Instant Pot Lentil Soup

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. 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.

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

The beauty of lentil soup is its understatement.

It isn’t fancy, but I’d feed it to my dearest company.

An entire pot of lentil soup costs about $10 to make, but it tastes like a million bucks.

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

Instant Pot Lentil Soup. Easy, healthy, and the perfect hearty soup! Great for making ahead and freezing. This vegan recipe also includes instructions for making Instant Pot Red 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.

One of the things that cheers me most 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, it tastes especially satisfying when the wind is blowing and the frost is creeping into the corners of our windows.

Lentil soup is warming, super filling, healthy, 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.

Vegan Instant Pot Lentil Soup. Simple, hearty, and delicious! One of the best recipes to make in your electric pressure cooker!

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. (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, and I love that I never need to check or stir them the entire time the lentil soup cooks.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup. This hearty soup is easy, healthy, and guaranteed to be a dinnertime favorite. Includes instructions for adding sausage to make Instant Pot Lentil Soup with sausage.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe Notes and Variations:

  • 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 texture nicely too.
  • If 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.
  • If you’d like 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.
  • For French lentil soup with bacon, 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.
  • For Instant Pot lentil soup with ham, you can stir in diced, cooked ham after the lentil soup has finished cooking.
  • No Instant Pot? You can also make this pressure cooker lentil soup on the stovetop. See recipe notes for more details.

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

As 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.

Crusty baguette dunking comes highly recommended too!

Tools to Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup:

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
4.91 from 44 votes
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Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Yield: 8 cups (6 servings)
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
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.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Recipe Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little water or additional broth to thin as needed.
  • 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.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: Easy Homemade Soup Recipe, Instant Pot Dinner Recipe, Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 6), about 1 1/2 cups) — Calories: 236, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 516mg, Carbohydrates: 36g, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 10g, Protein: 12g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

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

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

121 comments

  1. Now this is the perfect make ahead meal for weekday lunches/dinners. I only started eating lentils a couple years ago and they are delicious! And I got an Instant Pot for xmas, so this is perfect!

  2. Hits the spot when the world is too much with me! Thanks Erin!

  3. Winter is coming up soon where I am so something like this will be great. Awesome work Erin (:

  4. I don’t have an instant pot nor a pressure cooker. Can I make it in a crock pot? I’m a big lover to lentil soup and I’d like to try this. Thank you.

    • Hi Linda! In that case, I recommend the stovetop. You can see details for how to do this in the recipe notes. I hope you enjoy it. I love lentil soup too!

  5. This lentil soup looks so yummy and cozy! I don’t have an instant pot but I can make it in my slow cooker:)

  6. Made this tonight for supper. It was awesome!!!

  7. This lentil soup is the best ever! I will be delivering a couple of big bowls to my parents house today. I know they will love it too. Great recipe for these cold winter days. Thank you!

  8. This looks lovely Erin! I don’t think lentils get as much attention as they deserve. It’s been a brutal winter in Boston and I’ve been on a comfort food kick, so I will definitely be making this one tonight! 

  9. I used brown lentils. This is the best lentil
    soup that I have ever made. 

  10. Thanks for posting this amazing recipe. Made a pot the other night and it was delicious. I’ve always loved lentil soup and this recipe makes the best soup. Topped off the soup with diced ham and homemade croutons.

    • YAY, I’m so glad to hear the recipe was a winner, Anne! Thanks so much for giving it a try and sharing this wonderful review. :)

  11. literally had for lunch every day this week and making again next week. so yummy!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup! Thanks so much for giving it a try and taking the time to report back. :)

  12. Just made it using chicken sausage.  This is now one of my favorite soups!

  13. This looks great!  Are you keeping the liquid from the cans of tomatoes or draining them?  Thanks

  14. This is a great recipe, thanks for posting! The proportions worked out really well… subbed rotel diced tomatoes with peppers/onions for one of the cans of tomatoes…. a lil’ spicy, the way we like it!

