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Instant Pot Chana dal Recipe (Split Chickpeas Soup)

Chana Dal is an easy Indian lentil recipe prepared with Chana Dal, assorted spices cooked in Instant pot pressure cooker or traditional Indian pressure cooker under 30 minutes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chana dal, healthy, instant pot lentils
Diet Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Method Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker, Stovetop
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 195kcal
Author Bhavana Patil


  • 1 cup chana dal (bengal gram) soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic minced
  • 1 green chili slit lengthwise
  • 2 cups water for cooking
  • 2 tablespoons oil (or ghee)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves
  • juice of half lime
  • salt to taste


Extra Tempering (Optional)


Instant Pot Method:

  • Soak the chana dal in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
    step to soak the chana dal in hot water collage
  • Press SAUTE on Instant Pot. Add oil, and once it's hot, add cumin seeds. Let them crackle.
  • Add minced onions, ginger garlic, and green chili. Saute till onions turn light brown.
    step to saute spices and onion collage
  • Next, add tomatoes, dry spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. Cook till tomatoes turn soft, which takes 2-3 minutes.
  • Then add soaked lentils, water and give a stir. Adjust spices at this stage. Also, deglaze the pot, i.e., make sure there is no food particle sticking to the pot to avoid burn alerts.
    step to cook tomatoes with spices and add water to pressure cook collage
  • Close the lid securely, and turn the vent to "SEALING". Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL (High Pressure) setting and set the cooking time to 12 minutes.
  • Once the pot beeps, let it release the pressure naturally (NPR) for 10 minutes.
  • Lastly, squeeze some lime juice and garnish with coriander leaves (cilantro). Mix well. Add ½ cup of water to adjust the dal consistency if required.
    Optionally, You can also add extra tempering (tadka).
    step to add lemon juice and tadka collage
  • Instant Pot Chana Dal curry, also known as Bengal gram dal or split chickpeas lentils, is ready. Serve hot with steamed rice, quinoa, or roti.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method:

  • Follow the same steps from the instant pot instructions. Give 3-4 whistles on medium flame and let the pressure release naturally. All the other steps remain the same.

Stovetop Pot Method

  • Just soak the chana dal for 3-4 hours and then boil it in a large pot for 25-30 minutes or until soft.
    After the lentils are cooked, prepare the tempering. Then saute onion-tomato-ginger-garlic paste and then assemble the dal. 


I have prepared this dish in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot DUO60 6 QT.

Tips to make the Best Chana Dal

  1. Soaking Chana Dal: Don’t skip out on soaking the chana dal for at least 15-20 minutes – Chana dal takes a longer time to cook. Soaking softens the lentils and cooks faster.
  2. Dal Consistency: If dal has more liquid, then you can boil it for a few minutes and vaporize the water.
  3. Spices: Increase or decrease the spices according to your preference.


  1. Add vegetables: You can also add bottle gourd, zucchini, or pumpkin to this dal.
  2. No Onion, No Garlic: For a variation, you can also make this dal by skipping onion, and garlic.
  3. Using Bhuna Masala: You can use ½-¾ cup of Bhuna Masala (Onion Tomato Masala) in place of the onion, tomato, ginger, and garlic, in this recipe. Heat the oil, and add cumin. Let cumin seeds splutter. Then add the Bhuna Masala and saute for about a minute. Then add the ground spices and follow the same recipe.
  4. Vegan: Skip ghee and use any cooking oil of your choice.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.


Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 476mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg