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Who’s ready to take it easy this week? Red Lentil Curry and I are! This creamy vegan curry is made in your slow cooker hands free, includes a generous serving of vegetables (sweet potatoes!), and thanks to the addition of cooling coconut milk, the Indian spices are well balanced for a warm but not overpowering level of heat.

Easy, healthy Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and coconut milk. Creamy, delicious vegan recipe with the perfect amount of Indian spice!

I first made this simple red lentil curry recipe when we moved into our new home and—after two weeks straight of moving-stress-induced takeout dinners—I needed a healthy reset.

WELL, here I am again! I’ve spent the last few weeks eating out as often as I’ve eaten in. It’s been delicious and fun and I’m likely to do it again, which is exactly why I need more easy red lentil recipes like this one in my life this week.

For me, it’s much easier to be excited about eating at home when I’m genuinely looking forward to the food in my refrigerator. Having delicious food on hand helps me avoid the temptation to say “Forget it—let’s go out” or to reach for a bag of chips instead of going to the effort to cook.

This Red Lentil Curry is absolutely scrumptious. I feel giddy and impatient to eat it every time I warm up a bowl!

Easy Red Lentil Curry made in the slow cooker! Loaded with sweet potato and delicious spices.

Healthy Red Lentil Curry—Reasons to ♥ Thee

I adore this recipe for so many reasons. Here’s why you will too.

First, let’s talk practicalities:

  • Dreamy Leftovers. This recipe yields a large portion and reheats like a dream, so when you make it once for dinner, you’re also gifting yourself with multiple healthy meals you can enjoy later in the week.
  • Meal-Prep Maven. You can either cook the recipe over the weekend, then warm up the leftovers, OR chop all of the vegetables in advance if you’d like to make it fresh the day you plan to serve it.
  • Healthy. Between the red lentils and superfood sweet potatoes, this recipe is loaded with fiber, protein, and nutrients. (For the curious, I’ve included more about red lentils below.)
  • Diet Friendly. This recipe is naturally vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and nut free.
  • CHEAP. Red lentils are one of the least expensive items in the grocery store. It’s hard to get more nutritional bang for your buck than with these red beauties!

Now, let’s address another Very Important Matter: YUM FACTOR. Because life is just too short to eat food that isn’t delicious.

  • TASTE. This Red Lentil curry is nothing short of fabulous. The layers of spice are complex, without being excessively spicy.
  • Texture. Thick, creamy, and utterly satisfying.
  • Glow Factor. You are going to feel marvelous after finishing a serving of this Red Lentil Curry, because it leaves you truly full and because the clean ingredient list means you did something truly positive for your well being!

Simple Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potato is an easy, vegan meal.

More about Red Lentils

If you are not ultra familiar with red lentils, then I am so pleased to introduce you to one of the least-expensive, best-tasting healthy foods on the planet.

Lentils are a member of the legume family, along with split peas, peanuts, chickpeas, and more. A few reasons to add them to your pantry (in addition to how inexpensive they are):

  • Versatility. Red lentils are mild and readily absorb spices, meaning they can soak up any flavors you add to them. They’re an easy ingredient in a wide range of recipes that range from more Indian-spiced dishes like this Instant Pot Lentil Curry to more traditional ones like Crockpot Lentil Soup and Instant Pot Lentil Soup.
  • High in Fiber and Protein. That means this Red Lentil Curry (and other recipes with lentils) will keep you full and happy, no meat required.
  • Low on Calories. Just 230 in a whole cup!
  • Big on Nutrients. Think iron, folate, and more.
  • Creamy but Not Mushy. With their pleasant texture, lentils are a delight to eat.
  • Fast. Lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking, saving you a recipe step. They do need to be rinsed to remove any dirt or stray bits, but this takes only a minute or two.

How to Make a Red Lentil Curry with Max Flavor and Minimal Effort

Today’s Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry is one of my absolute favorite ways to spice and flavor the versatile red lentil.

In a bit of a mashup, I ended up with an Indian-meets-Thai approach. (Does this make this curry Asian fusion? If yes, according to my last issue of Bon Appetit, we are right on trend!)

  • Thai Red Curry Paste. Think of this ingredient as a jar of instant flavor. It’s widely available and sold in the international food or Asian food section of almost any grocery store. Once you have it, you can use it to make many more healthy recipes, including Thai Chicken Curry, Coconut Curry, and Pumpkin Curry Soup.
  • Garam Masala. This ingredient is a blend of many spices and a staple in Indian cooking. You can find garam masala in the spice section of many grocery stores or online here. Once you have a bottle, in addition to this Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry, you can use it to make my healthy Instant Pot Chicken Tikka MasalaPaneer Tikka Masala, and Instant Pot Butter Chicken.

Spices like garam masala and the red curry paste are key allies to cooking that is a) healthy (spice = big taste without extra fat), b) easy (you can measure one spoonful of one spice blend instead of 10 of individual spices), and c) DELISH.

The sweet potatoes and lentils calm the spices so they are warm and flavorful but not hot, making this red lentil curry recipe accessible to more sensitive palates.

Creamy Curry without the Cream

One of my favorite parts of Indian red lentil curry is how creamy it is. I love the way the sauce coats the rice and how rich it makes even an ingredient as healthy as lentils taste.

