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A bowl of lentils and kidney beans (dal makhani), with beans and spices in the background

Instant Pot Indian Black Lentils and Kidney Beans (Dal Makhani)

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 8 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups of dal 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Instant Pot Indian Black Lentils and Kidney Beans. Pressure cooker Dal Makhani, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey, a simple dal for a weeknight.



Soaking kidney beans

  • 6 ounces (¾ cup) dried red kidney beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

Dal Makhani

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 ounces (¾ cup) kidney beans, soaked (see above)
  • 12 ounces (1¾ cups) black lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 5 cups water
  • 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala


  1. Sort and rinse the kidney beans: Sort the kidney beans, discarding any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight or a quick soak.
  2. Overnight soak: Cover the kidney beans with 6 cups of water, and sprinkle with 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Leave the beans to soak at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and discard the soaking liquid.
  3. OR: Pressure Quick Soak for 1 minute with a 30 minute rest: Put the kidney beans and 6 cups of water in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Sprinkle with 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot for 1 minute), then quick release the pressure. Let the beans soak in the pot for 30 minutes, then drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
  4. Toast the aromatics and spices: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in an Instant Pot set to sauté mode (use medium heat in a stovetop PC). Add the ginger and garlic to the butter, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons garam masala and the cayenne pepper. Toast for 1 minute to bloom the spices.
  5. Beans and liquid in the pot: Stir in the soaked and drained kidney beans, rinsed black lentils, 5 cups water, crushed tomatoes, and 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt.
  6. Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. (12 minutes in a stovetop PC). Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes). Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
  7. Stir, season, and serve: Stir the beans in the pot vigorously to break up some of the lentils and thicken the stew. Stir in the heavy cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon garam masala. Serve with basmati rice and enjoy!


Tarka: Mrs. Jaffrey recommends cooking a tarka - sautéed aromatics and spices stirred into the dal at the last minute. This was a step too far for my weeknight dinners, but it does add a touch of elegance and finesse to the recipe. If you want to add a Tarka, sauté a small sliced onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until browned around the edges, then sprinkle it with ¼ teaspoon of paprika, and stir it in at the end of the recipe.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Soaking time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Instant Pot Indian Black Lentils and Kidney Beans (Dal Makhani), Pressure Cooker Indian Black Lentils and Kidney Beans (Dal Makhani)