a great way to make dal for the whole family because the tadka is so easy to adapt to taste and spice preference. I usually make a spicy tadka for me, my husband and our toddler (that’s the tadka I’ve shared here) and a much simpler tadka for my infant. Also, feel free to switch up the tadka to give this dal some variety, especially if you end up making it often. 
4.96 from 23 reviews
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Cuisine Indian


Everyday Dal

To make PIP (Pot-in-Pot) Rice:

  • 1 cup rice soaked for 15 minutes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt



Everyday Dal and Rice (PIP)

  • Soak dal in water for 15 minutes. If making rice, also soak for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • Put the dal ingredients into the instant pot.
  • If making rice, place the rice ingredients into an oven-safe container. Place a trivet into the pot with the dal, and then place the oven-safe container on top of the trivet.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then open the valve to release any remaining pressure.

How to Make Tadka:

  • Add ghee to a small pot or pan on the stove and once the ghee is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the cumin seeds turn brown, add the green chilies stir for a minute then add the spices. Stir this into the cooked dal immediately prior to serving.


Feel free to switch up the tadka to give this dal some variety, especially if you end up making it often. Try it with sliced garlic or caramelized shallots/onions or curry leaves or with a pinch of hing.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    Wow what a great recipe! I’ve been following your blog for years, and I’m so shocked that I am JUST NOW making this daal recipe! So tasty! Thanks Ashley!

  2. Sylvia says

    5 stars
    Delicious! I love your recipes. The problem I have is that they don’t print. Is this something you’ve heard before or is it something on my end. When I go to print, all I get are blank pages. Anyways, I made this recipe but had to substitute the yellow Moong with Bengal Gram and it’s still amazing. LOVE!! Thank you.

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sylvia, I just tried to click print and it opens up in a new tab for me to print, so I’m not sure why it’s not working for you. Do you see a new tab that opens? Hopefully another reader can chime in and let us know if it’s working for them. Glad you liked the recipe 🙂

  3. Diane says

    Hi Ashley,
    I love this recipe but I find the when I open the instant pot the dal has boiled over into the rice. The dal seems a little over cooked but the rice is perfect! Any suggestions?

  4. Heather says

    5 stars
    I am new to PIP cooking and I think I’ve been doing this wrong. I have a stackable set (ekovana brand), and I think what I’ve been doing wrong is putting both of them into the pans instead of putting the dal directly into the Instant Pot. The rice is coming out perfectly every time, but the dal is too runny and doesn’t have much flavor. (I’ve had to put it on the stovetop to boil off some of the water both times.) So I’m going to try again putting the dal directly into the IP, then the trivet and then the rice on top…my question: do you cover the rice when you cook it, or is the rice bowl/pot just open? My PIP set is stainless steel and has two lids – one that is solid and one with holes. I could use either lid, or neither.
    P.S. My husband *loved* the tadka. Normally he’s not so into lentils/dal, but I think the tadka is going to be a game-changer for us. I can make the dish milder for our son, and a really spicy tadka for us adults, so everyone’s happy!!!

  5. Ruki says

    5 stars
    I made this earlier in the week and it was delicious! My hubby is the primary cook in the house (lucky me!) and he is particularly good at making dal. He was so impressed with how this turned out and my mother-in-law called it “restaurant quality”. I was most impressed at the dal consistency, it was absolutely perfect.

  6. Reem Faruqi says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley
    I love this recipe; was doubling it because we finished it so quickly last time. I’m going to double the ingredients, but would I need to double the water or time? I’m guessing not but wanted to ask!

  7. Archana says

    Hi Ashley,

    First of all, I’d just like to say thank you so much for doing what you do. Your recipes have changed my life. I am able to cook nice, tasty meals for my family in a way that doesn’t stress me out. Your recipes work so well and they are so easy to do. You and the Instapot have been a godsend – thank you!!!

    Second, I am trying to double or triple your recipe (as I try to cook to have enough food for a few days). I would usually just think to double or triple all the ingredients. But it may not make sense to do that with the water. How much water would you suggest adding if I doubled the dal? How much for tripling it? And would the cook time be the same for double? Triple?

    I am going to cook this tomorrow. Once I have, I’ll come back and let you know how it turns out!

    Thank you!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Archana, thank you so much for the kind words! I appreciate them so much 🙂 As for doubling or tripling this – I haven’t tried but typically to double a recipe I’d double all of the ingredients including water. You can always use less water and dilute it at the end if you’d like. Glad you’re enjoying this!

  8. Sarah says

    5 stars
    Hey Ashley,

    I made this a few nights and it was so good! Honestly, with such few ingredients I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the tadka was perfect and it really didn’t need anything else. I can see how this recipe is in weekly rotation. I did substitute 2 1/4 cups of the water with chicken stock that I needed to use up, and I took your cue and passed the jalapeno on to the spice lover, who loved it (with a little yogurt of course) 😉

  9. Aravinda Garimella says

    Thanks for the excellent recipe, Ashley! I have never done the PIP method before. Are you supposed to cover the container with rice in it? Or do you leave it uncovered?

