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a spoon full of plain boiled yellow dal, held above a bowl full of boiled dal, with a small bowl of raw toor and yellow moong dal in the background

How to Cook Dal in Instant Pot (Boiling Dal + Water to Dal Ratio + Cook Time)

A quick and easy recipe that shares how to boil dal in the Instant Pot (using the pot in pot method) - makes for a great addition to your weekly meal prep routine.
Course Kitchen Basics
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 75kcal



  • ¼ cup toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas)
  • ¼ cup yellow moong dal (split and skinned green gram)
  • cup water for pressure cooking dal


  • Take ¼ cup toor dal and ¼ cup yellow moong dal, and properly wash & rinse them, and then strain away the excess water.
  • Add cup fresh water to the dal for pressure cooking.
  • In the main pot of the Instant Pot, add 2 cups of water, and place a trivet in it.
  • On the trivet, place the utensil containing dal and water, and cover it with a lid.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid, and ensure it's sealed.
  • Pressure cook for 10 minutes on high.
  • When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally.
  • Boiled dal is ready!  (I usually quickly whisk it, while it’s still hot, to get a smoother dal base for my recipes. But of-course that’s just personal preference.)



  1. I used to use only toor dal as my base for most dal recipes, but these days I use a mix of toor dal and moong dal as my default base, because incorporating some yellow moong dal makes it lighter on the stomach. And I personally use toor dal and moong dal in a 50:50 ratio. But of-course you can choose to go with only toor dal or only moong dal or incorporate both in a ratio of your choice.
  2. I’ve found that, a 3:1 water to dal ratio works well, especially in the Instant Pot, but you can also go with 2.5:1 or even 2:1 water to dal ratio, especially if you are okay with a chunkier dal.
  3. Pressure cooking dal for 10 minutes will give you a pretty smooth dal,  but if you need an even smoother dal, then add 1-2 minutes to the pressure cooking time, or soak the dal for 30 minutes before pressure cooking.
  4. You can always boil / cook dal in the main pot of the Instant Pot. But I usually prefer to do that only when I am making an entire dal recipe in the Instant Pot. Especially because I mostly boil smaller quantities of dal, and it can be easily done using the pot in pot method, and the main pot of the Instant Pot stays clean, to be used for other things.
  5. My go-to quantity is ½ cup of dal, but this recipe works well for anywhere from ½ -1½ cup of dal. The only difference is that when the quantity of dal is increased, the pot takes a few additional minutes to come to pressure as well as de-pressurize. And as such, the pot in pot method usually works well for up to 1½ cup of dal, at-least in my 6 quart Instant Pot. If you need to boil more dal than that, then it’s best to do it in the main pot of the Instant Pot.

Please note: The nutrition values are best estimates provided as a courtesy. The exact values can vary depending on the exact ingredients or brands used. If you rely on them for your specific diet and/or health issues, please consult a registered dietician or nutritionist.


Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 16mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg