Instant Pot Dal and Rice is the most delicious Indian comfort food. Toor dal or Yellow Split Pigeon Pea cooked with onions, tomatoes and flavorful spices, along with pot-in-pot basmati rice for a complete meal. This is a vegan & gluten free Dal Fry!

Dal Tadka / Dal Fry / Yellow Lentils Instant Pot Pressure Cooker 3

Dal and Rice are the staple food in many indian homes. It is basically a lentil stew made with split pigeon peas served with rice Also, known as Varan Bhaat in Marathi.

What is Dal?

Dal is basically dried pulses. These dried pulses can be whole or split. Dal is also used as a term for various soups prepared with these dried pulses. It is also called Daal, Dahl or Dhal.

Dal is the main protein dish for many vegetarians, and hence a dish prepared almost everyday in an Indian home. Every region in Indian makes dal in different ways.  In North India, it is made by tempering with cumin, curry leaves, onion and tomato.  In South India, it is used to make sambar.

You will find it interesting that all of over India, dal is prepared in a  stovetop pressure cooker. Hence it is a perfect dish to many in your electric pressure cooker or instant pot. Check out 10+ Instant Pot Lentils recipes.

Lentils used for Pressure Cooker Dal Fry

Toor dal or Yellow Split Pigeon Pea or Arhar Dal is the one of the most popular dal made in India. The cooked toor dal is also popularly called as Dal Tadka or Dal Fry. Dal tadka is very quick to prepare and can be ready in minutes. It is one of the easiest to make for a week night dinner.

I have also shared a different slightly sweeter preparation of toor dal in this delicious Gujarati Dal recipe.

Toor Dal Nutrition

Toor dal is from the legume family, and has a number of health benefits.

  • It contains Folic acid, an important vitamin for all women.
  • Toor dal contains protein and dietary fiber.  Legumes such as toor dal are especially beneficial for vegetarians as they provide necessary protein.
  • Toor dal also contain carbohydrates, which our body needs to generate energy.  They contain complex carbohydrates, which are digested slowly by the body and are much better than simple carbohydrates.

How to make Indian Dal Fry in Instant Pot?

This recipe shows how to make Dal Fry in Instant Pot. The main difference in this preparation is that I made it as a one-pot recipe.  Usually we boil the dal separately and then add the tadka in it.  In this recipe, I cook the tadka in the pot before adding the dal and cook the dal along with the tadka.

Start with heating oil in the instant pot. Then add cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and garlic. Once the garlic is lightly browned, add chopped onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Lightly brown the onions, then add chopped tomatoes and spices. Add toor dal and water.  No need to soak the dal for this recipe.

Instant pot Toor dal fry steps

The below steps show pot-in-pot basmati rice cooked along with the yellow lentils. More details about pot-in-pot below.

Instant pot dal with rice steps

Pressure Cook for 5 minutes and then release the pressure 5 minutes after the beep. Garnish with cilantro and additional garam masala if you like a spice kick. Don’t worry if the dal does not look well mixed when you open the pot. Stir it well, and it will be delicious.

If you do soak the dal for 2 hours, you can reduce the cooking time to 3 minutes for toor dal.

Toor dal fry steps in pressure cooker

A note about consistency – In North India, dal is preferred such that each grain can be seen and not all mushed up. However I hear in South India, the preference is to cook dal to a the consistency of sambar, where each grain is not visible and it is more like a smooth soup. For this consistency, pressure cook for 8-10 minutes at high pressure.

Indian Day Fry in a ladle on top of instant pot

Dal Fry with Pot-in-Pot Basmati Rice

One of the big advantages of the Instant Pot is – the option to do Pot-in-Pot Cooking or PIP. This means being able to cook multiple things at a time, by also cooking in a small pot inside the main pot. To do pot-in-pot cooking, you need a tall trivet and stainless steel containers that you can use within the main pot.

Another important thing with pot-in-pot cooking is to consider the cooking time for the dishes you want to cook together. As an example, toor dal takes about 5 mins to cook at high pressure and basmati rice take about 4-6 mins at high pressure. Hence if I add rice pot-in-pot with these lentils, they would get cooked well. I would not cook brown rice along with these lentils, however they would work well with kidney beans that cook in 30 mins at high pressure.

Learn more about the instant pot pot-in-pot method with this comprehensive guide!

instant pot Dal Tadka (Yellow Lentils) in a pretty bowl with rice on the side

Once you add all ingredients for Dal in the instant pot, place the trivet and then the bowl of rice with water. This way they will both cook together. See pictures above for reference.

Enjoy dal served over basmati rice and some homemade ghee (this would make it non-vegan)!

