For an economical but crave-worthy meal, look no further than Instant Pot Lentil Soup. It’s made with humble pantry ingredients, but the resulting flavor is anything but. Making this recipe in your pressure cooker results in the most creamy and tender lentils possible – they’re so delicious. This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten free and brimming with healthy pantry staples.
There are few recipes both more humble and rewarding than lentil soup. The ingredients are few and easy to source, but the result is a meal you can legitimately label crave-worthy.
While I’m happy to nosh on lentil soup any time of year, it’s especially satisfying in the depths of winter or the height of spring rains when I’d rather do anything – scrub my baseboards, prepare my own tax return, pluck my eyebrows – than venture out to the grocery store.
Lentil soup has been there for me, and now it’s here for you with simple pantry ingredients and an even simpler preparation in your pressure cooker.
I’ve cooked plenty of stovetop lentil soups over the years, but making it in the Instant Pot is a game-changer. Say goodbye to mushy, mealy lentils and embrace these bite-tender, super creamy legumes. There’s no slaving over the stove, testing little bites of lentils to ensure they’re properly cooked. This is one of the most fuss-free-but-perfect recipes I’ve ever created, so let’s dive right in.
How to Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup
Properly cooked lentils are rich and earthy, and it doesn’t take much to make them shine. Our lentil soup draws on Italian and mediterranean influences, and it’s rich with thyme, sage, plenty of fresh garlic, and crushed tomatoes. Cooking lentil soup in the Instant Pot takes out all the guesswork and results in tender, creamy lentils swimming with chunks of vegetables in a perfectly seasoned broth.
- Select your lentils – either brown or green will work for this recipe.
- Portion out one cup of lentils, then quickly sort through them to remove any stones or debris. Give them a quick rinse in a colander or mesh strainer, then shake to dry.
- Press the “Saute” function on your pressure cooker and allow the inner pot to heat up.
- Add two tablespoons of olive oil and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the mirepoix – onions, carrots, and celery – and saute until the onions are soft and turn translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Add minced garlic, dried sage, and dried thyme to the vegetables. Stir and saute until the garlic is very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add diced potatoes, crushed tomatoes, lentils, and a quart of vegetable stock. Give everything a good stir.
- Secure the lid, ensure the pressure valve is set to “Sealing”, then set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 15 minutes. You can allow the pressure to release naturally or perform a quick release.
- Open the pressure cooker, taste for seasoning, and season with salt to taste.
How to store lentil soup
This soup will keep in the fridge for about five days, and it gets better and better each day. It’s an ideal recipe for batch cooking and meal prep.
Can you freeze lentil soup?
Yes! This recipe serves six generous portions, so feel free to freeze the leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Is lentil soup healthy?
Lentil soup is seriously good for you. It’s packed with healthy pantry staples like lentils, canned tomatoes, and potatoes, plus celery, carrots, and onions.
One serving has 7 grams of protein and an equivalent serving of fiber to keep you fueled and full, plus a double dose of Vitamin A. This recipe is naturally vegan, vegetarian, and gluten and grain free.
Healthy is generally subjective, but this fits the bill for me.
What to serve with lentil soup
- This recipe is a complete meal on its own, but if you prefer more greens, serve it with a simple green salad or add kale (see the Tips and Substitutions section below).
- Most soups are enhanced by a side of good crusty bread, and this one is no exception. We like it with classic Italian bread or whole wheat pita bread.
Tips and Substitutions for Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Season with salt after the soup has cooked. Cooking lentils (or any beans) with salt can make them tough. Additionally, canned tomatoes and store-bought stock tend to have added salt, so over-seasoning is easy. Taste at the end and adjust with salt as needed. I added one teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Substitute sweet potatoes or red potatoes for the yukon golds.
- For an additional punch of vitamins, add stemmed and chopped kale after releasing the pressure. Turn on the Saute function and simmer 5 minutes, or until the kale is cooked through.
- Feel free to use whatever type of canned tomato you have on hand – stewed, diced, pureed, etc. If you only have whole canned tomatoes, blend in a blender or crush by hand before adding to the instant pot.
More Healthy Pantry Staple Recipes
- Easy Weeknight Taco Soup
- White Bean Soup with Bacon and Kale
- Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup
- Black Bean Buddha Bowls
Did you make this Instant Pot Lentil Soup? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced to ½”
- 2 medium carrots, diced to ½”
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried sage
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 4 small yukon gold potatoes, about 12 oz, diced into 1” chunks
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- chopped fresh parsley, to taste
- Portion out 1 cup of lentils. Sort through the lentils to remove any stones or debris. Place into a mesh strainer and rinse under cool running water to remove any dirt or grime.
- Press the “Saute” button and allow the inner pot to heat up. Add the olive oil, heat until it shimmers, then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Toss to coat in the fat and saute until the onions are soft and turn translucent, 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sage, stir into the vegetables, and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute.
- Press the “Saute” button to cancel that feature. Add the potatoes, canned diced tomatoes, lentils, and vegetable stock. Give everything a good stir.
- Seal the pot, ensure the vent is set to “Sealing”, and program to “High Pressure” for 15 minutes. It will take approximately 20 minutes for the pot to come to pressure. Allow pressure to release naturally or perform a quick release.
- Open the pot, taste for seasoning, and season with salt to taste. Portion into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Reheat on the stovetop over a medium-low flame until warmed through.
- Cooking lentils (or any beans) with salt can make them tough, so season with salt after the soup has cooked. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt as needed.
- Substitute yukon golds for whatever potatoes you have on hand.
- Add stemmed and chopped kale for extra nutrition after releasing the pressure. Turn on the Saute function and simmer 5 minutes, or until the kale is cooked through.
- Feel free to use whatever type of canned tomato you have on hand - stewed, diced, pureed, etc. If you only have whole canned tomatoes, blend in a blender or crush by hand before adding to the instant pot.