North Indian comfort food, Dal Makhani is a lightly spiced creamy lentil dish that is cooked to perfection with warm spices such as garam masala and turmeric. Traditionally slow-cooked for hours, this easy, hands-off Instant Pot Dal Makhani recipe delivers authentic flavor and creamy texture in less than an hour! The best part is that you can also cook brown rice at the same time using pot in pot method.
The recipe was originally posted in Oct 2017 and has been updated with new photos and video
- What is Dal Makhani
- Ingredients for Dal Makhani
- How to make Daal Makhani in Instant Pot
- How to serve Dal Makhani
- Variations and Substitutions
- What are Madras Lentils
- Difference between Madras Lentils and Dal makhani
- How to make Madras Lentils in Instant Pot?
- How to Make Dal Makhani on Stove Top Pressure Cooker?
- More Indian Recipes with Lentils and Beans
What is Dal Makhani
Dal Makhani or Makhni is a North Indian(Punjabi) dish made by slow-cooking whole black urad dal (black gram beans) and rajma (red kidney beans) for hours with butter, onion, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, and spices. This restaurant-favorite dish is easy to make at home, especially in the Instant Pot which uses this mostly hands-free recipe that is cooked in just 50 minutes. A protein-packed, gluten-free, and vegetarian meal that the whole family will enjoy.
Ingredients for Dal Makhani
- Whole Urad Dal and Rajma - Traditionally the black gram beans and red kidney beans are soaked overnight which reduces the overall pressure cooking time. But you can cook them unsoaked, by simply increasing the cooking time to 60 minutes and adding an extra cup of water.
- Veggies - Onion, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic paste
- Spices - cumin seeds, turmeric, red chili powder, and garam masala
- Garnish - Heavy cream, cilantro, and dried fenugreek leaves
How to make Daal Makhani in Instant Pot
- Rinse and soak black gram beans (whole urad) and red kidney beans (rajma) in 3 cups of water for 6 hours or overnight.
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat oil. Add cumin seeds and onions and mix well.
- Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chili powder, salt, tomatoes, and beans (photos 1 - 2).
- Add 2 cups of water and give a quick stir.
- For optional pot-in-pot brown rice, place a tall trivet over the beans. Add rice, 2 cups of water, and salt to a stainless steel container. Place the rice container on the trivet (photos 3 - 4)
- Close the Instant Pot with the pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook for 30 minutes followed by Natural Pressure Release. Open the Instant Pot and set it to sauté mode.
- Carefully take out the rice bowl and the trivet. Mash the beans with the back of a spoon for a creamy texture. Stir in cream, garam masala, and garnish with cilantro. (photos 5 - 6)
How to serve Dal Makhani
Serve the Dal Makhani with brown rice with a side of beet raita or cucumber salad. If you are gluten-free, you can also pair it with Jowar Roti or Chilla. In India, the restaurant-style Dal makhani is often served with Roti or Parathas, and Jeera rice.
Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days making it perfect for meal prep. This is also a great make-ahead recipe as the flavors continue to develop over time. I often cook Dal Makhani the night before especially when I have to serve it for a party or get-together. You can also freeze Dal makhani - I would recommend leaving out the cream and adding it just before serving.
Variations and Substitutions
- Don't have time to soak the beans? - Add an extra one cup of water and pressure cook for 60 minutes
- Stove Top Recipe - Pressure cook for 45 minutes on medium heat and allow the pressure to release naturally
- Vegan Dal Makhani - Use coconut cream or cashew cream(blend cashews in water)Variations
- Diced tomatoes can be substituted with store-bought tomato puree
What are Madras Lentils
Have you tried Costco's "Tasty Bites Madras Lentils"? They are similar to the North Indian Dal Makhani except lighter on spices. And if you are curious, here are the ingredients on the package - water, tomatoes, lentils(adzuki beans or "chori" in hindi), onions, red kidney beans, cream, butter, oil, salt, ginger, cumin, and chilies.
Difference between Madras Lentils and Dal makhani
So here is the basic difference between Madras Lentils and my Dal Makhani recipe:
- Whole black gram beans are used to make Dal Makhani, while the Costco Madras Lentils have adzuki beans
- Dal Makhani also has garlic, cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala.
How to make Madras Lentils in Instant Pot?
Madras lentils are simply a less spicy version of Dal Makhani. So if you are trying to make Madras Lentils at home you can follow this same recipe with the following modifications:
- Use Adzuki beans instead of black gram beans
- Skip garlic and garam masala
- Add some butter along with cream at the end
How to Make Dal Makhani on Stove Top Pressure Cooker?
- Use soaked beans and follow the same steps as the Instant Pot recipe.
- Pressure cook for 45 minutes on medium heat.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally.
Absolutely! I prefer soaking the lentils overnight. But you can cook them unsoaked, by simply increasing the cooking time to 60 minutes and adding an extra cup of water.
You can use canned kidney beans. Since they are already cooked, I would recommend adding them after the pressure cooking cycle has been completed along with the heavy cream and garam masala
More Indian Recipes with Lentils and Beans
- Spinach dal
- Black eyed peas curry
- Rajma Masala
- Matki Chi Usal
- Chana Masala
- Curried Chickpeas with Spinach
Instant Pot Dal Makhani with Brown Rice
- 1 cup black gram beans (adzuki beans or whole brown lentils) **
- ⅓ cup red kidney beans **
- 1 tablespoon oil (ghee or butter)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups tomatoes diced
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup light cream **
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves optional
Optional Pot in Pot rice
- 1 cup brown rice rinsed and drained
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Rinse and soak black gram beans and red kidney beans in 3 cups of water. Overnight or 6-8 hours. Drain the water after soaking and keep the beans aside.
- Set Instant Pot to sauté mode and heat oil. Add cumin seeds to the oil and allow them to sizzle. Add onions and mix well.
- Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chili powder, salt, tomatoes and beans. Add water and mix well.
- To make pot-in-pot brown rice (optional step)- Add rice, water, and salt to a stainless steel container. Put a tall trivet over the beans. Place the rice container on the trivet.
- Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook (Hi) for 30 minutes followed by Natural Pressure Release. See notes for stove top method.
- Open Instant Pot and set to sauté mode. Carefully take out the Rice container and the trivet. Stir in cream, add garam masala and garnish with cilantro and dried fenugreek leaves.
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Can I make this in a slow cooker? I don’t have an instant pot
Yes! You can make it in the slow cooker.
Hi Laura - If making in a slow cooker then either don't use dried kidney beans, boil them for 10 mins first (on a hard boil) or use cooked kidney beans. Kidney beans cannot be cooked in a slow cooker as they contain a dangerous toxin that will not be destroyed in a slow cooker and will inflict severe food poisoning.
Absolutely love how quick easy and simple to follow this recipe is and tastes just like the dal makhni you would get at a restaurant in india. This one is a family and friends fav
Suzi M says
This was so good! I am definitely making it again.
Thank you for the feedback
Would it still be tasty if I don’t add the cream to it?
Can I use half and half instead of cream?
Yes! Half and half works too!
Wasn't as orange as yours but it was absolutely delicious, totally restaurant worthy. Thank Yoiu
Thank you for the feedback. The orange color comes from the Kashmiri red chili powder that is mild and bright red.
Hello! This looks amazing and I'm ready to try it out, but I don't have a pressure cooker. What would be the adaptations for using a normal pot + precooked lentils and beans? Thank you!
You can follow the same steps except cook the onions until they turn translucent or golden. Cook covered on medium heat for 10 to 15 mins. You may need to add more water to take into account any evaporation. Hope this helps.