Dal makhani is creamy and buttery lentils curry, most popular and special Indian dal. Black grams cooked for hours in butter and finished with cream. Best served with naan, jeera rice.

Prep Time20 mins

Cook Time3 hrs 15 mins

Total Time1 hr 50 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Indian

Keyword: dal makhani

Servings: 3

Calories: 422kcal

Author: Harini


To Pressure Cook Lentils

  • 1 cup black lentils 200 grams sabut urad dal
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups water, 32 oz

For Masala

  • 4 tabespoons butter vegan or dairy
  • 2 tablespoons ghee substitute with oil if unavailable
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion 110 grams, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • 3 teaspoons ginger garlic paste or freshly minced 1 inch ginger and 4 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup tomato puree 175 grams, use store bought or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup cream vegan or dairy
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves


  • Pick rinse and add the lentils to a large bowl. You can use a mix of urad dal and red kidney beans or rajma. Pour enough water to soak the lentils and leave overnight or 8-12 hours.
  • Drain, add fresh water and pressure cook with a pinch of salt for 12 whistles or 20-25 minutes in medium high heat. The dal should get cooked really well here. Once done, try mashing the few lentils with your fingers. If the dal is not well cooked, add 1 cup or 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 5-6 more minutes.lentils or dal pressure cooked
  • Once the pressure is released, mash the dal well, add 1 cup water and simmer for around 30 minutes or until we prepare the masala.mashing and simmering lentils
  • To make masala for dal makhani heat 4 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons ghee over medium heat in a heavy pan. Add cumin seeds and let splutter. Add chopped onions and saute for a minute. Next add slit green chilies and saute.sauteing onions and green chilies in butter
  • Next add minced ginger garlic or ginger garlic paste. Saute well. Next in goes the tomato puree.sauteing tomato puree
  • Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder. Mix well and cook in medium flame.spice powders added to tomato base
  • Keep cooking until the raw flavor of garam masala powder leaves.cooking tomato base
  • Continue till the tomato puree is well cooked and leaves fat from the sides of the pan.tomato base sauteed
  • Add the simmering lentils along with the water to the cooked masala. Keep mashing every now and then.cooked lentils added to tomato puree
  • Add salt to taste.salt added
  • Add more water say 1 cup or 1.5 cups and begin to simmer. The dal will absorb water as it cooks, so make sure to check and add water as needed.simmering dal makhani
  • Simmer for 1 to 2 hours (2 hours recommended). Finally stir in 1/4 cup cream and mix well. After adding cream simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add chopped cilantro leaves and mix well.simmering dal makhani
  • Serve dal makhani with more cream and a pat of butter.


Soak your lentils well– Well soaked lentils cook faster, mash up easily and easier to digest. I usually soak lentils like urad dal, rajma and channa at least for 8 hours and mostly 12 hours.

Slow cook all the way– Simmering on lowest heat for ridiculously long hours is the secret to best dal makhani. I simmer the cooked dals for 30 minutes before adding the masala and two hours after adding it.

Use butter liberally for best taste- To get the Indian restaurant or dhaba taste please do not reduce the quantity of butter used. Sauteing the masala in butter and adding some butter to the simmering da is what makes this dish truly “makhani”.

You can double or halve the recipe. For scaling up just increase the cooking time by another 30 minutes and for scaling down you can reduce by 30 minutes. However while scaling down, its perfectly ok to simmer for long time.

Smoking dal makhani– you can infuse that smoky flavor by using dhungar method. I don’t do this often as I don’t get good charcoal easily. Traditionally this dish was slow cooked on coal for long hours which gave it that smokey flavor. You can do dhungar method if you get good quality wood coal. I have seen people using liquid smoke too, but I have not tried it


Serving: 3g | Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 934mg | Potassium: 372mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 685IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 7mg