Instant Pot Toor Dal (Spiced Yellow Lentils)


A comforting bowl of yellow lentils! Toor dal is an everyday lentil dish that can be made quickly and easily in an Instant Pot.

toor dal

Instant Pot Yellow Lentils

This dal is so flavorful and comforting! Spiced yellow lentils make for a quick and easy dal recipe, perfect for a weeknight or when you don’t have much time to prepare dinner. As long as you’ve got yellow lentils (toor dal) in the pantry and onion masala in the fridge (or freezer), then you can prepare this in an Instant Pot in around thirty minutes, with the majority of that time being hands-off.

toor dal

What is Toor Dal?

The type of lentil used in this dal has many names, but it is most commonly known as toor dal. These lentils are known as split pigeon peas (yellow lentils) in English. This type of lentil is prevalent in Indian cooking, used in north and south India – but primarily south.  It’s the lentil known for being in Sambar, a delicious south Indian tamarind vegetable stew.

Ingredients for Toor Dal (Spiced Yellow Lentil Recipe)

toor dal ingredients
  • Split Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal)
  • Spices: cumin seeds, salt, garam masala
  • Serrano or Green Chilli
  • Onion Masala: make this masala in advance and use it to make many of my recipes quickly!
  • Cilantro

How to Make Instant Pot Toor Dal

Heat up some oil, add cumin seeds and green chili and cook until the cumin is brown and fragrant. Then pour the rest of the ingredients into the pot and cook! That’s it! Thanks to Onion Masala, you can have this dal done in no time at all!

how to make toor dal
toor dal

Do you need to soak yellow lentils?

Because they are a split legume, they cook quickly and call for a short soak time. You can get away without soaking these lentils, but if you’ve read my other dal posts, you know I typically suggest soaking lentils because I find it helps with digestion. To each their own 🙂

toor dal

Serving Suggestions for Toor Dal Recipe (How to Eat Toor Dal? What to Eat with it?)

Serve this simple dal with a side of rice and achar, Indian pickle. Here are some ideas:

toor dal

Toor Dal Recipe – Instant Pot Spiced Yellow Lentils

toor dal

Toor Dal Recipe – Instant Pot Spiced Yellow Lentils

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  • Soak the lentils in cold water for 15-20 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • Press the sauté button, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add the cumin seeds and serrano pepper to the pot. Once the cumin seeds brown, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 7 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure (or wait 15 minutes, then release remaining pressure)
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.



  • 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.
  • This dal will thicken as it cools. When you warm up leftovers, you may need to add water or stock to thin it out on the stovetop.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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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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