Instant Pot lentil soup tastes gourmet but uses simple pantry ingredients to build big flavors. Thick and hearty, this vegan recipe is nourishing and satisfying.
Instant Pot lentil soup is another tasty option…you’ll be blow away by the flavor you can generate from simple pantry ingredients!
Reasons to ♡ Instant Pot lentil soup
- it’s vegan, gluten-free, and nourishing
- simple ingredients create bold flavors
- it’s great for meal prep (and tastes better on day 2!), and freezes well
Wondering how this recipe comes together? Watch this 1-minute video to see how easy it is to prep! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
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- lentils- this recipe calls for brown lentils. I have not tested with red lentils, which would require a shorter cook time, and possibly change the liquid requirements
- herbs– fresh is best for this recipe; I used fresh herbs that I had frozen and it worked great
- vegetables– you want to cut the carrots, celery and onion in a very small dice so that they are in proportion with the lentils
- tomato paste– one of the key steps in this recipe is to sauté the tomato paste for 1-2 minutes, don’t skip this step (more on that below)
- lemon– adding a squeeze of lemon after cooking through adds acid to the soup, helping brighten all the flavors! Fresh is best, but you can use shelf-stable lemon juice in a pinch
Step by step directions
Scroll to the recipe card for ingredient quantities.
- Add onions and olive oil to the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot. Sautee for 5-7 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add 1 cup of vegetable stock, and scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the rest of the stock, carrots, celery, lentils, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and salt. Stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the pot, set the steam release handle to the ‘sealing’ position, and pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- After the Instant Pot timer beeps, allow for a 10 minute natural pressure release. After 10 minutes, carefully release the remaining pressure by moving the steam release handle to the ‘venting’ position. Take the lid off the Instant Pot and remove the bay leaf.
- Add the juice of half a lemon.
- Using an immersion blender, pulse the soup until slightly thickened. Leave it only partly pureed so you still get that hearty texture.
Saute the tomato paste
One of the crucial steps in cooking Instant Pot lentil soup is to saute the tomato paste. This helps cook off the ‘canned tomato’ flavor and activate the flavors in the tomato paste.
Instant Pot models that work
I have tested this recipe in my 6 quart Instant Pot as well as in my 8 quart Instant Pot; it worked great in both models. If you plan to cook in an Instant Pot mini, you may need to cut the recipe in half. Leave us a comment if you try it to let us know how it worked!
10 minute natural pressure release
When cooking soups + stews in the Instant Pot, I always let the Instant Pot naturally depressurize for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure. This helps everything settle, preventing liquid from spurting through the valve as the pressure releases.
For more information on quick versus natural pressure release, check out Instant Pot 101.
Blending the soup
Pulsing the soup with an immersion blender helps make it thicker and more luxurious; however you may skip this step. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer 1/3 of the soup to a stand blender and blend until smooth. Return the pureed soup back to the Instant Pot and stir it in.
Storage + meal prep
This is the kind of soup that tastes even better on day 2, after the flavors have had time to meld together! Here’s how you can store it for meal prep:
- fridge– store in an air tight container for up to 4 days
- freezer– cool completely, then portion out into plastic freezer jars or glass jars. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- thaw– in the fridge for 48 hours, or speed up the thawing process by placing in a bowl of cold water.
- reheat– in a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir until steaming hot and enjoy! Do not reheat more than once.
Check out my favorite freezer containers!
Can I use cooked lentils?
No, this soup calls for uncooked lentils, and liquid + spice ratios were specifically developed for uncooked lentils.
Can I cook this on the stove top? Slow cooker?
Yes! For stove top, check out this hearty lentil soup recipe. Reader Christine cooked this recipe in her slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
What should I serve with this soup?
This is a well-rounded meal in a bowl with protein, carbs and tons of vegetables, so you shouldn’t need to serve it with much! We love serving with a crusty slice of bread for dunking, or crackers.
More Instant Pot recipes
- Moroccan Instant Pot Lentils
- Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Enchilada Quinoa Casserole
- Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup
- Instant Pot Fiesta Rice Bowls
Incredible Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 cups stock vegetable
- 2 carrots finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery finely chopped
- 1 cups brown lentils dry; uncooked; see note 1
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon juiced
- Select the 'saute' function of your Instant Pot.
- To the stainless steel insert, add olive oil and onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until onion is soft and translucent.
- Make a space in the middle of the pot and add the garlic; saute for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste, and saute, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the stock to the pot. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Add the remainder of the stock, as well as carrots, celery, lentils, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and salt. Stir, and put the lid on the Instant Pot.
- Set the steam release handle to the 'sealing' position, then pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle has completed, allow the Instant Pot to naturally depressurize for 10 minutes- do not touch.
- Carefully set the steam release handle to the 'venting' position to release the remaining pressure.
- Add the lemon juice, then using an immersion blender, pulse the soup until slightly thickened.
- refrigerate for up to 4 days
- freeze for up to 3 months