Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe – chunky, hearty, soothing, melt in your mouth lentil soup, that is perfectly seasoned and cooked in an electric pressure cooker for the perfect weekday lunch or dinner. Quick and easy to make and kid friendly. Loaded with comforting spices and fiber, but lower in calories. This recipe used green or brown lentils, not red.

Instant pot filled with lentil soup and a ladle scooping it out

Instant Pot Meals for Busy Moms:

Some of you may remember that I got my Instant Pot a very long time ago and did not start using it until recently. Why? Because I did not need to cook for a whole family. I only had my son, who was a baby and my husband’s work required traveling. So I basically needed to cook for myself. I was making nice salads, quick (30 minute) soups, grilled meats, stove top rice and low carb desserts and we were all good!

Things have changed in the last couple of years. My son is older and eats almost like an adult and I have an almost 2 year old daughter. My husband does not travel for work and we are currently in Europe. I do need to cook for a whole family, while having my girl at home with me and still trying to work on my blog. My recipes have shifted towards more family friendly, healthier meals. And more importantly I enjoy creating these.

So when 4 o’clock hits, I need to quickly start and finish cooking something for the evening. It is best if it is finished by 5:30 pm, so we can have dinner on time.

My Instant Pot And Air Fryer have turned into my best friends and go to choices for weeknight dinners.

Instant pot lentil soup

Why this is such an easy soup? Because there is minimal prep work involved. All you need to do is chop your vegetables – carrots, onions and mince the garlic.

Rinse the lentils, then combine everything in the instant pot, add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, seasoning and Bay leaf. Close the instant pot, set the valve to “Seal” and cook on Manual High Pressure for 18 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes, then you can release it manually, if you’d like.

Ingredients:

Lentils:

  • Green or brown lentils

Liquid:

  • Chicken or vegetable stock or Water + chicken or vegetable bullion
  • Vegetable oil

Vegetables:

  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrot
  • Tomato sauce
  • Celery Stalk (optional)

Seasoning:

  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika (optional)
  • Ground Cumin
  • Thyme
  • Bay Leaf
  • Fresh parsley for garnishing
  • Optional: curry powder or turmeric

To thicken the soup:

  • cold water + cornstarch

Optional toppings:

  • Cheese 
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Fresh parsley or dill
  • Croutons

Add meat to the soup:

This is a vegetarian recipe, that could easily be turned into Vegan, by using vegetable stock, instead of chicken.

But for meat lovers, you can turn the soup into a filling meal. Add some chicken, bacon or cooked sausage to it and carnivores will be satisfied.

An electric pressure cooker filled with lentil soup and a ladle inside it

How to make:

You don’t need to sauté  the onions, carrots and garlic. Since pressure cooking does very well in “extracting” as much flavor as possible from the ingredients cooked inside it, I’ve noticed that I don’t always need to take the extra step, that involves sautéing the veggies. The soup tastes just as good. And more importantly – you save time! Time, that I normally don’t have, when dinner needs to be served fast.

So combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot and cook for 18 minutes on HIGH pressure. Let it release naturally for at least 15 minutes.

Why do we thicken lentil soup? Is this a normal practice?

You can leave the soup the way it is, since it is not a very thin soup and lentils also release some starch and thicken it as it cools down. 

Sometimes, if the soup is not too chunky, lentils separate from the liquid and this soup doesn’t stay as creamy as I want it to be.

This is why, I’ve started thickening lentil soups recently.

You have a few options:

  • Thicken with cornstarch mixed with some cold water. You need to use the the “sauté” option of your Instant Pot to cook for 1-2 minutes and thicken the lentil soup.
  • Blend part of the soup and then combine it with the rest of it for a creamier texture
  • Add some heavy cream and cook on “sauté” for 2 minutes to thicken the soup.

How long to cook lentils in the Instant Pot for?

Cook (green or brown) lentils for lentil soup for 18-20 minutes on high pressure with at least 15 minutes of natural release.

This way your lentils are soft, tender and melt in your mouth, after they’ve absorbed all the nice flavors from the seasoning.

Stove top option:

This easy lentil soup in the Instant pot can be cooked on the stove top.

Heat oil in a pot on the stove top.

Add the onions and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the garlic and tomato sauce and cook for additional 2 minutes. Next add in the lentils, seasoning and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

To thicken the soup:

In a small bowl combine the corn starch and water. Add to the soup and stir. Cook on the stove top for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.

A ladle scooping out instant pot lentil soup

Make this soup in advance:

The good news is that this soup can easily be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, of frozen in air tight containers for up to 2 months. When ready to use, defrost in the fridge or at room temperature and warm up in the microwave or on the stove top.

More IP Recipes

Servings: 6

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
18 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe - chunky, hearty, soothing, melt in your mouth lentil soup, that is perfectly seasoned and cooked in an electric pressure cooker for the perfect weekday lunch or dinner. Quick and easy to make, kid friendly.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils — rinsed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 stalk celery — diced (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves — minced or pressed
  • 2/3 cup cup tomato sauce
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp Salt — may need more, depending on how salty is the chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 cups vegetable to chicken stock — I use low sodium
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. In the Instant Pot combine the: onions, carrots, garlic, rinsed lentils, chicken or vegetable stock, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, thyme and Bay leaf.
  2. Close the lid and set the valve to “seal”.
  3. Cook on Manual High pressure for 18 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes or until fully released.
  4. To thicken the soup combine the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and stir.
  5. Add to the Instant Pot. Cook on “Sauté” for 2 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened.

  6. Serve.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Instant pot lentil soup

Nutrition Information

Calories: 303, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 634mg, Potassium: 829mg, Carbohydrates: 41g, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 18g, Vitamin A: 2017%, Vitamin C: 7%, Calcium: 50%, Iron: 5%