Instant Pot Chana Masala

October 9, 2018 (Last Updated: February 7, 2019)

This is a simple recipe for a popular Indian spiced chickpea curry called Chana Masala.  This hearty and delicious curry is made with chickpeas or garbanzo beans, which are rich in iron, protein and are naturally vegan & gluten-free.  Enjoy it over aromatic basmati rice, or pair with Naan.

Close-up of Indian Chana Masala made in Instant Pot Pressure cooker

How to Cook Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans?

When I can plan ahead, I prefer to cook dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans.  They turn out creamier than the canned chickpeas.

I soak them overnight,  rinse them and pressure cook with the seasoning for 35 minutes, in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot.

The same process can be followed in any other pressure cooker too.

Cooking Chickpeas Separately

If you want to cook them separately and add the seasoning later, you can follow this easy recipe to cook chickpeas in 15 minutes.

How to Make this Chana Masala Recipe in under 30 minutes

By using canned Chickpeas, you can reduce the total cooking time to less than half for this channa masala recipe.

I simply rinse out the canned chickpeas and add them to the pot as per instructions, and pressure cook everything for 5-6 minutes.

Once the cooking is done, I wait 10 minutes before releasing the pressure manually.

Indian spiced chana masala served in a black bowl

Chana Masala in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Cooking legumes and beans is a breeze in Instant Pot, or any electric pressure cooker.  It’s an easy method, that is mostly hands-off, which means the chickpea curry practically cooks itself.

Pressure cooking method reduces the cook time considerably, which is always a big plus.

If I were to cook them in a pan over the stove, I would end up cooking them for around 50 mins-1 hour, to get a similar consistency.  Plus, I would have to stir the pan every now and then.

Here’s how I cook this Easy Chana Masala Recipe in Instant Pot:

I soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, or, for about 8-10 hours.

  Heat oil on saute mode (high).

  Add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle

  Next, add onions, crushed ginger and garlic, tomatoes and saute for 1 minute.

  The garam masala and other spices go in next.  If you don’t have all the spices listed below, you can find ready-made chana masala powder in many stores.

  Add the strained chickpeas and water.  Close the lid and pressure cook for 35 mins.

  Let pressure release naturally and open lid after the pin drops.

  Using a potato masher, mash a few beans.  This makes the Chana Masala creamier.

 Squeeze fresh lemon juice, about a teaspoon.  Stir in roasted cumin powder and chopped cilantro.  Serve warm with naan or Jeera rice.

step by step guide on how to make chana masala in instant pot

What is the Difference Between Punjabi Chole and Chana Masala?

These days, I often find, that Indian food restaurants use both these names interchangeably, but in my opinion, there is a difference in taste and spices used for these two dishes.

Of course, like any classic recipe, there are a zillion variations of this dish.

Here are the differences between these two chickpea recipes based on how I’ve seen it being cooked in my family:

Punjabi Chole

Punjabi Chole/ Punjabi Chana Masala/ Chole / Chole Masala is referred to a popular street-food style preparation of Indian chickpea curry.   It is more spicy and tangy than Chana Masala.

You can find some of the most authentic Punjabi Chole preparations in and around Punjab and New Delhi.

It’s distinguishing factor is a dark-brown curry or gravy, and a slight tangy flavor, both of which are a result of cooking Chole (chickpeas) with a combination of dry-mango powder (amchur) and dry pomegranate seeds powder (anardana powder).

I also add a tea-bag while cooking Chole, to enhance that dark color.

I don’t add any turmeric to Punjabi Chole, and add very little tomato.


Chana Masala

Authentic Chana Masala or chickpea masala on the other hand, is a tomato-onion rich gravy, with an iconic reddish-orange curry sauce.

I get that color by adding turmeric, Kashmiri red-chili powder (similar to paprika), and tomato puree, as detailed in the chana masala recipe card below.

The tomatoes form a foundation for this curry and give it a slightly sweet taste.  That contrasts perfectly with the earthy spices.

That being said, both these chickpea curries are awesome, so no matter which one you make, you can’t go wrong!

Chana masala in a black bowl

More Instant Pot INDIAN VEGETARIAN RECIPES like this:

I have several more Indian recipes on this blog, including these vegetarian recipes, all of which are gluten-free:

★ Have you tried this recipe? Click on the stars ★ in the recipe card to let us know your feedback!

instant pot chana masala served with rice and pickled onions

Instant Pot Chana Masala

A simple recipe for a popular Indian spiced chickpeas curry called Chana Masala.  This hearty and delicious curry is made with dry or canned chickpeas, which are rich in protein and are naturally vegan & gluten free.  Enjoy it over aromatic basmati rice, or pair with Naan.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Discuss Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Spice Cravings





Soak Dried Chickpeas or Use Canned

  • Rinse and soak dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans in about 4 cups of water, overnight, or at least 8-10 hours. 
  • Strain and rinse them once again before cooking. Alternatively, use canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Rinse well and strain them.

Pressure Cook

  • Heat oil (or ghee) on SAUTE (high) in the instant pot, about 30 seconds, add cumin seeds.  
  • When cumin begins to splutter, add onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, tomato and saute for a minute.  
  • Add spices, chickpeas and water. Close the lid, vent set to 'sealing', and pressure cook for 35 minutes at Bean or Manual mode. The time variation depends on how soft you like your chickpeas to be. If you're using canned chickpeas, reduce the cooking time to 5-6 minutes.


  • Wait for the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully release the remaining pressure and open the lid after the pin drops. 
  • Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, mash a few beans. This makes the curry creamy and thick. 
  • Garnish with cilantro and roasted cumin powder. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. Serve with Puri, Naan, or Jeera Basmati rice!



If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.


Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 455mg | Potassium: 413mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 8.4% | Vitamin C: 12.1% | Calcium: 6.2% | Iron: 17.1%
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chana masala, chole masala, instant pot indian recipes, punjabi chole, Vegan
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!
❤️ For more quick & easy recipes, SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube Channel and FOLLOW my RECIPE BOARDS on Pinterest.


Never miss a recipe

Spice Cravings is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

Leave a Reply