Instant Pot Dal

instant pot dal
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Everyone should know how to make dal, and this instant pot dal is super easy

Dal is such an important part of my Dad’s side of the family. Everyone knows how to make it, and they make it fast. So naturally, I had to come up with my own quick version of instant pot dal. When I think of Dal, I think of my paternal grandmother, who we all called Bibi Ji. Bibi Ji was the queen of the family, and she always got what she wanted. Besides her affinity for McDonald’s fish fillets, she loved dal. We had it almost daily. We would come back from lavish dinners or weddings with endless buffets of food, and my Grandmother would ask who was going to put the pot of dal on the stove, and like clockwork, dal was on the table with steamed basmati and a simple salad in 20 minutes.

Get the ingredients right for dal

I love a simple dal. We grew up eating a simple moong masoor dal with cumin seeds and fried garlic. I can’t have it any other way. And to be honest, getting a basic dal right can be very difficult. I’ve broken it down into a simple formula, and you’ll get amazing dal every time, from the convenience of your instant pot. The basic flavor in this dal is added with the usual suspects. Salt, Kashmiri laal mirch, turmeric, cumin and a pinch of garam masala. I don’t know why garam masala is used in such large amounts. A little goes a long way. Get these basics down and you’ll never miss your mom’s dal again, because you’ll be able to make it yourself.

How to make instant pot dal

You can make this stove top, but who has time for dal to bubble away for an hour? I surely don’t, which is why I use my instant pot, which is essentially a pressure cooker. Dal is the sole reason I bought my instant pot, and it rarely gets to cook anything else. It’s as simple as adding washed lentils to the intact pot along with the spices and water. Then let the machine do the cooking. Then add a Tarka, which is basically oil infused with garlic, cumin and dried red chillies, and enjoy with steamed basmati or roti.

More delicious Pakistani recipes to try

Do you enjoy the flavors of home? Try these simple recipes and you’ll be transported back to Pakistan through your kitchen!

Quick Chicken Jalfrezi

Achari Chicken Handi

Matar Pulao (Pea Pilaf)

Tori Sabzi (Zucchini)

instant pot dal

Instant Pot Dal

This nutrient rich instant pot Dal is quick, easy and tastes delicious! Everyone should have abasic dal recipe in their repertoire and this one tastes just like Mom's.
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4


  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker



  • 1/2 cup moong dal split mung beans
  • 3/4 cup masoor dal red split lentils
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri laal mirch chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt add more if needed
  • 1/3 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/3 tsp garam masala

Tarka (Infused Oil)

  • 1/4 cup oil flavorless
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 whole dried red chilies


  • garam masala
  • fresh dhania cilantro


  • If your lentils are not clean wash them in a strainer to get out all the impurities. Add everything listed under daal to your instant pot.
  • Place the lid on your instant pot, set the vent to seal, and set the pressure cooker timer to 7 minutes. Once done, carefully release the steam. The lentils should be tender by now. If they are still not cooked through pressure cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Once the lentils are cooked through, turn on the saute setting for 5 minutes. If your dal is too lumpy add some more water, if it is too liquidy, the water will evaporate with the saute setting. Stir occasionally and taste for seasoning.
  • In a small frying pan add all the ingredients under tarka/infused oil. Fry until the garlic is a light golden brown, then carefully pour the infused oil into the dal and mix to combine. Serve with a garnish of garam masala and fresh coriander.


Lentils. I love this lentil ratio, but if you prefer mixing it in different quantities go right ahead!
Consistency. I prefer a soup like consistency for my dal. It’s how I grew up eating it. If you want it to be slightly thicker add 1/2 cup less water to the instant pot, and you can alway sauté it longer to evaporate more liquid. 
Spice. I usually add more spice than what’s listed, so adjust the spice level according to your personal taste. 
How to serve dal. I love dal with steamed basmati rice, naan or roti. A simple salad with a squeeze of lemon juice goes great as a side. 
Keyword Daal, Dal, Instant Pot Dal, Mixed Lentils

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