Instant Pot Pumpkin Dal


This cozy pumpkin dal is perfect for fall! It’s savory, comforting, and effortless to make in an instant pot.

instant pot pumpkin dal

It’s mid-September, and I am already all about that pumpkin life. Not so much in the form of a PSL… I’m thinking more along the lines of pumpkin dal.

And this pumpkin dal just so happens to be really tasty and really easy to make! The two main ingredients: canned pumpkin (because of convenience) and red lentils. It’s spiced with mustard seeds, curry leaves, garam masala, and pumpkin pie spice!

This dal also calls for onion masala, a magical sauce that makes cooking flavorful Indian food so much faster.

instant pot pumpkin dal

What’s the deal with onion masala?

Are you a busy person? Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, or would you rather be doing something – anything – else? Do these questions sound like I’m trying to sell you something?

So here’s the thing. As a food blogger, I clearly love cooking. But even for me, leisurely cooking rarely happens these days. Most of the time, when I’m cooking – it’s because we all need to eat. When I have to prep dinner as fast as possible – while also taking care of two kids – I need pour and cook recipes. Onion masala makes that possible.

I grab some masala from the freezer (I freeze it in these silicone trays – each container is ¼ cup) and use it in a recipe like this pumpkin dal.

If you haven’t checked out my onion masala series, please do so… like, now. Leave this post, read about this magic sauce, and see what kind of recipes you can make with it.

instant pot pumpkin dal

So I have to tell you. My toddler really likes this dal, which is great because I’ve been making quite a bit of it lately. He finds it hilarious that there are “leaves” in the dal (curry leaves). He’ll pick them out, show them to me, and laugh as he eats them. It’s the best. If you have kids, I hope they like this dal too.

You can stir some baby spinach or baby kale into this lentil curry right before eating it for an even more nutrient-rich dish. Serve it with my jeera rice or pea pulao!

instant pot pumpkin dal

Want to try more savory pumpkin recipes?

Instant Pot Pumpkin Dal

instant pot pumpkin dal

Instant Pot Pumpkin Dal

5 from 18 reviews
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  • Press the sauté button, add oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and serrano pepper to the pot. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Adjust salt to taste and add more liquid if you’d like a thinner dal. The dal will thicken as it cools so if you are reheating it, you may need to add more broth.


  • feel free to add more pumpkin pie spice if you like the flavor! 
  • This recipe is part of my onion masala series – be sure to check it out!
  • If you have frozen cubes of onion masala, just toss those in – no need to thaw them first.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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instant pot pumpkin dal

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

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. Jackie says

    5 stars
    I love red lentil pumpkin dhal. I’ve never come across pumpkin pie spice before so is there a substitute? It’s not something i’ve seen in Australia.

  2. Katherine P says

    5 stars
    Wow! This is fantastic! So easy to make too. Going to have to start keeping multiple cans of pumpkin stocked in the pantry now. Going to freeze everything but the first five ingredients together for a super fast, super easy meal for busy days.
    Also have pumpkins in the garden which will be coming on soon. I can’t wait to try this with garden fresh ingredients! I already have onion masala made from my home grown tomatoes and onions.
    Do you think it would work to freeze everything which gets put in together, minus the water into one big block for a super fast, even easier meal for busy days? Or would I need to defrost it first therefore making it not so fast?

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Katherine, I’m so glad to hear that you like the pumpkin dal so much! I bet it’ll be even more delicious with your fresh pumpkins – yum! I would make the soup, freeze it, and either cook from frozen or thaw – you may need to add some water to thin it out if it looks too thick.

  3. Vidya says

    I plan to make this for a fusion Thanksgiving this year. What is the difference between red and brown masoor dhal? Can I use either? Also, do you use whole or split?

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