When’s the last time you tried lentil soup? If your answer was anything other than “I just polished off a bowl!” then it’s time to give this Crockpot Lentil Soup recipe a whirl.

Two bowls of healthy lentil soup

While they might not appear especially riveting sitting in their simple plastic bag, lentils will surprise you.

I like to compare them to the YouTube videos of celebrity musicians playing in subway stations in disguise. Judge them by their appearance only, and you’ll miss a star opportunity.

Humble as it seems, the lentil is a total diva when it comes to nutritional prowess and culinary possibility. Lentils are loaded with vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber. They’re also versatile. Since lentils are mild on their own, you can easily incorporate them into a variety of different dishes. From Indian-inspired recipes like this Curry Lentil Soup and Instant Pot Lentil Curry, to Thai-tastic ones like Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry, this quiet legume is primed to take on bold flavor.

Like any true great, however, lentils don’t have to be showy. Case-in-point: lentil soup.

This Instant Pot Lentil Soup has long been one of my favorite recipes on my site, and it has become a reader favorite too. It’s rich and cozy, earnest but by no means bland. It’s exactly what I crave on a chilly night when I need my dinner to warm me to my bones and to be healthy too.

Since not everyone owns an Instant Pot, I thought it was high time I created a slow cooker version. Both are fantastic. Whichever cooking vessel you choose, rest assured that you are making the best lentil soup recipe.

You can make this soup on a lazy weekend and enjoy the tantalizing smell as it builds in your kitchen, then wafts into the living room and calls everyone to dinner.

Or, you can set it and forget it on a weekday, then return home to a wholesome dinner that’s waiting just for you.

Healthy slow cooker lentil soup with a wooden spoon

How to Make the Best Healthy Crockpot Lentil Soup

This hearty vegetable lentil soup is flavorful and filling. You can doctor it up with bacon or with ham if you like, but we adore the below vegetarian version just as it is.

The Ingredients

  • Veggies. The tried-and-true combination of onion, carrots, and celery makes the soup colorful, nutritious, and provides a backbone of flavor.
  • Spices. Italian seasoning and smoked paprika are the powerhouse spices. The smoked paprika especially gives the soup complexity.
  • Green Lentils. French green lentils are the best choice for this soup. You can also use brown lentils, but I do not recommend red lentils as they are very delicate and won’t hold up to the long cooktime in the crockpot.
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes + Crushed Tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes bring the heat and the crushed tomatoes provide richly flavored liquid for our soup.
  • Vegetable Broth. Make sure to use low-sodium broth here to keep this soup from being overly salty.
  • Parmesan Rind. A completely optional but AMAZING addition. As the soup warms, the rind releases delicious bursts of Parmesan flavor into the broth.
  • Red Wine Vinegar. For balance, brightness, and pop. Don’t skip it!
  • Fresh Parsley and Parmesan. My favorite toppings for this lentil soup! If you need to keep the soup dairy free, use nutritional yeast instead.

The Directions

  1. Sauté the onion in a large skillet until soft. Add the carrots, celery, and spices.  Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
  2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and broth to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. Stir in the vinegar and sugar. Serve hot with desired toppings, and ENJOY!

IMPORTANT NOTE: You do not need to cook lentils before adding them to the slow cooker. Raw lentils cook well in the crock pot and will be tender by the time the soup is done. To prepare the lentils, simply rinse them to remove any dirt, then add raw lentils to the slow cooker with the other ingredients.

Two bowls of healthy and delicious hearty soup with lentils

 

Recipe Variations

  • Crockpot Lentil Soup with Ham. Add 1 ½ cups diced cooked ham to the slow cooker with the lentils. Cook as directed.
  • Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Bacon. Prepare ¼ pound Baked Bacon, and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices. Stir almost all the bacon into the slow cooker with the lentils and cook as directed. Top each bowl of soup with remaining bacon pieces.
  • Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage. Slice 2 pounds of kielbasa sausage into ½-inch pieces, and add the pieces to the slow cooker with the lentils. Cook as directed. To make a healthy spin on this variation, use chicken or turkey sausage.
  • Vegan Crockpot Lentil Soup. Use nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan.
  • Gluten Free Lentil Soup. No changes needed! This recipe is naturally gluten free as written.

