Slow Cooker Masoor Dal


Slow Cooker Masoor Dal

This masoor dal is so easy to make. Simply, throw some lentils, water and spices in the slow cooker, put on the lid and forget about it for several hours. There is no chopping vegetables or sauteeing onions. No fuss! Then, when you’re ready to eat, pour over the fragrant “vaghaar” by heating some ghee or oil and adding in the whole spices and a bit of chili.

The slow cooker is a great tool if you want to experiment with making dals. I do this often because it is so easy to throw some lentils, liquid and spices in the pot in the morning and leave it for the day. When I get home, the house is filled with the aromatics of a warm, comforting meal.

Slow Cooker Masoor Dal

You can experiment with the type of liquid used. Coconut milk, chicken or vegetable broth, or a little tomato paste added to the water would all make an excellent base. It’s also really fun to play around with the spices and quantities in this recipe, I really encourage you to experiment here. It might sound a bit weird to some people, but cinnamon is a great spice to add to Indian savories, but the trick is to not add too much. The first time I made this, I used a whole cinnamon stick and after 6 hours in the pot, that turned out to be way too much.

I now prefer to use just half a stick of cinnamon, or at least a really small one. Also, I tend to go easy on the black pepper, using only 3-4 peppercorns. But we’ve got a Punjabi take-out restaurant down the street that makes a nice Masoor Dal and if I were trying to make it like their’s I would use at least a teaspoon of peppercorns, and double up the ginger.

Slow Cooker Masoor Dal

Slow Cooker Masoor Dal

Slow Cooker Masoor Dal

Slow Cooker Masoor Dal

Slow Cooker Masoor Dal

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 8 hrs
  • Total time: 8 hrs
  • Yields 3 cups


  • For the dal:
  • 1 cup whole Masoor Dal (often sold as Brown Lentils at the grocery store)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the vaghaar/tadka/tempering*:
  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • few slices of a fresh red or a whole dried red chili


  1. Put all of the ingredients for the dal except the salt in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  3. Stir in salt.
  4. Add a “vaghaar” on the top: heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil on a pan until it shimmers, add a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seed, a few slices of red or green chilies and toast until lightly fragrant (about 10 seconds). Pour the flavored oil and spices over the dal and serve!
  5. *In Gujarati, the process of heating oil, then adding spices is called a vaghaar. In Hindi, it is known as tadka and as tempering in English.


  • Make it a little richer by adding a small pad of butter or a dash of cream at the finish.
Nutrition Info
Serving Size 1/2 cup Sodium 389mg
Calories 133 Trans Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 19g Fat 2g
Protein 8g Cholesterol 0g

Comments on "Slow Cooker Masoor Dal"

  1. September 26, 2014
    Claudia ~ Food with a View:

    Great to see you back, posting again :-) . Your dal looks delicious, just perfect for autumn (which is at the doors over here already).

    1. October 13, 2014
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thanks Claudia. I'm not quite back to my usual posting schedule. Things are super busy right now with work and we're about to move as well. Hopefully we'll be back to normal soon! Hope you're well! :)

  2. October 6, 2014

    Made this over the weekend as a surprise to my girlfriend (who is Indian) and she LOVED it. It was excellent, we'll be adding this on the list of dishes for Diwali this year!

    1. October 13, 2014
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Hi Eddie! Glad you and your girlfriend liked it. Happy Diwali to you both! :)

  3. December 8, 2014

    I'm new to eating Indian food at home, so I'm not quite sure how I would make a Indian-style meal. Do you serve Dal with bread and it's a complete meal on its own, or do you eat it with salad or veggie side-dishes?
    Thanks in advance! Your photos look so yummy, I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

  4. January 28, 2015

    Made some last night was absolutely delicious, thanks!

  5. July 15, 2018

    This recipe looks great! I'm definitely going to give this a go. Just wondering do you need to soak the dal first before putting it into the slow cooker?

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