Instant Pot Dal comes together with minimal effort with the help of your electric pressure cooker. These delicious bowls of dal are topped with quick pickled red onion and tangy yogurt for an unforgettable, vegetarian meal that’s perfect for Meatless Monday or any day of the week.
Growing up, my dad was a vegetarian, and I fondly remember eating Indian food with him.
One of the first dishes he introduced me to, and my favorite still to this day is dal (or dahl). The versions of dal that I’ve eaten in the past have always been made with lentils – green, red, or yellow. But I recently came across a recipe on Bon Apetit that used split peas.
And, since I had some split peas on hand from this Persian Beef Stew recipe, I decided that I had to try it right away.
I did make a few tweaks to the original recipe, however.
Their original recipe called for yellow split peas. I only had the traditional green variety on hand, so I swapped those in. I also adapted the recipe so that it could be made in my Instant Pot.
I just love how easy, and hands off the Instant Pot makes the process, so you’ll pretty much find me using it whenever I can.
As with other Instant Pot recipes I’ve tested, I find that when cooked in the Instant Pot, the spices become a bit less noticeable, so I amped up the spices in this Instant Pot Dal a bit too.
Adding in a good dash of my favorite spice, cumin, and a pinch of cayenne for some heat. Of course, if you’re sensitive to heat, you can always cut back on the cayenne, but I did not find it to be very spicy at all.
If you are a fan of heat, definitely feel free to add in a bit more. You can even adjust the heat at the end of the cooking process.
🛒 Ingredients needed
- Dried Split Peas
- Fresh Garlic + Ginger
- Vegetable Oil – Or canola oil.
- Fresh Garlic + Ginger
- Dried Spices: Coriander, turmeric, cumin and cayenne (can omit for less heat).
🕕 Cook time
While this Instant Pot Dal takes just 15 minutes of cooking time, you will also need to account for the time it takes for the pressure to build and release in the Instant Pot.
When I tested this recipe, it took about 15 minutes for the pressure to build, and then I let the pressure release naturally at the end of the cooking time for 10 minutes too – So, overall (with prep time) this recipe should take you about 45 minutes from start to finish.
But my favorite part is that because the Instant Pot makes the cooking process so hands off (no stirring or babysitting the pot) it leaves you plenty of time to prepare the toppings and rice that you’ll want when serving up the dal.
🥄 Topping ideas
The topping are simple – but stunning. A bit of quick-pickled onions makes an amazing contrast with the otherwise boring looking dal.
To make them, just thin slice some red onion and give it a quick massage with a bit of lime juice, lime zest and some salt and sugar. These onions are so good and so easy, they may just replace my traditional pickled red onions.
To add a bit more tang and creaminess, a swirl of salt and pepper seasoned Greek yogurt gets stirred in at the end too.
Serve it all up on a bed of basmati rice and prepare to be wowed by this vegetarian dinner. You’ll not only want it for Meatless Monday, but every day of the week.
PS – This Instant Pot Dal can also be made totally vegan if you just omit the yogurt.
✔️ More Lentil Recipes
- Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice
- Hearty Sausage, Kale & Lentil Soup
- Slow Cooker Chipotle Lentil Soup
🍽 More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Instant Pot Corn
- Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Perfect Rice
- Instant Pot Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Carnitas
- Instant Pot Weight Loss Soup
🍷 Wine Pairings for Dal
- Look for an off-dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer to compliment this well spiced Indian dal.
Did You Make This Instant Pot Dal Tadka?
If you loved this Instant Pot Dal I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
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Instant Pot Dal Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves (finely grated)
- 1 2-inch piece ginger (peeled and finely grated (about 2 tablespoons))
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne (more if you like your indian food spicy)
- 1½ cups dried split peas (rinsed)
- 3 cups water
- 2 tomatoes (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro (chopped + extra for garnish)
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)
- Cooked basmati rice
Quick Pickled Red Onion:
- 1 small red onion (very thinly sliced into rounds, rinsed)
- 1 lime (zested and juiced)
- Pinch of sugar
- Large pinch of salt
- Set Instant Pot to SAUTE, add heat the oil. Add onions and a pinch of salt and sauté until softened, 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Hit the CANCEL button and add split peas, water, tomatoes, salt and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Cover and seal the lid – turn the vent to sealing. Press the MANUAL (high pressure) button and set the timer to 10 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then the display will show a countdown timer.
- Meanwhile, make your toppings.
