Try making a super easy Indian food recipe at home with this mild Instant Pot Chana Masala. It’s easy to make, freezes beautifully, and packs extra veggies tucked right into the sauce. Plus, it’s a delish family meal to share with babies and toddlers!

channa masala on table.

Instant Pot Chana Masala

I love Indian food and it’s been fun to introduce the flavors to my kids. This easy family dinner comes together in minutes and then you get to let the Instant Pot do the rest! It has similar flavors to traditional chana masala and is very easy to make.

You can also make this in a slow cooker. See the Notes section of the recipe at the bottom for the info.

This dish has veggies are all pureed into a sauce for extra flavor. I love doing this since it’s an easy way to add nutrition to the meal and the sweet potato makes everything super creamy and delish.

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Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe, you’ll need to have the following ingredients on hand and ready to go.

ingredients in instant pot chana masala
  • Crushed tomatoes: Canned crusthed tomatoes are a great option here.
  • Sweet potato: You can use freshly peeled and diced sweet potato or diced frozen sweet potato.
  • Garbanzo beans: Fully cooked garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) are the typical bean used in this dish.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds flavor to this recipe.
  • Spices including turmeric, salt, garam masla, cumin. ginger
  • Canned coconut milk: Look for canned full fat or light style coconut milk to use in this recipe.
  • Rice: Fully cooked rice is delicious for serving.

Quick Tip for Storing Fresh Ginger

I like to store fresh ginger in a freezer bag in the freezer and grate it on a fine microplane right into the skillet. It grates easily and you don’t have to worry about the ginger going badly between usages if you don’t use it often. So handy!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this recipe so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full information.

how to make channa masala step by step
  1. Add the ingredients to the Instant Pot.
  2. Cook.
  3. Puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender.
  4. Add coconut milk.
  5. Stir in chickpeas.
  6. Serve over rice.

TIP: We like to serve this with diced cucumbers, naan or pita bread, and plain yogurt. This rounds out the flavors nicely and provides some safe foods on the table if the kids decide they aren’t into the main dish.

Favorite Rice to Use

We like short grain brown rice or basmati rice. I like to buy rice from Lundberg to reduce the likelihood of excess arsenic as they test regularly and keep their levels below the EPA limits.

chana masala with rice in kids bowl with cucumbers and bread

Best Tips for Success

  • Use fresh sweet potato or frozen diced sweet potato.
  • Omit the garam masala if you don’t happen to have it.
  • Store fresh ginger in the freezer in a freezer bag and grate over a microplane while still frozen to make it easy (and to avoid it going bad).
  • Serve with rice, naan or pita, plain Greek yogurt, and cucumber.
  • Freeze extras, once cooled, in a freezer container for a future meal. Use within three months.
  • Serve some of the sauce, without the beans, to babies eating purees.
  • Mash the beans lightly to babies eating finger foods.

I’d love to hear what your family thinks of this recipe if you try it out so please comment below!

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instant pot chana masala meal.

Instant Pot Chana Masala-Style Chickpeas

Try making a super easy Indian food recipe at home with this mild Instant Pot Chana Masala. It's easy to make, freezes beautifully, and packs extra veggies tucked right into the sauce. (This will likely make enough for two meals—I like to freeze the second half for a future week.)
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Cuisine Indian
Course Dinner
Calories 370kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 14.5 ounce cans chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk
  • 2 cups fully cooked rice
  • Plain greek yogurt, pita or naan, and diced cucumber, optional for serving
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Instructions

  • Add the crushed tomatoes, water, sweet potato, garlic, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, ginger, and salt to the Instant Pot. Stir.
  • Seal and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let naturally release for 5 minutes, then quick release to open.
  • Add the coconut milk and puree with an immersion blender.
  • Stir in the chickpeas.
  • Serve over rice with yogurt, cucumbers, and/or naan or pita as desired

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze extras, once cooled, in a freezer container for a future meal. Use within three months.
  • Use fresh sweet potato or frozen diced sweet potato.
  • Omit the garam masala if you don’t happen to have it.
  • Store fresh ginger in the freezer in a freezer bag and grate over a microplane while still frozen to make it easy (and to avoid it going bad).
  • Serve with rice, naan or pita, plain Greek yogurt, and cucumber.
  • Serve some of the sauce, without the beans, to babies eating purees.
  • Mash the beans lightly to babies eating finger foods.
  • To make this on the stovetop: Add 2 tablespoons coconut or canola oil to a medium pot over medium heat. When warm, stir in the sweet potato and spices. Add the tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Cook on medium low heat at a simmer, covered,  for about 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Remove lid and transfer tomato-vegetable mixture to a blender. Add the coconut milk and blend smooth. Return to the skillet and stir in the chickpeas. Serve over rice with yogurt and cucumbers, as desired.
  • To make this in a Slow Cooker: Add the crushed tomatoes, water, sweet potato, garlic, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, ginger, and salt the slow cooker. Stir. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 4-5 on high. Add the coconut milk and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in the chickpeas and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 370kcal, Carbohydrates: 73g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 280mg, Potassium: 628mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 9568IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published January 2018.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was so good. I could just drink the sauce it is cooked in. Thanks for all your awesome resources.

  2. When/how do you cook the chickpeas in this? They canโ€™t go in with everything else in the instapot? Also if using oatmilk (Coconut and dairy sensitive baby) would you use less since coconut milk is so thick? Thank you! Excited to try this!

    1. Since we’re using canned chickpeas, which are already cooked, you just stir them in at the end to warm through. Light canned coconut milk is about the same consistency as milk, so the same amount would be fine, but you can do less if you want. Enjoy!

  3. 4 stars
    I’d love for you to refrain from beef recipes since beef has the greatest negative impact on the environment. Instead, list ground turkey or ground chicken, with a side note about ground beef, rather than the opposite. Even ground pork has less negative impact.

    I made with what I had on hand: ground turkey and cilantro. I didn’t have breadcrumbs, so I toasted a piece of bread in the oven while it was heating, tore it up and added to the processor. Added savory and dried basil spices since I didn’t use Italian bread crumbs. Also a T. of olive oil to make up for the lack of fat in ground turkey. Used the same 18/8 ice cream scoop I use for cookies to portion out, and never needed to touch the meat.

    Baked at 375 in my microwave/convection oven for 20 minutes so I didn’t need to heat up the kitchen on a warm day. They were a perfect 165 degrees and tasty. Next time I’ll add more spices, though these will be perfect with a side sauce. Very soft texture, my grandson should love these.

    1. Thanks for the feedback but did you mean to post this on a different recipe? This one here is for one with chickpeas. (And I’d argue that depends on the type of meat you’re buying. We live in Iowa and pork feed lots make the water in our lakes and rivers too unsafe for people to so swim in, but we purchase beef from a small local farmer who uses a closed system of farming so they are a key part of his sustainable approach. Everyone has to make the best decision they can, with the resources they have. I try to provide a range of recipes and the majority of my dinner recipes are actually vegetarian.)

  4. 5 stars
    Our whole family loved this! Doubled it and froze the extra-love being able to pull it out for a quick dinner.