Instant Pot Lentil Soup is an incredibly easy, healthy and flavorful recipe packed with veggies and nutritious lentils. It's a hearty one pot dinner with a quick cooking time. Plus it's low in fat and calories and is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free!
This Instant Pot Lentil Soup is packed with veggies and is full of wholesome ingredients and bold spices. This is an extremely easy recipe, as all the ingredients are simply dumped into the pressure cooker and cooked for just 8 minutes. There is no sauteeing in the beginning or adding anything at the end. Your Instant Pot lentil soup is ready to enjoy quickly, in only about 30 minutes.
The best part? This lentil soup recipe is nutritious, delicious and is perfect for almost any diet. It's vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free! Plus it's hearty enough to be served as a main dish or as a side.
Lentils are naturally great for you as they are low in fat and sodium and high in fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants. A lentil-packed soup is a perfect way to enjoy a healthy meal and still feel full and satisfied at the end. It's one of my family's favorites for a vegetarian dinner night, along with Instant Pot cabbage soup and creamy corn chowder. .
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a dump and go meal- there's no need to saute anything here, just add all the ingredients to the pot and pressure cook!
- Preparation time is minimal, just a little bit of chopping up vegetables.
- It's chock full of veggies and other wholesome, nutritious ingredients.
- Cooking time is quick- less than 20 minutes!
- It's great for a variety of dietary needs, as it's vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free!
- It's freezer-friendly and defrosts and reheats quickly.
What Size Instant Pot Do I Need?
You'll need a 6, 8 or 10 quart Instant Pot for this recipe as written. For 3 quart pressure cookers, cut the recipe in half.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Dry green lentils: green lentils stay in tact a little more than red lentils. You can substitute red lentils here but set the pressure cook time to a few minutes less. Or, if you want a thicker soup or plan to puree it, red lentils work even better than green lentils.
- Celery: make sure to use the celery leaves too!
- Potato: my recipe calls for waxy potatoes, such as baby potatoes, as these hold their shape when cooked in soups.
- Onion: my preference is for sweet onions but yellow or white onions work too.
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves are preferable for the most flavor. Roasted garlic is a great substitution. Use garlic powder only in a pinch.
- Tomato sauce: crushed tomatoes work too or for a thinner broth, use a can of diced tomatoes instead.
- Vegetable stock or broth: non-vegetarian, feel free to use chicken broth or stock.
- Pomegranate molasses: this syrup gives lentil soup a tiny bit of sweetness. It can be found in international stores in the Middle Eastern section, as it's a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. It can also be easily made at home. Instead of pomegranate molasses, you can add a dash or two of lemon juice after pressure cooking to give the soup a little zing.
- Seasonings: cumin, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper give this soup a ton of flavor.
- Red pepper flakes: optional, for serving.
STEP 1: Prepare the carrots, celery, onions and potatoes by chopping them into small pieces. There is no need to peel the skin from the potatoes, but always peel your carrots. Mince the garlic.
STEP 2: Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot in this order: carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, garlic, lentils, vegetable stock or broth, seasonings, tomato sauce and pomegranate molasses.
STEP 3: Close and lock the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then complete a quick release of remaining pressure. Be careful during the quick release, as some hot broth may escape from the valve toward the end.
STEP 4: Stir your delicious Instant Pot lentil soup, taste, and adjust any of the seasonings as desired. If desired, use an immersion blender to puree some or all of the lentils to create a thick and creamy soup. Or, if the soup appears to thick for your liking, add more vegetable broth until it's reached your desired consistency. Let the soup cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Note that as the soup sits, the lentil will continue to soak up some broth.
Serve, topped with red pepper flakes and herbs if desired.
- The great thing about Instant Pot lentil soup is that you control the texture. For softer lentils that can easily be pureed or used as a thickener, cook for a few minutes longer. For lentils that stay intact and maintain their texture, pressure cook for a few minutes less. You can puree the soup to create a creamy version or add a few more cups of broth to make it more brothy. Whatever type of soup is your favorite, you can turn this lentil soup into it!
- Always add the tomato sauce to the pressure cooker last, so it sits on top of the other ingredients. Tomato sauce can burn easily when pressure cooked so you don't want it at the bottom directly over the heating element.
- If you're following a low sodium diet, use low sodium vegetable broth and add less salt than the recipe calls for. Once it's done pressure cooking you can always add more if desired.
- Use red lentils: red lentils are more likely to split while pressure cooking for 8 minutes, so they will create a different consistency in the broth.
- Add different vegetables: peas, green beans, spinach and kale taste great in lentil soup.
- Add mushrooms: for a different flavor and texture, add chopped mushrooms.
How To Store
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. This recipe is freezer-friendly for up to 6 months when stored in freezer safe containers or plastic bags. Allow to defrost overnight in the fridge. To reheat, warm in the microwave or on the stovetop for a few minutes.
What Pairs Well With Lentil Soup?
- Bread: crusty breads like Italian bread or cheese bread are great for dipping into lentil soup. Soft and fluffy garlic bread and even rye bread taste wonderful with soup. Rosemary and garlic focaccia bread is another delish option, as are homemade air fried pita chips that can be used for dipping.
- Salad: a nice crisp and refreshing garden salad or ceasar salad pair well with soup.
- Vegetables: simple vegetable side dishes like kale chips, crispy asparagus or green beans and broccoli work well.
Yes, both red and green lentils can be used. If using red lentils, pressure cook for 2 minutes less.
There is no need to soak the lentils before cooking.
Yes, depending on the texture that you want the lentils to be once cooked. If you plan to puree the lentils to make a creamy soup, you can't really overcook it. But if you'd like the lentils to remain intact and not too soft, don't pressure cook for longer than 8 minutes.
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Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- 10 baby potatoes diced
- 1 large sweet onion diced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups dry green lentils *see notes for red lentils
- 6 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or lemon juice
- red pepper flakes for serving
- Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot in the order listed. If using lemon juice instead of pomegranate molasses, do not add until step 3.
- Close and lock the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then complete a quick release of remaining pressure.
- Open the lid, stir and taste. Adjust any of the seasonings as desired.
- Serve topped with red pepper flakes.
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