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An authentic recipe for Chana Masala using dry or canned chickpeas that can be made in an Instant pot or on the stovetop. Easy and flavorful, vegan-adaptable. With a video! + 25 Best Chickpea Recipes!

The best Chana masala recipe!

Chana Masala is a classic Indian stew typically made with spiced chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger.  Serve it with basmati rice and naan, and it becomes a hearty vegetarian meal.

This version takes advantage of the instant pot, especially if wanting to use dry chickpeas, it turns out great and is fast and easy. But feel free to use canned chickpeas if you have them. Either way, this quick and easy vegetarian dinner recipe is full of delicious Indian flavors. For more Indian dishes check out 35+ Mouthwatering Indian Recipes to Make at Home!

Watch how to make Chana Masala | Video

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Authentic– This is one of the most popular Indian curries and is a staple in Indian homes and restaurants. It is that good!
  • Good for Digestion- All of these spices are amazing for your gut health. Which also means you will feel good after your meal.
  • Flavorful– It is so good! The tender chickpeas are seasoned with bright tomato and savory spices- so homey and satisfying!
  • It is also Vegan!

Ingredients In Chana Masala

Chana Masala starts with a fragrant mix of spices. Remember, masala means “spice”.

Chana Masala spices.

Chana Masala Ingredient Notes

  • Spices- the spice blend in chana masala varies greatly in India depending on the area, and even down to the specific household. Each blend is unique. And that is what makes this fun! Please adapt it to your own tastes! This blend contains cumin seeds (whole), garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, fennel seeds, paprika (or chili powder), dried fenugreek leaves, ground turmeric.
  • Ghee- brings this to another level. 
  • Shallots- or use onions.
  • Tomatoes- fresh is best here for optimum flavor but if need be, substitute tomato puree.
  • Chickpeas- dry, soaked chickpeas or canned or fully cooked chickpeas.

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.     

How To Make Chana Masala

Sautéing spices with ghee for Chana Masala.

Step One- Saute the whole spices in ghee, then add the onions, garlic and chili.

Sautéing spices with ghee for Chana Masala.

Step Two– Add the ground spices… and saute, which will give the final dish delicious depth!

Chana masala simmering in pot.

Step Three- Add the fresh tomatoes, water, soaked chickpeas and bay leaves, and season with salt. Let this pressure cook for 40 minutes. Release the pressure. If it seems liquidy, cook it down on the saute function for a few minutes to thicken.

Serve! Serve it over Basmati Rice with pickled onions and naan bread. I love adding something fresh here- tomatoes, cucumbers or radishes. It’s delcious with Raita!

Chana masala in a bowl with rice and naan.

What to Serve With Chana Masala

Also delicious, drizzled with cilantro mint chutney!

Or for something different, serve it atop a baked sweet potato! So yummy!

Chana Masala FAQS

What is Chana Masala? 

Chana Masala is an Indian-Style Chickpea dish often served with basmati rice, or naan. Chana Masala is Hindi for “Spiced Chickpeas”. (Chana translates to chickpeas and masala translates to spice.) If you are wondering what the difference is between Chana Masala and Tikka Masala, Tikka usually refers to “meat”- so spiced meat dish. Get it? 😉

Can you make Chana Masala vegan?

Of course!  BUT I really hesitate because it is the use of ghee that gives this Chana Masala its amazing flavor!  That being said, do as you please. Sub coconut oil, or olive oil. 🙂

Can you make Chana Masala in an instant pot?

YES absolutely- especially if using dry chickpeas. Dry chickpeas must either be soaked or pre-cooked in the instant pot for a few minutes. It’s easy!

What are Chana Masala Spices?

Chana Masala actually varies greatly in India depending on the area, and even down to the specific household. Each blend is unique. And that is what makes this fun! Here is my favorite blend, but please adapt it to your own tastes! Cumin seeds (whole), garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, fennel seeds, paprika (or chili powder), dried fenugreek leaves, ground turmeric.

More Recipes You May Enjoy

So play around with this, and see how you like it best. The leftovers can also be frozen! Hope you enjoy the Chana Masala and let us know how you like it in the comments below!

xoxo Sylvia

Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

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the best recipe for Chana Masala

Chana Masala Recipe

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Vegan, Main
  • Method: Instant pot, stove top
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


An authentic Chana Masala Recipe that can be made in an Instant pot or on the stovetop using dry chickpeas or canned chickpeas. A quick and easy Vegetarian dinner recipe that is full of amazing Indian flavor!


