North Indian comfort food, Dal Makhani is a lightly spiced creamy lentils 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 recipe delivers authentic flavor and creamy texture in less than an hour! 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 are Madras Lentils
Have you tried Costco "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), onions, red kidney beans, cream, butter, oil, salt, ginger, cumin, and chilies.
What is Dal Makhani
Dal Makhani or Makhni is a North Indian(Punjabi) dish made with whole black urad dal (black gram beans) and rajma (red kidney beans) cooked with butter, onion, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, spices and cream. This restaurant-favorite dish, is easy to make at home, especially in the Instant Pot that using this mostly hands-free recipe. A protein-packed, gluten-free and vegetarian meal that the whole family will enjoy.
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 has adzuki beans
- Dal Makhani also has garlic, cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala.
Ingredients for Dal Makhani
- Soaked Whole Urad Dal and Rajma - See recipe notes if you are using dry beans
- Onion, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste
- Spices - cumin seeds, turmeric, red chilli powder and garam masala
- Garnish - 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 in a stainless steel container. Place 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 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, Dal makhani is often served with Naan, Roti or Parathas and Jeera rice.
Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days making it a 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 a night before especially when I have to serve it for a party or get-togther. 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
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use dry beans?
Absolutely! I prefer soaking the beans overnight. But you can cook them unsoaked, by simply increasing the cooking time to 60 minutes and adding an extra cup of water.
More Vegetarian Indian recipes
★ Have you tried this recipe? We love your feedback, Please click on the stars in the recipe card below to rate.
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.
- 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.
♥ We LOVE to hear from you! Did you try this recipe? Please share your food photo with hashtag #ministryofcurry on Facebook or Instagram, so we can see it and our followers can enjoy it too! Thank you and Happy Cooking ♥ Subscribe to our Youtube Channel for tasty and easy video recipes. Looking for more Instant Pot recipes? Check out our delicious Instant Pot Recipe board on Pinterest.