Instant Pot Madras Lentils Recipe

August 14, 2018Van
Blog post

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6

Costco Samples have a magical way of influencing our eating habits. On a routine shopping trip my daughter tried a sample cup of Tasty Bites Madras Lentils—and proceeded to talk about them the entire trip. I reluctantly conceded and went back to purchase the package of pouches—thinking I’d be lucky to use just half of them. Within a week my kids had devoured these super nutritious and tasty lentil packages. If you’ve never tried this before, it’s based on a famous Indian dish called dal makhani, but the Tasty Bites version has been simplified for the western palate – it’s very much like your standard bean chili with a slight kick from the kashmiri chilli powder and added richness from the butter and cream.

As a diehard do-it-yourselfer , I began playing with ways of replicating this delicious dish to much success. In fact—most of the ingredients are quite basic and are probably in your pantry right now! The only two items I had to order was Whole Black Gram Lentils (purchase here) and Kashmiri Chilli Powder (purchase here). The black gram lentils are quite different from green, red or beluga lentils, they hold their shape well and stand up to the same cooking time as the red kidney beans, so these can’t be substituted. Kashmiri Chilli Powder is a bright red mild chilli powder, adds great flavor and color to this dish. My kids love having it with Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan or you can also serve it over basmati rice for a delicious high protein vegetarian meal.

Instant Pot Madras Lentils Recipe Instant Pot Madras Lentils Recipe
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Instant Pot Madras Lentils Recipe (Copycat of Tasty Bites Madras Lentils)

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Serves: 6


  • 1 Cup Whole Black Gram Lentils / Urad Whole
  • ⅔ Cup Red Kidney Beans
  • 2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil, or other neutral tasting oil
  • 4 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder, or substitute with 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 3 Medium Tomatoes, finely diced (or use a food processor)
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ½ Medium Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 3¾ Cups Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream


  • 1)

    Add 2 Tablespoons of Oil to the pot and choose the Sauté option on the Instant Pot and select the “high” setting. Once the display shows “hot” add 4 Teaspoons of Ground Cumin, 1 Teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder, 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste, give it a quick stir then add the diced Onions and minced Garlic. Stir constantly for 1 Minute. Add the diced Tomatoes, sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press Cancel to turn off Sauté mode.

  • 2)

    Add 1 Cup of Whole Black Gram Lentils, ⅔ Cup of Red Kidney Beans, 2 Teaspoons of Kosher Salt and 3¾ Cups Water, give it a quick stir then seal the Instant Pot lid and make sure the knob is set to Sealing. Choose High Pressure / Manual on the Instant Pot and set it for 40 minutes. Once the timer is up, wait 15 minutes while it does a natural pressure release, then switch the knob to Venting to release the rest of the steam. Once the pin drops, open the Instant Pot lid.

  • 3)

    Add 3 Tablespoons of Butter and 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream, stir well. Taste and season with more salt or Kashmiri Chilli Powder if needed. Serve with basmati rice or naan. Enjoy!

↓ Supplies to make this recipe ↓



  • Lindsey

    September 16, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Do you soak the beans and lentils?

    1. Van

      September 16, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Hi Lindsey, no you don’t have to soak the beans and lentils – that’s why I love making any beans in the IP, you don’t have to soak them ahead of time.

  • Eman

    July 7, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Thank you. This tastes exactly like the Tasty Bite you buy in stores. I let mine boil down a little to thicken it up. At first, I only did 1/2 teaspoon of the Kashmir pepper, but then added the other half. It is perrfect as you have it.
    Thanks again.

    1. Van

      July 7, 2019 at 10:30 am

      Hi Eman, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! 😀

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