Instant Pot Chana Masala

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Instant Pot chana masala is naturally vegan, nourishing, flavourful, relies on mostly pantry ingredients, and cooks for only 6 minutes! Naturally vegetarian dishes like chana masala are popular in their origin country India due to religious beliefs pertaining to animal consumption in Hinduism and Jainism.

An overhead shot of Chana masala in a blue speckled bowl.
Image shows a kitchen scene with soup ingredients on the counter along with an Instant pot.
An overhead shot of prepped ingredients in bowls for making Chana masala.
An overhead shot of onions sautéing in an Instant Pot.

Hey, are you one of those people that grabbed an Instant Pot during a Black Friday/Boxing Day sale and then… just kinda forgot about it? I might be a couple years late to this home cooking phenomenon, but I absolutely love my Instant Pot. It’s a dream for making extra flavourful broths (the foundation of so many plant-based foods), beans without soaking, brown rice and steel cut oats in a flash, creamy dals, risotto, and just general hands-off cooking. Once the holidays get going in their full swing, I think we could all use some nourishing, pantry-friendly recipes that can be cooking away without the need for intervention or constant babysitting. Not exactly a newsflash, but I love that this machine gets things done so that I can focus on other things like snuggling my dogs or maybe folding laundry ;)

I find that the Instant Pot really shines with stews, dal, and other slightly soupy things. The sealed nature of pressure cooking makes for some seriously robust flavour. I freaking LOVE salt and my palette tends to veer over to salty tastes a little further than most. I find myself adding much less to concoctions that I’m cooking up in the Instant Pot, which probably isn’t a bad thing! With this chana masala, you get perfectly seasoned and evenly sauced chickpeas that are spicy, meaty, and perfect with a bit of flatbread or a scoop of rice. It’s exactly the right thing for busy, wintery evenings.

Chana masala is most popular in northern India, but it is enjoyed across the country. Naturally vegetarian dishes like this are popular in India due to religious beliefs pertaining to animal consumption in Hinduism and Jainism. It seems that traditionally, chana masala is on the drier side than what I’ve presented here. Traditional recipes such as this one from Dassana’s Veg Recipes will include a sour note from amchoor, a dried mango powder. I do not use that in this recipe.

Even though I’m guessing that a lot of my readers are celebrating all things pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash etc. this week, I’m posting something for your possible new piece of cooking gear. My logic here is that most of you will want something healthy and super easy once the feasts are over, so just tuck this one in your back pocket for next week. For everyone else, this is just another amazing thing to make in your Instant Pot, whether well-used or collecting dust in a dark cabinet.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in more Instant Pot recipes. For more inspiration on that front, you can check out my Easy Vegan Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto and these Spicy Buffalo Refried Beans. Love to you all.

Image shows tomatoes, onions, and seasoning stewing in an Instant Pot with steam rising up.
Image shows Chana masala in an Instant Pot with a ladle in the pot.
An overhead shot of Chana masala in a blue speckled bowl.

Instant Pot Chana Masala

Instant Pot chana masala is naturally vegan, nourishing, flavourful, relies on mostly pantry ingredients, and cooks for only 6 minutes!
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Resting Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings 4 -6


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 small hot pepper/chili, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2- inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 strip of lemon peel, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (or 1 ½ cups)
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (from roughly 2 15-oz cans)
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish



  • I like to sauté the onions and spices in oil to really get all of the flavour out of them. If you are avoiding oil, you can “sauté” this portion in water until the onions are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. You’ll have to keep adding water to the pot as you cook.
  • I like to use Muir Glen’s fire-roasted tomatoes for this recipe.
  • I bet you could do this one in the slow cooker! My hunch is to put all of the ingredients into the insert (minus the coconut oil), give it a stir, and set to HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 5-6 hours.
  • A stovetop chana masala recipe right HERE.


  • Set the Instant Pot to “sauté” mode at “normal” and add the oil to the pot. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. To the pot, add the hot pepper, garlic, ginger, lemon peel, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and curry powder. Stir to combine. Keep stirring and cooking the onion and spice mixture for 4-5 minutes, or until spices appear slightly darkened and are quite fragrant.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Let this mixture come to a boil. Add the chickpeas, water, salt, and pepper and stir one more time. Cancel the sauté function.
  • Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and ensure that the valve is in the “sealing” position. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on manual mode (at “normal” temperature). Set the timer for 6 minutes. Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally.
  • Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and stir the chana masala. If you’d like it to be thicker, set the machine to “sauté” mode and simmer until it is reduced to your liking. Adjust the instant pot chana masala for seasoning and serve immediately with chopped cilantro, rice, flatbread etc.
21/11/2018 (Last Updated: 21/11/2018)
Posted in: autumn, chickpeas, earthy, gluten free, Instant Pot, main course, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, salty, side dish, sour, spicy, spring, summer, tomatoes, vegan, winter
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