Punjabi Chole Masala / Chana Masala / Chickpeas Curry is a favorite Indian dish. This one-pot recipe for the authentic Chana Masala can be made in the Instant Pot or stovetop Pressure Cooker. A healthy protein-rich vegan and gluten free chickpea recipe.

Instant Pot Chana Masala served along with basmati rice.

Chole with bhatura or naan was a favorite weekend meal growing up. This restaurant style Chana Masala is such a delicious and healthy dish. Chickpeas take very long to cook, hence they are perfect for pressure cooking.

Usually chole is pressure cooked separately and then mixed in the onion-tomato gravy.  However to make this a true one-pot one-shot recipe, I first made the onion-tomato gravy in the pot and then added soaked chickpeas and cooked them along with the gravy.  They come out perfectly.  With the instant pot, the best part is that you can set it on a timer to pressure cook and forget. This is one of the most popular Instant Pot Indian Recipe.

If you like indian food, check out this amazing list of 29 Instant Pot Indian Vegetarian Recipes. If you are new to the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot Beginners Manual.

Chole Masala Powder

One of the most important ingredients is Chole Masala powder. I have used simple ingredients easily available.  Traditionally amla or dried Indian gooseberry is added to get the color and tangy flavor.  People also use teabags to get the dark color.  However I have skipped both of them and just added dry mango powder to get the tangy flavor.  I use the Everest brand Chole Masala to prepare chole.  If using store-bought chole masala, I recommend to always use “Chole Masala” and not chana masala.  They taste very different.  In a crunch, you could still use the chana masala you have at hand. If you don’t have chole masala, you can also replace it with a blend of the below ingredients. Just grind them in a spice grinder to a powder and use in this recipe.

  • 2 black cardamom
  • 5 cloves (or Laung)
  • 1/2 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne or Red Chili powder

Curious about Indian Spices? Check out my detailed guide for Indian Spices & Herbs.

How to make Chana Masala in Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot?

Let’s go through the step-by-step recipe to make Chole in pressure cooker. It is important to start with soaking the chickpeas overnight or at least for 4+ hours.  After the soaking time is complete, drain the water from the chickpeas and set them aside. (see frequently asked questions if you forgot to soak chickpeas)

  • When you are ready to cook the chole, start the instant pot in sauté mode.  Add in the whole spices – cumin seeds, bay leaves, black  peppercorn – and ginger, garlic and green chili.
  • When the ginger garlic turns golden brown, add chopped onions and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Then add the tomato and spices.  Stir in the chickpeas and add 1.5 cups of water.
steps to make Chana Masala in instant pot
  • Change the instant pot setting to manual mode for 35 minutes with vent in sealing position.  When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally.  If the pressure does not release in 20 minutes, you can manually release the pressure.
Pressure cooker Chole Masala cooked in a ladle over the instant pot
  • If you like a thicker gravy, use a hand masher to mash the chole a bit.  Now add the dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) and dry mango powder (amchur).   If you dont have dry mango powder, replace with lemon juice.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Serve this delicious Punjabi chole with naan, bhatura or parathas.  They also taste great with plain or jeera rice.
Instant Pot Chana Masala. Chole. Chickpeas

How to make set-and-forget Chana Masala? 

Lately, I have been trying making Chana Masala my just adding all the ingredients to the pot and pressure cooking (often called dump-and-go method). You will be surprised, that works like a charm. The chole are cooked really well and have almost the same taste as when onions and tomatoes are sautéed to make the curry. 

If you are short on time and want to skip the effort to saute, give this method a try!

This method works great for Rajma, Chickpea Spinach Curry and Coconut Chickpea Curry too.

Frequently Asked Questions for Pressure Cooker Chana Masala

Forgot to soak Chickpeas…how can I cook chickpeas without soaking?

In an ideal world, you want to soak chickpeas for 4+ hours or overnight, which makes them absorb water and easy to cook. However if you forget, the first option is to cook them in the pressure cooker for longer, about 50 minutes at high pressure.

Another trick is to soak the chickpeas in hot water for about an hour. Then use them in the recipe.

Can I use canned Chickpeas?

Yes, canned chickpeas can work well in this recipe. The only changes would be to pressure cook for only 10 minutes in the instant pot and for 2 whistles in a stovetop pressure cooker. Drain the canned chickpeas and rinse them before using. Reduce the amount of water you add while cooking to one cup.

Will the cooking time change if I double the quantity?

No, the same cooking time works even if you half or double the quantity.

