This creamy Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup recipe is easy to make in an electric pressure cooker – ready in about 45 minutes. It’s also an entirely versatile soup with different serving options, modifications, and variations.
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Why Make Lentil Soup In An Instant Pot
I make lentil soups all the time on the stovetop and I don’t mind doing it. But, using an Instant Pot makes a lentil soup recipe a little more set it and forget it. There is no need to stir on occasion or check the broth level. And, rather than taking 20-25 minutes for the lentils to stew on the stovetop, it takes only about 10 minutes in an electric pressure cooker.
We have the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1. It has a six-quart capacity, which is more than enough to cook for two people or for a small group. There is also an 8-quart option for families. For this recipe, use the pressure cook function.
Don’t have an Instant Pot? Check out this Moroccan red lentil soup recipe, which is similar, but made on the stovetop.
Love cooking with lentils? See our recommendations for some of the Best Healthy Lentil Recipes for every budget and every diet.
Ingredients For Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup
Most of the ingredients for this Instant Pot soup are pantry staples, which means it is easy to through together when you don’t know what else to make. We also tend to make lentil soups like this when we have leftover carrots and celery in the fridge, which we almost always seem to have.
This lentil soup starts with a base of coconut oil, although olive oil is fine to use. I love using coconut oil because it adds an extra layer of flavoring, particularly in a lot of Indian curries. Coconut oil starts as a solid but melts as it is warmed. You can buy it on Amazon here.
Add yellow onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to the coconut oil to form the base of the soup. I try to dice all the veggies small to help them blend into the final soup. I like to use a garlic press too so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the soup. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
The lentils are seasoned with salt, cumin, sweet paprika, and turmeric. The cumin adds a nutty almost earthy flavor and goes well with all red lentil soups. The turmeric and paprika add a lot of the color to the soup. Red lentils themselves don’t result in a red-colored soup.
The lentils are cooked in the Instant Pot in a bit of tomato paste for acidity and vegetable broth. You can use chicken broth if you are not a vegetarian. A bay leaf is added to add some depth to the flavors. The bay leaf should be removed before serving. Just before serving, add a touch of freshly squeezed lemon juice to freshen up the lentil soup.
Check out some of our other lentil soup recipes:
How To Make Red Lentil Soup In An Instant Pot
First, there is no need to soak red lentils before cooking. They cook remarkably quick, more so than when cooking dried beans.
Add the coconut oil to the Instant Pot. Press the sautee mode. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and saute for 3-5 minutes or until the veggies start to soften. Press cancel to turn the Instant Pot off.
Add the cumin, paprika, turmeric, tomato paste, and vegetable broth and stir well. Add the lentils and stir. Place the bay leaf into the Instant Pot.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot and seal. Pressure cook for 10 minutes. When the time is up allow the pot to automatically release pressure for about 10 minutes.
When the timer on the Instant Pot reads 10, use an oven mitt or towel to manually release the rest of the steam. Carefully unlock and remove the lid away from your face. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Serve as is or use an immersion blender to blend the lentil soup.
Preparing The Soup With An Immersion Hand Blender
If using an immersion or hand blender, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot and place on a trivet or hot plate to blend. Cover the soup lightly with a dark kitchen towel before turning the blender on and ensure the head of the blender is fully submerged in the soup to prevent a soupy mess.
Blend for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are fully blended. If need be, put the pot back into the Instant Pot and put on the saute mode to re-heat. Normally, it is hot enough.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 3 celery diced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth if not vegetarian
- 1 1/2 cup red lentils rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Add the coconut oil to the Instant Pot. Press the sautee mode.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and saute for 3-5 minutes or until the veggies start to soften. Press cancel to turn the Instant Pot off.
- Add the cumin, paprika, turmeric, tomato paste, and vegetable broth, and stir well.
- Add the lentils and stir. Place the bay leaf into the Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and seal. Pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up allow the pot to automatically release pressure for 10 minutes. When the timer on the Instant Pot reads 10, use an oven mitt or towel to manually release the rest of the steam.
- Carefully unlock and remove the lid away from your face. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Serve as is or use an immersion blender to blend the lentil soup. If using an immersion or hand blender, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot and place on a trivet or hot plate to blend. Cover the soup lightly with a dark kitchen towel before turning the blender on and ensure the head of the blender is fully submerged in the soup to prevent a soupy mess.
In addition to about 10 minutes of prep time, and 10 minutes of prep time, additional time includes the time for the pressure cooker to heat up and for the steam to naturally release. If you are unfamiliar with how to use a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, please follow the more detailed instructions above.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 118Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 1mgSodium 895mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 6gSugar 4gProtein 6g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Modifications and Variations For Instant Pot Lentil Soup
There are so many different variations for this soup. First, you don’t need to use an immersion blender and can serve the soup as it comes out of the Instant Pot. It will be a bit more chunky, but it has a nice texture.
I normally serve the lentil soup with fresh cilantro and a lemon wedge. If you are not a vegan, then I recommend a dollop of Greek yogurt to blend in. You can even add the yogurt to the soup before using the immersion blender to make the soup super creamy.
I love this soup crusty bread or pita chips. I often cook up some pita chips in my air fryer in only a couple of minutes. Spritz them with some olive oil, cook for 2-3 minutes, and sprinkle with salt after cooking.
When reheating, you can blend chopped spinach and additional lemon juice to brighten up the soup, or to make leftovers feel a little less like repetition.