Traditional Vegetarian Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes & Instant Pot Recipes from Indian and International Cuisines

Dal Makhani/Creamy Buttery Lentils – Instant Pot Method

Dal Makhani/Creamy Buttery Lentils – Instant Pot Method

Dal makhani is one of the most popular Indian dishes. Lentils and beans are cooked in a buttery gravy. Dal means lentils and Makhani means buttery. Creaminess in this dish is achieved by slow cooking the lentils and beans in a rich sauce made with butter, onions, tomatoes and cream. I have tried various versions of Dal Makhani recipes and all of them taste delicious.

The onion tomato gravy in most Dal Makhani recipes is almost similar to the onion tomato gravy used in the Rajma Masala recipe in my blog, except that in Dal Makhani preparation, the onion tomato gravy is cooked in butter instead of oil and lentils are slow cooked for a long time to get a creamy consistency. I wanted to post a recipe which has some variation in the onion tomato gravy. I found a recipe shared by a fellow blogger Brijdeep Kaur and bookmarked it a long time ago. She shared the stove top pressure cooker version of the recipe in her blog. She mentioned that she learnt this authentic Punjabi dish(Dal Makhani) from her mom. I compared this recipe with the previous versions of Dal Makhani recipes that I tried before. I noticed that the addition of yogurt is what makes it different from the other recipes. I tried this recipe and loved it. The addition of yogurt in the onion tomato gravy adds a wonderful creamy texture and a new flavor to this traditional Indian dish.

Last week, I made this dish in my Instant Pot and I was able to click the step by step pictures. I am sharing the Instant Pot method of making this creamy and delicious dish. Since Instant Pot has ‘Pressure Cook’ option, ‘Saute’ option and ‘Slow Cook’ option, this is a perfect dish to make in an Instant Pot, as we need to  use all these three modes of cooking, to make this dish. First, we need to pressure cook the lentils and beans in Bean/Chili mode, next we need to cook the onion tomato gravy in ‘Saute’ mode and finally slow cook everything in ‘Slow Cook’  mode. Slow cooking is the most important step for this recipe, to get the creamy texture(without the addition of cream) and restaurant/Dhaba  taste. Lets begin the process of making this dish in the Instant Pot.

I also shared the process of making it in a regular pressure cooker. Please refer to the notes in the bottom of the post.



Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Urad Whole(Black Mapte Beans) – 1 cup

Rajma(Red Kidney Beans) – 1/4 cup

Butter – 1&1/2 Tbsp.

Onion(Medium size) – 1(finely chopped)

Garlic cloves – 4(finely chopped)

Tomato(Medium size) -1 or 2 (I used 2 tomatoes)(Chopped into big cubes)

Fresh Ginger – 1 inch piece

Green chilli -1

Turmeric powder – 1/2 Tsp.

Red chilli powder – 1 Tsp.(You can add more or less as per desired spiciness)

Cumin seeds – 1 Tsp.

Cinnamon  – 1″ stick

Cloves – 2

Bay leaf – 1

Plain Yogurt – 1 cup

Kasoori Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves – 1 Tsp.

Garam masala powder – 1  Tsp.(I added 1/2 Tsp.)

Heavy whipping cream/Fresh cream – 2-3 Tbsp.(for garnishing)(optional)

Salt – as needed( Approximately 2 Tsp.)


Step 1:

Soak Urad and Red kidney beans for 12-16 hours.

Wash Urad dal and Red kidney beans/Rajma. Soak them together in a bowl of water for 12-16 hours(I soaked them overnight).

Step 2:

Pressure cook the beans in the Instant Pot.

Discard the soaking water from Urad dal and Rajma. Add Urad and Rajma in the instant pot insert. Add 3 cups water. Add 1/2 Tsp. salt and 1/4 Tsp. turmeric. Close the lid. Make sure that the sealing ring in placed under the lid and the anti block shield under the lid is placed and pressed in its position correctly. Turn the steam releasing valve on top of the lid to the ‘Sealing’ position.

