Rajma, or kidney bean dal, is a popular stew in North India. The kidney beans are cooked for hours to create a thick sauce that becomes fragrant with Indian spices. This Instant Pot Kidney Bean Dal recipe gets it done in your trusty multicooker. To complement the robust flavors with a burst of tangy freshness, top your dal with a sprinkle of chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro just before serving. Note that this recipe calls for hot cooked brown rice, so be sure to have that ready to go.

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 1½ cups dried red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large onion chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 whole pitted dates
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup plant-based milk, unsweetened, unflavored
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown basmati rice, or quinoa or 2 whole wheat pita rounds


  • In a 6-qt. Instant Pot multicooker combine the first 10 ingredients (through turmeric). Stir in 3 cups water.
  • Lock lid in place; set pressure valve to Sealing. Set cooker on Bean setting and cook 45 minutes. Let stand to release pressure naturally (about 20 minutes). Open lid carefully.
  • Stir in plant-based milk, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Set cooker on Keep Warm setting and heat, uncovered, 10 minutes or until mixture is thick.
  • Serve bean mixture over rice or quinoa, or with pita rounds.

Comments (15)

(5 from 5 votes)

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Carolyn Brown

I am surprised to see the use of coconut milk in your recipes, because of the high saturated fat content. While it lends a lovely creaminess to dishes, I don’t consider it healthy. Do you have a substitute?

jim grube

I would like to try this ... i have an Insta Pot ... but no "bean seatting" on the Insta Pot is there an alternate setting that I can use?


I haven’t had luck using the bean setting on my Instant Pot, so I cooked it on the high pressure setting for 45 mins, then let it release naturally for 20, as the recipe indicates, and it turned out well.


What if the mixture doesn't thicken after 10 minutes, I used the Bean setting? Thanks Janet


This was excellent! I doubled the recipe, used light coconut milk, added red chili flakes, and served it over brown basmati rice and fresh spinach. It only took five minutes to throw the ingredients into the Instant Pot and 45 minutes later we had a massive amount of food for the week. A must-try recipe!


Shouldn’t kidney beans (especially red kidney beans) be soaked first and then have the soaking water discarded because of the toxins it absorbed from the beans? Where do the toxins go if dry red kidney beans are prepared in one step in an IP? (Genuinely asking.)


Kidney beans need to be boiled for at least ten minutes to get rid of the toxin, so the long cooking time would certainly have them at boiling for well over that amount of time.


Lectins in kidney beans, toxic if not cooked properly, are proteins. When cooked they get denatured, meaning they change the structure, which makes them harmless. Imagine straightening paper clip until it's no longer usable. I hope this makes sense.

S James

Made this tonight! Delicious easy! On my rotation! Topped with shaved purple cabbage & spring onions. I added 1/4 tsp chili flakes & a couple of shakes of chili powder.


Could I use canned kidney beans in this? Would that change the directions any?

Courtney Davison

Hi Trudy, unfortunately, using canned instead of dried would significantly impact the recipe, so we don't recommend swapping them out. For a dal recipe that uses canned kidney beans, try this one: https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-soups-stews/fragrant-kidney-bean-lentil-dal/ Thank you, Courtney Editor, Forks Over Knives


So do the dates stay whole in this recipe? Do they disintegrate in the Instant Pot?

Brooke Bennett

Hi Bethany, The dates get really soft and disintegrate into the sauce to add a nice subtle sweetness, so you don't have to worry about chopping them beforehand. Let us know what you think about the recipe!


I don't have an Instant Pot. Do you have directions for a slow cooker? Thanks!


Can I use red kidney beans soaked overnight in this recipe?

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit DarshanasKitchen.com and follow her on Instagram for more.
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