Easy & Delicious Chana Dal made in the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker). Split Chickpeas cooked with ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and flavorful spices, to make a comforting soup. Vegan & Gluten free.

Instant Pot Chana Dal

Looking for dinner ideas for Meatless Monday? Enjoy this delicious & Healthy Chana Dal. It is perfect with a side of steamed broccoli and basmati rice. If you want to pair with an Indian style vegetable curry, Aloo Gobi or Saag Paneer are great options.

For vegetarians in Indian, dal (lentils) is the main component of the meal. A typical meal includes dal, vegetable curry (subzi), roti (flatbread) and/or rice with some salad. And there are enough varieties of dals to prepare a different one each day of the week. If you are curious, check out my this collection of 15 Lentil & Bean Recipes in the instant pot.

If you don’t have Chana Dal at hand, you may want to check Dal Fry with Toor DalGreen Moong Dal or Brown Lentil Curry recipe.

What is Chana Dal?

Chana Dal are dried brown chickpeas that have been split and skinned. It is also called Split Chickpeas or Bengal Gram. These wonderful little beans pack a powerhouse of nutrients as well as protein into the dish. Chana Dal is also rich in fiber, and has a low glycemic index.

Chana Dal in Instant Pot - garnished with cilantro

The best part about lentils are that they are budget friendly and affordable by all. Chana Dal is usually used as lentil curry in North India and for tempering in South India. But there are other dishes that can be made such as Chana Dal Pilaf or Halwa (sweet pudding).

Curious about pulses used in Indian cooking? Check out my detailed guide about Indian Pulses.

How to cook Chana Dal in Pressure Cooker?

Chana Dal takes a bit longer to cook compared to other split lentils such as Toor Dal or Moong Dal.  I prefer to soak chana dal for about 30 minutes before cooking. Although they will cook just as well with a few extra minutes in the instant pot without soaking.

Traditionally Chana Dal was boiled in a pressure cooker and tempering was prepared separately in a pan. Then the boiled dal was added to the tempering and simmered to infuse flavors. However now with the instant pot, I like to make this as a one-pot dish. Hence in this recipe, I prepare the tempering with ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes and spices in the instant pot. Then add the chana dal, water and cook at high pressure.

Chana Dal in Instant Pot - in the ladle

Once cooked, sprinkle in some lime juice and garnish the chana dal with cilantro. If you like to make this even more nutritious, then add some spinach right after the dal is cooked. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. Spinach Chana Dal is ready to be enjoyed.

Pressure Cooker Chana Dal.

Looking for more easy Instant Pot Recipes? Here are 29 Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes for you to try!

4.88 from 117 votes

Instant Pot Chana Dal Recipe (Split Chickpeas Soup)

Easy & Delicious Chana Dal made in the Pressure Cooker. Split Chickpeas cooked with ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and flavorful spices, to make a comforting soup. Vegan & Gluten free. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3




  • Soak Chana dal along with the water for soaking for 30 minutes. Then drain the soaking water.
  • Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida. 
  • Once the cumin seeds start to change color, add the onions, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 minutes. 
  • Add tomatoes and spices and stir them well. Add chana dal and water for cooking. Stir it all up. Pressure Cancel and close the lid with vent in sealing position.
  • Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for for 12 mins. If you skipped soaking, cook for 15 minutes at high pressure.  
  • After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. Add lime juice and give a good stir.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve chana dal over rice.



  • Chana Dal foams, so if you double/triple the recipe make sure to only fill up to half of the pot.
  • Make Spinach Chana Dal – Add spinach after opening the instant pot, right after pressure cooking. Cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.  
  • Vegan Variation: To keep this recipe vegan, don’t use ghee.
  • Gluten free Variation: Use gluten-free asafoetida or skip it. 


Calories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 15gFat: 6gSodium: 811mgPotassium: 171mgFiber: 15gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 510IUVitamin C: 11.6mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 3.3mg

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

Hi..I’m Meeta. I am a former product specialist by profession, and a foodie at heart. I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need some inspiration to explore the ingredients and create great food. I share simple step-by-step recipes made using instant pot and other gadgets in the modern kitchen. I primarily cook Indian food, but I also love to cook global cuisines such as Italian, Thai, Mexican and more. Enjoy the world of awesome food!

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is delicious. Have made it twice now and even my fussy eater 3 year old loves it. Thank you, will try some of your other recipes.

  2. While it tasted great, I think 12m plus natural pressure release was too much time. The dal disintegrated rather than holding that Chana Dal firmer texture and shape. Maybe natural pressure release isnt needed?

    1. Hi Dhillon – Sure you can do a 10 minute pressure release or you can reduce the pressure cooking time by 2-3 minutes. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

  3. Absolutely a game changer for me! I have always been super hesitant to do a one- pot Daal. Always do a separate Tarka and this is the first time I felt like I was Risking dinner! But the Choley Di Daal recipe was a hit! My kids loved it and so did the hubs!
    Thank you so much!! My new way to make daal!

  4. This is so good! The lime juice really brightened the whole dish and it was so delicious. Thank you!

  5. I love going by your recipe to make chana dal, my sweetie told me that if I cook this the same way I cook Keema that it would be just the way he likes the dal. I did so and he loved it. I added 1 can Rotelle Tomatoes with habanero chilies. Also 2-3 stalks celery plus the celery leaves. The leaves are like an herb and very, very flavorful. Just like when I make dressing, the celery slices and leaves plus poultry seasoning make the dish.
    Thank you, take care…

  6. I presoaked my lentils for 30 min beforehand (actually more like 40 min by the time I was ready to use them in the pot), and followed the recipe exactly using the 2x button to make a larger portion. Unfortunately there was a LOT of water left in the Instant Pot after pressure cooking, and I had to cook it down further in a skillet for another 20 min to get rid of it. The lentils had a very slight bite to them as well – not sure if this is how they are meant to be but previous dal I have had (with lentils) have been creamier and smoother.

    Flavours were delicious, spicy without being too hot. Served with chapati rather than rice. Would recommend but would probably use half the water in future.

    1. Hi Steve, did you use the same cup to measure the water as the lentils? In Indian cooking we don’t use the dry measuring cups for lentils and the liquid cup for water, unless baking, I hope it makes sense. Use the same cup you use to measure lentils also for water. I usually use a 1 cup baking measuring cup.

    2. Hi Steve – Sorry to hear the dal had a lot of water left. I wanted to make sure you did drain the soaking water before you started cooking. If not, that would definitely be a lot of water. Typically 1 cup dal to 2 cup water for cooking works perfectly for chana dal. Glad that you liked the taste!

  7. I just made this and my non-vegan partner loved it so much he had three servings! I tripled the recipe so I can have leftovers for lunch this week. It was truly delicious, thank you!

    1. Hi Cece – Fresh tomatoes work best, but canned diced tomatoes would work too. Hope you enjoy the chana dal!