The Edgy Veg

instant pot dal

instant pot indian dalThis traditional Indian dish is made with aromatic spices, lentils, tomatoes, and cilantro. It is usually served with basmati rice or naan, or both.


That’s why we’re loving the Instant Pot. It’s a super easy and quick way to prep your meals and let them cook while you’re off doing other things. Just set it and forget it. James and I are both really bad with routines and goal setting so I’m hoping that this guy, along with some solid willpower, will help us stay on track. You can of course make this recipe on the stove without an Instant Pot as well. Today’s recipe (in case you’ve forgotten by now thanks to my diatribe) is an easy, vegan Indian Dal. This lentil dal recipe is one of my favourites. I am obsessed with Indian food, but it’s just so darn expensive to order in every 2 nights (yup you read that correctly). Dal is a term in the Indian subcontinent for dried, lentils, peas, and beans. The term is also used for various soups prepared from these. This yummy Indian dal curry is a nutritious and flavourful vegetarian (and vegan) dish that’s quick to whip up and makes amazing leftovers. There are MANY variations for preparing dal, but this one is my quick go-to. Serve this easy dal recipe with toasted garlic naan or rice and warm yourself from the inside out.

instant pot dalOkay, let’s start cooking!! On your instant pot, press the ‘Sauté’ button, add heat the coconut oil. Add one chopped onion and cook it until it’s translucent. Then stir in garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, cayenne, and mustard seeds, and cook for another minute until fragrant. This dish is going to make your home smell AMAZING! Hit the ‘Cancel’ button and add the lentils, water, salt, chopped tomatoes and mix to combine. Then, cover the Instant Pot with the lid, and close the pressure valve. Press the ‘Pressure Cook’ button and set the cooking time to 10 minutes. Never put your face or hands near this valve. After the timer sounds, wait 10 mins before opening the pressure valve. Then, open the valve and stand back!!!! Remove the lid and mix the lentil mixture, add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Serve this on its own, over basmati rice, or with naan (regular or garlic), and top it with fresh cilantro. Bon appetit!

instant pot indian dal recipe

4.9 from 24 reviews
Instant Pot Dal Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This super easy Indian Dal is an obvious choice for a quick vegan dinner. This recipe makes the best homemade Dal ever, so authentic without crazy ingredients. It is made in an instant pot, so you only dirty one pot! Bonus! Vegan Indian food at home has never been easier.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: serves 4
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp cayenne add more if you like your indian food spicy!
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1½ cups of dried brown or red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped + extra for garnish
  1. On your instant pot, press the 'Sauté' button, add heat the oil.
  2. Add onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Stir in garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, cayenne, and mustard seeds and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  4. Hit the 'Cancel' button and add lentils, water, salt, chopped tomatoes and mix to combine.
  5. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid, and close the pressure valve. Press the 'Pressure Cookl' button and set the cooking time to 10 minutes.
  6. After the timer sounds, wait 10 mins before opening the pressure valve.
  7. After 10 minutes, open the valve and stand back!!!!
  8. Mix the lentil mixture and add the chopped cilantro.
  9. Stir to combine, and serve over basmati rice or with naan (regular or garlic), and top it with fresh cilantro.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 serving Calories: 192 Fat: 7.75g Carbohydrates: 17.3g Sugar: 3.65g Sodium: 301mg Fiber: 6.75g Protein: 8.4g Cholesterol: 0mg

Hi! I’m Candice aka The Edgy Veg! I veganize popular food recipes for vegans, plant-based diets, eco-conscious eaters & people who are trying to eat more plants over… y’know animals or their by-products. I hope you enjoy this tasty vegan recipe!

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Made this recipe? Let me know what you think by leaving a ★★★★★ star rating & comment below. It truly helps me & I really appreciate any support! Feel free to share your food photos on social and tag me @edgyveg so I don’t miss it! 



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  • Helen says:

    Very tasty and easy to make! I will definitely be making this again!

  • I’ve tried a lot of dal recipes, but this one was by far the best. The spices were perfectly balanced, and the texture was creamy and satisfying. I also appreciated that the recipe included some tips for customizing the dish to your taste.

  • Amazing dish!

