Ready in 25 minutes, this easy instant pot lentil soup recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners. It's packed with tasty ingredients and is pretty much a hands-off lentil soup recipe.
Got lentils? My favorite way to use them is in lentil soup recipes. From chicken lentil soup and curry lentil soup to Mediterranean lentil soup and turmeric red lentil soup, we love making different lentil soups using vegetables and delicious spices. This quick lentil soup is also a favorite of ours because it's so flavorful and very simple to make.
Why this recipe works
What I love the most about this easy homemade lentil soup is that it's made in the instant pot which makes it quick, yet absolutely delicious. Even though it takes less than 40 minutes to make this lentil soup, the flavor is as if it's been simmering for hours on the stove. This easy instant pot soup is:
- Simple and easy
- Lemony and tangy
- Packed with flavor
- So good for you!
The benefits of lentils
Lentils are a great source of protein and they are packed with fiber and vitamin B. They're also very good for heart health. Vegans use lentils as a regular source of protein. They are considered legumes and cook much faster than beans.
In addition to all these facts, it's good to know that lentils are also a good source of iron, since each cup of lentils has about 6 milligrams of iron. You can read more about lentils and how to use them on Well and Good.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Onions and garlic: You can use yellow or white onion and use fewer garlic cloves if you're not a fan of garlic. It's best not to use garlic powder.
- Leek: Adds a lot of flavor to the soup and is a healthy addition to any meal. Make sure to wash it thoroughly since it has many layers.
- Green lentils: You can also use brown lentils for this recipe.
- Spices: You need oregano, paprika, turmeric, cayenne and salt for this recipe.
- Tomato paste: Not tomato sauce or crushed tomato. Tomato paste has a concentrated flavor and color so make sure not to overuse it.
- Chicken stock: Either homemade or store-bought would work. To make this soup vegetarian, use vegetable stock.
- Press the sauté function on the instant pot and heat some olive oil in the pot. Sauté the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until golden. Add in carrots and cook for a few minutes. Add the leek and cook until they're almost soft.
- Now add the lentils, spices and tomato sauce. Stir well and pour in the chicken stock and water. Give it a nice stir and lock the lid. Make sure the valve is on sealing. Press cancel and then press pressure cook (or manual) set the timer to 15 minutes on high pressure.
- Once the instant pot beeps indicating that the cooking is done, let it release the pressure naturally for 5 minutes and then do the quick release by turning the valve to venting. Once the pressure is all released and the lid is unlocked, lift the lid, stir the veggie lentil soup and serve in bowls with some lemon.
- Do a natural release for 5 to 10 minutes and then a quick release.
This lentil soup recipe is so versatile and you can modify it to your liking:
- Add other vegetables such as potatoes or turnips.
- You can use leafy greens such as spinach or kale.
- Make it spicy by adding ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Frequently asked questions
You don't need to soak lentils in water before cooking them. While soaking beans such as black beans, red beans or chickpeas speeds up the process of cooking, there is no need to do it for lentils because lentils cook pretty quickly. Cooking lentils in instant pot takes about 15 minutes, quick and easy!
Yes, you can use red lentils instead of green lentils in this recipe. But be aware of the fact that when red lentils cook, they lose their shape and make a thick soup and the color will be light brown.
Lentil soup freezes beautifully therefore you can make a big batch and freeze half of it for a later date. Let the vegetable lentil soup cool completely and then divide it into different airtight containers. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat, take the frozen veggie lentil soup out of the container and place it in a pot. pour ½ cup water in the pot and turn the heat on. Let the soup cook on low and stir occasionally to break it. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until completely heated through.
Notes and tips
- To make vegetarian lentil soup, leave out the chicken stock and use water or vegetable stock instead.
- You can add other vegetables to this soup such as celery, spinach or bell peppers. If using spinach, add it after the soup is ready. Open the lid, add the spinach, give it a quick stir and serve.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can reheat the soup in the microwave or in a sauce pan.
- The amount of time needed to make this lentil soup is almost the same as making it on stove top. However, instant pot lentil soup doesn't require any stirring and is pretty much hands-off.
More Instant pot recipes
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Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 leek sliced
- 1 ½ cup green lentils
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- Press the saute function on the instant pot and pour the olive oil into the instant pot.
- Saute onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add in carrots and cook for a few minutes.
- Add in sliced leek and cook until soft.
- Add lentils and stir well.
- Add in tomato paste and spices. Stir well.
- Pour in chicken stock and water into the instant pot.
- Press Cancel. Then press pressure cook (or manual) and set the timer for 15 minutes on high pressure.
- Lock the lid and set the valve on sealing.
- Once the instant pot beeps that the cooking time is done, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then do a quick release by turning the valve to venting.
- Lift the lid and stir the soup. Serve with lemon.