  15. This is super yummy and easy! thx!

  16. Usually soup is better the next day, but this was delicious right out of the pot. It’s one of my husbands new favorites! 

    • Hooray, Sophia! I’m glad the soup is a new favorite—and I really appreciate your taking the time to review the recipe!

  17. Dry or cooked lentils?

  18. Fantastic- Made exactly to the recipe and I wouldn’t change a thing! Trying to eat healthy and I’ve been craving my lunch each day. I doubled the recipe and it worked in my 8 quart instant pot just fine.
    Thanks so much for a tasty healthy filling recipe!

  19. This soup is so good! I adjusted the seasoning to my taste and loved it as did my family and friend. I love your food philosophy and your photography is good too! Keep doing what you’re doing and know that your work is appreciated, especially by young food bloggers like me!

  20. If you double it will it fit in a 6 quart?

    • Ben, I do think that would be too full and might change the cooking time. I’d suggest starting with the recipe as written the first time, then see how it goes!

  21. Thank you for this fabulous recipe! Made it for tonight’s dinner (yes, in summer!). Perfect combination of ingredients. Loved!

  22. Loved this! Just made it with chicken sausage and the whole family enjoyed it. Great flavor, and pretty simple. Only thing I will do differently next time is chop everything in advance. I had to stir the onion constantly keep it from burning, so I was rushing a bit. Thanks so much! 

  23. Hi,

    Does it work with black lentil?

    • Hi Candy, I haven’t tried the recipe with black lentils, but if they’re similar cooking time to the French green lentils I used, they may work! If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  24. Best soup ever!!! Thank you for this fabulous recipe!

  25. I followed this recipe and it was a huge hit. No sense in buying the veg stock called for, make it in the instant pot and prep all your other ingredients while it is working.

  26. Made this yesterday, just added a bay leaf and an extra cup of water, personal preferences. It is SO GOOD! The parmesan cheese is a perfect compliment. My new go-to Lentil Soup!

  27. Hi Erin
    I started this on the stove then realized would take too long (aren’t we spoiled now) so I transitioned over to Instant Pot but I was surprised that you only used 1-1/2 cups of lentils. My recipe was for the whole bag. Well now I have some for another pot. But I had 4 pork hocks ready to go and then read don’t put them in the instant pot. So I’m cooking them on the stove (they are smoked) and will add the pieces later. Why can’t it go in with the soup? I’m waiting for it now. It shaved about an hour off doing it on the stove top. Hoping it’s good. Thanks!

    • Hi Janet, the Instant Pot is definitely great for speeding this like this up. I have never tried the recipe with ham hock, but I hoped you enjoyed the recipe version you created!

  28. Ok, I now know why you don’t put in the ham (pork) hocks and why you don’t put in more than 1-1/2 cups of lentils lol. The hocks were v we y very salty in the separate pot that I made them with vegetable broth sheesh! And the lentils were pretty thick so if using more you’d need more liquid plus a bigger IP. The soup was excellent! I will not waste time again and do it the old fashioned way again. Love it!

  29. Erin, your ingredients were mostly the same as my original lentil. It was really great and I’m making another pot right now. I will definitely be buying a lot more lentils. Also, I used brown lentils, they were great.

  30. Great soup, worked well in the Instant Pot. Took your advice and thinned out the soup with a couple extra cups of chicken stock and added one chopped jalapeño in with the carrots and celery. Definitely a keeper of a recipe! Thanks :)

  31. Very good recipe, I did make mine in an Instant Pot.

    One thing I did was to add a few smoked ham hocks for flavor; really worked well!

    I highly recommend.

  32. Veggies were way over cooked and had no texture. Would make again but release pressure sooner and not let it do it naturally. Or cook for less time. Maybe 10 minutes?

    • Hi Sabrina, the texture of the veggies will also depend on the size you chopped them. It sounds like you have the right idea for getting the texture more to your preference! I’m glad you still enjoyed the soup and plan to make it again.

