Instant Pot Lentil Soup is humble, unconditional love in a bowl. Whatever life is throwing at you this week, this quiet, soul-soothing soup is here to nourish.

A bowl of easy Instant Pot lentil soup topped with fresh herbs

Feeling on top of the world? You’ll be even more dynamo after your first bite. Can’t remember the last time your socks matched? This Instant Pot lentil soup doesn’t care. It will cozy on up with you anyway.

The beauty of lentil soup is its understatement. While it isn’t fancy, I’d feed it to my dearest company (and I have many times!). Its satisfying, hearty texture and familiar, yet vibrant flavor will wrap you up with every bite. 

This soup also earns bonus points for affordability. An entire pot of lentil soup costs about $10 to make, but it tastes like a million bucks. Plus, it’s freezer-friendly, making it ideal for meal prep. 

Lentil soup will never sing its own praises, and it doesn’t need to. You’ll be singing them on its behalf!

A bowl of healthy, hearty soup with vegetables and fresh herbs

Why I Love This Easy Lentil Soup

A lover of sun and warm weather, I struggle during this stretch of the year, when the sparkle of the holidays is behind but summer still feels forever away. However, one of the things that brings me cheer all winter long is making recipes that shine their brightest when the cold is at its worst.

While I’d happily eat Instant Pot lentil soup any night of the week and in any temperature, it tastes especially satisfying when the wind is blowing and the frost is creeping into the corners of our windows. Each bite instantly transports me to a place of warmth, comfort, and deliciousness. 

Lentil soup is healthy, super filling, warming, and the best kind of recipe to have in your refrigerator. It reheats like a dream and tastes better and better as the week goes along.

Two bowls of vegetarian soup made in a pressure cooker

How to Cook Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot

This easy lentil soup does require a little chopping on the front end, but once you have the ingredients prepped, it is completely hands off, especially if you make it in an Instant Pot. (If that sounds appealing, be sure to check out this roundup of my favorite hands-off dishes: 15 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes!)

I first discovered the beauty of Instant Pot lentils back when I made this Instant Pot Lentil Curry.

Although the total amount of time to cook lentils in an Instant Pot is pretty comparable to the time you’d need on the stove, I find that the texture of the Instant Pot lentils is superior.

I love that I never need to check or stir the lentils the entire time the soup cooks. (For another maintenance lentil recipe or if you don’t have an Instant Pot, try this Crockpot Lentil Soup.) 

The Ingredients

  • Lentils. I made this pressure cooker lentil soup with French green lentils (also called “Puy lentils”) because I love their lightly peppery flavor, and they hold their shape and texture nicely too. In addition to being yummy, lentils are a great addition to soup because they are ultra nutritious. Lentil soup is healthy and packed with protein, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron. You do not need to soak the lentils before adding them to lentil soup.
  • Vegetables. Adding classic soup veggies like onions, carrots, celery, and garlic makes this soup extra hearty, healthy, and flavorful.
  • Herbs & Spices. I used a combination of fresh thyme, smoked paprika, and black pepper. The thyme gives the lentil soup an earthy Italian vibe; the smoked paprika makes it very subtly smoky and adds another dimension of flavor.
  • Tomatoes. Pantry staples to the rescue! Crushed tomatoes form part of the soup liquid, and the fire-roasted tomatoes add a richer flavor.
  • Vegetable Broth. To keep this as a vegetarian or vegan lentil soup, use vegetable broth. You can certainly make it with chicken broth if that’s not a concern for you.

Toppings. I highly recommend both a sprinkle of fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese. Crusty baguette dunking comes highly recommended too!

The Directions

Sauteed onions in an Instant Pot

  1. Using the Instant Pot saute setting, cook the onion until it is very soft.
    An Instant Pot with the ingredients for lentil soup
  2. Add the carrots, celery, with the herbs and spices.
    Lentil soup being cooked in the Instant Pot
  3. Add the lentils and garlic, stirring to coat. Add the tomatoes and broth.
  4. Seal and cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes, then release pressure naturally.
  5. Stir the soup, and remove the thyme stems. Adjust taste and texture as desired. Serve hot with desired toppings, and ENJOY!

