Easy Dal Makhani Recipe

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Best Dal Makhani Recipe – A creamy, rich, and luscious Indian Lentil Recipe, perfect for celebrations or comforting meals! Simple ingredients, easy recipe, and delicious flavors!

dal makhani recipe pin

Dal Makhani is an Indian Lentil Curry made by slow-cooking whole black lentils (urad dal) in a luscious gravy made with tomatoes, butter, and cream.

In many Indian households, dal is a staple and pretty much an everyday dish. The most commonly cooked dals across homes are variations of moong dal, masoor dal, and toor dal.

However, Dal Makhani is a special occasion dish!

The dish gets its name from the use of “dal,” which means lentils, and “makhani,” which refers to the buttery and creamy texture and flavor of the lentil curry.

This Easy Dal Makhani recipe is perfect for special occasions or when you are craving a rich and comforting meal!

  • luxurious and creamy texture
  • epitome of comfort food
  • holds cultural significance
  • a cozy and satisfying meal
  • good source of protein & fiber
  • perfect for a special occasion
dal makhani image

Urad dal (Whole Black Lentils) – is the main ingredient of the recipe. As it takes longer to cook, it is important to soak them before cooking. Once cooked, the lentils become creamy and smooth.

Kidney Beans – are optional. Some people add a handful of kidney beans along with whole black lentils (urad dal). I’ve skipped them, but the choice is yours.

Fats – Ghee, butter, and cream! This dish is incomplete without fats. True to its namesake, dal makhani is a creamy, rich lentil curry. While you can reduce the amount of fat in the recipe, skipping it completely is not recommended.

Tomatoes – are pureed and then added to the tempering. The tanginess of the tomatoes balances the richness of the fats used in the recipe.

Spices – used are red chili powder, garam masala, cumin powder, and coriander powder. You can also use whole spices as tempering.

Other Ingredients – are salt, sugar, and dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi).

Step 1 – Wash the Lentils

To begin, wash the whole black lentils (urad dal) thoroughly with water. Wash them at least 3-4 times to ensure that all the dirt is removed from the lentils. Rinse till the water turns clear.

dal makhani recipe step 1

Step 2 – Soak the Lentils

Soak the rinsed lentils in water overnight or for at least 6-8 hours. Extending the soaking time as much as possible helps them cook thoroughly and reduces the overall cooking time.

dal makhani recipe step 2

Step 3 – Cooking the Lentils

Transfer the soaked lentils to a pressure cooker or instant pot. Pour in 3 cups of water.

dal makhani recipe step 3

Next, add the red chili powder, ghee (clarified butter), and garlic cloves.

dal makhani recipe step 4

If using the Pressure Cooker, cook the lentils for 3-4 whistles or until they are soft.

If using the Instant Pot, close the lid and set the Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” mode. Cook on high pressure for 12-15 minutes. You can extend the cooking time by a few minutes for softer lentils.

You might also love – Delicious Dal Palak Recipe!
dal makhani recipe step 5

Step 4 – Temper the Lentils

Heat a pan on low heat, add ghee to it, and let it melt. Add the ginger-garlic paste to the pan and sauté until golden brown.

Once the ginger garlic is golden brown, add red chili powder, and cumin-coriander powder, and sauté for a few seconds.

dal makhani recipe step 6

Step 5 – Add the Tomatoes

Immediately, add the tomato puree to the pan. Mix well and cook until the oil separates from the masala.

dal makhani recipe step 7

Step 6 – Combine Lentils and Tempering

Once the tomatoes are cooked, pour in the cooked lentils. Mix well to combine the lentils and the tempering.

dal makhani recipe step 8

Let the dal simmer on low heat for at least 15-20 minutes. You can add more water if needed to achieve the desired consistency.

dal makhani recipe step 9

Step 7 – Add the Seasoning

Add the sugar and salt. Stir well and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes

recipe step 10

Step 8 – Second Tempering

In another pan, add the ghee and let it melt on low heat. Switch off the heat. Then, add the red chili powder and roasted kasuri methi.

recipe step 11

Add the second tempering to the lentils. Stir well.

recipe step 12

To finish it off, add the butter to make it more rich and creamy.

