Recipe: Slow-Cooker Dal

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

Now that fall is firmly upon us, with shorter days and a growing chill in the air, it’s time to cozy up with a regular rotation of warming 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.

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

Seek Assistance from the Spice Cabinet

This version of dal, made with a hearty foundation of tender split red lentils, greets you with the aroma of a warm medley of spices like cumin, mustard, and fennel when you open the lid of the slow cooker.

Requiring six hours of simmering on low, this isn’t the kind of slow-cooker recipe to make if you’re out of the house all day. But if you’ve got an afternoon of errands to run and still want to enjoy a hot dinner when you come home, consider this lentil dal a good choice.

183 Ratings

Slow-Cooker Dal



  • 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.