Rajma Masala, Indian Red Kidney Bean Curry a favorite comfort food to enjoy with rice. You can make this curry in an instant pot or traditional pressure cooker. Learn to make Rajma along with pot-in-pot Brown Rice.  This is a vegan & gluten-free recipe.

Rajma Masala in a bowl garnished with cilantro and rice and onions on the side

Rajma is also known as Red Kidney Beans. They are a rich source of fiber and protein.  They serve as a great source of protein in a vegetarian dish.

Rajma Chawal (Red Kidney Beans with Rice) used to be a favorite meal for me. Being a Punjabi, I was fortunate that my mom used to make melt-in-the-mouth rajma chawal almost every week when we were growing up. So here we will make authentic Punjabi Rajma Masala. Now I like to make rajma in Instant Pot for the convenience. More so, as I can make the whole meal with brown rice in one pot.

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

What is Rajma Masala?

Rajma is a popular vegan dish from the Indian subcontinent, consisting of red kidney beans in a thick gravy with many aromatic spices. It is usually served with rice. The North Indian Punjabi style of making Rajma Masala is the most loved. Combine Rajma with rice, called Rajma Chawal is the most popular comfort food in North India.

Rajma chawal (red beans with rice) in a plate garnished with cilantro, lime and onions

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

How to make Rajma in Instant Pot?

Rajma or Red Kidney Beans take longer to cook, which makes them a perfect fit for pressure cooking. In India, beans are always prepared in a traditional stovetop pressure cooker.  So when I got the Instant Pot, they were one of the first dishes I tried.  I was glad to see a “Bean/Chili” mode, the perfect setting for cooking Rajma Masala.

In this recipe, I use basic spices. You can also use Rajma Masala, which replaces all other spices in this recipe.  I like the MDH brand Rajma masala powder.

Let’s go through the step-by-step recipe to cook Rajma in the instant pot.

  • As a preparation, soak the rajma beans in ample water for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Red kidney Beans (rajma) soaked in water, then drained
  • When you are ready to cook them, start with sautéing oil, jeera, chili pepper, onions, ginger, and garlic in the Instant Pot. Then saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and spices and saute for another 2 minutes.
  • Then, add the soaked beans and water to the instant pot and change setting to “Bean/Chili” mode. This will set the cooking time to 30 minutes on high pressure.  Release the pressure naturally.
  • Rajma should be ready.
steps to make rajma (kidney beans curry) in instant pot

At this time, you can taste the rajma, and if the spice is low for your taste buds, add more Garam Masala.

Indian Rajma (red kidney beans curry) in the instant pot

One simple trick to get a thicker gravy texture is to mash some of the cooked rajma with a ladle in the same pot.

Rajma in a ladle over the pressure cooker

How to make Red Kidney Beans Curry with Pot-in-Pot Brown Rice?

One of the Instant Pot’s big advantages is the option to do Pot-in-Pot Cooking or PIP. This means being able to cook multiple things at a time, by 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. For example, red kidney beans take about 30 minutes to cook at high pressure, and brown rice takes about 22-25 minutes at high pressure.  Hence if I add rice pot-in-pot with beans, they would get cooked well. I would not cook white rice along with rajma. However, they would work well with split yellow lentils that cook in 6 mins at high pressure.

Here is how I make Rajma with pot-in-pot Brown Rice in the instant pot:

side by side image of uncooked and cooked rice in instant pot

Garnish with cilantro.  Serve with rice, roti, or naan.  You can also enjoy red kidney bean curry as a soup.

Kidney beans curry with rice (rajma chawal) in a plate garnished with cilantro, lime and onions

How to make Rajma in a Stovetop Pressure Cooker?

Follow the same steps as above. Just cook the rajma on a stovetop pressure cooker for 1-2 whistles on high heat, then set the heat to medium and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Rajma (kidney beans curry) in a bowl garnished with cilantro

How to make Palak Rajma Masala?

Want to add greens to your meal? A great variation to this rajma recipe would be to add some greens such as spinach, kale, or chard to the rajma. After the rajma is cooked, stir 2 cups of chopped greens into the curry. Let it sit for 5 minutes so the greens can soak in the flavors of the curry, and enjoy!

How to make set-and-forget Rajma?

Lately, I have been trying to make Rajma by adding all the ingredients to the pot and pressure cooking. You will be surprised. That works like a charm. The Rajma 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, try this method!

Common questions

Should I soak kidney beans before cooking?

I see this question come up many times. For rajma to be well-cooked, they should be melt-in-the-mouth soft.

Many people have their preference on whether or not to soak beans. I started with soaking, as I have seen my mom do that. I like that after soaking, the beans are easier to cook and take much less time cooking.

Some studies suggest that soaking helps reduce the amount of phytic acid, which reduces absorption of important nutrients and aids in digestion. Others suggest soaking does not affect digestion. So choose what works for you.

Sometimes red kidney beans also take longer to cook if they are old. If you can check the packaging date, buy beans that are not too old.

I forgot to soak beans, can I still make Rajma?

Let me share the quick soaking method. Heat water in a microwave or stovetop. And soak beans in the hot water for 30-60 minutes. This will give comparable results as soaking for longer.

If you decide not to soak, then you can still make rajma. They will take about 45-50 minutes to cook on high pressure. You will also have to add more water as soaked beans absorb some water. I would suggest 2.5 cups of water for 1 cup of beans.

Can I use canned beans in this rajma recipe?

If using canned kidney beans in this rajma recipe, cook for 6 minutes on high pressure and reduce the water to 1 cup. This will give enough time for the beans to soak in the flavors of the curry. If cooking with canned beans, use white rice for pot-in-pot cooking.

red kidney beans curry in a bowl garnished with cilantro leaves.

What to pair with Rajma Masala?

The best comfort food combination is – Rajma Chawal. This translates to red kidney beans curry with rice.

Add a veggie side dish such as Aloo Gobi or Bhindi with rajma. Or add some greens such as spinach while cooking Rajma Curry.

You might also like a side of yogurt or raita and Indian salad with Rajma Masala.

Check out other popular recipes –

4.88 from 155 votes

Instant Pot Rajma Masala (Red Kidney Beans Curry)

Delicious Instant Pot Rajma Masala or Red Kidney Beans Curry with Pot-in-Pot Brown Rice. This is a great way to make a complete meal in your instant pot. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4



For Brown Rice


  • Start the instant pot in Saute (More) mode and let it heat until it displays HOT.  Add oil, cumin seeds and green chili.
  • Add onions, ginger and garlic. Stir and saute for about 3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and spices to the instant pot. Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
  • Drain the old soaking water from the soaked beans and discard. Add the beans and the water (for cooking) to the instant pot. Stir it all up. 
  • (optional) Place the trivet. In a bowl, add all ingredients for brown rice and place it on top of the trivet.
  • Close the lid with vent in sealing position. Change the setting to "Bean/Chili" mode. This will set the timer to 30 minutes at high pressure cooking. Once the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally and then open the lid.
  • (optional) Using tongs, carefully take out the bowl of brown rice. Then take out the trivet. 
  • Add lime juice and stir the rajma. Garnish with cilantro. Rajma masala is ready. Serve with rice or roti.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker:

  • Follow the same steps as above. Just cook the rajma on stovetop pressure cooker for 1-2 whistles on high heat, then set the heat to medium and cook for another 15-20 minutes.


