Instant Pot Rice and Dal (Pot in Pot Method)

Make India’s ultimate comfort food – rice and dal together at the same time in the Instant Pot!

The recipe uses pot in pot method which cooks both rice and dal together in one go.

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 shares/features vegetarian instant pot recipes and ideas from all around the web!

rice and dal in a black bowl with a red chili and a spoon

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People often ask me what is so great about the Instant Pot and why has it become so popular?

The number one reason I always give is the hands free cooking time that it provides. I wrote more about it HERE.

The other thing which I absolutely love about the instant pot is the convenience of making multiple dishes on one go.

It saves me so much time on busy days. For example you can easily make rice and dal together in your pot without any baby sitting.

Isn’t that super convenient?

What is the Pot-in-Pot (PIP) Method

Pot-in-Pot or PIP as is commonly refereed is the method of pressure cooking food in a separate bowl that’s placed on a steam rack with water in the main pot.

The steam is generated by the water in the main pot which cooks the food placed in the separate bowl above the rack.

The technique is used in making cakes, cheesecakes, lasagna and you can even use it to make rice, quinoa etc.

Another good use of PIP method is to cook multiple dishes at the same time. The idea is to cook things together which take the similar amount of time to cook.

Here are few examples for you guys to understand this better

white basmati rice and toor/moong/masoor dal – they can cook together at the same time and you can do PIP with them

brown rice and chana masala/rajma – again perfect pairing

You get the idea right?

For this recipe I cooked a basic rice and dal using the pot-in-pot method. It’s a super easy meal, hassle free and so comforting!

instant pot with cooked dal and a bowl of rice in the back

Instant Pot Rice and Dal

So the reason I am posting this recipe is because I have been getting this a lot – how to cook dal and rice together in the IP? 

Several people face problems as either the dal or the rice remains uncooked.

Here’s what you need to follow to make sure dal and rice turn out perfect every time

✓ Cook the dal in the main pot always and rice in a separate smaller bowl. If you will put dal and rice in separate containers and nothing (but only water) in the main pot and do the PIP method, chances are your dal will be uncooked.

✓ Choose dals which cook easily for example toor dal (split pigeon peas lentil), yellow moong dal (split moong bean lentil), masoor dal (red lentils). If you want to cook urad sabut dal (whole black lentils) with the PIP method, it might result in uncooked dal.

✓ Use a long leg trivet inside the pot. Don’t use the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot. It sits too low and then the rice bowl might just submerge in the dal while cooking.

✓ Cover the top of the rice bowl, either with a lid or aluminium foil. There will be condensation as pot gets to pressure and I don’t like liquid falling into the rice.

Of course it’s a personal choice and and you not cover the bowl too.

✓ Make sure the dal you are using is not old.

dal and rice in a black bowl with a red chili and lime wedge

Here are the timings that you should follow for cooking different dals with rice using Pot-in-Pot method

toor dal & white rice – 8 to 9 minutes high pressure with natural pressure release

yellow moong dal & white rice – 5 to 6 minutes high pressure with natural pressure release

masoor dal & white rice – 5 minutes high pressure with natural pressure release

chana dal & white rice – 10 to 11 minutes high pressure with natural pressure release

You can reduce the cooking time for chana dal if you soak it for an hour. Then pressure cook only for 8 minutes.

This recipe makes a simple yet delicious dal and plain rice- both cooked to perfection. It really can’t get more comforting than this.

This is one of those recipes which I always make when I want something super comforting and have no time to prepare an elaborate meal.

Sarvesh is a huge dal-chawal (rice) fan so I can pretty much feed him this everyday of the week and he would not complain.

 

Accessories required for Cooking Rice and Dal Together

To make this recipe, you would need a long leg trivet and a stackable steel container.

Here’s what I have used in this recipe.

Stainless Steel Steaming Rack, 6 Inch Diameter, 2-3/4 Inch High

✓ Stackable Steamer Insert Pans

Bowl Clip Gripper

Method

1- Rinse rice until water turns clear and then drain the water. Place the rinsed and drained rice in a steel container.

2- Add water and oil to it and give a quick stir. You may also add pinch of salt if you like. Set this aside and start making the dal in the main pot.

3- Press saute button on the instant pot and once it displays hot, add oil and then add cumin seeds to the steel pot. Let the seeds sizzle for few seconds.

4- And then add chopped onion, garlic and green chili. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions soften a bit.

step by step pictures of making rice and dal together in the instant pot

5- Then add in the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.

6- Add the rinsed dal to the pot along with water, turmeric powder and salt. Give it a good stir.

7- Now, place a long leg trivet inside the pot.

8- Then place the rice container on top of the trivet. I cover the container with a lid or aluminium foil but you may leave it uncovered too.

step by step pictures of making rice and dal together in the instant pot

9- Close the pot with its lid and press the pressure cook or manual button. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.

10- Once the pressure has released naturally, open the lid and carefully remove the lid from the rice container. Remove the rice container from the pot carefully using a pair of tongs.

11- Give the dal a stir. I also added extra 1/2 cup water here as the dal was too thick for my liking. If using spinach, press the saute button now and add the spinach leaves. Let the dal simmer on saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the leaves wilt.

12- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.

step by step pictures of making rice and dal together in the instant pot

Enjoy rice and dal – comfort in a bowl!

rice and dal in a bowl with a lemon wedge

If you’ve tried this Instant Pot Rice and Dal Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Instant Pot Rice and Dal

It's so easy to cook a comforting meal of Rice and Dal together at the same time using the pot-in-pot method in your Instant Pot! Vegan and gluten-free.

rice and dal in a black bowl with a red chili and a spoon
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword rice and dal
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 581 kcal
Author: Manali
4.67 from 3 votes
Print

Ingredients

For the Rice

  • 2 cups white basmati rice, 380 grams
  • 2.5 cups water, 20 oz, use 3 cups if you prefer softer rice
  • 1 teaspoon oil, 5 ml, optional but recommended

For the Dal

  • 1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, use oil of choice
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toor dal, 50 grams, split pigeon pea lentil
  • 1/2 cup yellow moong dal dhuli, 50 grams, split moong bean lentil
  • 3 cups water, 24 oz, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach, optional
  • small lemon, juice of

Instructions

  1. Rinse rice until water turns clear and then drain the water. Place the rinsed and drained rice in a steel container.

  2. Add water and oil to it and give a quick stir. You may also add pinch of salt if you like. Set this aside and start making the dal in the main pot.

  3. Press saute button on the instant pot and once it displays hot, add oil and then add cumin seeds to the steel pot. Let the seeds sizzle for few seconds.

  4. And then add chopped onion, garlic and green chili. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions soften a bit.

  5. Then add in the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.

  6. Add the rinsed dal to the pot along with water, turmeric powder and salt. Give it a good stir.

  7. Now, place a long leg trivet inside the pot and then place the rice container on top of the trivet. I cover the container with a lid or aluminium foil but you may leave it uncovered too.

  8. Close the pot with its lid and press the pressure cook or manual button. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally.

  9. Once the pressure has released naturally, open the lid and carefully remove the lid from the rice container. Remove the rice container from the pot carefully using a pair of tongs.

  10. Give the dal a stir. I also added extra 1/2 cup water here as the dal was too thick for my liking. If using spinach, press the saute button now and add the spinach leaves. Let the dal simmer on saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the leaves wilt.

  11. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and enjoy hot rice and dal!

Recipe Notes

  1. You can use ghee in place of oil in the dal to give it extra flavor.
  2. You can do any tadka (tempering) of choice in the dal like use mustard seeds, curry leaves, hing, dried red chilies etc.
  3. The dal recipe used a combination of toor dal and moong dal. You can use 100% toor dal too. If using 100% moong dal reduce the cook time to 6 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Rice and Dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 581 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Sodium 519mg 22%
Potassium 544mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 110g 37%
Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
Sugars 3g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 34.3%
Vitamin C 16.7%
Calcium 9.3%
Iron 24.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

18 thoughts on “Instant Pot Rice and Dal (Pot in Pot Method)


  1. I made this tonight and it was enjoyed by all – even the kids, who typically don’t enjoy dhal. This was far easier than my usual dhal recipe and I appreciate that there are no cloves in this one as they usually leave my mouth feeling numb-ish. I’ll make a double recipe next time!

    I also made your matar paneer recipe tonight and it was equally a hit.

    The chilies I used weren’t overly spicy so my kids didn’t need the side of yogurt I gave them. They ate it with a bit of maple syrup for dessert instead 🙂

    Thank you for the recipe. Much enjoyed and appreciated.


  2. Manali’ recipes are very easy to follow. I always wanted something which uncomplicated the procedure of cooking simple food in IP.
    I have her book too and have been trying various recipes. She gives variations for each recipe which makes it easier and doable.
    Many thanks! This PIP recipe is my favorite and a big hit.

  3. Hi Manali! I have your cookbook and this is my first time visiting the blog. You use “green chili” in a lot of recipes – can you clarify a specific type of chili? There are so many! Or does one of your posts show a photo of the chilies you usually use? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Allison, so it’s actually known as green chili only in India..there’s no other name. Here the closest is Thai Chilies, the thin green ones, you find them at all Indian and Asian grocery stories. See the picture in this post – https://www.cookwithmanali.com/dal-fry/ that’s the green chili on top of the dal, that’s how it looks. hope this helps!


  4. Hi,

    I did this and the Dal tastes great, but the rice was very undercooked. I used your exact recipes, cooking times, etc. What do you recommend I do to even it out?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Arjit…it can depend on quality/brand of rice…I always do this ratio and basmati rice comes out perfect. If yours didn’t, next time soak the rice for 30 minutes before and then do the same steps. hope this helps..

    2. Am I supposed to leave the water in the container with the rice when I put it in the instant pot? Or should I drain it before?

      When I did it this time I drained it first.

      1. You mean the rice container had no water in it when you pressure cooked it? You rinse the rice first until water turns clear. Then you add the rinsed rice to the steel container and then add water to it. Of course the rice container needs water in order for the rice to cook. there’s a video also, please watch it.

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