How can I reduce spice in this dish?

You can skip the green chili pepper and cayenne. To reduce heat further, you can reduce the quantity of chole masala blend.

Can I cook pot-in-pot rice with this Chana Masala?

Yes! Brown rice take about 25-35 minutes to cook pot-in-p0t, so they would work perfectly when cooking Chana Masala in a pressure cooker. See my Dal Makhani with Rice recipe for detailed instructions.

Other recipes for you to try in your Instant Pot:

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4.89 from 297 votes

Instant Pot Chana Masala / Punjabi Chole Masala Recipe in Pressure Cooker

Punjabi Chole Masala or Chana Masala is an Indian favorite chickpea curry. This one-pot recipe for the authentic Chana Masala can be made in the Instant Pot or stovetop Pressure Cooker. A healthy protein-rich vegan and gluten free chickpea recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Spices

Whole Spices

Instructions 

  • Wash and soak chickpeas in 3 cups of water overnight or at least for 4+ hours. 

For Instant Pot Chana Masala:

  • Start instant pot in sauté mode. Add oil, whole spices (cumin seeds, bay leaves, black peppercorn, cinnamon), ginger, garlic and green chili. 
  • When the ginger and garlic turn golden brown, add onions and sauté for 3 minutes 
  • Add tomato and all spices except dry mango powder. Drain the chickpeas soaking water. Add chickpeas and water for cooking. Stir well.
  • Change the instant pot setting to bean/chili mode for 35 minutes with vent in sealing position. (This is the same as pressure cook on high pressure for 35 minutes)
  • When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. If the pin does not drop in 20 minutes, you can release the pressure and open the instant pot.
  • If you like a thicker gravy, use a hand masher or the back of your ladle to mash the chole a bit. Add the dried fenugreek leaves and dry mango powder. Change the instant pot setting to sauté mode and let it boil for 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Chole Masala is ready to be served with naan or bhatura.

For Stovetop Pressure Cooker Chana Masala

  • Heat oil in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat.  Add whole spices (cumin seeds, bay leaves, black peppercorn, cinnamon), ginger, garlic and green chili. 
  • When the ginger and garlic turn golden brown, add onions and sauté for 3 minutes 
  • Add tomato and all spices except dry mango powder. Drain the chickpeas soaking water. Add chickpeas and water for cooking. Stir well.
  • Pressure cook for 6-7 whistles or till the chana can be broken easily between two fingers. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • If you like a thicker gravy, use a hand masher or the back of your ladle to mash the chole a bit. Add the dried fenugreek leaves and dry mango powder. 
  • Adjust water if chole are too thick. Adjust salt to taste. Bring to a quick boil if you add more water. 
  • Garnish with cilantro. Chole Masala is ready to be served with naan or bhatura.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

No dry mango powder? If you don’t have dry mango powder or amchur, replace with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Which Chole Masala? When using store-brought chole masala, to get an authentic taste always buy “Chole Masala” and not chana masala.
Green Chili Pepper: I typically use Thai, Birdeye or Serrano Chili Pepper in my recipes. Don’t forget to adjust to your taste. 
Spice pouch: If you don’t like whole spices in the final dish, you can use a spice pouch, which can be discarded after pressure cooking the curry. 
Chole Masala Powder: If you don’t have chole masala, you can also replace it with a blend of:
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne or Red Chili powder
Using canned chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Pressure cook for 10 minutes in the instant pot or 2 whistles on the stovetop pressure cooker. Add only 1 cup water for cooking.
Using canned tomatoes: Use one cup canned tomatoes to replace fresh tomatoes. 
Double the recipe: Cooking time will remain the same, even if you half or double the quantity in this recipe. 
Set-and-forget Method: I have tried making this Chana Masala by just adding all the ingredients to the instant pot and setting to pressure cook. That works perfectly for this recipe. If you are short on time, you can skip the initial sautéing steps.
Make it a meal: Cook pot-in-pot brown rice with this Chana Masala to make a complete meal. See my Dal Makhani with Rice recipe for detailed instructions. 

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 11gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1271mgPotassium: 569mgFiber: 10gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 245IUVitamin C: 8.5mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 5.2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North 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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272 Comments

  1. I have been looking for a good chana masala recipe since I got my instant pot a year ago and this is it! Absolutely love it, thank you. I don’t like cumin seeds (which is obviously very annoying!) and my go-to substitute is fennel seeds and they worked perfectly. 🙏🏻