  33. I made this for my holiday cookie and wine swap party this week and people went back for seconds and thirds. I tripled the recipe for my 8 quart Instapot, added red pepper flakes, Tamari for umami and stirred in some baby spinach at the end. Delicious! Thanks!

  34. This is THE best lentil soup I have ever made. My husband loved it too and we agree that it tastes like a soup you would get in a restaurant. I didn’t change a thing. Thank you

  35. I don’t usually leave comments on recipes, but I felt inclined to because this lentil soup is SO INCREDIBLY GOOD!! I was blown away actually. It is simple yet the flavors really pop. The only changes I made were using brown lentils and chicken broth. I also recommend adding some spinach before serving for extra color, texture, and nutrients. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  36. I make this as a main by reducing the amount of stock by about 100ml and by using brown lentils. High quality crushed tomatoes and FRESH thyme are KEY to making the flavours really pop in a this thick, warming stew. So delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  37. I forgot the celery but the lentils were still very good. The timing was perfect.

  38. Delicious!  Easy!  Bright flavors!

  39. I made this tonight, with a couple of substitutes, but it was still delicious. I have always avoided lentils, like many other grains and beans, like the plague. My husband likes them so I purchase some red ones last week and tonight I was looking for a recipe to use them in as a side dish with the lamb chops I was making. Looking at the ingredients I was only missing the fire roasted diced tomatoes and the vegetable broth. I substituted with Mexican diced tomatoes and chicken broth and pressure cooked it for 10 minutes instead of 15 since you mentioned red lentils should cook less time. My husband used Feta cheese on it instead of Parm. I ate a bowl and a half I loved it so much and my husband raved over the flavors. Leftovers will be tomorrows lunch and I’ll be sure to pick up a nice fresh loaf of Italian bread to go with it. Thank you for a great recipe.

  40. This is the best lentil soup ever. Don’t tell my mum! I added bacon and mushrooms with a few drops of Maggi liquid seasoning at the end for extra richness. Delicious. Thank you.

  41. Holy cow!!! This was amazing! This is not an exaggeration to say that this is one of my all-time favorite soups now. My kids even raved about it, including my picky 2-year old. Thank you for this quick, easy AND delicious recipe.

  42. This lentil soup recipe is amazing. Even the 11 year old was going back for seconds. Delicious and easy. I am trying new recipes in my instapot and everyone agreed that this was a keeper!

  43. I made in my 3 quart mini and reduced stock to 1 cup. Lentils one cup. Halfed all other ingredients, but canned tomatoes. Added  a cup of water after to make more liquid. Same cooking time. Make 5 bowls. Very good!

  44. Thank you – my family enjoyed this soup. It was a great make ahead meal for the week.

  45. Quick question: I have a 6 quart instant pot and I’m thinking of putting in 2 cups of green lentils instead of 1.5 and then just increasing the other ingredients accordingly. Do you think a 6 quart instant pot can accommodate this quantity! This is only my second try at using the Instant Pot! Thank you for posting this recipe!

    • Hi Gina! It will be very close and might go over. You could wait to add the extra amounts until you’re able to tell that it won’t go over the fill line. (To be safe, I recommend following the recipe as written, as that is how it tested. That’s a sure bet!)

  46. Love this soup. It’s thick, filling, delicious and so easy to make.

  47. This recipe is AMMAZZING!! I had seconds. I love working with my pressure cooker and this recipe was so easy to do. I will definitely put this in my rotation. Next time I might double and put some in the freezer. I was looking for something healthy and was so surprised on how tasty.

  48. Thanks for all the information about cooking times of different lentils. I am a new Instant Pot owner, and was trying desperately to convert a great Mexican Lentil Soup recipe I got off THE Goods on tv last year. Unfortunately it called for canned and I always use dry lentils and beans and estimating the amounts has always been hit or miss. Given the amount of fluid in your recipe and my stove top version, I reckon I will try 1 1/2 cups red lentils per can of lentils. I am delighted to have the cooking time variations too. I will be trying my Mexican Lentil Soup tonight, and likely your recipe next week for comparison.

