Instant Pot Dal Makhani

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: December 14, 2020

Last Updated: February 22nd, 20240 Comments on Instant Pot Dal Makhani

My Instant Pot Dal Makhani makes light work of this creamy, decadent labour of love. The most luxurious texture and a full, wholesome and hearty blend of spice and lentils makes for a dish for the ages without the wait – ready in a quarter of the time of the stove top method.

A small pan of dal akahani - lentil curry

Dal Makhani is the most supremely luxurious lentil dal that has the most amazing texture and taste. Rich, creamy and buttery. When made the conventional way open a stove-top, it's a case of good things come to those who wait, but what if you could enjoy exactly the same delicious dal and cut the cooking time to just over an hour? You're in luck, my instant pot recipe slashes the cook time without sacrificing flavour. We could all do with waiting less in our lives, right?

What is Dal Makhani?

Dehli, India's vibrant and chaotic capital has given us some of the World's greatest food. From ??? to ???. But for me, one dish in particular remains one of my most favourite Indian dishes of all. Dal Makhani, a relative newcomer in the region's cuisine is a variation on old lentil dal recipes. It features whole Urad Dal (black gram), and often dried red kidney beans, cooked until soft which creates a creamy sauce then mixed with butter and cream. The resulting dal is rich, hearty and glossy. A filling dish eaten on its own or as part of mixed thali platters and Dehli-style table feasts. It's a labour of love, and when cooked conventionally can bubble merrily for up to 4 hours. My Instant Pot Dal makhani recipe takes only 1 hour, a fraction of the time.

Black Urad Dal for Instant Pot Dal Makhani

Why it works

It's decadent - That creamy sauce is something else! Truly addictive. If it were OK to eat from a ladle, I probably would.

It's filling - It's a dense, rich sauce that packs a punch of protein so will fill you up good. Pair it with rice or breads and any appetite be well taken care of.

It takes 1/4 of the time than regular dal makanhi. The instant pot makes light work of heavy cooking. Ready in just one hour and exactly the same as slow cooked dal makhani. Magic!

Stuff you'll need

In order to get this creamy, dreamy Instant Pot dal makhani ready to devour, you'll only need a few ingredients and one essential piece of kit.

  • Instant Pot - The Instant pot revolutionises this recipe, cutting the time down to 1/4 of the conventional method. You can also use a traditional pressure cooker.
  • Lentils - urad dal (black gram)
  • Fresh - garlic, ginger and tomato passata,
  • Spices - chilli powder, paprika, garam masala, salt & pepper
  • Dairy - butter and cream

Step by Step

This recipe in the Instant pot couldn't be easier. There's no pre-soaking of beans, no slaving on the stove-top. Just a quick hour in the pot and you're almost done. See for yourself...

  1. Step 1 - Add all the dal ingredients into the Instant pot. No need for pre-soaking - It's a myth that beans won't cook if you don't soak them. Trust me, these beans go in dry and come out supremely creamy. Cook at high pressure for 1 hour then release the pressure and open the pan.
  2. Step 2 - Add some butter and stir until melted.
  3. Step 3 - Add some cream and stir with the sauce function to reduce the dal for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Step 4 - After reducing the dal it should be rich and creamy.
  5. Step 5 - Serve hot!
Adding all the lentils, spices and tomato and more with water to the Instant Pot for Instant Pot Dal Makhani
Adding butter to the Instant Pot Dal Makhani
Adding cream to the Instant Pot Dal Makhani
Stirring the creamyI nstant Pot Dal Makhani
A small pan of dal akahani - lentil curry

Pro Tips to make your life easier

  • My best tip is that the beans don't need to be pre-soaked - they'll cook just fine from dried. Do rinse them though as they can release a bit of scum or grit of they haven't been washed.
  • You can also use dried kidney beans alongside the moong dal, in which case use the same volume/weight and use a combination of beans. You may need to cook the dal for a little longer too. No more than 90 minutes.
  • You can also add a drained can of cooked kidney beans at stage 2 of the recipe.