Turn on the Bean/Chili mode. Just press ‘Bean/Chili’ button. The ‘Bean/Chili’ mode is a fully automated program to cook beans. The default display(cooking time) will be 30 minutes. The high pressure setting is selected by default in the ‘Bean/Chili’ mode. You will hear a beep when the beans is done. Let the pressure release naturally. Instant pot has a indicator pin next to the steam releasing valve to indicate if the steam is released or not. The pin drops down when the steam is completely released. Unplug the instant pot and open the lid when the pin drops down. Urad and Rajma should be soft and tender.

Step 3:

Strain the cooked Urad dal and Rajma. Save the strained liquid. We will use it later. Now the IP insert is empty.

Step 4:

Add yogurt to the IP insert and mix it with a spoon until creamy. Add the cooked and strained Urad dal and Rajma.  Mix it with a spoon.

Step 5:

Add chopped tomatoes, green chilli and ginger to a blender jar and puree them into a smooth paste.

Step 6:

Prepare the onion tomato gravy.

I have two inserts for instant pot. So I used the second insert to prepare the gravy. If you have only one insert, transfer the cooked beans and yogurt mixture to a different container. Rinse the insert and use it to prepare the onion tomato gravy.

Turn on the instant pot in ‘Saute’ mode. Just press ‘Saute’ button.  Add butter in the instant pot insert.  Once the oil is hot(after few seconds), add cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaf and stir.

After you hear the crackling sound of cumin seeds, add finely chopped garlic. Saute for few seconds. Add the chopped onion. Add 1/4 Tsp. salt and saute until onion turns translucent and slightly brown in color.

Note: The recipe that I followed uses onion and garlic paste but I chose to use finely chopped onion and finely chopped garlic. I have seen some posts where people could not get rid of the raw onion smell when they used onion paste in their dishes. I have also seen some posts where people faced the problem of the dish turning slightly  bitter when they used raw onion paste. Though I never had any of these issues, I just chose to use finely chopped onions and garlic. If you prefer to use onion paste instead of chopped onions, then try it saute them in oil for few minutes. Let them cool and prepare the paste. I have also read that using red onions to prepare the onion paste causes bitterness. I am not sure, but I never faced that problem with yellow onions.

Add the prepared tomato puree. Cook for a minute. Add 1/4 Tsp. turmeric powder, 1 Tsp. salt and 1 Tsp. red chilli powder. Mix it well. Cook until the onion tomato masala starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Add 1 cup water to the blender jar and keep it aside. We will use it in the next step.


Step 7:

Add yogurt and Ural dal mixture. Mix it well. Add crushed kasuri methi and garam masala. Mix it well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the strained liquid which we kept aside in Step 3. Also, add the water(rinsed from the blender jar in Step 6). Mix it well.  Cook for 3-4 minutes . Taste it and adjust salt as needed.

Step 8:

Final Step: Slow cook(in ‘Normal’ mode) for at least 1-2 hours. 

I slow cooked only for an hour as I had to serve dinner to my kids. Turn off the IP. Press ‘Slow Cook’ button. Adjust time to 1 hour using minus ‘-‘ button. Close the lid. Turn the steam releasing valve in venting positon. Open the lid after 1 hour. Dals are softened and the curry looks creamy.  If you plan to slow cook for longer hours, add some more water after every hour(If the gravy is too thick).

Garnish with chopped cilantro and cream/butter.

Notes: This dish can be made in a regular pressure cooker and a regular pan. I am sharing the procedure below:

Pressure cook urad dal and Rajma with 3 cups of water for 5-6 whistles. Cook until Rajma is totally soft.

Use a wide thick bottomed pan instead of Instant Pot. Place the pan on medium heat and follow the procedure mentioned in Step 3 to Step 7. 

Finally, reduce the heat to low , cover with a lid and slow cook the dals until desired creamy consistency is reached. Adjust water as needed. Stir occasionally to make sure that the gravy doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.


Serve hot with Jeera Rice/Naan/Roti/ Phulka or Kulcha. You can also pack it in the lunch box.

I hope you enjoy this Instant Pot Dal  Makhani recipe!!!!

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