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

4.95 from 17 reviews
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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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  1. Anu says

    Thank you for the recipe! I use instant pot without issues all the time but for some reason my lentils also turn out uncooked even after 30-40 mins, even after I soak for 5-10 mins. Any advice for me?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Anu, yeah something is definitely up – toor dal should be well cooked in that amount of time. My thoughts: perhaps the pot was not sealed well? Otherwise, it could be that the beans are very old – have you successfully been able to use them in other cases?

  2. Debbie says

    Thank you for this onion masala make ahead method and list of recipes. I’ve made several batches of masal Anschluss several recipes with much success. However, you’re site hasn’t become so littered with ads that using your site has become a major exercise in frustration. Ads and the instant video pop up make the site ver user unfriendly. I sure hope you’ll clean it up so I can get back to using it.

  3. Janine says

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! We make it every few weeks, usually a double batch, and my daughter and I eat it throughout the week for lunch. The onion masla is made and I always keep extra in the freezer to make it easy. The only change I made was to use dried chili’s (I use two) cut in half instead of the fresh Serrano pepper.

  4. Jax says

    Hi ashley love your recipes. However I tried to make this with toor dal and it turned out brown not yellow. What could I have done wrong please?

  5. Andie Early says

    I don’t have whole cumin seeds. I’ve been putting off my trip to the store… Can I use ground cumin seeds or does it really have to be whole for this recipe?

  6. Aly Khan Merali says

    Hey Ashley,

    I’ve made this twice in the last two weeks and it’s honestly delicious. I added 3 hot peppers cause I love spicy food. Are there any additional things that I could add to the dal to add even more flavor? Like how would adding extra garam masala or something else affect the recipe? I would do it myself but I’d rather not make 4 servings of dal for myself that tastes worse than what you’ve already prescribed and just ask if you have any suggestions.

    By the way, this site saves my life being a student!


    Aly Khan

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Aly! I’m so happy to hear that you like this dal so much! If you want to add even more flavor, try adding a tadka! Just heat up some ghee in a small pot, then add some aromatics to it (whole cumin seeds, sliced garlic, red chili powder, a pinch of hing/asofetida) and pour this ghee (along with the spices) right over the dal before serving. It’s a bit more work but a great way to spice up dal!

  7. veronica bellotti says

    5 stars
    This was delishious!! I had made some Parathas to go with your Butter Chicken and so thought Id make the Dal too.Iv just had a bowl of it now with a couple of Parathas as I couldnt wait till tomorrow to eat with curry with my son daughter and son in law.

  8. Kim says

    5 stars
    I made this for a potluck and everyone loved it and some Indian friends even said it tasted authentic. I ended up adding 1/3 teaspoon of sherry vinegar which rounded the flavors out a bit. Thank you for the great recipe. It’s very easy to make and very satisfying to eat.

  9. Jessica S says

    I made this recipe and love it! The peas just weren’t as soft as I think they are supposed to be. Perhaps o need to cook longer? Once cooked, I waited 15 min to release the pressure valve. Also, now that it’s cooked I’d like to make it a little more spicy. What can I add to the recipe to do that after it has already been made? I’m a total newbie to cooking. Thank you so much! I LOVE your site and your recipes have all be amazing!!!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Jessica, so glad you love it! To make it spicier just add more cayenne – I almost always add cayenne to my hubby’s bowl because he likes his food much spicier than I like mine. That’ll do the trick 🙂 You can also always add chopped serrano pepper too!

  10. Drew Peacock says

    5 stars
    so easy, so good. I doubled up the spices cause that’s how i roll, my girlfriend went for a second serving and said she had to stop eating before she got sick from eating too much 😀

  11. Shalu says

    5 stars
    Made this last week, along with the onion masala. It was a hit with the whole family! Going to try your other recipes!! Thank you!

  12. Laura says

    5 stars
    I made your onion masala yesterday and was eager to try this out. This dal came together so quickly and was mild but flavorful. We’ll definitely be adding this to our regular meal rotation!

  13. Dalbir says

    I substituted masoor dal since that’s what I had and OMG this turned out really well. I had a houseguest and they kept asking for seconds!! And so easy and quick to make – thank you!!

  14. jrh0 says

    5 stars
    Delicious and quick to make with the onion masala. Only additional thing I did was use the stick blender in the dal after done. Will try another onion masala recipe soon!

  15. Miss Conduct says

    5 stars
    Years ago cans of ranch-style beans had a picture of a man smiling and licking his lips with the caption “husband-pleasin.” (Not sure when that went away–at least 25 years ago.) Michelle is right, very easy to make and tastes just like it does at an Indian restaurant. Husband is still at work, but I predict when he gets home this one will be Husband Pleasin’. Just found this blog searching for Instant Pot recipes. Thanks so much for the onion masala! I will be using it a lot.

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Ashley's Secrets



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