Serving and storing suggestions

  • I like to serve my dal makhani with rice or Indian breads. It's one dal that can be the complete meal - it's quite filling so does work units own.
  • I'll also serve this dal alongside other Indian curries like Saag Gosht, Kosha mangsho, Achari Chicken, Saag Aloo and Chicken Korma.
  • Fridge: Dal Makhani will stay fresh in the fridge for 5-6 days.
  • Freezer: This is an excellent contender for freezing. I freeze mine in single portions for over 3+ months. Cook from frozen in the microwave for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently (add a little water if it dries out too much). You can also defrost thoroughly and reheat in a pan until piping hot.
  • Make it vegan by stirring in coconut milk and vegan butter.


Stirring the Instant Pot Dal Makhani

Ready to get cooking?

If you like lentils, then THIS is the king of all dal! It's maybe not the most healthy, but it really packs a punch of filling decadence. It's truly one of my most favourite Indian dishes. Period. I'm always sure to have a few portions in the freezer, ready to eat whenever I feel the urge or am in need of a side dish for another of my Indian recipes. You'll be sure to agree... enjoy.

A small pan of dal akahani - lentil curry

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about my Instant Pot Dal Makhani? Let me know in the comments.

What does Dal Makhani taste like?

Dal Makhani is a rich, creamy dal curry that is mildly spiced, subtle earthy undertones and fragrance. The black gram/urad dal brings a light nuttiness to the sauce.

Is dal makhani similar to butter chicken?

Not really, although both get their name from a key component, butter. Dal Makhani (Butter Dal) and Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken). Both have a rich, creamy consistency, but flavours are different.

Is Dal Makhani spicy?

Traditionally, Dal Makhani is mildly spiced, but the recipe can be dialled up by adding a little hot chilli powder.

More Indian recipes with dal

If you liked Instant Pot Dal Makhani recipe, you'll be sure to enjoy more of my favourite Indian dishes that feature dal or beans.

A bowl of Kofta (meatball) curry drizzled with yoghurt and garnished with chopped cilantro

The Best Curry Recipes in the Cook Eat World.

Discover all my favourite curries from around Asia. Here are my Best Curry Recipes in the Cook Eat World.


A small pan of dal akahani - lentil curry

Instant Pot Dal Makhani

Rate this recipe

5 from 2 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 408

Video Recipe


Extra ingredients

  • 1 stick butter (unsalted)
  • ½ cup whipping/double cream
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Add the dal, garlic, ginger, chilli powder, paprika, garam masala, vegetable oil, salt and tomato to the Instant Pot. Stir in 6 cups of water then put on the lid to seal.
    Cook on 'High Pressure' for 1 hour.
  • Release the steam, then remove lid and stir well. The dal will be cooked and the sauce a little creamy.
    Stir in all the butter and cream, the turn on the 'Sauté' feature and cook the sauce for a further 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce into a thick, creamy texture. Be sure to stir regularly to avoid sticking.
    Turn off the pot, check for seasoning - it will most likely need more salt.


  • Serve my Instant Pot Dal Makhani with Indian breads like roti, naan, paratha or chapati. It's equally delicious with fluffy basmati rice.
  • I will often serve it alone or paired with other curries both vegetarian or meat.
Make it Vegan
  • Switch the butter and cream for vegan butter and coconut cream to make a vegan dal makhani
  • Cook on the stove top the same way, only cook gently for 3+ hours until the lentils are soft and creamy. You may want to add a little more water from time to time using this method to avoid the sauce drying up. Stir regularly to stop it sticking and burning on the bottom.
Storage & Reheating:
  • Fridge: Dal Makhani will stay fresh in the fridge for 5-6 days.Reheat in a microwave for 3-4 minutes until piping hot or in a pan until hot.
  • Freezer: This is an excellent contender for freezing. I freeze mine in single portions for over 3+ months. Cook from frozen in the microwave for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently (add a little water if it dries out too much). You can also defrost thoroughly and reheat in a pan until piping hot.


Calories: 408kcal (20%) | Carbohydrates: 33g (11%) | Protein: 14g (28%) | Fat: 26g (40%) | Saturated Fat: 16g (100%) | Cholesterol: 68mg (23%) | Sodium: 1019mg (44%) | Potassium: 256mg (7%) | Fiber: 12g (50%) | Sugar: 3g (3%) | Vitamin A: 1232IU (25%) | Vitamin C: 10mg (12%) | Calcium: 78mg (8%) | Iron: 5mg (28%)
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