- In a small bowl, combine lime zest and juice, red onion, sugar, and a large pinch of salt. Massage the onion for 1 minute to help it soften.
- Mix yogurt and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Once the 10 minutes are up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.
- Open the lid, stir in the cilantro and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve dal over rice drizzled with yogurt and topped with pickled onion and additional cilantro.
This recipe was originally published in March 2018. It was updated in December 2019 to add an instructional video. The Instant Pot Dal recipe remains the same. Enjoy!
59 thoughts on “Instant Pot Dal Tadka”
This looks fantastic! A great way to use the Instant Pot.
I haven’t tried the recipe yet. Just trying to learn about pressure cooking right now, but I have cooked a bunch of Indian recipes.
Re the spicing, Indian recipes tend to saute their spices for much longer than 1 minute, adding a little liquid in the form of tomato, yogurt or both part way through the saute. They also often add a pinch of garam masala or sauteed spices at the end of cooking. It brings out a lot of depth of flavor.
Bean and whole grain recipes take a long time on the stovetop, though! Looking forward to trying your pressure cooker methods.
This looks so delicious and it’s a combo of flavors I’d never even think to put together. I can’t wait to try this out for my own meatless Monday and am sending the recipe to my sister-in-law too since practices it as well. Love this recipe, Erin!
Thanks Aimee – This is definitely a perfect recipe for Meatless Monday! I hope you both love it!
Looks absolutely wonderful. So cozy for these final frigid days of winter (no matter what the calendar says it doesn’t feel like spring yet!)
Right?! I’ll still be eating comfort food for at least a few more weeks I think.
This was fantastic! The condiments are essential, they make a rather dreary looking dish look (and taste) beautiful. Meatless Monday has never been so elegant. Wine pairing was delicious also.
So glad you liked it Lynn! Cheers!
Big split pea fan ! The steps were simple to follow, (been experimenting with my new pressure cooker) My meat eating brother enjoyed this spicy dish. The end result looked just like your pics…Loved the recipe…
So happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe Denise!
Very easy recipe, works every time for me
I’m so happy to hear that John!
We had this for dinner tonight. I’m an instant pot newbie and although am not a vegetarian, like to have meatless dinners regularly. This was a hit! The garnishes definitely added to the meal (don’t skip!). There are 6 of us (4 teens) & it was a hit w/everyone. The directions were clear & easy to follow. I also got naan bread to dip into the dal. I was surprised by the tempering of the cayenne pepper (I read that in your post) & usually don’t add it as there are a couple of sensitive tongues in the family, but the little bit I put in the dal didn’t overwhelm anyone. Thank you for this!!!
I’m so happy you liked it Lani – Thanks for the feedback!
Hi Erin! Thanks so much for your recipe. I’m new to instant pot cooking. If I double the recipe would I need to increase the time cooking?
Hi Erin! Thanks so much for your wonderful website. I have a question regarding cooking time. If I double the recipe do I need to increase the cooking time?
Hi Julie – Cook time should be the same!
Can you use split red lentils for this instead of split peas?
Hi Ingrid – I think that will work just fine! I’d love to hear back on how you liked it!
I made this once and loved the quick pickled onions, but I found it bland overall. Last night I tried it again, doubled the spices (including the ginger and garlic, but not the cayenne pepper, because I was eating with someone who doesn’t like spice), and also added a pinch each of cardamom and a cinnamon-based blend. I’ve also used one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes both times I’ve made this, since tomatoes aren’t in season, and that’s worked great. I add a bunch of greens when I open the Instant Pot lid, stir it up, then replace the lid for a while so the greens wilt. Last night’s batch came out great!
Thanks so much for these suggestions Luna! I’m going to try your modifications.
Do you soak the split-pea before cooking
Hi Eran – No need to presoak with this recipe!
Hi Erin! I presoaked the split peas before finding your recipe. How should I adjust for this in regards to the amount of water to use?
The dish sounds amazing. Can’t wait to give it a try. One question though. The text mentions the red onion is quick pickled with “lime juice, lime zest and some salt and sugar” but the recipe for the onion does not mention salt. Do you need to add salt when preparing the red onion? Thanks!
Hi Shane – I just add a large pinch of salt. Thanks for catching that, I added it to the ingredients.
how large is a serving? Doing WeightWatchers. thank you.