Why you will love this Instant Pot Dal & Rice:

√ It is easy to make in the instant pot with very less active time needed.

√ Healthy, nutritious & protein rich

√ This dal be made ahead and freezes well.

√ Vegan & Gluten free

If you like this Dal Fry, you might like these below lentil recipes too:

4.92 from 266 votes

Instant Pot Dal Tadka / Dal Fry with Basmati Rice

A simple yet flavorful yellow dal tempered with cumin, curry leaves and spices. This is an everyday lentil enjoyed with rice. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4



For Basmati Rice


  • Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat the oil in it. Add cumin seeds, green chili, curry leaves, garlic and asafoetida.
  • After the garlic turns light brown, add the chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes until the onions turn golden brown.
  • Add tomato and spices and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the washed dal and water. Stir it all up. 
  • Place the trivet. In a bowl, add all ingredients for basmati  rice and place it on top of the trivet. Close the lid with vent in sealing position. 
  • Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for for 5 mins. After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually (5 minute NPR). 
  • Using tongs, carefully take out the bowl of basmati rice. Then take out the trivet. 
  • Garnish with cilantro and stir. Optionally, sprinkle the juice of half a lemon. Dal tadka is ready to be served.


YouTube video


Thick dal: If you like thick dal, reduce the amount of water to 2.5 cups.
A note about consistency: Don’t worry if the dal does not look well mixed when you open the pot. Stir it well and it will be delicious. I understand that some people like more cooked dal, you can also increase the pressure cooking time to 7-8 minutes. That will still work for pot-in-pot basmati rice.
Vegan Variation: Skip ghee and use oil of your choice.
Soaking: I did not soak the toor dal in this recipe. If you do soak the daal for 2 hours, you can reduce the cooking time to 3 minutes.  
Green Chili Pepper: I typically use Thai, Birdeye or Serrano Chili Pepper in my recipes. Don’t forget to adjust to your taste. 


Calories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 13gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 602mgPotassium: 569mgFiber: 15gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 430IUVitamin C: 38.4mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 4.2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Question: Mine came out delish! Only one thing I’m curious about it had a slight bitter taste to it ? Is that from turmeric ?

    1. Hi Anna – Good to hear you enjoyed the dal. I wonder if the cumin seeds got a bit overcooked, which can make them bitter. Some dals do add a little sugar, which can help to counter the bitter taste. I hope that helps!

  2. We loved this recipe!! So healthy and delicious! You are a fantastic cook! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. Worthy of a 5 star review! This recipe is amazing. I’ve been searching for a dal fry recipe that didn’t taste like a bland, Americanized version of Indian cooking. This is it! This dal fry is rich, flavorful comfort food that’s ready in less than 15 minutes. I ate this on its own without rice or naan for a full taste test and had to resist the strong urge to eat the entire bowl! Thank you for posting my new favorite recipe – it’s perfect.

  4. I have no idea how this recipe got good reviews or what I could have done wrong. I followed the instructions to a tee, and the dal and rice were completely uncooked. as I was preparing it, I have to say I was suspicious of the short cook time. Just five minutes in the IP and 1.25 cups of water to cook both dal and rice? Didn’t work at all for me and I had to consult another yellow dal recipe, which called for three cups of water and 10 minutes.

    1. Hi Elissa – Did you miss the 3 cups of water in the main ingredients section? The 1.25 cup of water was for the pot-in-pot rice and 3 cups for the dal.

  5. This is my go to recipe for dal tadka. My family loves it and its easy and nutritious. I am South Indian so we add more water and cook for more time to get a more soup like consistency. I also add in spinach at the end for extra nutrition, and a bit of tadka at the end with more onions and grated coconut. It gives such a silky flavor. This easy recipe is a comfort meal at our home with some achar and pappadum.

  6. Thanks Meeta for the recipes. Where can I get the pits for the rice that fits in an instant pot ?


  7. Tried a few recipes on piping hot curry and to be honest, I don’t think I’ve fallen on any. Just brilliant. I’ve always been a rubbish cook but thank you, I’ve been able to make some amazing dishes, including this one!

    Thank you!

  8. Best daal I’ve ever made 🙂 Very delicious. Thanks for measuring everything and not leaving it to my poor “judgement”.

  9. This was a very easy recipe, thanks for sharing. If I am double the quantity, would I also double the cooking time?

    1. Hi Sundus – The cooking time will remain the same even if you double the ingredients. Thanks for sharing back your review!

      1. Cooking time stays same thanks for posting that in the comments ! I didn’t know what to do and chanced it and kept cooking time same ! Phew