  • Spot on dish! Thank you! Made it for my boyfriend and he absolutely loved it!

  • Amazing recipe and flavour. What is the serving size that correlates with the nutritional information and does this include rice/naan? Thank you!

  • In last few months I was follow your recipe and try to make it in my home. Everytime it was so yummy. Thank you for your recipe article. I hope you will continue this journey.

  • Last night I was trying this recipe in my home, it was so yummy. My all family person love this Instant pot dal-Indian dal item. Thank you for your recipe. I hope you will continue more yummy recipe article.

  • Hi just made this but forgot the tomatoes. It was still delicious. Will make it again and will try your other recipes.

  • Mila CS says:

    Pressure cook at low or high?

  • Mila CS says:

    So yummy nutritious. Can be adjusted to lighter soup by adding 1/2 to 3/4 cup veg or chicken broth. Will be a regular add on to our fave recipes. Thank you. 🤗😋

  • Very yummyIndian recipe. I wasn’t sure how authentic it would taste, but after making it and tasting it I will definitely make it again!

  • Made this for a quick lunch and it was perfect! Used a mix of brown AND red lentils (worked great!) and added chopped spinach at the end. Delicious! Thanks.

  • Valerie says:

    I made this with just a pinch of cayenne and a side of white basmati rice. My picky 4 year old finished his whole bowl! I’m wondering if I could make this with split red lentils or would I need to change some of the ratios?

    • EdgyVeg says:

      I haven’t tried that! Let me know if you test it

    • Yes! I used a combination of split red and yellow lentils, and it turned out perfectly! I also added a quarter pound of chopped carrots because i like carrots. I also use a hand blender because i like the smoother consistency. I eat it several times a week.

  • Katie Percival says:

    Hello! I’m wondering if it will taste okay without tomatoes? Or could I use a type of canned tomato ?

  • I’m making it for the 3rd time! So great, it’s easier than what I have ever thought about Indian food!

  • Hello! Have been a great fan of your recipes. So tasty and came out great! Thank you much and keep sharing it.

  • As others have said this was a huge hit. No cayenne but did add dried red pepper flakes. My wife and I spent a lot of time in India and this is one of the best dals we’ve eaten. Making it again tonight.

  • This was a very easy recipe, thanks for sharing. If I am double the quantity, would I also double the cooking time?

    • Try the regular cooking time then check to see how far along it is. Keep your eye on it after the suggested time

  • This recipe is amazing. I’ve been searching for a dal fry recipe that didn’t taste like a bland. I ate this on its own without rice or naan for a full taste test and had to resist the strong urge to eat the entire bowl! Thank you for posting my new favorite recipe – it’s perfect. Worthy of a 5 star review!

    • Thanks so much Jimmy for this comment and 5-star review! Makes me so happy to hear that you enjoy my recipe(s)! Thanks for sharing the love 🙂

  • hi EdgyVeg, I make this recipe every week now! It is delicious. Thank you

  • Loved it! Gave a friend a sample and they thought it was from an Indian restaurant!

  • Jai Sequoia says:

    Great recipe thank you. The font you use at the top of this page is way to faint to read comfortably. The recipe font is nice and black. I’d recommend darkening the rest or changing fonts. Thought you’d want to know. Looking forward to making Dahl today. Nice and comforting and inexpensive

  • Mason Loy says:

    Hi there,

    Looking to make this on the weekend. I am wondering if I can use split green lentils and what would be the time on the IP?

  • you can make daal without 90% of those ingredients. In fact most households in India make it with maybe 3 basic ingredients

    Boiled daal
    Phodni/chauka (essentially dry spices fried in oil)
    The most common way to make phodni is fry curry leaves, dry red chilli, and mustard seeds)

  • Rebecca says:

    Made this a few days ago, I don’t own an instant pot, it’s on my wish list though! So I pre-sauteed the onion, garlic, ginger, spices, then put everything in my slow cooker low 8 hrs. I used pre-cooked black lentils I had in my freezer, didn’t have quite enough but also added a bunch of frozen spinach for a veggie boost. Love how simple and inexpensive this recipe is and that it made a huge batch! So good 😀

  • Made this tonight! Very easy and tasty! Will make again. I added more cayenne – 1/2 tsp. – still not spicy enough. Next time I will add red pepper flakes.

