Instant Pot Chana Dal


Easy and delicious Instant Pot Chana Dal is comforting and vegan and you can make this recipe in no time using your instant pot!

If you love all the Instant Pot vegetarian/vegan recipes that I share on the blog, please join me on this Facebook Group – Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes. The group would share/feature vegetarian instant pot recipes and ideas from all around the web!


instant pot chana dal

So I am back with my Instant Pot series. I realize that I haven’t shared an IP recipes on the blog for quite some time now and that’s because I wasn’t in my kitchen and I had no access to IP in India. But now expect lots of Indian Instant Pot recipes in the coming weeks. Seriously though, if you are not an Indian and love Indian food, you might want to buy this cool gadget. It will make things so much easier. And if you are an Indian, you must buy this because we can’t live without pressure cooker and IP is a major upgrade to the regular pressure cooker plus it’s so much more. [I haven’t been paid by anyone to say all this, I just love instant pot and so sharing my honest opinion with you guys.]

I made this simple instant pot chana dal the other day and it came together so quickly. Unlike the other yellow lentils like moong and toor/arhar, chana dal takes little more time to cook. Some people soak it for few hours before using in the recipe. If you were to cook chana dal in a pan on stove top, I would highly recommend soaking for few hours or even overnight but when you are making this in the instant pot, you don’t have to do anything. Simply cook on high pressure and it will be nicely cooked. That is what is so amazing about pressure cooking, it drastically reduces the cooking time.

Dal in India is made in so many ways and there’s absolutely no wrong or right way of cooking it. I come from a place in India where dal is cooked literally like a soup, it’s that thin but if I add that much water and share here, most of my non-Indian readers would think “wow that’s so soupy” because the dal that you get in Indian restaurants here in US, they are always on the thicker side. These restaurants have clearly created a lot of misconceptions about Indian food. Actually Indian dal is mostly thin, in major parts of the country. I know in UP and Bihar, dal is really thin (because I belong to these states) and so is the dal in Gujarat. Of course what consistency of dal you like is a personal preference but I just wanted to make this clear.

People add several kind of tadka/tempering to the dal. It can be cumin, curry leaves, mustard seeds etc. I added a simple tadka to this instant pot chana dal however I didn’t add it in the beginning, rather I let the dal cook in the IP and then made the tadka in the pan and added to the cooked dal. I really like the strong flavors when we put the tadka in the end. If you want to make this entirely in the IP, you may do the tempering before and then add tomatoes and chana dal. Hope you guys enjoy this recipe.




Place all ingredients from 1-7 in the Instant Pot.

Close the lid, set valve to sealing. Press the manual button and then adjust timing to 12 minutes. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes and then let the pressure release naturallu (NPR) which means you wait till the floating valve goes down on its own, around 20 minutes.

Open the lid and give a stir. Press the “keep warm/cancel button and then press the “saute” button.

Meanwhile heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them crackle.

Add hing, chopped garlic and dried red chilies (break red chilies into 2 for extra spice).

Cook till garlic turns light golden brown. Remove pan from heat and add the prepared tempering to the IP.

Give a good stir. You may also mash some dal with back of your spoon at this point.

Add lemon juice and mix.

Finally add chopped cilantro and stir.

Serve chana dal over boiled rice. Enjoy.

* Use a combination of ghee (clarified butter) and oil in the tempering for extra flavor. Keep in mind though, ghee isn’t vegan so if you wish to keep this recipe vegan, don’t use ghee.

* Use gluten-free hing if you are following a GF diet.

* Break both the dried red chilies into small pieces to make the dal spicier. I broken only 1 and left the other as such.

Instant Pot Chana Dal

Vegan Chana Dal made in the instant pot! Serve it over boiled rice for a comforting meal.
instant pot chana dal
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 3
Author: Manali
5 from 9 votes


  • 3/4 cup 158 grams chana dal, rinsed, also known as split garbanzo beans
  • 1 to mato, 140 grams, chopped
  • 1.5 - 2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder/cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala


  • 2 teaspoons oil, use any oil of choice
  • 2 garlic, 3-4 grams, finely chopped
  • pinch of hing, also known as asafoetida (make sure it's gluten-free if following a GF diet)
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, adjust to taste

    1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish


      1. Place the first 7 ingredients in the Instant Pot.
      2. Close the lid, set valve to sealing. Press the manual button and then select high pressure and set time to 12 minutes.
      3. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally (NPR). [Note: you can soak the chana dal for an hour and then do high pressure for 7-8 minutes only].
      4. Open the lid and give a stir. Press the "keep warm/cancel" button and then press the "saute" button.
      5. Meanwhile heat oil in a pan on stove-top on medium heat.
      6. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add hing, chopped garlic and dried red chilies (break red chilies into 2 for extra spice).
      7. Cook till garlic turns light golden brown. Remove pan from heat and add the prepared tempering to the IP.
      8. Give a good stir. You may also mash some dal with back of your spoon at this point.
      9. Add lemon juice and cilantro and serve chana dal with rice.