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • To Make VeganAs written, this is a vegan lentil soup, but if you don’t need the recipe to be dairy free, I highly recommend grating Parmesan cheese right over the top.
  • To Add Meat. To make Instant Pot lentil soup with sausage, brown the sausage with the onion first, and then once it’s fully cooked, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed.
  • French Lentil Soup with Bacon. Classic! Cut the bacon into pieces, and start the recipe by browning the bacon in the Instant Pot first using the sauté setting until crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, and then make the soup as directed. Stir in the bacon at the end.
  • Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Ham. You can stir in diced, cooked ham after the soup has finished cooking.
  • Lentil VariationsIf you prefer to make Instant Pot red lentil soup or even brown lentil soup instead of French lentil soup, those swaps will certainly work too. For red lentil soup, I’d suggest cutting the pressure cooking time by a few minutes, as red lentils are more fragile and won’t hold their shape as well during pressure cooking.
  • No Instant Pot? You can also make this soup on the stovetop. See recipe notes for more details. Or give this stovetop Curry Lentil Soup a try. 

A pressure cooker filled with delicious vegan soup

How to Store and Reheat Instant Pot Lentil Soup

  • To Store. Place leftover soup in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm this soup in a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also reheat this soup in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Store soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What Goes Well with Lentil Soup?

Two bowls of healthy French Instant Pot lentil soup

Tools Used to Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup

  • 6-Quart Instant Pot. Larger sizes work too. If making in a 3-quart Instant Pot, I suggest halving the recipe (no need to change the Instant Pot pressure cook time, no matter the size).
  • Cheese Grater. The easiest way to grate cheese right on into your soup…and into anything else.
  • Green Lentils. <—These are the ones I used.

Ready for your hug in a bowl?

Instant Pot Lentil Soup - an easy, healthy recipe for French lentil soup made in the electric pressure cooker. So simple, hearty, and delicious! Gluten free, vegan, and freezer friendly. Recipe also includes stovetop method and tips to add ham or use red lentils or brown lentils instead. #healthy #soup #vegan

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

4.93 from 163 votes
Instant Pot Lentil Soup - an easy, healthy recipe for French lentil soup made in the electric pressure cooker. So simple, hearty, and delicious! Gluten free, vegan, and freezer friendly. Recipe works with any color of lentils (red, green, or brown).
This recipe as written yields a very thick soup, so feel free to thin it with additional broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 50 mins

Servings: 8 cups (6 servings)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion small diced
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 4 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils
  • 4 cloves garlic minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (15 ounces)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Chopped fresh parsley for serving
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese optional for serving
  • Crusty bread optional for serving

Instructions
 

  • Drizzle the oil into the Instant Pot. Set to SAUTE. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and stir. Continue to cook the onion, stirring often, until the onions are very soft and beginning to nicely brown and break down, about 8 minutes.
  • While the onion cooks, peel the carrots and cut into small dice. Small dice the celery as well. Add the carrots, celery, thyme springs (you can tie them together if you like to make them easier to fish out later), salt, smoked paprika, and pepper. Sauté until the carrots and celery are barely soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and garlic to the pot and stir to coat them in the spices. Let cook 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable broth.
  • Cover and seal the Instant Pot, and then set to cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of high pressure, allow the cooker to release pressure naturally. This will take about 10 to 15 additional minutes.
  • Open the lid and stir the soup. Remove the thyme stems, leaving the leaves in the soup. If the soup is too thick for your liking, thin with a bit of water or additional stock until you reach your desired consistency. (We tend to like our soups pretty thick and hearty around here.) Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve hot with a sprinkle of parsley, Parmesan (if using), and bread for dipping.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place leftover soup in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm this soup in a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also reheat this soup in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Store 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: 1(of 6), about 1 1/2 cupsCalories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 12gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 516mgFiber: 16gSugar: 10g

