Instant Pot Three-Lentil Dal Makhani

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recipe by Bruce Weinstein

  • Time icon
    Total Time
  • Serves icon
  • Calories icon

This one’s a creamy lentil curry, often made with black lentils and kidney beans. Unfortunately, black lentils are tough to track down outside of specialty markets. Easier to find, red kidney beans do indeed break down and thicken the curry, giving it a characteristic texture. But dried kidney beans make the recipe overly complicated (soaking, pre-cooking separately, etc.). And canned kidney beans end up too squishy under pressure for this long. To solve all those problems, we use a mix of lentils to revamp this dish—even red lentils (sometimes called “pink lentils”), which dissolve under pressure and thicken the dish while giving it an earthy flavor. Although this is a vegetarian main course, feel free to serve it alongside almost anything from the grill. Pork loin would be welcome. Beef ribs, too.

Inspired by:

recipe updated Sep 15, 2020


  • Butter icon
    2 tbsp (about 28.8 g)
  • Garlic clove icon
    Garlic clove
    2 tbsp (about 17.1 g)
  • Ginger icon
    2 tbsp (about 11.1 g)
  • Garam masala icon
    Garam masala
    1 tbsp (about 6.15 g)
  • Ground cumin icon
    Ground cumin
    1 tsp (about 2.1 g)
  • Ground turmeric icon
    Ground turmeric
    1 tsp (about 2.3 g)
  • Salt icon
    ½ tsp (about 3 g)
  • Cayenne pepper icon
    Cayenne pepper
    ½ tsp (about 1.07 g)
  • Cinnamon stick icon
    Cinnamon stick
    1 (about 4 g)
  • Cardamom pods icon
    Cardamom pods
    4 (about 8 g)
  • Bay leaves icon
    Bay leaves
    2 (about 0.4 g)
  • Tomato icon
    1 cup (about 264 g)
  • Red lentils icon
    Red lentils
    ½ cup (about 100.8 g)
  • Lentils icon
    ½ cup (about 100.8 g)
  • Water icon
    4 cups (about 960 g)
  • Heavy cream icon
    Heavy cream
    ½ cup (about 120 g)


  • kCook icon Instant Pot
  • kCook icon Inner pot

Step preview

  1. Add butter to the inner pot
  2. Pre-heat until hot - Sauté, Normal
  3. Add garlic clove, ginger, garam masala, ground cumin, ground turmeric, salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves to the inner pot
  4. Stir until fragrant - approx 1 min
  5. Add tomato to the inner pot
  6. Cook while stirring frequently - approx 1 min 30 sec
  7. Add red lentils and lentils to the inner pot
  8. Stir until coated
  9. Stir water into the inner pot
  10. Close and lock the lid and turn the steam release handle to Sealing
  11. Pressure cook - Manual, High, 20 min
  12. Release pressure -
  13. Discard cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves
  14. Add heavy cream to the inner pot
  15. Stir until well combined
  16. Replace lid - 5 min
  17. Stir
  18. Serve
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