YouTube video


Thicker Curry: One simple trick to get a thicker gravy texture is to mash some of the cooked rajma with a laddle in the same pot.
Canned Beans: I prefer to use dry red kidney beans, but you can make this recipe with canned beans as well.  If using canned beans, you want to cook on manual for about 6 minutes with natural pressure release. Also, reduce the water to 1 cup. If cooking with canned beans, use white rice for pot-in-pot cooking. 
Set-and-forget Method: I have tried making this Rajma 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. 
Rajma Masala Spice Bend: If you have Rajma Masala, you can substitute all spices with it. Just add the salt and garam masala to your taste. 
What to pair with Rajma Masala? Enjoy Rajma Masala with rice and a side of yogurt or raita.   
Created: This recipe was created in a 6qt Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-use Pressure Cooker.
Note: I have reduced the amount of water for cooking in this recipe as that has worked better for the final result based on reader feedback. 


Serving: 153gCalories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 37.1gProtein: 11.89gFat: 4.53gSaturated Fat: 0.401gTrans Fat: 0.014gSodium: 594mgPotassium: 875mgFiber: 8.9gSugar: 4.56gVitamin A: 1350IUVitamin C: 44.6mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 4.5mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegan
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.

You May Also Like

Get new recipes sent to your inbox!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Hello I have tried this recipe .. it came out perfect.. only thing is I felt like Rajma could have cooked a little but more..as I like it to be soft ..

    My question is what is the cup do you use to make your recipes?

    I tried some of your recipes they are all coming out good

  2. Hi, I am totally new to the instant pot. I am trying to make rajma and set the time to chill like you mentioned. I just realized once the timer started showing 20 min to go, it kept increasing the time on it’s own. Can you please let me know why its doing that?

  3. This is my second try at this recipe, first time was pip and second time today just made it alone without the rice. Both times the beans were undercooked. I soaked the beans for more than 24 hours… not sure what is going wrong. I used organic kidney beans that I just bought recently , bean mode used and have an 8 qt. Those would be the only differences. Anyone else have similar problems? I had to put them back in for another 4 minutes to finish cooking.

    1. Hi Purvie – I have heard other people share about having trouble with organic kidney beans. I also found that when I got organic kidney beans from Costco, they took much longer to cook. I would just add 10 minutes to the cooking time. Also make sure to not add more tomatoes than suggested in the recipe. When too much sour ingredients are added, it can take the beans much longer to cook.

  4. Heard lot about the punjabi food specially that Chhole Kulche (YouTube is filled with such videos). I liked Indian food specially because of it’s spices and the masala. Thank you for sharing – I know i won’t able to make it but still will try when visit India.

  5. When you say 6 mins for canned beans, does that mean six minutes instead of the normal 30? Or do you cook them for six minutes beforehand?

    1. Hi Anita – It is 6 minutes if total cooking time for canned beans, in place of 30 minutes. Hope you enjoy the rajma!

  6. This was so good! I love that the rice cooks perfectly at the same time as the curry. i picked up a copy of MDF rajma masala and used some of that for the spicing (plus turmeric and a bit of extra harms masala) and stirred in thinly sliced lacinato kale at the end as suggested. Everyone loved it!

  7. Keeping smaller photos next to each other is a good idea! as always a great presentation and a tasty recipe.

  8. Hi Meeta, We tried your recipe, however, even after soaking the rajma for 4+ hours, our dish turned out to be very watery. We had to get rid of the water separately by heating it on the electric range. I think the correct water:rajma ratio would have been 1:1.
    Rajmah were awesome!

    1. Hey Somya – Glad you enjoyed the rajma inspite of the water being more. You can also just put the instant pot on sauté after pressure cooking to reduce down the liquid. Thank you for sharing back your experience.

    2. Same! Soo much water. Had to boil it off for another 20 min after pressure release. But taste is great I would advice if using canned beans, decrease the time to manual 6 min, yes. But ALSO dec water by half!!

      1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have included in the recipe to reduce the water to 1 cup for canned beans.

      1. Do you have to have a stainless steel container that closes? can it be a stainless steel bowl?

      2. Hello – For the pot-in-pot bowl for rice, you don’t need to cover it with a lid. Any steel bowl that fits in the ip along with the trivet will work. Hope you enjoy it!