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Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani just like you get at the best Indian restaurants!

When cooked correctly, dal makhani is delicious. I’ve tried some amazing version and also a few that just weren’t quite right. 

If you like a good dal makhani, I know this recipe will get you the flavour and texture you’re looking for. Be warned, however, this isn’t one you can just do on a whim. The lentils need to soak for at least 12 hours and then slowly cooked for about 4 hours until they are literally falling apart. 

Dal Makhani

Dal makhani the way it should be! Try this.

Getting this dal makhani recipe right…

Put simply, just follow the instructions and be sure to cook it until the lentils are falling apart. This is where a lot of chefs go wrong. They rush their dal makhani and it fails to impress. 

Be sure to taste before serving. You can always adjust the seasoning to your own liking. 

Other ways to cook dal makhani…

In India, dal makhani and other dals for that matter are cooked in a pressure cooker. 


This makes a lot of sense as it greatly reduces the cooking time. So if you have a pressure cooker and know how to use it, give it a try. 

I have an Instant Pot Duo Crisp Air Fryer which I use often to cook food quickly and also to air fry.  But usually I am happy for the dal to simmer away in a big pot while I do other things. Using the pressure cooker I can make this recipe in about an hour. 

Step by Step Photos…

Ingredients for dal makhani

It’s always best to get all your ingredients ready before starting cooking.

Lentils soaking

Soak the lentils for at least 12 hours. Notice how they get larger and turn green once soaked.

Simmering dal

Simmer the lentils for about 4 hours or until fall apart tender. Don’t rush this! Strain the cooked lentils and retain the cooking water. 

Cooked black dal

The lentils will look like this when ready.

Frying onions.

Heat the oil and fry the onions for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.

Adding garlic, ginger and tomatoes to pot.

Stir in the garlic and ginger followed by the chopped tomatoes.Then stir in the ground spices.

Adding lentils to the pan

Cover with some of the cooking liquid and add the cooked lentils.

finished dal makhani

Simmer for another 10 minutes and the stir in the butter and cream. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste.

Dal Makhani

Dig in!


If you like this dal makhani recipe, you might like to try some of these popular dals too…

Tarka Dal
Spinach dal
Chana dal

Yield: 4 - 6

Black Lentil Dhal - A Punjabi Dish You Are Sure To Love

Dal Makhani
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 200g (7oz) black urad dal, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 5 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 250ml (1 cup) single cream
  • Chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve


  1. In a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, simmer the urad dall in water until fall-apart soft. You will need to top up the water from time to time while the lentils cook. After 3 -4 hours of simmering, the lentils will be perfectly soft.
  2. Strain the lentils, reserving the cooking water, and set it all aside.
  3. Wash out the pot and place it over a medium-high heat. When visibly hot, stir in the chopped onions and fry for about 10 minutes until soft and lightly browned.
  4. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for about 30 seconds before adding the chopped tomatoes and the spices.
  5. Cook for another minute, then add about 125ml )1/2 cup of the strained lentil stock. Bring it to a simmer and then add the cooked lentils.
  6. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, adding more strained stock if needed, The Makhani dal should be thick and soupy.
  7. To finish, season with salt. I recommend about 2 teaspoons which I think works really well but add it to taste.
  8. Makhani means butter, so you can't leave that out. I recommend using about 3 tablespoons but if you don't want to use that much, the dal will still be delicious.
  9. Stir most of it into the dal and then add whatever is left over to melt on top and sprinkle with the chopped coriander (cilantro) and you are ready to serve your masterpiece.

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I hope you enjoy this dal makhani recipe. If you do give it a try, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 


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