This Instant Pot Dhal recipe will be the most basic and simple dhal recipe you’ve ever tried but It tastes like it was cooking for hours on the fireside. I’ve been making dhal in my instant pot since I bought it 4 years ago and never thought to share until now, for that I am truly sorry. If you already have a solid dhal recipe––meaning you season your dhal a particular way––you can still use this recipe for the measurements but season your dhal however you like. For instance my mom likes whole roasted geera (cumin) in her dhal but my husband does not. My mother always adds turmeric and garam masala to her dhal but sometimes I leave it out and increase the curry powder. In my opinion there is no right or wrong when it comes to dhal, so do what makes you happy!

Making Instant Pot Dhal is the easiest way to make dhal

Traditionally when making dhal, I would cook the yellow split peas in water seasoned with garlic, onion, curry powder and geera. Then once the yellow split peas is tender to the point when it melts into the water, I would chunka (fry up in oil) my chopped garlic and add to the dhal and mix it together. For this recipe I wanted to do everything in the instant pot, so I fried up the garlic in the instant pot first, until it was almost burnt just like I would if I were doing it on the stove top, then I added the onions, followed by the yellow split peas and the curry and spices. I then sealed it up and pressure cooked for half an hour. Once it was done pressure cooking, the dhal was ready, nothing else was needed.


One Pot Dhal. No need to chunkay at the end!

The dhal was so perfect that all I needed to do was whisk it up a little before serving. I’ve also made dhal using a traditional pressure cooker. You can find that recipe here. And if you don’t already have an instant pot and want to get into the instant pot movement, you can get one by Shopping My Favs.


The Printable Instant Pot Dhal Recipe:

4.5 from 2 reviews
Instant Pot Dhal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Guyanese
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 cup yellow split peas, washed
  • 4 cups of water
  • ¼ cup oil suitable for cooking like avocado, coconut, olive or sunflower oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, 4 cloves finely chopped and 4 thinly slicked
  • I yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric or turmeric powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground geera (roasted cumin)
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Turn your instant pot to sauté and when hot add the oil
  2. While your instant pot is warming up, blend the onions and 4 cloves of garlic with about ½ cup of water until puréed. You can also just add the whole onion and garlic to the pot, it will become soft enough while pressure cooking and melt away.
  3. When the instant pot is hot, add the sliced garlic and cook until it is almost burnt. It will be black or dark brown. This will take about 5 minutes
  4. Next, add the geera to the garlic and cook for a minute.
  5. Then add the puréed onions and garlic or the chopped onions and whole garlic if you prefer
  6. Sauté for about 1 minute then add the remaining water, all of the split peas, curry powder, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper or other pepper (if using) and salt to the instant pot and mix together well
  7. Once everything is mixed together push the cancel button to get the instant pot out of sauté mode, then seal and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes
  8. After the timer runs out on the pressure cooking, release the pressure/steam
  9. Finally, whisk for about a minute or two to allow the split peas to "mash up" creating a smooth dhal
  10. You can also use an immersion blender for this step
  11. Serve hot!

Other Instant Pot Recipes: instant pot

I spent the entire month of January cooking with my instant pot and shared quite a few instant recipes. If you missed them you can see the full line up here. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I share cooking tips and adventures in my stories!


  1. Kevin .w January 31, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    I love your posts. look forward to trying this Dahl instant pot recipe today. <3

    1. Althea Brown January 31, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Wow. That was quick. I literally just hit publish. Love it. Please let me know how it comes out! And thank you for trying my recipes.

  2. Mary January 31, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Just wanted to add a tip even though i don’t have an insta pot. my mother used to chunkay the dhall at the end. by frying up the chopped garlic with some cumin seeds. When the garlic turned brown and the oil was sizzling. She would add it to the finished makes a sizzling soundand you just cover the pot and let it blend into the flavours of the dhall.

    1. Althea Brown January 31, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      That’s totally how I make traditional dhal but with the instant pot I chose to do that step before I actually added the peas and the water and the flavor was still the same as if i did it at the end. I just didn’t want to have to fry up the garlic in another pot to add it to the dhal after it was done cooking but of course you can do it that way too.

  3. UGINE MULAHOO-GRAHAM March 26, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Your instant pot recipes are so great! Keep them coming! Very nice ot have an instant pot friendly version of traditional guyanese recipes!

    1. Althea Brown March 26, 2020 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you. More IP recipes coming soon. I love my instant pot

  4. Farrah April 1, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Hi, not sure If i just missed in the instructions, but when do You add the sPlit peAs?

    1. Althea Brown April 1, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Hi. Sorry. It should be at step 5 when you add the remaining water, curry powder and salt. Thanks for catching that. I’ll update.

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