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, (soaked in water 12-24 hours or see notes) or sub 4-5 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 23 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil. (GHEE elevates this to the next level of goodness!!!)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (whole)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 large shallots ( or sub one large onion)
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1/21 jalapeno or 1 serrano chili, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (and their juices) or 14-ounce can tomato puree, (although fresh tastes better here)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (taste, use more if dry chickpeas, less if canned)
  • 2 cups water if using dry, soaked chickpeas (or 1/2 cup water if using if canned or fully cooked chickpeas)
  • 12 teaspoons honey or sugar if needed

Serve over Basmati Rice or with naan bread! Serve with pickled onions, and raita.


  1. If using dry beans, soak chickpeas in a bowl with 6 cups water, for 8-12 hours on counter, or up to 24 hours in the fridge. Drain. (See notes for quick instant pot “soak”)
  2. Set Instant pot to Saute function. (See notes for stovetop.)Heat ghee and add whole bay leaves and cumin seeds  and fennel seeds stirring 2-3 minutes until fragrant and golden.
  3. Add shallots (or onions) Saute until golden and fragrant, stirring often. Add garlic, ginger and diced chili, saute 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add all the spices- garam masala, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, fenugreek, turmeric.
  5. Give a stir then add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, scraping up any browned bits.
  6. Once the tomatoes start to break down add the water (if using dry chickpeas), salt, and drained chickpeas. Give a good stir, scraping up any browned bits ( to prevent burn error).
  7. Set Instant to High Pressure for 25 minutes. (SEE NOTES!!!) Naturally, release for 15 minutes then manually release.
  8. Taste and adjust salt. If it tastes bitter, add a little sugar or honey  ( 1-2 teaspoons) to help balance.
  9. If you want it more flavorful, stir in another teaspoon of garam masala, or if you want extra richness, a splash of coconut milk is nice.


Instant Pot Cooking Times:

  1. If using soaked chickpeas (12-hour soaking method-my prefered method), pressure cook Chana Masala for 25 minutes.
  2. If using unsoaked chickpeas (which I really don’t recommend) pressure cook Chana Masala on high for 55 minutes. Naturally release. (Be aware, they may not cook evenly- especially if they are older beans)

How to “pre-soak” chickpeas in the Instant pot: place 1 1/2 cups dry chickpeas, 4 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set to High pressure for 15 minutes. Manual or natural release. Drain, set chickpeas aside and wipe out the Instant Pot. Follow the recipe and pressure cook the chana masala for 40 minutes.

If using canned chickpeas, set instant pot to 6 minutes, add only 1/2 cup water,  manually release.


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, over medium-high heat, heat ghee and add whole bay leaves and cumin seeds  and fennel seeds stirring 1-2 minutes until fragrant and golden. Add onions. Saute 5-7 minutes until golden, lowering the heat to medium. You really want these to deeply caramelize so they add a nice sweetness. Add garlic, ginger and diced chili, saute 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add all the spices- garam masala, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, fenugreek, turmeric.
  3. Give a stir then add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Once the tomatoes start to break down add the water,  salt, and dry, soaked chickpeas. Give a good stir, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil, cover, simmer gently until chickpeas are tender, about 40 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. If it tastes bitter, add a little sugar or honey to balance.
  4. *Or, make this on the stovetop with canned chickpeas, following the same directions, only adding  1/4- 1/2 cup water, simmering on low, for 10-15 minutes.

***Remember dry chickpeas will need more salt, canned chickpeas perhaps less salt.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 318
  • Sugar: 9.4 g
  • Sodium: 423 mg
  • Fat: 8.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48 g
  • Fiber: 9.8 g
  • Protein: 14.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 10.2 mg

Keywords: Instant Pot Chana Masala, Chana Masala recipe in an instant pot, authentic Chana Masala recipe, Chana Masala recipe

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  1. I’m making this now in the instant pot. I’m recovering from foot surgery so I did the best I could, and did make my own garam masala. I was confused about the amount of the chickpeas. I soaked 1lb of chickpeas and didn’t know how much liquid to add, so I covered them and the whole kaboodle with chicken broth. I wish I had seen the note about coconut milk, but I’ll be subbing some heavy cream! Can’t wait til it’s done!

