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The 11 Best Substitutes For Urad Dal In Cooking

Urad dal, also known as black gram, is a type of legume that is widely used in Indian cuisine.

It has a nutty flavor and can be cooked in many different ways.

However, if you don’t have access to urad dal or simply want to try something new, there are plenty of other options available.

From split peas to mung beans and more, here are eleven of the best substitutes for urad dal when cooking.

What is Urad Dal?

Urad Dal

Urad dal, also sometimes known as black lentils or vigna mungo, is a type of bean that is commonly used in South Asian cuisine.

It has a nutty flavor and creamy texture when cooked, making it an ideal addition to many dishes.

Urad dal is usually sold split and skinned, revealing its creamy white color underneath the black outer layer.

It can be found both whole or split in most Indian grocery stores and online retailers.

One of the unique qualities of urad dal is its ability to absorb flavors from other ingredients while still maintaining its own distinct taste.

This makes it an excellent ingredient for curries, soups, stews, and even desserts like kheer (rice pudding).

Urad dal can also be ground into flour which can then be used to make flatbreads such as dosas or papads (lentil crackers).

It’s also often roasted before being added to dishes like biryani for extra flavor.

The 11 Best Substitutes For Urad Dal In Cooking

Urad dal is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine.

However, it can be hard to find in some places.

Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes that you can use for urad dal—here are eleven of the best ones:

1. Urad dal flour

Urad dal flour

Urad dal flour is a great alternative to the whole urad dal.

It is made from ground-up urad dal, which has been split and de-husked.

The flour has a nutty flavor and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.

The flour is commonly used in Indian cuisine for making dosas, idlis, vadas, and other dishes.

It can also be used as a thickener for soups or curries.

Urad dal flour adds an earthy flavor to any dish that it is added to and helps to bind ingredients together when baking.

Urad dal flour can also be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs when coating foods before frying them or baking them in the oven.

The texture of the flour will help keep food moist while providing an extra layer of crunchiness on the exterior of the dish.

2. Black beluga lentils

Black beluga lentils
Credit: iStock

Black beluga lentils are a variety of small, black-colored lentils with a mild and earthy flavor.

These legumes have an impressive nutritional profile, containing high levels of protein, fiber, and iron.

They also boast a firm texture that holds up well in soups or salads.

When substituting for urad dal in recipes, you may need to adjust the cooking time as black beluga lentils take slightly longer to cook than urad dal.

However, their nutty taste and unique appearance make them an excellent choice for dishes like curries or stews.

For best results, soak them overnight before simmering until tender for maximum flavor and nutrition.

3. Adzuki beans

Adzuki beans

Adzuki beans are a small, reddish-brown legume that is widely used in Asian cuisine.

The beans have a sweet and nutty flavor, similar to chestnuts, and are often cooked with sugar or other sweeteners for desserts.

They’re also popularly used as an ingredient in soups, stews, curries and salads.

Adzuki beans can be a great alternative to urad dal when making dishes like dosa or vada.

Unlike urad dal which requires soaking overnight before cooking, adzuki beans can be boiled quickly without pre-soaking.

Their creamy texture makes them perfect for thickening sauces or creating savory side dishes like mashed potatoes.

Adzuki beans may not have the same earthy flavor as urad dal but they still make a delicious addition to any meal!

4. Beaten rice

Beaten rice, also known as poha or flattened rice, is a versatile ingredient made from parboiled and then flattened rice.

It has a light and fluffy texture that makes it ideal for use in snacks like chivda or upma.

Beaten rice can be used to make savory dishes like pakoras or sweet treats such as laddoos.

The grains are easily digestible and provide essential vitamins and minerals, making them a healthy alternative to urad dal.

The grain also absorbs flavors quickly, so it’s great for adding extra zest to your recipes.

When substituting beaten rice for urad dal, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly since the grains cook faster than lentils.

5. Semolina

Semolina Flour

Semolina is a coarsely ground flour made from durum wheat, which is the hardest type of wheat.

It has a high protein content and a nutty flavor that makes it perfect for use in pasta, breads, and desserts.

Semolina can be used as an alternative to urad dal in recipes like upma or idli. It will provide the same texture without the strong flavor of urad dal.

When using semolina instead of urad dal, you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly as semolina cooks faster than urad dal.

Semolina also works well when making porridge-like dishes such as kichidi or pongal.

It can also be used to make savory pancakes or fritters like uttapam or vada.

The possibilities are endless with this versatile ingredient!

6. Nuts


Nuts, such as peanuts and cashews, are a great alternative to urad dal.

They are high in protein and healthy fats, making them a nutritious substitute for traditional dals.

Peanuts have a mild flavor that pairs well with many dishes.

They can be roasted or boiled before adding to recipes for extra crunch and nutty taste.

Cashews are slightly sweeter than peanuts but still provide an earthy flavor when cooked.

