Slow-Cooker Dal

updated Jun 7, 2023
Slow-Cooker Dal
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Credit: Maria Midoes

When fall arrives, nothing is better than cozying up with a regular rotation of warm meals. While soup and stew certainly get the job done, sometimes dinner begs for something different, like this recipe for dal, a type of lentil soup, which we’re making in the slow cooker.

Credit: Maria Midoes

Seek Assistance from the Spice Cabinet

This version of dal is made with tender split red lentils. It is cooked with cumin, mustard, and fennel spices, and when you open the lid of the slow cooker, it greets you with the warm medley of spices.

It’s best this dish is cooked for six hours and simmered low. This isn’t the kind of slow-cooker recipe to make if you’re going to be out of the house all day. But if you’ve got an afternoon of errands to run and still want to enjoy dinner when you come home, consider this dal a good choice.

Slow-Cooker Dal

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 2 teaspoons

    whole cumin seeds

  • 2 teaspoons

    whole mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon

    whole fennel seeds

  • 2 cups

    split red lentils, rinsed

  • 5 cups


  • 1

    (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1

    medium onion, diced

  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)

  • Jasmine rice, for serving


  1. Add the cumin, mustard, and fennel seeds to a small sauté pan, and place on the stove over low heat. Toast the seeds, using a wooden spoon to stir frequently, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Add the toasted spices, lentils, water, tomatoes, onion, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir together. Cover the slow cooker with the lid, then set to low and cook for 4 to 6 hours, or high and cook for 2 to 3 hours, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are soft. Stir before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.