How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze Soup

  • To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little water or additional broth to thin as needed.
  • To Freeze. Place soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Two bowls of hearty and healthy soup that are perfect for family dinner

What to Serve with Crockpot Lentil Soup

Two bowls filled with the best lentil soup made in the slow cooker

Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe

  • Slow Cooker. This one has a “keep warm” function, which helps deter overcooking.
  • Sharp Chef’s Knife. This is my most faithful kitchen companion..
  • Skillet. Perfect for sautéing veggies in this recipe.
Two bowls of healthy lentil soup

Crockpot Lentil Soup

5 from 29 votes
Crockpot Lentil Soup is hearty, healthy, and so comforting! A satisfying vegetarian recipe made with lentils, carrots and tomato, slow cooked to perfection.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 10 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into a ½-inch dice
  • 3 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils or brown lentils; I do not recommend red lentils, which are more delicate and break down when cooked for a long period
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes 15 ounces
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 15 ounces
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Parmesan rind optional; add it if you have it
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • For serving: chopped fresh parsley and Parmesan

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook the onion, stirring often, until it is very soft and beginning to nicely brown and break down, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, salt, smoked paprika, and pepper. Sauté until the carrots and celery are barely soft, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
  • To the slow cooker, add the lentils, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the lentils are tender and retain a slight amount of pleasant chew but are not mushy.
  • Remove the Parmesan rind (if using). Stir in the red wine vinegar and sugar. If the soup is too thick for your liking, thin with a bit of water or additional broth until you reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve hot with a sprinkle of parsley, Parmesan (if using), and bread for dipping.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little water or additional broth to thin as needed.
  • TO FREEZE: Place soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • TO MAKE ON THE STOVETOP: Prepare the recipe in a large Dutch oven on the stove through Step 3. Bring the soup to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let cook until the lentil are tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout. Enjoy hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving; (about 1 1/2 cups)Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 12gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPotassium: 609mgFiber: 16gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 7327IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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82 Comments

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  1. I will definitely be giving this soup a try, but one question first. How do you think black/beluga lentils would work for this? I bought them in bulk at Whole Foods in a moment of excited impulse and need to use them up!

    1. Hi Angie! I haven’t tried this recipe with black lentils, but from what I can find online, they should hold up fine. If you decide to try it with the black lentils, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      1. Update! I used the beluga lentils in this soup tonight and they were great. And the soup as a whole was a delight. Such a great depth of flavor. Yet another hit in our house thanks to you, Erin!5 stars

  2. This lentil soup was amazing! I used brown lentils and after 6 hours in the slow cooker, everything was done. It smelled SO wonderful while cooking, and tasted even better. I do love a good bowl of lentil soup (mostly good old Trader Joe’s version) but this was so easy and delicious that I might never need to buy another can/carton of lentil soup. Thanks so much for another healthy winner, Erin!

    Everyone else: Make! This! Soup!5 stars

      1. DELICIOUS! Warm, flavorful, and hearty! Carried the whole crockpot to my best friend’s house and both our families enjoyed it! AND I still had 1 container for leftovers for lunch. :o)5 stars

  3. Love this January soup! Both this one and the Instantapot one are great and both taste even better the second day. Thanks, Erin, for  providing his healthy recipes.5 stars

  4. Hi Erin! I’m excited to try this soup (HUGE lentil soup fan!, but I have a slightly smaller slow cooker (4 qt not 6 qt). Will this still work in a slightly smaller crock pot? I’d be a little afraid to adjust the ingredient amounts on my own…. Thanks!

    1. Lisa, I haven’t tried this before, but I think you should be OK; it might take your lentils longer since the slow cooker will be more crowded. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  5. Made this and enjoyed it! My husband doesn’t like onion or garlic, so I left those out and even put the carrots and celery in the crockpot without sautéing them first. And I forgot the parm rind- oops. Even with my modifications, the recipe was great! Looking forward to leftovers tonight.5 stars

    1. Hi Lone! I’ve never tried this recipe with canned lentils, but you may want to try the soup on the stovetop instead, as cooking canned lentils too long can cause them to become mushy. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  6. Just tried today and love it!  Easy and with few ingredients, very tasty.  served with pop- overs.  Thanks!5 stars

  7. Just made this soup yesterday. I really enjoyed the flavor. The only change I would make would be to add more vegetable broth as the soup was a little too think for me. 5 stars

    1. I’m excited to try this recipe!! I dint have vegetable broth but I do have organic chicken stock. Would this work in the recipe or should I try to buy some vegetable broth?

      1. Hi Karla! I think that would work fine but heads up that the soup won’t be vegetarian anymore. I hope you enjoy it if you try it!