Hi! I love dal and I love split peas, but I’m not sure my 8 and 10 yr olds will. However, they do enjoy lentils. Would this work just the same if I sub lentils for the split peas? Thank you!!
Hi Christine – If using lentils, I would increase the cook time to 15 minutes. Lentils will take a bit longer to soften than the split pes will. Hope that helps! I’d love to hear back on how it went!
Does this apply for red lentils too? Thanks!
Hi Julie – Yes, I would give them 15 minutes too 🙂
I have tried many recipes and loved them and not really taken the time to review them. This recipe, however, was so amazing that I felt I needed to leave a review. My partner LOVED it as well. I used quinoa instead of rice and used goat cheese instead of yogurt (didn’t have yogurt on hand). It was fantastic!
I’m so glad you liked it Stephanie! Thanks so much for the feedback!
One question, sadly, I will not be able to use tomatoes (family member allergy). Everything else looks perfect in this recipe but I am wondering if no tomatoes is a dealbreaker?
Hi Annie – You can totally leave them out. Not a problem. You may just want to add in a splash more water though.
i just made and it is the best daal i’ve made so far! thank you so much!
I’m so happy you liked it Ruhee!
Made this last night. I’ve started one meatless-meal day per week for my husband & me. He’s not convinced that it will be as flavorful or filling. I’ve been winning him over with some of my favorite veg recipes! During this time of quarantine it’s allowed me to dig through and play with stored ingredients in my pantry and discovered some yellow split peas and decided to try your recipe which I pinned as soon as I got an instant pot a year ago! I had to make a couple of adjustments just due to access right now (I certainly missed the cilantro) but overall my husband was THRILLED – as was I – with how delicious this recipe is!! Plus, the instant pot made it so stinking easy!! Thanks so much. Will become a recurring recipe in our household!!
You are so welcome Julie – Thanks so much for the feedback!
I’d definitely recommend buying a few packs of cilantro (thyme and other herbs work well too) whenever you spot them and freeze it for adding to instant pot recipes! You can easily roughly chop them from the freezer as long as you don’t squash them too much in the freezer.
Yum, this was really good. I accidentally doubled the cayenne but it wasn’t too spicy. The pickled onions totally make the dish! Will be keeping this in the regular rotation for Meatless Mondays. Thank you for the recipe!
I’m so happy you liked it!
I make this recipe every week now! It is delicious! I was just wondering… if I wanted to substitute the split peas with lentils, would I use the same amount of lentils ( 1.5 cups) and water (3 cups)?
Hi Debra – Yes! That ratio should still work great!
This came out great! I skipped tomato and added frozen cauliflower florets, which collapsed into the split pea mush (in a good way). Next time I might throw in some frozen spinach.
I cannot find the video. I even checked the YouTube channel and it’s not there as of 8/27/2020. I don’t see any obvious links or embedded videos here. I’d love to see it but I just can’t find it.
Hi Ian – It’s right at the bottom of the recipe card. Or, here’s a direct link – Hope that helps!
Delicious recipe! I padded the spices a touch because I like extra flavor and I was using extra beans. I used yellow split peas/dal and I also added a couple cups of cooked Chana Dal (black chickpeas). It was super delicious and the onions are to die for! Those onions are going to be on all my tacos from now on too!
I’m so happy you loved the onions Madeline!
Looks amazing! Will cook it today.
Wonderful recipe!!!! Will make it again. Your visual guidance made it very easy to follow from my lapatop’s screen. And the yogurt and red onion and cilantro, wow.
Thank you again.
Loved this recipe!! I’ve tried several dal recipes using the Instant pot and this is my favorite. Like many others put in extra spices And are used always on hand squirts of tomato paste. I also mix it with the cauliflower mash, Toupet with pickled onions, and serve it with wilted greens.You mention nutritional stats, however you don’t specify a serving size.Please post the serving size for those nutritional stats. Thank you!
Hi Andi! There are 4 servings in the recipe and each serving is estimated to have 362 calories. Hope that helps!
This was AMAZING!! I am a lover of Indian food and I had all the ingredients in my pantry so it was easy to put all together.
As everyone said, don’t skip on the cilantro, red onions and yogurt..it adds a special touch to bring the dish over the edge deliciousness!! Yum!!
Will be adding to the weekly rotation of meatless dinners.
I’m so glad it was a hit!
Foolproof and tasty. Came out dry and the peas were softened like a lentil Dahl. Was concerned the house would smell like pea soup, but no issue. Would make again for sure