While serving, add some fresh cream and serve it with roti or rice!

recipe step 13

Dal Makhani pairs well with steamed basmati rice, creamy lentils, and fragrant rice is the best combination! Serve it along with lemon wedges, pickles, and laccha onions on the side.

Pair with a creamy yogurt raita or cucumber salad to add a burst of freshness to the creamy lentils.

To store Dal Makhani, let it cool down completely and then transfer it to a clean air-tight container. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. You can also freeze it for 1 to 2 weeks.

Before serving, reheat the dal, and if the dal is thickened, add a little water. You can reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

  • It is important to rinse the lentils thoroughly, drain all the water, and then soak the clean lentils in fresh water.
  • Soak the lentils for as long as you can, as it reduces the cooking time.
  • You can substitute fresh tomato puree with canned tomatoes or packaged tomato puree.
  • You can skip it if you don’t have dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi).
  • Replace garam masala powder with one cinnamon stick, two to three green cardamom pods, one black cardamom pod, and two to three cloves. The flavor of the dal depends upon the garam masala, so make sure to use fresh whole spices or garam masala powder.
  • If you have white butter, substitute it for salted butter.

1. Can I soak the lentils for 3 to 4 hours? Will there be any difference in the cooking time?

You can soak the lentils in warm or medium-hot water for 3 to 4 hours. If the lentils are aged, the cooking time will be extended.

2. Is adding cream necessary?

Fresh cream is added while serving to give it a restaurant-style feel, but you can choose to skip it.

3. Is it possible to cook the lentils in a pot or pan?

Yes, you can cook the urad dal (whole black lentils) in a pot or pan on the stovetop. It will take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or more to cook them in a pan or pot.

To cook the lentils in a pot or pan, soak them in enough water overnight or for as long as possible to reduce the cooking time. While boiling the lentils, add a few drops of water to the oil; this will reduce the froth.

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dal makhani recipe pin

Dal Makhani Recipe

A creamy, rich, and luscious Indian Lentil Recipe, perfect for celebrations or comforting meals! Simple ingredients, easy recipe, and delicious flavors!
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 pressure cooker
  • 1 pot


Cooking Lentils

  • 3/4 cup whole black lentils (urad dal)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 3-4 nos garlic cloves

Tempering Lentils

  • 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

Second Tempering

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp roasted kasuri methi


Cook the Lentils

  • Rinse the whole black lentils with water. Soak them in water overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.
    3/4 cup whole black lentils
  • In a pressure cooker, add the soaked dal, garlic cloves, red chili powder, water, and ghee. Let it cook for 3-4 whistles or until they are soft and well-cooked.
    3 cups water, 2 tbsp ghee, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 3-4 nos garlic cloves
  • Once the lentils are cooked, mash the lentils with the back of a spoon.

First Tempering

  • Heat a pan on low flame. Add ghee and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté until golden brown.
    2 tbsp ghee, 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • Add red chili powder and coriander powder. Sauté for fw seconds.
    1 tsp red chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
  • Immediately, add tomato puree and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
    1 cup tomato puree
  • Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil starts to separate.
  • Add the cooked lentils, salt, and sugar to the tomato mixture. Mix well and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low heat.
    salt, 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Adjust the consistency by adding water if needed.

Second Tempering

  • In another pan, heat the ghee on low heat. Turn off the heat, then add roasted kasuri methi and add red chili powder. This will prevent them from burning.
    1 tbsp ghee, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp roasted kasuri methi
  • Add the tempering to the dal. Stir and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the butter and stir.
    2 tbsp butter


  1. Wash the lentils thoroughly before soaking.
  2. If you have white butter, substitute it for salted butter.
  3. You can reduce the fat in the recipe as per your liking.
Keyword Dal Makhani Recipe, Dal Recipes, How to Make Dal Makhani, Indian Curry Recipe, Lentil Recipe

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