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Instant Pot Lentil Soup - an easy, healthy recipe for French lentil soup made in the electric pressure cooker. So simple, hearty, and delicious! Gluten free, vegan, and freezer friendly. Recipe also includes stovetop method and tips to add ham or use red lentils or brown lentils instead. #healthy #soup #vegan

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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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402 Comments

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    1. Hi Jennifer! I’ve only tested the recipe as written so it would be hard to say what to do with doubling it. I will say, that there are numerous comments here from other followers who have doubled it and no one mentioned in their review about adding cooking time. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

  1. This is the BEST lentil soup ever!! I literally make it once a week. My dad loves it and hes picky! He raves about it all the time. Thank you!!5 stars

  2. We are on a low sodium diet and this was so good we used the no salt tomatoes and didn’t add the salt perfect for a November chill nite.thankyou5 stars

  3. This was such a good recipe. I’m not a big fan of soups, but this was the best! I didn’t make mine as thick, added tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes. I didn’t have vegetable broth so used chicken broth instead. I will be making more and freezing in containers so I can have more often. My husband and I thank you.5 stars

    1. Hi Tom! If you are asking for the amount of lentils that goes in this recipe, tt’s #9 on the ingredient list in the recipe card. It’s 1 1/2 cups of French green lentils. Hope this helps!

  4. This is such a delicious and easy recipe! It truly took me less than ten minutes to throw everything together and then let the IP do it’s work. My family loved this soup and I will be making it again. It’s hearty and filling and amazing all around! I subbed in dried basil because I couldn’t find my dried thyme. So good!5 stars

  5. I made this recipe awhile back and it was delicious! It is time to make again! It freezes well and all my co-workers say “That smells really good”
    Thank you for sharing your recipe.
    Laurie S.5 stars

  6. I made this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious! Just sent the recipe to my mum to try. Thank you Erin for sharing this great IP recipe.5 stars

  7. I made this soup this evening. I made a couple of changes, and that is I added a no salt tomato sauce, and no salt diced tomatoes. I had half of a yellow bell pepper left, so I chopped it up and added it too. I’m newly diagnosed with kidney disease, so am looking for vegan recipes, and this one was not a disappointment! I was skeptical, but we loved this! I’m 72, and love cooking with all things I can’t have now. This is a great start for learning a new way to eat for me.5 stars

  8. This recipe was delicious! I substituted with one 28 oz can of diced tomatoes instead because I didn’t have crushed tomatoes on hand and the texture was somewhat thick but still chunky. Great flavor.5 stars

  9. Hi Erin,
    I have had my instant pot for 2 years, and when I first used it, I used it incorrectly and the recipe (pot roast) didn’t come out well. So then my instant pot sat in the kitchen
    However, I decided to give it another shot and tries out your lentil soup. IT WAS DELICIOUS. I discovered a new love for my instant pot and already made 3 more recipes. Your detailed usage instructions are so helpful.
    My family and I truly appreciate your fast, yummy recipes.

    Hope to see many more

    Manuela5 stars

  10. We’ve made this multiple times and this last time I misread a can of diced tomatoes when putting my list together. Ended up having diced and crushed tomato chili starter instead of regular diced tomatoes. Threw them in anyway and it kicked the spice up nicely and turned out great. Even added some Cajun smoked sausage that we sizzled in a skillet to top it off. I might keep the changes unless I’m cooking for my non spicy family members. Thanks so much.5 stars

    1. Hi Elisabeth! I haven’t tested it out myself but I know other readers have added potatoes with great success. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  11. Yum! I wasn’t sure I would like it but my daughter asked to try it so we gave it a go. I have now made it twice in one week. SO EASY and will definitely keep this recipe handy and look for more.5 stars

  12. Was looking for a good IP lentil soup and just whipped this up and WOW!!!! I added beyond spicy sausage (vegan) and omg this is what soup dreams are made of!5 stars

  13. This soup is so delicious, and easy to make. I didn’t know I could love lentil soup so much! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!5 stars

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