Instant Pot Yellow Dal

Instant Pot Yellow Dal

The air smells of pine as it whips in the window. Up here, it’s 62 degrees. The Aspens have turned; their bright yellow leaves look stark against the pine trees mixed among them. The air is thin, there is not a bar of cell service to be found, and the moon is up. This is Mount Evans.

We’ve gone to Mount Evans to climb several times this summer and the change in elevation is always the perfect escape from the summer heat. (Eh-hem, I’ve obnoxiously shared the exact same view every weekend for the last month on my Instagram stories. I just can’t help it — the view takes my breath away every time.) Lately though, it’s been even better than usual because of the fall colors and crisp air. And, even I avoid cooking when it’s ninety degrees out, but when it’s only sixty-two, bring ooooon the baked goods, stews, and cozy foods.

Instant Pot Yellow Dal
Instant Pot Yellow Dal

I love red lentils when the weather starts to turn, and my go-to is dal. It’s creamy, spicy, satisfying, and so easy to make in an Instant Pot. So easy! The best weekend days start with breakfast, take us climbing somewhere among the Aspens, and end in dinner from the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Yellow Dal

Instant Pot Yellow Dal

Published October 11, 2018 by
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Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small red onions or 1 large, diced
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Juice 1/2 lime, plus wedges for serving
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced, plus more for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Turn the Instant Pot (affiliate link!) to sauté setting. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to the Instant Pot. When the oil is hot, sauté the garlic, onions, ginger, and jalapeño, stirring occasionally.
    2. While onions cook, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. When oil is hot, add mustard seed and cumin seeds, and toast until fragant. (Watch the seeds closely to avoid burning them—the cook quicly).
    3. Scape the cumin and mustard mixture into the Instant Pot. Add broth, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, ground cayenne, salt, ground black pepper, lime juice, and cilantro and stir.
    4. Place lentils in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cool water. Strain, then add to the Instant Pot. Stir well.
    5. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to “Manual” setting and adjust to high pressure. Set timer for 10 minutes with the seal closed.
    6. When the timer goes off, release the pressure or allow it to release naturally. Stir the lentils, and serve hot with lime wedges and cilantro.
    7. To make this on the stove top instead of an Instant Pot: Use a large soup pot. In step 3, bring everything to a simmer and cook, stirring occassionally, for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are softened through.
    8. Note: If you soak your lentils for 6-12 hours ahead of time (we usually do this), then strain water from lentils before use. Reduce broth quantity to 4 cups, and reduce cooking time to 4 minutes.