      Instant Pot Chana Dal

      37 thoughts on “Instant Pot Chana Dal

        1. That was fast, thanks for trying Indira. Glad you liked it and next time just cook on high pressure for 10 minutes if you like slightly under-cooked dal. When testing this recipe, I first cooked it on high for 10 minutes but that was under-cooked for me so 12 minutes was just about right (for me). You can always soak the dal for an hour and then do high pressure for 7-8 minutes.

      1. Sounds like a great recipe, Manali! Question: what is the purpose of hitting “keep warm/cancel” button, then the “sauté” button? And then, how long do you keep it on “sauté” for? Can’t wait to try this. Just picked up some supplies from the local South Asian grocery! 😀

        1. Hi Mathew, you won’t be able to press the saute button until you press the cancel button first (as dal is on “keep warm” mode once the pressure time is up) so that’s why I mentioned that. Keep the dal on saute till you make the tadka/tempering and once you add that maybe just bring it all to a boil for 1-2 minutes? Hope that helps and you enjoy your meal 🙂

          1. Perfect Manali! Yes, I knew I would have to “cancel”, but wasn’t sure how long to keep it on “sauté” for. 🙂

      2. I just found your site and it looks amazing. I’m looking forward to trying so many of your recipes. But first, I have a couple of questions I’m hoping you can answer. What size IP do you recommend for a single or two person family? I have the smallest one in the box unopened, so I could still exchange if need be. I would like the size that makes the most sense and is still good to use with your recipes. Second, the red peppers, where do I buy those and is there a more specific name for them? Thank you for sharing your talents! I am really looking forward to getting started.

        1. Hi Verna, I would recommend getting the 6qt. I have both the 6 and 3 qt…3 qt is good for making a quick side/rice etc. Although you can make almost all my recipes in 3 qt too, I recommend the 6qt because you can do a lot more with it – for example if you plan to make a cheesecake/cake in your IP, you would need a 6-7 inch pan to fit it and that can’t fit in the 3 qt..also the pot-in-pot method where you cook 2 different things at one time, you need space to place different containers – so again 6 qt makes more sense. I think overall 6 qt is just better even if it’s for a family of 2! The red peppers – they are dried red chilies, you can find them at any Indian grocery store or even on amazon – (affiliate). Hope this helps!

      3. Hi, this was my first recipe in an instant pot and we loved it! I was worried when I opened the lid, it seemed very thin, but once it simmered on saute for a few minutes and I mashed some dal up with the spoon it was perfect! thanks for a great recipe.
        I would like to double or triple this recipe, I’m guessing though that I won’t double or triple the water. Any suggestions?

        1. glad to know! If you like thick dal, don’t double the water and cook exactly for the same amount of time..I will maybe not double the seasoning but like do 1.5 times..but if you like spices, you may double it too. Hope this helps!

      4. Hi Manali, thanks for the great recipes. This was my first recipe ever in my first instapot cook ever 🙂
        I was in Mt. Shasta and could not find dried split garbanzos, only whole.
        My chana dal turned out hard and chewy, so I guess I had to pressure cook longer to get them to soften as yours. Anyhow, I added water, put it in soup mode for 30m more and opened/stirred a few times. It turned out pretty well. I’ll try again with the proper split garbanzos next time!

        1. Oh and I had tripled the recipe on all ingredients + water, maybe that’s what caused problems! When you have more ingredients you have to cook longer!!

        2. Hi Mark! Oh yes garbanzo beans can’t be substituted for chana dal..I usually soak garbanzo beans overnight and then cook on manual for 25 minutes at least. Chana Dal takes very less time to get cooked in comparison. I am glad it worked for you in the end though!

      5. Hi! Do you start out with dried Chana Dal, or do you soak it overnight first? If soaking – how much liquid to I cover the Chana Dal with? Thanks in advance, and I’m looking forward to trying this!

        1. Hi Melissa, you don’t really need to soak chana dal. Compared to other commons dals that we use in India chana dal does take a little more time to cook but definitely doesn’t require soaking. If you want, you can soak for 30 minutes in double the amount of water and then reduce the cooking time to say 8 minutes? Hope this helps!

      6. I just tried it in my new 6 Qt Instapot and it was perfect! Thanks so much! I used 2 cups of water.

        If your family really likes dal then I would suggest always doubling the recipe as it makes a small amount.

      7. Hi there!

        Love this recipe!

        1) Can I use a bit of amchur if I don’t have a lemon handy? And would it be ok to add it to the tadka instead of the instant pot?

        2) I find that 12 min doesn’t really get my channe very soft. Do you soak yours overnight or should I try 15 min instead?

        1. Hi Sean, Glad you enjoyed this recipe!
          1) yes you can use bit of amchur without any problem. Yes add to the tadka, will be okay.
          2) If you like really soft chana dal, I recommend soaking for 1 hour and then cooking for 12 minutes, it will be soft.

          Hope that helps!

      8. I haven’t tried your dal recipe yet but I plan to. It looks amazing.

        When I cook dal in an instant pot I noticed that when it is just out of the pot I can taste all of the layers of spices and it is amazing but once it is reheated the spices all blend together and you lose a lot of the complexities of the dish.

        Have you noticed this and if so do you have any advice to prevent this from happening?


        1. hmm Ron yes the flavors mix in together later but most people tend to like that, including me. I am not sure how you can prevent that, since that’s bound to happen when you cook with so many spices!

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