Nuts can be used in curries, stir-fries, salads, soups, stews, and even desserts!

For example, you could use roasted peanuts or cashews instead of urad dal in lentil soup or add some chopped nuts to your favorite vegetable dish for added texture and flavor.

Nuts also make a great topping on yogurt or oatmeal bowls for breakfast or snacks throughout the day.

So if you’re out of urad dal but still want the same delicious flavors in your meals, consider substituting with nuts!

7. Red lentils

Red lentils

Red lentils are a type of legume that have been enjoyed for centuries.

They are small, round, and orange-red in color with a mild flavor.

Red lentils cook quickly compared to other types of legumes, making them an ideal substitution for urad dal when time is of the essence.

Their texture is creamy and soft when cooked, making them perfect for soups, stews, curries, and salads.

Red lentils can also be used as a thickener or mashed into dips like hummus.

When substituting red lentils for urad dal in recipes, it’s important to keep in mind that they will require less cooking time than their counterpart.

However, their versatility makes them an excellent alternative to create delicious dishes with minimal effort!

8. Yellow split peas

Yellow split peas

Yellow split peas are a type of legume that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups to curries.

They have a mild flavor and creamy texture when cooked, making them an excellent alternative to urad dal.

Split peas are high in protein and fiber, as well as B vitamins and minerals like iron and magnesium.

When substituting yellow split peas for urad dal, it’s important to note that they take longer to cook than the latter – about 45 minutes or more depending on the recipe.

Also, unlike urad dal which is usually soaked before cooking, yellow split peas do not need soaking prior to use.

For best results, simmer them until tender in plenty of water or broth before adding other ingredients such as vegetables or spices.

9. Dupuy Lentils

Dupuy Lentils

Dupuy lentils are a small, round variety of legume that originated in France.

They have a mild flavor and creamy texture that make them ideal for soups, salads, and side dishes.

Unlike urad dal, Dupuy lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking; they can simply be boiled or simmered until tender.

Their earthy taste pairs well with herbs and spices like garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and bay leaves.

Dupuy lentils are an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber as well as essential vitamins and minerals such as iron and potassium.

These tiny legumes are also low in fat and cholesterol-free making them a healthy addition to any meal.

10. Dry mung beans

Dry mung beans

Dry mung beans are a type of legume that have been used in Indian and Asian cuisine for centuries.

They have a mild, nutty flavor and creamy texture when cooked.

Mung beans can be boiled, steamed, or simmered to create a variety of dishes such as soups, curries, dal (lentil-based dishes), and even desserts.

When substituting dry mung beans for urad dal (black lentils), it’s important to note that the cooking time may vary.

Mung beans cook faster than urad dal so you’ll need to adjust the amount of liquid and cooking time accordingly.

Additionally, mung beans tend to break down more easily when cooked so they won’t hold their shape like urad dal would.

However, this makes them great for creating thick sauces or soups with an added creaminess!

11. Pigeon peas

Pigeon peas

Pigeon peas, also known as toor dal or arhar dal, are a type of legume that is widely used in Indian cuisine.

These small and round beans have an earthy flavor and creamy texture when cooked.

They can be boiled or pressure-cooked with spices like cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, garlic, and ginger for added flavor.

Pigeon peas are a great substitute for urad dal because they have a similar nutty taste and soft texture.

They can be used to make curries, soups, stews, dhals (lentil dishes), and even desserts such as kheer (rice pudding).

Their high protein content makes them a nutritious addition to any meal.


In conclusion, Urad dal is a popular ingredient in South Asian cuisine that has a nutty flavor and creamy texture.

Unfortunately, Urad dal can be hard to find in some places.

Fortunately, there are many good substitutes for Urad dal in cooking that can provide the same delicious flavor and texture.

These include Urad dal flour, black beluga lentils, adzuki beans, beaten rice, semolina, nuts, red lentils, yellow split peas, dupuy lentils, dry mung beans, and pigeon peas.

Each of these ingredients has a unique flavor and texture that can be used to create delicious meals with minimal effort.

So next time you need an Urad dal replacement, try one of these substitutes to make your dish even more flavorful and nutritious.

Urad Dal

The 11 Best Substitutes For Urad Dal In Cooking

If you don't have urad dal on hand but need it for a recipe, you don't have to panic! In this article, I'm sharing 11 of the best substitutes for urad dal that you can use in cooking. From lentils to split peas, each of these alternatives will provide you with the same flavor and texture as urad dal. I'll also provide tips for how to substitute them in recipes, so you can make a tasty dish without having to run to the store.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 155 kcal


  • Urad dal flour
  • Black beluga lentils
  • Adzuki beans
  • Beaten rice
  • Semolina
  • Nuts
  • Red lentils
  • Yellow split peas
  • Dupuy Lentils
  • Dry mung beans
  • Pigeon peas


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.