In a restaurant, that creaminess often comes from cream (surprise!), but I’ve found that you can achieve a similar effect (and make the red lentil curry vegan) by using coconut milk. I used light coconut milk and the curry was plenty thick and satisfying for us, but if you wanted extra indulgence, you could use full fat instead.

Check out my Slow Cooker Chicken Curry for another lightened-up curry dish!

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potato is an easy vegan dinner that's great for meal prep!

The next time you are thinking about takeout, instead of picking up the phone, pull out your crock pot and give this red lentil curry recipe a try!

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes

4.85 from 70 votes
Easy, healthy Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and coconut milk. Creamy, delicious vegan recipe with the perfect amount of Indian spice!

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 20 minutes

Servings: 6 people


  • 2 cups dried red lentils
  • 6 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato (about 3 medium)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small shallot finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup canned light coconut milk

For serving:

  • Cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • Fresh cilantro (highly encouraged)
  • Lemon or lime wedges (optional but tasty)


  • Coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Rinse the lentils, then add them to the slow cooker. Add the sweet potato, vegetable broth, water, shallot, curry paste, garam masala, turmeric, sugar, ginger, salt, garlic, and tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 7 hours, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the coconut milk. If you’d like a thinner consistency, stir in additional broth or water.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve hot over prepared brown rice or quinoa. Garnish with lots of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon or lime.



Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 354kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 17gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gFiber: 11gSugar: 17g

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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 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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  1. Can I add natural Greek yoghurt instead of coconut milk as cannot eat that? Wondering if so how much as it may alter the taste. Thanks

    1. Hi Bev! I haven’t tested it out myself so it would be hard to say. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  2. Made this a while ago (was great!) and freezed all the leftovers. Now I wonder, has anyone used leftovers to make small (pot) pies or Shepherd’s pie? I come across many red lentil recipes that use sweet potato mash as layer, but would be bit overkill with the double sweet potatoes. I also added a bit of regular potatoes to my curry, so not sure regular potato mash would really go well. Hope anyone has some tips!5 stars

    1. Hi Lauren! So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for this kind review! Hopefully someone will pop in and give you some feedback about using the leftovers!

    1. Hi,
      I’m planning on making this recipe for the first time today.
      I don’t have a slow cooker so I’m wondering if you know what temp/time in the oven will cook this recipe?
      Thank you

      1. Hi Danielle, I haven’t tried it myself, but other readers have made it on the stovetop with success. One reader said that it took them “about 50 minutes”. Another reader said “The instructions transferred well to the stovetop!” If you decide to experiment too, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  3. I love this recipe so much! I use it as a base for my “veggie dump” soup at the end of the week and it’s honestly the most enjoyable way to everything all at once.5 stars

  4. It’s a good recipe, but you failed to credit Cooking Light who published a virtually identical recipe in 2017 that is clearly the basis for this one.

    1. Hi Jescowa, I take online credit seriously. I’m not sure about the recipe you are referencing, but I do make a point to give credit where credit is due, this recipe is many years old, so it’s possible I forgot in this case or it is possible that the two are simply similar because the flavor combos are classic. Thanks!

      1. Can I use regular coconut milk? I realize there would be more fat but I don’t have light coconut milk.4 stars

  5. Is it possible to use oat milk instead of coconut milk? And what’s the benefit the adding the milk at the end instead of the start? Thanks 😊

    1. Hi KC! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so I am not sure how the oat milk would work. Depending on the type of dairy that is used, it can curdle in the slow cooker. I’ve not had that problem making it this way. If you decide to experiment with it, let me know how it goes! Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Hi Tracy! I haven’t tried it myself but others have with great success! If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  6. This was such a good recipe. I made it on the stovetop since I don’t own a slow cooker. The instructions transferred well to the stovetop! I sauteed the onions and garlic in the Garam Masala and Turmeric. Added the sweet potatoes for a few minutes and then all the other ingredients! What was so good about this recipe was that the sweet potatoes and red lentils still had a slight crunch to them once cooked. Adding coriander and lime to the bowl gave this dish a really nice complexity.5 stars

    1. Thank you for the feedback on making it on the stovetop Jessica! It’s so helpful for others who might want to do the same!

  7. I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but I just wanted to make sure you don’t soak the dried lentils beforehand at all? Just straight to the slow cooker, correct?

  8. Very good and easy peasy. Realized while I was making it that I was actually out of Garam Masala and Tumeric, so I’m sure that having spices would have made a huge difference, but it was absolutely delicious regardless and was a nice, non-spicy alternative for people who are sensitive to a lot of spices but still like the idea of curry. I made mine and threw it over quinoa. Oh, I also didn’t have red lentils, I used whatever dried lentils I had (brownish??) and was totally fine. While it is ludicrous, I did add Louisiana’s Pure Crystal hot sauce when I got tired of eating it and it was good. (I’m only one person and didn’t remember to half the recipe).5 stars

  9. So good and I loved how I could put all the ingredients in my slow cooker, stir, and forget about it. Then a few hours later we had a delicious dinner. I served it to my adult children and niece, and they were all happy to take leftovers home with them. I also added some spinach to the dish for a bit of extra colour and nutrition. The cilantro and lime were a perfect garnish.5 stars

  10. excellent recipe – so flavourful – My son who is a foodie loved it and asked for the recipe. O added cauliflower carrot and regular potato and once I added spinach — these veggies go well in a curry and give it a nutritional boost.5 stars

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