  2. Delicious! I cooked it stove top. I added the suggested coconut milk, full fat, and it was so good.

  3. I’m making this tonight so I’m pretty excited!! For the canned chickpeas, 1/2 cup of water, 6 minutes pressure cook and then immediately manually release, is that correct? There were a lot different directions that I started to get confused.

  4. Did it in the crockpot on low for 4 hrs, warm for 4 hrs. Used canned garbanzo beans. Slap-yo-momma good. And now I know a new way to make rice!

  5. The best homemade Chana masala we’ve ever had! Instant pot recipe worked great. Thanks, we’ll be making this a lot!

  6. Made this. Had to use canned tomatoes. Fire roasted. Didn’t have fenugreek leaves or chilis. But added chili paste. Still turned out yummy. Will make again. Thanks for the recipe.

  7. My husband and I loved this recipe. Served it with roasted veggies, naan bread and the pickled onions (featured in the recipe), which added such wonderful flavor and texture! I just discovered your blog and it is the first recipe I make, but definitely not the last!

  8. This was delicious! My whole family loved it. I made two batches–one with canned chickpeas and one with shrimp. Thank you for providing the individual instructions for the different cooking methods. It was very helpful! I loved the spice blends!

  9. Oh man, I messed up. I forgot to buy tomatoes when I went grocery shopping, so I supplemented with some canned ones instead, but I completely forgot to add less water to counteract the added liquid.
    Suffice to say it did NOT look like your pictures, haha. Still tasted great though, so I’ll definitely be making this again! Thanks!

  10. We love this recipe and it’s in our weekly rotation but did something change recently? I recall shallots being in the original version on your site.

    1. It is slightly different. Yes, you can use shallots instead of the onions.

        1. Hi Jim- I used two shallots and updated the recipe card to reflect this. This is now the original recipe. The shallots burn easily in the instant pot- that is why I changed it.

  11. For the best taste,Use only fresh vine tomato&12 hours Soaked Channa dal.It all depends on the ingredients.
    Any question,message.

  12. Great curry! Loved the cumin & fennel seeds – makes a difference to the usual ground spice Indian curries (gave it a hint of more S.E. Asian curry). TBH I added a healthy splash of Thai hot sweet chilli sauce partly as heat and for the sweetness instead of sugar. I’m going to try this with prawns too – should go well.

  13. I have been loving your recipes! I’m going to try this one soon. What type of onion do you recommend?

  14. This smelled amazing from the minute you start cooking. You just knew it was going to be delicious. I did everything for the stovetop recipe, including dry soaked chick peas and it was so delicious.

    I needed to cook the chick peas longer than 40 minutes though, even after soaking them for 24 hours. Topped it with cilantro. Definitely making this again.

  15. The flavor of this is so incredible. I didn’t use the honey because it was already almost sweet from the onions and tomato(?). Something about the mix of the spices is magical in this one.
    This was my first go at using dry chickpeas. I soaked them for 9 hours and cooked them on the stovetop with the spices for at least an hour adding a bit extra water to soften them up, and they still seemed a bit undercooked/dry. I think I will try a longer soak next time and maybe even partially cook them alone before mixing them in with the spices and such.
    My package of garbanzo beans says a 6-8 hr soak and 1- 1.5 hr cook. Which is a bit different than your directions. Are some brands/types different or can you achieve the same result with a longer soak and shorter cook or a shorter soak and longer cook type of thing?

    1. Many chickpeas are different sizes. I personally like a longer soak- like 24 hours, shortening the cooking time, but either way works.

  16. My mother-in-law is originally from India and her Chana Masala and rice is a staple and comforting food. She never measures ingredients so I have never been able to replicate this favourite dish. But this was a great and really easy recipe and rivals hers in taste! Thank you!

  17. Great recipe. How nice winter food! Delicious. Sylvia has very good suggestions here!
    Thank you for sharing with us !

  18. Yum, yum, and more yuuum! Who can resist Chana Masala with steamy rice and a delicious naan? This is one of my favourite recipes, especially in cold the winter days of Colorado. The flavour is authentic and it absolutely transports me back to India. Thank you, Sylvia! This is awesome inspiration.
    I must confess that I don’t have the patience to use dry chickpeas but the precooked ones are fantastic!

    Next, I am making the Burritos… yum! I can’t wait!

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