Instant Pot lentil soup is a really hearty, flavorful soup that is prepped and cooked entirely in the Instant Pot. This gluten-free, vegan lentil soup is perfect for an easy dinner on a chilly night.
Somehow, I only have one Instant Pot recipe here on the blog so far. #bloggerfail 🤦♀️
(It’s my Instant Pot pulled pork, which is just 3 ingredients and so flavorful.)
I have so many others I’ve made, tweaked, tested again and are ready for you guys. But they need photos and writing and sheesh, I just haven’t gotten around to it.
Can you say catch-up time? 😂
Well it starts today with this Instant Pot lentil soup, which is perfect for some January healthy eating and some cozy, warm dinners on a chilly night.
It’s also vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, if you or someone in your family has special dietary needs. Or in case you're doing Veganuary or just trying to incorporate more meatless meals into your routine.
Soup for everyone!
And this soup, oh it smells so good as it’s cooking. Those aromatics of carrots, onion, celery and garlic get things going and then the spices and tomatoes add another layer that will light up your senses.
And it’s so flavorful! You’ll want to greedily gulp down spoonful after spoonful of this soup.
(As you should. Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, polyphenols and so many other nutrients. Definitely trying to incorporate them into my meals more this year.)
This soup is also really hearty and filling, even for my husband who usually is not a fan of meatless meals.
Even my kids eat about half of their bowls, and that’s saying something!
And I love that this Instant Pot lentil soup is an all-in-one dish that is prepped and cooked all in the Instant Pot, no other pans or dishes needed.
Easy recipe, easy clean up - total win for a healthy weeknight dinner! 🙌
Now, I’ve got some notes, tips and substitutions coming up below on how to make Instant Pot lentil soup. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on Instant Pot lentil soup:
- You can use green or brown lentils for this recipe.
- Fire-roasted diced tomatoes add some extra flavor but you could use a regular diced can of tomatoes if that’s all you have on hand.
- It can be hard to find a small (15 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes. They often are only sold in the 28 oz. size cans. If that’s all you can find, just use half of that can and reserve the other half for another use.
- I have and love this 6-quart Instant Pot. If yours is much smaller, you may want to halve the recipe - or pay close attention to your max fill line.
Also, a disclaimer: Instant Pot recipes often fail to mention the time it takes for the pot to come to pressure or to release it.
I have found it very misleading when trying to plan for dinner, so I wanted to be sure to include it here.
I’ve listed “additional time” as 20 minutes to account for the amount of time it will take for the pot to come to pressure and then the time for natural release at the end. The exact amount of time for these will vary, but that’s at least a rough estimate.
(I always think, as I’m waiting for it to come to pressure, it’s not exactly “instant,” is it? Still though, it’s a nice, hands off way to make dinner and it really is pretty fast.)
Moving on, we are now ready to serve!
Topping ideas for Instant Pot lentil soup:
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast if you need this to be vegan)
- Fresh chopped parsley or basil
- Cracked black pepper
- Hot sauce for a little kick
- Oyster crackers or croutons for some crunch
This also goes great with some warmed bread, cheese toast or biscuits on the side.
(My Parmesan herb drop biscuits would be a fabulous combination and are ready in under 25 minutes! You can make them after you get the soup prepped. 👍)
And because this recipe does make a lot - yay for leftovers! - I wanted to share some tips on how to store it.
How to store leftover lentil soup:
- Once the soup has cooled down, transfer it to a covered container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Alternatively, you can freeze the soup in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container for up to 6 months.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then rewarm the soup on the stove.
It’s nice to have some extra on hand for lunch (you can even pack it in a thermos to send to school or work) or for dinner another night.
I hope you give this a try; I think you’ll love how easy and flavorful it is!
P.S. I have lots more Instant Pot recipes coming your way (promise) so stay tuned!
You can sign up for free e-newsletter to get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss a thing. I’ll even send you my free e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!
Instant Pot lentil soup
Instant Pot lentil soup is a really hearty, flavorful soup that is prepped and cooked entirely in the Instant Pot. Perfect for an easy dinner on a chilly night.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 3 medium carrots, diced small
- 2 celery stalks, diced small
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (OR black pepper for less heat)
- 1 ½ cups green or brown lentils
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 6 oz. bag fresh baby spinach
- Fresh Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley, cracked black pepper, oyster crackers, hot sauce
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté. Add the oil and wait 10-15 seconds until it’s heated up. Then add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender.
- Add the thyme, lentils and garlic to the Instant Pot and stir well.
- Next add the tomatoes and broth and stir again.
- Cover the Instant Pot and set for high pressure for 15 minutes. (It will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure.)
- Use the natural release method, which will take about 10-15 minutes.
- Once the pressure is released, open the Instant Pot and add the spinach. (Add additional broth at this point if desired for consistency.) Stir the spinach into the soup then cover the Instant Pot again. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to let the spinach wilt down.
- Serve hot with desired toppings and enjoy!
You can use green or brown lentils for this recipe.
Fire-roasted diced tomatoes add some extra flavor but you could use a regular diced can of tomatoes if that’s all you have on hand.
It can be hard to find a small (15 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes. They often are only sold in the 28 oz. size cans. If that’s all you can find, just use half of that can and reserve the other half for another use.
I have and love this 6-quart Instant Pot. If yours is much smaller, you may want to halve the recipe - or pay close attention to your max fill lines.
I’ve listed “additional time” as 20 minutes to account for the amount of time it will take for the pot to come to pressure and then time for natural release at the end. The exact amount of time for these will vary, but that’s at least a rough estimate to help with planning/timing of the meal.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 1307mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 23g
Made this tonight, it was a hit! Thanks for posting!!!
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it Nadya! Thanks so much for sharing! 😊
Made the lentil soup tonight. It was delicious. Thank you. (I have not found many Instant Pot recipes that I like so this one is a keeper.)
I'm happy to hear you loved it Christine! Thanks so much for sharing 😊
I don't have an instant pot - could I make this on the stove using the same measurements of ingredients?
I haven't tried it myself, but that should work fine. Just make sure to check your lentils and simmer the soup until they are tender and cooked. Hope you enjoy it!
Do you think this would be okay using red lentils, or would they get too mushy? I have brown lentils, but prefer the flavor of red.
I think the red lentils are more likely to break down during cooking, but they are often used in soups for that very reason! They won't hold their texture but may kinda melt right in and make the soup a little creamier. Would love to hear if you try it!