Restaurant Style Slow-Cooker Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka IP

Back when we used to visit the Indian buffet several times a week, one of my favorite dishes was the yellow lentil “soup” which I now know is called dal tadka. It’s basically a lentil curry that can be eaten over rice or with naan. Since I’ve learned more about Indian food, I’ve been learning how to make it at home and what spices are necessary to get the delicious flavors out.

Dal Tadka

My in-laws are from India so when we’ve been visiting them I pick up tips and tricks on making our favorite dishes and my mother-in-law walks me through how to make some of them. She showed me how to make dal, chana masala, bhindi, and rotis the last time we were there. I’ve modified slightly for us since we don’t have the same cookware as them and we also tend to use more oil in our cooking (with the stainless steel pans we have, it’s a must).

Tempering Ingredients

Dal tadka can be made in a slow cooker – requiring minimal attention. It even works in an Instant Pot on the slow cook setting. It’s seriously one of the easiest dishes I’ve made and you’ll definitely have leftovers unless you’re feeding a small army. It takes about 4 hours on high heat, and the best part is you don’t have to babysit it!

Dal Tadka IP

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4-5 hours
Total Time: 4-5 hours and 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings


1.5 cup yellow or red lentils
1 onion chopped
1 large tomato chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt to taste
cilantro (optional)
fenugreek leaves (optional)

Tadka Ingredients
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 serrano pepper finely chopped
1 tsp coriander cumin powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 


  1. Add lentils, garlic, chopped onion, turmeric, tomatoes, and salt to slow cooker
  2. Add 4 cups of water – if you want a runnier soup, add 4.5 cups
  3. Turn on high heat for approximately 3 hours 
  4. After 3 hours, heat olive oil to medium-high heat on stovetop and add all tempering ingredients
  5. Allow cumin seeds to sizzle and then remove from heat
  6. Add all tempering ingredients to slow cooker
  7. Cook for an additional hour, checking the texture of lentils prior to serving. If they are not to your liking, cook additional time to achieve desired texture. Yellow lentils take longer than red lentils from what I’ve found
  8. Top with fenugreek leaves, fresh chopped cilantro, and serve with rice or your favorite bread (naan, roti, or paratha)
  9. Enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 226
Protein: 12.5 g
Fat: 4.6 g
Carbs: 35.4 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sugar: 2 g

Let me know what you think of this one. It’s a great option for people wanting to try Indian food without such intense flavor or a super complex recipe.

-Cassie 🙂

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