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Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani Recipe

Indulge in the rich and creamy flavors of India with this Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani recipe. Dal Makhani, a beloved North Indian dish, is known for its creamy black lentils and kidney beans simmered in a fragrant tomato-based sauce.

This slow-cooker version simplifies the cooking process, allowing you to enjoy the authentic taste of Dal Makhani with minimal effort. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to create this flavorful and comforting Indian dish.


For the Dal Makhani

  • 1 cup of whole black lentils (urad dal)
  • 1/4 cup of kidney beans (rajma)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

For Garnish

  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Cream or butter (optional)

Steps to Make

Step 1

  • Rinse the whole black lentils (urad dal) and kidney beans (rajma) under cold water.
  • In a large bowl, combine the lentils and beans, and cover them with enough water. Allow them to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Step 2

  • Drain and rinse the soaked lentils and beans.
  • In your slow cooker, add the drained lentils and beans, along with enough water to cover them.
  • Cover the slow cooker and set it to low heat. Let the lentils and beans cook for about 6-8 hours, or until they are tender and fully cooked.

Step 3

  • While the lentils and beans are cooking, prepare the tomato puree. Blend the tomatoes until smooth.

Step 4

  • In a skillet, heat the cooking oil and butter over medium heat.
  • Add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, and cloves. Sauté until they become fragrant.
  • Add the finely chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and ginger, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

Step 5

  • Add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala to the skillet. Sauté for a minute to toast the spices.
  • Pour in the tomato puree and cook until the oil begins to separate from the mixture. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

Step 6

  • Once the lentils and beans are cooked, transfer them to a large pot or the slow cooker if it’s large enough to accommodate the sauce.
  • Pour the tomato sauce mixture over the lentils and beans, stirring to combine.

Step 7

  • Cover the pot or slow cooker and let the Dal Makhani simmer on low heat for another 2-3 hours. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together.
  • About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the heavy cream and let it simmer briefly.

Step 8

  • Taste the Dal Makhani and adjust the salt and spices as needed.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and a drizzle of cream or butter if desired.


Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani is a decadent and flavorful Indian dish that’s cherished for its rich and creamy texture. By using a slow cooker, you can simplify the cooking process while still enjoying the authentic taste of this beloved North Indian cuisine. Serve it with naan or rice for a complete and satisfying meal.


Can I use canned lentils and kidney beans to save time?

While it’s possible to use canned lentils and kidney beans, the slow-cooked texture and flavor of freshly cooked beans and lentils are preferable for Dal Makhani.

Can I make this dish vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make it vegetarian by using heavy cream or coconut cream for a vegan version. Additionally, replace butter with oil for a vegan option.

Can I adjust the level of spiciness in Dal Makhani?

Absolutely! You can increase or decrease the amount of red chili powder and green cardamom pods to control the spice level.

Is Dal Makhani suitable for freezing?

Yes, Dal Makhani freezes well. Store it in airtight containers for up to 3 months.

What can I serve with Dal Makhani?

Dal Makhani pairs perfectly with naan, rice, or roti.