Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe


by Sil Pancho



This Instant Pot lentil soup is a new staple in our cold weather recipe rotation. Packed with lentils and fresh veggies, it’s warming and nourishing.

Instant Pot lentil soup

This Instant Pot lentil soup recipe is what I make on nights when I wish that dinner could just cook itself. I’m not going to lie – you still have to chop, measure, and sauté to make this recipe – but once you get that prep work out of the way, the Instant Pot does the rest for you. Pretty awesome, right?

It’s especially awesome given how delicious this Instant Pot lentil soup actually is. It’s brothy, warming, and nourishing, with a savory, tangy flavor and plenty of texture from lentils and fresh veggies. It tastes even better on the second day than it does on the first, and it freezes perfectly, too. If you’re looking for a new soup recipe to add to your cold weather rotation, look no further. This Instant Pot lentil soup is it.

Kale, carrots, celery, lentils, diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, herbs, olive oil, vegetable broth, and pepper mill

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Instant Pot lentil soup recipe:

  • Lentils, of course! French green lentils and regular green lentils both work well in this recipe, adding earthy flavor and plant-based protein.
  • Onion, garlic, carrot, and celery – They add savory depth of flavor.
  • Kale – Any variety works! You’ll add the stems early in the cooking process and stir in the leaves right at the end.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes – For smoky, tangy flavor.
  • White wine vinegar – It makes the soup nice and bright.
  • Ground cumin – It brings out the earthiness of the lentils.
  • Fresh thyme – It gives the soup fresh, aromatic depth of flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes – For heat.
  • Vegetable broth – Use store-bought, or make your own.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Onions, carrots, and celery in the Instant Pot

How to Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Once you prep your ingredients, this recipe is easy to make. Here’s how it goes:

First, sauté the onion, carrots, and celery. Select the Instant Pot’s Sauté function, and set the time to 8 minutes. Once the Instant Pot preheats, pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the vegetables.

Sautéed onions, carrots, and celery

Cooking, stirring, for the 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.

Pouring broth into Instant Pot with lentils, diced tomatoes, garlic, and vegetables

Next, pressure cook. Add the kale stems, garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme, salt, cumin, and several grinds of pepper to the pot. Stir, and pour in the vegetable broth. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, and Pressure Cook on High for 15 minutes. (The actual cooking time will be a bit longer, as it takes a few minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure.)

Lentil soup in the Instant Pot with wooden spoon

Finally, stir in the kale, and season to taste! When the Instant Pot has finished pressure cooking, allow it to release pressure naturally. When the float valve drops, remove the lid, stir in the kale leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and season to taste.

Tip: don’t forget to remove the thyme bundle before serving!

Bowl of Instant Pot lentil soup with spoon

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Serving Suggestions

When you’re ready to eat, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish it with chopped fresh parsley. If you’re not vegan, you could also top your bowl with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for extra richness and salty, nutty flavor. Round out the meal with a couple slices of good crusty bread.

Hungry for more? This soup is a great partner for a fall salad. Try pairing it with any of these recipes:

If you have leftover soup, it will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months.

Instant Pot lentil soup recipe

More Favorite Soup Recipes

If you love this Instant Pot lentil soup, try one of these soup recipes next:

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Serves 6

Filled with tender lentils and fresh veggies, this Instant Pot lentil soup recipe is an easy, delicious lunch or dinner. Just add crusty bread to make it a meal!

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped,
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped carrots, about 4 medium
  • 6 kale leaves, stems finely diced, leaves chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • ¾ cup uncooked green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 12 fresh thyme sprigs, bundled
  • teaspoons sea salt
  • Heaping ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • Red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving, optional
  • Crusty bread, for serving
  • Select the Sauté function on your Instant Pot. Set the level to medium and set the time to 8 minutes. When the Instant Pot is preheated, drizzle the oil into the pot and add the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for the 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.
  • Add the kale stems, garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme bundle, salt, cumin and several grinds of pepper to the pot and stir. Pour in the vegetable broth and secure the lid on the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.

  • Allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. When the float valve drops, remove the lid and stir in the kale leaves. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Remove the thyme bundle, and garnish with the parsley and grated Parmesan, if desired. Serve with crusty bread.

Stovetop Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 8 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the kale stems, garlic, and cumin, followed by the vinegar, tomatoes, broth, thyme, lentils, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the kale leaves and cook for 5 minutes more, or until wilted. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

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