  49. Yummy! This was our first time to use our new instant pot. We used the exact recipe except for the optional cheese and bread toppers. It was delicious! Thank you! 

  50. Am I using canned or dried lentils?  Thank you :)

  51. This is by far my favorite instant pot recipe so far, making it for second time. I used sausage and it’s suvh a nice hearty lunch during the week. It freezes well 

  52. I have been a very timid Instant Pot owner, however this lentil soup will be sure to make me more confident using the pot. I followed the directions exactly and this has to be the best lentil soup I have ever made. The flavors are rich and create a true comfort food for the soul.  I did add about 3 cups of raw spinach to the soup after it was done. The wilted greens are a nice addition if you have them on hand.  Even my husband the carnivore loved it! 

  53. I doubled this recipe for my large family and we all devoured it! It was DELECTABLE!! It is now my go to recipe when I have lots of veggies and a little amount of time.

  54. This is my first time making Lentil Soup. Your receipe is very simple and the soup is so good. I will freeze half of the soup and take the rest for lunch this week. 

  55. This was excellent! My husband even thought it was better than his old standby, and very delicious lentil soup. Thanks for a good recipe! It was easy and quick…and as I said, delicious!

  56. Bonnie Hennessy Reply

    This was delicious. The only thing I did differently was 2 cloves garlic, 2 cans diced tomatoes (because that is what I ha, & I started out with 6 cups of veggie broth. . Also just threw everything in the pot & cooked 14 mins. 

  57. This is soooo delicious! And I’m so glad I read down the comments while the onions were sauteeing because it’s also incredibly versatile. I’ve been trying to use up some of my more “exotic” Penzey’s blends so I swapped out the thyme for Turkish seasoning we got as a sample, kept the smoked paprika and added some Greek yogurt after it was done. So tasty. I can see doing all sorts of veggies and flavor profiles following your proportions and method. Definitely a go-to recipe!
    Oh and I did 11 mins. with red lentils, perfect!

  58. This  lentil soup looks incredibly delicious! I love that it’s made in an instapot! Thanks for sharing ! Dee

  59. I followed this recipe to the T and got more of a tomato soup with lentils floating in it, my soup was very very watery, I also cooked it for an extra 10 minutes after seeing how watery it was, I ended up throwing it all in my ninja blender and having a nice tomato like soup concoction. Any advice for how my soup can come out in the picture would be very highly appreciated. 

    • Hi Denise, the soup came out very thick for me each time I tested. Is it possible that the cans of tomatoes you used were larger than 15 ounces, or that more than 4 cups of broth got added? Unfortunately it’s hard for me to know what may have gone wrong without being in the kitchen with you, but I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t a success for you!

  60. I really liked the recipe. I used all crushed tomatoes because I only had big cans. I also put in 2 diced russet potatoes. My one word of warning I guess would be that 15 minutes seems like a crazy amount of time. I did 7 minutes with run of the mill lentils, brown I guess they’re called, and they were super soft. On the verge of being mush. Same with the veggies. I’ll definitely be making it again but next time I’m going to try 3 minutes on High Pressure, and then a natural release. That’s what I typically do with any soup in the instant pot. Vegan soups anyways. 

  61. This was great—and a big hit with the 1-year-old too. I used standard brownish-green lentils and a 28-ounce can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (instead of two 15-ounce cans). I also reduced my pressure cook time to 13 minutes (and did a quick release after 10 minutes of natural) based on other readers saying their lentils were too soft. My lentils and veggies were intact but still tender. Thanks for the recipe!

  62. This soup in incredibly delicious. It is worth the fresh vegetables, but I used dried thyme and it was fine. Also, I used chicken broth the second time I made it (out of veggie broth Better Than Bouillion) and it was still amazing. Finally, I used 2 cans diced tomatoes and it was STILL amazing. I used a bag of dried lentils and it all worked. I love this recipe!

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