  8. Hands down the best lentil soup recipe, slow cooker or otherwise, that I’ve ever made. So flavorful, we did not miss the meat at all!5 stars

  9. OHMYGOSH ~ what a recipe full of flavor!!! Is this Lentil soup or Lentil Stew? I followed the recipe and used 3 meaty western ribs. I didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes, but had a selection of Penzey’s spices to add to fresh Roma tomatoes. I seasoned the ribs, seared in a skillet and added to the crock pot. It was “set it and forget it”. In 7 hours it was done. Served with crusty bread and Asiago cheese, it was the perfect meal to come home to on a cold and rainy night. The crock pot made it easy. I heartily enjoyed this recipe.5 stars

  10. This was easy to make and really tasty, I was skeptical even after reading comments but it truly is a good recipe.
    PS: I ate the rind…..it tasted like pizza……………………………………………I might chop it up into small chunks and spread it through the soup next time or just eat again.5 stars

  11. This recipe is great! I did not have many of the vegetables on hand, so I used some frozen garden vegetables. (Carrots, green beans, broccolli, and cauliflower) it tasted good and I even got my 50 year old father to eat it! He hates vegetables and always told us growing up that he’s “allergic” to vegetables. Thank you for sharing the recipe! If it can get the pickiest vegetable-hater to eat it, it’s a miracle in my books.5 stars

  12. I was reading the ingredients for Lentil soup , it had
    all the ingredients for it except the dry ingredients Lentils
    it didn’t say how much to put in with the rest of the ingredients .

    1. Hi Sandra! If you click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the recipe card that lists all the ingredients and instructions. I hope this helps!

  13. Seeing that this soup had a five star rating, I made it according to directions with all of the listed ingredients. I, myself, and my family did not like it. The reason is the tomatoes take away from the lentil flavor. Sorry, but I’ll never make lenjatil soup this way again.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that this soup wasn’t to your tastes, Joann. I (and many other readers) really enjoyed it, so I truly wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

  14. This is more like a Tomato/Vegetable soup with Lentils in it.
    Not my cup of tea, way too much Tomato in it.
    Recipe isn’t necessarily “bad”, I just wouldn’t call it “Lentil Soup”.

    1. I’m sorry that this recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Sasha. I (and many other readers) have really enjoyed it, so I truly wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

  15. Hi Erin! I am detoxing feom sugar. Is there a plant based alternative you can recommend? Would omitting the sugar takeaway from the soup?

      1. Hi Erin! I omitted the sugar and it was still delicious! Now a fam favorite in my house! Don’t be afraid to add more veggies than the recipe calles for (I did!) and it was amazing!5 stars

  16. Delicious. Added a bit of water at the end to make a little bit thinner to my liking. Overall great flavor and super filling! Will make again and add to my recipe book.5 stars

    1. Hi Tesla! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so you’d be experimenting. The flavor of red wine vinegar is unique, so the red wine will not create the same flavor profile. I hope you enjoy the soup if you try it!

  17. I made this tonight and it was so so good! I didn’t have a can of diced tomatoes so I left that out but otherwise followed your recipe. Definitely will be added into the rotation!5 stars

  18. What to cook on a chilly Friday in January? Erin’s crockpot lentil soup, which is tasty, warming, healthy and so easy to put together! I made it on the stovetop in a dutch oven with 18oz of turkey kielbasa. Simmer time for me was about 40 minutes. Delicious on Friday and even better for lunch on Saturday.

    Side note: I’ve been using Well Plated recipes to eat healthy and maintain my weight after losing 75 lbs and this was the 56th recipe from either your blog or cookbook that I’ve enjoyed. Love that I can enjoy such flavorful meals and desserts without gaining weight! So thankful for your recipes. Will there be a second cookbook? Thanks Erin and may 2021 be a good one for you!5 stars

  19. First time for me to fix lentils in my crockpot. This recipe was yummy. I added some chopped kale ans a couple of bay leaves. I will definitely be preparing this again.5 stars

  20. Would like to have the soup a little thicker. How should I thicken the soup? I have it almost ready to dish up. It looks delicious.

    1. Hi Janet! You could try letting the soup simmer uncovered for a bit or puree a portion of it. I hope you enjoyed it!

  21. I thought the flavor of the soup was terrific. I had some trouble getting my carrots to soften up. I think next time I will simmer on the stove.5 stars

  22. I have made this recipe 3 times! I enjoy it so much that I freeze several servings after the cooking is done. The French Green Lentils are absolutely the best choice. They really do “hold up” throughout the slow cooking process which enhances the texture. The last time I made it, I added some diced yellow peppers for a change. They too held up quite well. Thank you for this excellent recipe.5 stars

  23. Kudos for lentil soup but why add vinegar and sugar. We want our very young son to enjoy it but think the vinegar will turn him off