  • Wow! Who knew lentils could taste this good? Aside from using my own Garam Masala mix, I did not change anything in this recipe. The first time I used brown lentils, and it was great. Last night I used red lentils, and it was even better! (Or maybe we were just hungrier.) It’s a little mushier when using red lentils because they don’t hold their shape as well, but who cares how it looks, it’s wonderful!

  • Q Lam says:

    This recipe is easy to make and turns out delicious every time! My Indian husband says it tastes exactly like the way his mom makes it. I couldn’t ask for a better compliment than that!

  • My first time ever making dal and it turned out perfectly! My Indian husband said I nailed it and that it’s exactly like the way his mom makes it. I can’t ask for a better compliment than that! 😃

  • Stephanie Duell says:

    If I want to double or triple the recipe, does it change the cooking time on the instapot?

  • Stevie Kenyon says:

    Wondering if the lentils called for are dry or canned. I’d prefer to use dry … any adjustments required? Thanks!

  • Instantpot123 says:

    If I wanted to use 2 cups or double the recipe should I increase the cook time?

    • Pressure cooking times should not be affected by the amount of food you are cooking, since cooking under pressure cooks so evenly, as long as you don’t exceed the maximum amount you can cook in your pot. Of course when you are using lentils or rice, or other ingredients that soak up liquid, keep the ratio of the water/liquid to the other ingredients the same.

  • I’d rather use soaked beans just to get rid of the gassy parts 🙂 What adjustment would I make if cooking this with soaked beans? Thanks!

  • Can this be doubled and fit in a 6qt pot and not get the burn message do you think?

    Also when you say curry powder, do you mean like madras curry powder or the generic one from McCormick or a similar company?

  • I made this last night and it was a hit with the whole family. I toned the spices down a bit for our four 8 year-old kids and they cleaned their plates and some had seconds! Thank you!

    • I make this for camping trips, and add more veg. Double the tomatoes, add some seeded jalapeños, add a bell pepper, add carrots, and sometimes I up the onions too (depends on the size of my onions when I make it).
      When I do this, to compensate for the extra liquid in the onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, I drop the water amount by around a half cup to a cup, making sure everything is well and truly covered by water before starting to cook. I also double the spices and start with 1.5 times the spices, and add to taste at the end. Let it sit overnight, pack it into some containers with cooked rice, toss in the freezer, and 2 days later you have freezer bricks for your camping cooler that turn into food instead of slushy water (:
      Thank you for this recipe!

      • I keep forgetting to comment! I’ve literally used this recipe at least once a week for probably a year now! I add green chilies at the beginning, double all the spices and stir in spinach at the end. It’s so easy and so good. Thank you!

  • Loved it! Gave a friend a sample and they thought it was from an Indian restaurant!

  • I’m hoping to try this, but wouldn’t the cooking times be different for brown and red lentils?

  • Hi, I’m a little confused, between Curry Powder and Garam Masala, aren’t they one of the same thing?

    • They are both spice mixes used in Indian cuisine, however, their flavour profiles and ingredients are different. Both are delicious and they taste amazing together

  • Do you cook it on high or low pressure? I can’t find that info in the recipe.

  • Hey in the video you say add 1/2 cup water but the list above says 3 cups for the Indian Dal…which one is it?

  • Shama Kassam says:

    Hi, this recipe looks amazing. Looking forward to trying it this weekend. Do you soak the daal before putting it into the slow cooker?

  • Jennifer Hunt says:

    So Yummy! I’m loving you instant pot recipes! Keep them coming! I have no idea how to use it besides your recipes 🙈

  • I made dal for the very first time for my husband and in-laws and gosh did they love it. Everything from the spices to the texture was perfect my mil said. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Melanie Butler says:

    I’ve made this twice already and it’s probably one of my favorites!! Thanks!!

  • I have been experimenting with dal recipes and will give this one a try. It looks really good.

  • How long would I cook this in a slow cooker on high?

  • Kristen Anderson says:

    Made this for dinner last night and it was a huge hit!


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