Instant Pot lentil soup is a hearty, comforting and satisfying plant-based meal that everyone loves.
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If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, (1) get one, stat! And (2) I have a stovetop version of this lentil soup here.
The reason I love making this in the Instant Pot? After you get everything in there and close the lid, it is hands off. You can go about your business without worry of boiling over a pot on the stove. This is super valuable to me personally, as a mom of two small kids who are always vying for my attention.
Also, pressure cooking yields excellent flavor.👌🏻 Soups and stews are my favorite thing to make in mine.
As always, choose the highest quality ingredients you can find, for this Instant Pot lentil soup or anything else.
I am using lots of root veggies, which make this ultra satisfying and comforting. And the flavor profile I chose is very supportive for the immune system, which many of us happen to be interested in right now.🤓👍🏻
Instant Pot lentil soup is a vegan/ plant-based recipe. But omnivores, feel free to take liberties. You can substitute homemade chicken bone broth, if you want. I am using vegetable stock in this recipe (or water + Better Than Bullion vegetable base, more accurately), but bone broth works well too.
How to make Instant Pot lentil soup
I do not soak my lentils. Be sure and wash them, though, and remove any rocks. Yes, I have actually found rocks in my beans before. A good rinse gets rid of any residue too.
To begin making Instant Pot lentil soup, I sautéed my aromatics (onion, celery, garlic, plus carrots) first this time, but it is perfectly acceptable to skip this step. You could totally just dump all the ingredients in and cook it. I have done this in this and many other soups, and it turns out great!
Then add everything else, and cook on low pressure for 8 minutes. Heads up: I like my lentils extra well-done, to the point of falling apart a little. You could decrease time a minute or so for less-done lentils.👌🏻
Also, please note that the Instant Pot will take some time to come up to pressure. This may vary by model. Mine took 20 minutes to come to pressure, FYI. It takes this long because this Instant Pot lentil soup makes a very full pot, and that takes some time to heat up.
After the 8 minutes, carefully do a quick release to release the pressure. I always throw a folded kitchen towel over the valve to prevent any spewing. Be sure and keep your hands clear away from the top because it will still release a lot of steam, which can still burn you.
Since the pot is so full, this will take a while (a couple minutes) to release all of the pressure. Do not attempt to remove the lid until the pressure pin sinks, indicating that all of the pressure is gone.
From here you can add a few optional add ins. I added 2 cups of roughly chopped spinach to this batch.
No need to turn on any heat. The residual heat it more than enough to wilt the greens. Just give them a good stir.
Another great option is to juice a lemon, and stir it in at the end. It adds a pop of brightness and a little extra flavor layer. We eat this without the lemon too, and it is still excellent. So if you hate lemon or don’t have any, no worries.
Can I freeze leftover Instant Pot lentil soup?
Yes! This recipe makes a really big batch, and the leftovers freeze really well.
Or, you can save leftovers in in the fridge for about a week. We love reheating leftovers for lunch.
This soup is super hearty and can stand alone, if you want. I added some diced avocado on top of my leftovers, and it was really yummy.
We also love a side of southern skillet corn bread, or some rustic artisan bread on the side.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe
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Instant Pot Lentil Soup
Instant pot lentil soup is a delicious soup packed with vitamins, minerals and plant-based protein. And it is made with pantry ingredients, plus long-lasting root vegetables, making it a great meal to pull together in a pinch.👌🏻
- 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil (optional - only if sautéing, and you can use cooking spray instead if you prefer)
- 1 yellow onion medium, diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 1/2 cups carrots diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves garlic finely minced
- 7 1/2 cups vegetable stock (I used 7.5 cups water + 1 2/3 Tablespoons Better than Bullion vegetable base)
- 14.5 ounces tomatoes (1 can, undrained)
- 2 cups green lentils (dried, or brown lentils work too! Rinse them off first.)
- 13 ounces red potatoes (2 medium red potatoes, diced into 1 inch pieces. Yukon golds or russets also work well.)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano dried, or 1.5 teaspoon fresh
- 1 teaspoon thyme dried, or 1 Tablespoon fresh
- Salt and pepper to taste*
- juice of 1 lemon (optional)
- 2 cups spinach (roughly chopped, optional)
Turn your Instant Pot to the sauté setting, and heat oil for about a minute. Add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf, and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
Add garlic and stir, turning off the pot by pressing cancel.
Add in the vegetable stock, tomatoes, lentils, seasonings, potatoes
Place the lid in the locked position, pressure valve to sealed/ cooking, and cook for 8 minutes on low pressure. (Mine took around 20 minutes to come up to pressure, FYI.)
Quick release the pressure after cook time is up, and wait for all the pressure to release before opening the pot. Note: because the pot is so full this will take a couple minutes.
Stir in chopped fresh spinach.
Optional: To thicken soup, use a potato masher, pressing down a few times (8 to 10) through the soup until reaching your desired thickness or consistency. Alternatively, you can use a stick blender: 2 to 4 quick pulses. (I did not do this for the photos shown, FYI)
Optional: Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, and stir to combine. This is optional, but it really brightens up the flavor.
Optional: Finish of with some chopped fresh herbs for garnish. Parsley, green onion or fresh thyme would taste great!
Nutritional information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.
*If you use Better Than Bullion, there is a decent chance you won't need any additional salt. It is very, very salty on its own. I added no more salt to mine. Taste it first.
We like our Instant Pot lentil soup super thick, almost like a stew. If you prefer a thinner soup, you can add a little more vegetable stock.
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