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Masoor Dal served in a white serving bowl with tempering on top and cilantro garnished on top.

Masoor Dal Instant pot

  • Author: Yamini
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Instant pot Masoor dal is one of the easiest, nutritious meals that can be made in no time. Cook it along with pot in pot white rice to make it a complete meal.


  • 1 cup split masoor dal (red lentils)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic (2 to 3 garlic cloves)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds ( methi seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 red chilies each broken into 2 or 3 pieces (remove seeds if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida also called hing ( use gluten-free asafoetida if you prefer)
  • 1 cup diced onion ( around 1/2 big onion)
  • 3 small or 2 big tomatoes pureed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • salt to taste ( takes around 1 to 1.5 teaspoon)
  • Red chili powder(optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kasuri methi (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • Cilantro for garnish

Optional Tempering at the end

  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal 
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves peeled and diced
  • 1 broken red chili
  • pinch of Asafoetida (hing, use gluten-free version if you prefer))


How to Make Masoor dal in Instant pot

  1. Turn on the Instant pot in Saute mode and when the display shows HOT, add 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil.
  2. When the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilies, Asafoetida, ground turmeric, and minced garlic and saute for a minute or two without burning.
  3. Then add diced onions along with a little salt and saute until they are softened for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if needed to deglaze the pot and scrape anything stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Now add the washed and drained masoor dal, 1 teaspoon of salt( you can add more at the end if needed), 3 cups of water, and tomato puree on top.
  5. Optional Step to cook Rice pot in the pot: Place a long trivet on top of the dal as shown in the step by step images above, and place a steel vessel with washed rice and enough water to cook the rice.
  6. Turn off the saute mode, close the lid, turn the pressure valve to SEAL, and turn on the manual mode for 7 mins.
  7. Once the IP turns off, Let the pressure release naturally for 10 mins and then do a quick pressure release by turning the pressure valve to VENT. Open the lid and remove the rice vessel and trivet using an oven mitt.
  8. Now using a whisk, mix the dal while it is still hot to mash up the masoor dal easily (TIP: Whisk makes it super easy to mash the hot dal evenly without lumps ).
  9. Turn on the saute mode for a couple of mins, check the taste, and add salt, red chili powder, and Kasuri methi if needed. Turn off the saute mode and add lemon juice and cilantro for garnish.
  10. You can serve the masoor dal it as it is with hot rice and ghee or you can do an additional tempering to kick it up a notch. Heat a small tempering pan with oil or ghee and add all the optional tempering ingredients to saute for a minute. Now add the tempering on top of the dal in the serving dish.

How to make Red lentils or Masoor dal on the stovetop pressure cooker

  • Follow the same steps as above until step 4 and cook for 1 to 2 whistles on medium-high heat. Let the pressure release naturally. Follow the same steps as above after opening the lid. The red lentil to water ratio is the same as above 1:3 for stove top pressure cooker too.

How to cook Red Lentils on a stovetop pot

  • Follow the same steps as above until step 4, let the water come to boil on medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and cook covered until the red lentils are cooked completely. Follow the same steps at the end as above after the lentils are cooked. The red lentil to water ratio is the same as above 1:3.


  • Adjusting spice level
    • Reduce: Deseed the red chilies or even cut the amount in half.
    • Increase: Increase the number of red chilies or add more red chili powder at the end.
  • To make it vegan, replace ghee with any preferred vegan oil.
  • To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free asafoetida or skip it entirely.
  • Add green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale at the end after opening the lid and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the leaves are cooked.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Main course
  • Method: Instant pot
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Masoor Dal Instant pot, How to cook red lentils in Instant pot,