Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Jump to Recipe
This Instant Pot Lentil Soup is not your ordinary lentil soup! It's hearty, rich, and flavor-packed yet healthy, vegan, and gluten-free. Thanks to the Instant Pot, it's so easy & quick to make and is great for meal prep and freezing.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 45 mins
Total 1 hr
5 from 90 votes

There are so many good reasons to add this Instant Pot Lentil Soup to your rotation. 

  • Hearty. This is your not ordinary lentil soup! It’s almost meaty in texture and thick and rich. Adding potatoes not only provides textural interest but also naturally thickens the soup.
  • Healthy and Allergen-Friendly. Despite being hearty, it’s 100% wholesome and features protein-rich, fiber-rich, iron-rich lentils. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.
  • Deep Flavor: Thanks to a bouquet garni of fresh herbs (my favorite soup flavor-builder), this soup has a woodsy depth of flavor you won’t find in most soups, along with great sweet-tangy flavor from whole peeled tomatoes and aged balsamic vinegar.
  • Quick and Simple. There’s just 10 minutes of hands on cooking, and then the Instant Pot takes over and does it’s magic (but there’s also stovetop instructions if you don’t have an Instant Pot). Plus, all the ingredients are simple and straightforward.
  • Meal Prep- and Freezer-Friendly. This soup is a great option for meal prep and freezes really well!
  • Instant Pot Friendly. This soup is even easier in the instant pot (though an instant pot is not required to make it).

P.S.: Looking for more vegan Instant Pot recipes? I’ve got over 90 in my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook!

P.P.S.: Looking for another super easy, comforting yet healthy Instant Pot soup? Try this Creamy Cauliflower Soup!

instant pot lentil soup in blue bowl with seeded bread on wooden table

Watch: How to make Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Step-by-Step Instructions

Gather your ingredients!

ingredients for instant pot lentil soup

Heat the olive oil in the Instant Pot on the Sauté setting. Once hot, sauté the onions with a pinch of salt until nicely golden and completely soft, 6 to 9 minutes.

Add the carrots and garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in a bit of veggie broth to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits.

Add the rest of the broth, lentils, potatoes, salt and pepper, and bouquet garni (fresh herb bundle tied with kitchen twine). Stir well to submerge the bouquet garni.

Pour the crushed tomatoes on top but do not stir. Pressure cook for 12 minutes, then allow a natural pressure release for 12 minutes. Open the pot and stir in the balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard.

Tips for making this Instant Pot Lentil Soup

French green lentils are best in this recipe. Unlike regular green (or brown lentils), they hold their shape well when cooked and do not turn mushy. They also have a nice subtle peppery flavor. Some grocery stores sell French lentils, some don’t, so I typically buy a big bag of French green lentils (affiliate link) online and it lasts me a long time (enough to make this soup 9 or 10 times!).

For soup texture, if you want a thinner consistency that’s soupier than the soup shown in photos here, you can add an additional cup of broth. Or, when the soup is done, if it’s too thick for your taste, you can always add some more broth and stir until heated through.

For the finishing ingredients, use the best balsamic vinegar you have. It adds this complex sweet tanginess and depth of flavor, and rounds out all the flavors. It makes the lentils taste meatier and the tomatoes sweeter.

  • Giuseppe Giusti makes my absolute favorite balsamic vinegar, and I’ve tried a lot of brands (affiliate link). It’s not cheap but a little really does go a long way, and it’s made by a family who’s been making balsamic vinegar since the 1600s(!) so you know it’s good.
  • When buying balsamic vinegar, look for bottles that say “aged” and ideally say something like “balsamic vinegar of Modena (IGP)” (or balsamic tradizionale, but that’s very pricy!). The standard $3 imitation balsamic at every grocery store is just sour and doesn’t do any favors.
  • If you don’t have a good balsamic, try using 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, taste, and then add more as desired. Neither of these is sweet in the same way as balsamic, so if the soup tastes too tangy, add a pinch or two of sugar or maple syrup (it won’t taste sweet, just there to balance the flavors).
instant pot lentil soup in blue bowl with seeded bread on wooden table

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have an Instant Pot. Can I make this soup on the stovetop?

Yep! Stovetop instructions are in the second recipe card below.

I can’t find French green lentils. What can I use instead?

If you want distinct lentils in your soup, Black beluga lentils would be your best bet. If you can’t find those, just sub regular green (or brown) lentils, but consider reducing the pressure cook time to 10 minutes instead of 12 minutes, since they soften more quickly.

How long does this soup last in the fridge and how should I reheat it?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-6 days. It will thicken as it rests, so I recommend reheating it on the stove over medium heat with a few splashes of veggie broth until it reaches your desired consistency.

Can you freeze this lentil soup?

Yep! It freezes pretty great. Once it’s cool, transfer to a few small containers (makes it quicker to defrost). I like using these single-serve Souper Cubes (affiliate link). It makes it easy to defrost an individual block of soup on the stove in less than 10 minutes. It should stay good in the freezer for 4 months. Or, you can defrost the soup in the fridge.

Can I double this recipe?