      • Paul M says

        4 stars
        This was my first try of pot-in-pot. I didn’t have basmati so used white long grain.

        The dal boiled over into the rice so I had some wetter than expected and turmeric infused rice. A couple of minutes in a frying pan dried it enough to serve.

        I think I need a taller trivet to raise my rice bowl well clear of the dal.

        I used three very small very fiery red chillies in the tadka as I had no green chillies. I’m normally pretty good at picking them out before eating but one made it into a mouthful today. Waaaah! Thank goodness for yoghurt is all I can say.

        Thanks for the recipe – a couple of lessons to learn but I will be making again.

  10. Barbara Wade says

    5 stars
    Just made this! Delicious! Only had split moong dal but otherwise followed the recipe exactly! This will definitely be made often!

  11. Asha says

    5 stars
    This has become my go to almost daily recipe. I change the dals around sometime, with mixed dals or only masoor dal or only moong dal. For convenience sake, I do the tadka in sauté mode and then cook the dal. It comes out perfect each time. Thank you,Ashley!

  12. Leah C says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley, I just wanted to say thanks so much for your recipes —they have made cooking accessible to me in a way its never been before. I work two jobs and usually don’t feel like I have the time or energy to cook, and when I do I usually feel really overwhelmed by all the fancy recipes with very many ingredients and steps that are in cookbooks and blogs.

    Your recipes are so simple and quick, since finding this site for the first time in my adult life I’ve been cooking most of my meals from scratch!! I already feel healthier and better in my body. Thank you.

    This everyday dal was a revelation—I had no idea that lentils with just a little bit of seasoning could be such a satisfying and tasty meal! I’ve eaten it every day for the last week and its kept me going. Flavor is good, couldn’t be simpler to make.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Leah, I’m glad to hear that you’re liking my recipes so much, especially the everyday dal. Thank you for leaving this comment 🙂 I’ll keep working on simple/flavorful recipes!

  13. Irene says

    5 stars
    The best dal I have ever made!!! 🙂 Thanks, Ashley! In my tadka I had some fresh curry leaves, hing, and chopped ginger, among other things that you suggest.

  14. Mary Circo says

    5 stars
    Wow…Ashley…this was fantastic!! My mom loved it and I was worried as I never made Dahl and it was for my mom. Thank you so much!!!

  15. Ashley says

    Do you have a suggestion for which kind of container to use for the PIP rice? What would work best?

  16. Archana says

    5 stars
    This turned out fantastic! I made 4x the quantity in a 6 quarter Instapot. Your recipes are so easy to follow and the dal recipes come out perfect every time – thank you!!!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Archana, I’m so glad you liked this dal! Great to know you were able to make 4x the amount! Thanks for the kind words and for letting me know how this turned out for you 🙂

  17. Bob says

    5 stars
    I love this quick and simple recipe. I did have a question on the green pepper in the tadka. Are you mincing a pepper like a serrano? Or are you putting a whole pepper in the tadka oil and removing at serving? Thanks

  18. Sonali says

    5 stars
    Hi Ash
    I made this today but I added onion, garlic and tomato when cooking the dal. My tadka was red chilli ghee. I did add some lemon after opening the cooker for taste. The dal tasted delish.

  19. Z says

    Hi Ashley-

    Why is my daal not smooth? I don’t like the whole pieces. It looks from
    Your pictures yours is smooth..

  20. Jordan says

    At what age did you start your toddler on spicy foods? How did you go about introducing it–just by starting with a little and increasing gradually? I’m going to make your chicken korma and give some to my 7 month old this weekend–so far she has been a very open minded eater so hopefully Indian food will go down just as well!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Jordan, when I first started giving my babies food around 6 months, I’d use black pepper when cooking their meals along with other non-spicy spices. Around 7-8 months if I’d give my babies the same food we’d eat (made with green chili/cayenne) I’d just mix in some kind of puree or mashed banana/avocado with it. My littlest one (just turned 1 year) will make noises if something is spicy and so I’ll give him a bit of yogurt or something sweet after and my 3-year-old currently says everything is spicy (even when my 1-year-old doesn’t complain, lol) but will eat as long as he has a bowl of yogurt and a glass of milk. I think introducing spices gradually is a good idea – it’s all trial and error. What did your little one think of the korma?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Elyse, yes you can but because this dal is so simple/plain – adding the tadka just prior to serving makes a difference. If you add it before, it will get “lost” in the plain dal, muting the flavor and softening the whole spices whereas if you add it at the end then eat it, it’ll be more flavorful. The truth is, adding a fresh tadka is always going to make dal taste better but it’s especially important (in my opinion) when making a very plain dal. Hopefully this makes sense – give it a try and you’ll see what I mean 🙂

  21. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    We loved this recipe last night! I agree with you- the simplicity and the room for culinary experimentation is what makes this such a unique dish! I added a cinnamon stick and curry leaves to the tempering, along with coriander-cumin powder and chili powder. I’ll definitely be making this again, Ashley! Thanks for a great recipe! Total comfort food that hits the spot!

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