If you have a 6-quart Instant Pot like I do, I think doubling would make the soup too voluminous to fit below the IP’s maximum capacity limit. If you have an 8-quart model, however, you should be fine.

What Instant Pot model do you recommend?

For most folks, a 6-quart model is sufficient. If you cook for more 6 or more people on a regular basis, the 8-quart makes most sense. A good model for beginners is the Duo Plus (their most popular model), but if you want a bit more customization, the Pro is great (affiliate links).

Can I add more vegetables to this soup?

Sure. Some baby spinach or baby kale folded into the cooked soup would be great. Turn on the Sauté setting and let it cook for a couple minutes until the greens are wilted.

instant pot lentil soup in blue bowl with seeded bread on wooden table

I hope you give this easy and delicious Instant Pot Lentil Soup recipe a try! If you do, please leave a rating and review below with your feedback and tag me on Instagram with your remakes :)

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

5 from 90 votes
This Instant Pot Lentil Soup is not your ordinary lentil soup! It's hearty, rich, and flavor-packed yet healthy, vegan, and gluten-free. Thanks to the Instant Pot, it's so easy & quick to make and is great for meal prep and freezing.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine: French-Inspired
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4 (or 6 with bread)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced (peeled or not)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups (960 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, quartered (peel left on)*
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) French green lentils (Puy lentils)
  • Bouquet garni: 2 bay leaves + a few sprigs each of Italian flat-leaf parsley, fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme, tied tightly together with kitchen twine**
  • 1 (28-ounce/800g) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand***
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar****

Instructions

  • Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot (normal or medium heat level). After a few minutes, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is nicely golden and completely soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the carrots and garlic along with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Cook until the carrots are just starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour in a bit of vegetable broth and stir to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining broth, lentils, potatoes, bouquet garni, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and several cracks of pepper. Stir gently.
  • Pour the crushed tomatoes (including juices) on top, but don’t stir (this prevents the tomatoes from sinking to the bottom and triggering the Burn notice).
    Note: getting the can nice and low right into the pot helps keep the tomatoes resting on top (instead of pouring from high above).
  • Secure the lid and set the valve to Sealing (not Venting). Select the Pressure Cook setting (or Manual setting on older models) at high pressure and set the cook time to 12 minutes.
  • Once the 12-minute timer has completed and beeps, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Then manually release any remaining steam.
  • Open the pot and remove the bouquet garni. Stir in the dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar and taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

*If you don’t have baby potatoes, you can use larger golden or yellow potatoes; just chop them into small pieces.  
** If you don’t have all the herbs, it’s totally fine to use just 2 or 3 of them.
*** I prefer whole peeled tomatoes, as they are made with just tomatoes (pre-crushed and pre-diced tomatoes have other ingredients added), so there’s more pure tomato flavor. If you don’t have them, though, just use pre-crushed tomatoes. 
**** A good-quality aged balsamic vinegar is needed: it adds a subtle sweet tanginess that works so well with lentils. The standard $3 imitation balsamic at every grocery store is just sour and doesn’t do any favors. If you don’t have a good balsamic, try using 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, taste, and then add more as desired. If the soup tastes too tangy, add a pinch or two of sugar or maple syrup (it won’t taste sweet, just there to balance the flavors).

Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 757mg | Potassium: 1761mg | Fiber: 29g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 7907IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 9mg

Lentil Soup (Stovetop)

5 from 69 votes
This Lentil Soup is not your ordinary lentil soup! It's hearty, rich, and flavor-packed yet healthy, vegan, and gluten-free. This soup is great for meal prep and freezing.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 8 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine: French-Inspired
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4 to 6 (with bread)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced (peeled or not)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups (960 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 pound (450g) baby potatoes, quartered (peel left on)
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) French green lentils (AKA Puy lentils)
  • Bouquet garni: 2 bay leaves + a few sprigs each of Italian flat-leaf parsley, fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme, tied tightly together with kitchen twine*
  • 1 28-ounce (800g) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand**
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar***

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, along with a pinch or two of salt. Cook until onion has softened and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the carrots and garlic and another pinch of salt. Cook until the carrots are just starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot. Add the lentils, potatoes, bouquet garni, crushed tomatoes (including their juices), 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  • Bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover the pot partially, and simmer the soup for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. If the soup seems to be too thick or dry, add the additional broth, ½ cup at a time.
  • Remove the bouquet garni. Stir in the dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar and taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

* If you don’t have all the herbs, it’s totally fine to use just 2 or 3 of them.
** I prefer whole peeled tomatoes, as they are made with just tomatoes (pre-crushed and pre-diced tomatoes have other ingredients added), so there’s more pure tomato flavor. If you don’t have them, though, just use pre-crushed tomatoes. 
*** A good-quality aged balsamic vinegar is needed: it adds a subtle sweet tanginess that works so well with lentils. The standard $3 imitation balsamic at every grocery store is just sour and doesn’t do any favors. If you don’t have a good balsamic, try using 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, taste, and then add more as desired. If the soup tastes too tangy, add a pinch or two of sugar or maple syrup (it won’t taste sweet, just there to balance the flavors).

Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 757mg | Potassium: 1761mg | Fiber: 29g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 7907IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 9mg

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @rainbowplantlife and hashtag it #rainbowplantlife

Leave a Comment & Rating

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider giving it a star rating along with your comment! It helps others discover my blog and recipes, and your comments always make my day :) Thank you for your support!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe




154 comments on Instant Pot Lentil Soup

  1. Nissan

    Dumb question: I assume the recipe calls for canned lentils, not dry. Is my assumption correct?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Nissan. Actually no, we use dried lentils in our recipes! They’re fairly quick cooking and we enjoy the taste and texture of them better when they’re cooked fresh.

  2. Tasneem

    5 stars
    Delicious! I made this for dinner tonight. I used regular green lentils, it turned out good. I will be making this again!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Tasneem, So glad to hear you loved the soup and will be trying it again in the future :)

  3. Toni

    5 stars
    Simple and delicious
    I was a little sceptical because of the short ingredients list but i was pleasantly surprised
    I didn’t use the bouquet garni, just dried herbs and bay leaves, and turned out tasty enough
    Thanks again nisha and team

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Toni! Great to hear the recipe was a success :)

  4. stacie

    5 stars
    Delicious! I used the wrong potatoes and I put to much oregano It still was exactly what I was looking for. I’ll alter the next time I make it. Do you know what a serving is? One cup? A cup and 1/2 thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Stacie, thanks for sharing! We’re glad you enjoyed the lentil soup. This recipe makes 4 servings as a main or 6 with bread!

  5. Sydney

    Is it possible to make the recipe without tomato? If so, what would I use in its place? Recipe looks tasty, but I have a tomato allergy.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sydney, we’re afraid tomatoes are essential in this recipe. You can try omitting them but then you’ll end up with more of a lentil potato soup. Sorry :/

  6. Terri

    5 stars
    A friend brought me some of this delicious stew.
    Can this be made in a crockpot?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Great to learn you’re a fan of the stew, Terri! We don’t have a crockpot and haven’t tried it ourselves, but based on our research, in a pan we would saute the olive oil & onion, then add carrots then garlic. We’d then add that mixture to the crockpot with the other ingredients. We’d cook the soup on low for 6-8 hours, until the lentils are perfectly cooked and not too mushy. Hopefully that helps a bit!

  7. Brandon

    5 stars
    Did you mean to write sage instead of oregano in the herbs? The image of the bouquet above looks more like sage…?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Brandon, no that’s fresh oregano! It can come in quite a variety of shapes and sizes.

  8. Frank Williams

    5 stars
    This was my first attempt at a vegan recipe in my Ninja Foodi.

    Holy smoke is this ever a delicious and hearty meal. Easy to follow instructions, even for a non-cooking man like me.

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Frank – We’re honored you chose us as your first recipe to try out with your Ninja Foodi! Nisha’s Instant Pot Cookbook is filled with amazing recipes I know you’d love!

      1. Frank Williams

        5 stars
        Already bought the Kindle edition. Love your Youtube videos and the website, so I figured I’d chip in. I see a lot of yummy vegan dishes this coming winter!

        1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

          Hi Frank, thank you for your kind comment! I’m including a link to one of my favorite cozy fall/winter dish, scalloped potatoes. Let us know what you think if you make them!

          https://rainbowplantlife.com/vegan-scalloped-potatoes/

  9. Rem

    Hi! If I multiply the recipe by 1.5, would it fit a 6 quartz Instant Pot? Thank you for your recipes :)

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Rem, thanks for reaching out. I think if you tried multiplying this recipe by 1.5, it might go over the max line in the 6 quart pot, which would make it hard for the Instant Pot to come to pressure properly.

  10. Rory

    5 stars
    I lovedddd this recipe. I was cooking on my own on a cold fall day, and decided to try this recipe. It was super easy to make, and was a nice, hearty soup. Will be great to save as leftovers too!

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Rory, I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe on a fall day. Leftovers taste even better, thanks for the kind review!

  11. LoLo

    5 stars
    This is definitely a keeper delicious! I didn’t have the fresh herbs so I modified and used dried ones. Also added some kale. Hearty meal for a fall day !

  12. Emily

    I made this per the directions and it was delicious. It’s the best lentil soup I’ve ever had.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so great to hear, Emily! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  13. Bobani

    5 stars
    LOVE IT AS ALWAYS NISHA THANK YOUUUUUU

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Bobani. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  14. Adele

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! So much flavor, and easy to follow for a VERY novice and nervous chef. Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Adele. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  15. Alejandra Cadiz

    5 stars
    I am trying to go as vegan as possible (I still love and eat fish) and this recipe was a hit. Everyone liked this soup/stew… looks like I will make it again and again and again! ;)

    Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Wonderful, Alejandra! Thanks for sharing :)

  16. Dolores

    5 stars
    This is delicious! The bsldamic really makes it extra special

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Dolores!

Development Alchemy + Aim
cropped-instant-pot-lentil-soup-cover-image-1-of-1-1.jpg

5 Secrets to Master

the Instant Pot

free email series

Learn how to make the most delicious vegan recipes in your Instant Pot!