Instant Pot Lentil Soup

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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 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 1 hour
5 from 156 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 easy yet delicious use for lentils? Try my Lentil Salad with Fresh Herbs!

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.

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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 156 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 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
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, more as needed
  • 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, sage, 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 the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot and scrape up any browned bits. 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.
    This is a hearty and thick soup/stew, but if you want it thinner, add more broth until you reach your desired consistency and stir until warmed through.

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. You can also use oregano instead of sage or rosemary. 
*** 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)

4.9 from 129 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 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
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
  • 5 cups (1.2 L) 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, sage, 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 a bit of the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot and scrape up any browned bits. Add the remaining broth, 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.
  • Remove the bouquet garni. Stir in the dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar and taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

*If you only have 4 cups of broth, add one cup (240 mL) of water and a bit more salt. If you want a more traditional soupy texture, you can use 5 1/2 cups *(1.3 L) liquid. 
** If you don’t have all the herbs, it’s totally fine to use just 2 or 3 of them. You can also use oregano instead of sage or rosemary. 
*** 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

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4.95 from 156 votes (48 ratings without comment)

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261 comments on Instant Pot Lentil Soup

  1. Dave Smith

    Sounds brilliant and just the recipe I am looking for. Definitely be making soon. Just one small typo, in notes *, you say add a cup of water 120ml, should be 240ml. Just for interest, and American cup is 240ml but a European cup is 250ml. Really enjoy your recipes and have made quite a few. Thank you for your hard work and inspiring content.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the heads up, Dave! We’ll update the post. We hope you enjoy the soup!

  2. Nancy S

    5 stars
    Just made this and really enjoyed it! Plus my husband said “best lentil soup you’ve made!” (tho it is more like stew). I followed the recipe exactly and used baby red potatoes which were delicious. The tip about adding the tomatoes on top was helpful. Quick, easy, delicious – I don’t think I’d change a thing. I just got my instant pot so I’m searching for good recipes and this is one I’ll keep! Thank you! Nancy

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Nancy, it’s great to hear you had success with the recipe. Thanks for the review!

  3. Shra

    5 stars
    This soup was another A+ recipe. My 9 year old devours it every time we make it. Can’t get enough of your recipes!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re over the moon to hear you two love the recipes, Shra. Thanks for your kind words!

  4. Michelle Sweeney

    4 stars
    I liked this soup but it was more tomato-forward than I expected both in flavour and in its red colour. My version looks really different than these photos and I don’t know why.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Michelle, if you want to try this soup again, you can try using half the tomatoes for less tomato flavor. As for the photos, they were taken when the soup was cooked in the Instant Pot. Not sure if you used an instant pot or stovetop, but the Instant Pot version tends to come out thicker and more stew-like than the stovetop version.

  5. Vicky Lilley

    5 stars
    This tasted lovely. I didn’t have the right lentils and used red so they did go mushy (I reduced to 5 mins pressure) but I also added some pearl barley so had texture still :)

    (I used a ninja foodie – it seems to pressure cook very fast tbh)

    Husband enjoyed it too!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Vicky! Glad you and the husband loved the soup :)

  6. Sheri Huff

    5 stars
    Incredibly delicious! Comes together pretty quickly, too. Used a food processor to mince the garlic, chop the carrots and onions for an easier prep. Loved the bouquet garni, really adds a wonderful flavor. I made early in the day in the instant pot, thinking it would be better for dinner. Took some to my neighbor and we both agreed it smelled too good to wait for dinner. Absolutely fabulous recipe. Thanks again for another WINNER!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for such a wonderful and thorough review, Sherri! We appreciate you! :)

  7. Samidha

    5 stars
    I made this tonight using the stove top method and according to the recipe. It was delicious. I didn’t have aged balsamic so I used a good quality red wine vinegar and added approx. a tablespoon of honey at the end to balance the flavours. My partner kept commenting how delicious it was during dinner.
    Thank you for the great vegan recipes!!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Samidha, so glad to hear you loved this recipe! Thank you for sharing your experience :)

  8. Shea Mears

    5 stars
    This soup was excellent! I had a little leftover lemon ricotta from the pumpkin lasagna soup, so I added a dollop and a bit of Sriracha. My whole family loved it.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Shea, So glad to hear you loved this recipe! :)

    2. Shea

      5 stars
      The soup was even better the second night!

      1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

        That’s so great to hear, Shea! :)

  9. Melanie

    5 stars
    Ok, this was the BEST dinner! Thank you for sharing an amazing recipe-

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, we’re thrilled you think so, Melanie! Thanks for the sweet review :)

  10. alioop992

    4 stars
    Even though I’ve made 3 or 4 of your recipes before, I was skeptical about this one because of the lack of seasonings other than salt and pepper. I was wrong! There was tons of flavor. But I still do think adding a warm spice or two would really kick this up one more notch.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Your review is much appreciated.

  11. Jan

    5 stars
    Thank you Nisha, this is a lovely hearty soup, even the meat eaters in the family loved it. One more vegan dish added to the frequent meal list. Love your work.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your positive feedback is the best reward for our hard work. Thank you, Jan!

  12. Fran

    5 stars
    Love your recipes and this was no exception!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re over the moon to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Fran. Thanks for your kind words!

  13. Wehking JudyAnn

    5 stars
    Love this stew. It’s my go-to for dinner. I am currently on a weight loss program (Noom) and need to know portion sizes. Your nutrition info just states number of servings and calories. I realize I could portion everything out to the exact number of servings you list but sometimes you just want to measure out a serving for yourself and let your family serve themselves. Just a recommendation to include portion size by grams, cups, ounces, etc. I would make all your recipes on this program because they are so healthy.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Wehking, we’re happy you enjoyed the stew! Sorry about the portion issue, we understand it can be frustrating. I’ve passed your request along!

  14. Caroline

    5 stars
    just made this soup! and it was awesome

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Caroline, thank you so much for your kind review!

  15. Tara Balogun

    My kids love this recipe and I make it weekly now. I blend a packet of mushrooms with the tomatoes and it adds even more flavour.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so great to hear, Tara! 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!

  16. Lara Fabbri

    5 stars
    Delicious and so easy to make, I had it throughout winter, comfort food at his best!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lara, thank you so much for your kind review!

  17. Zarah

    5 stars
    This is such a good soup in taste, but for me it turns out overcooked. I tried going with 11 minutes and 9 minutes release but it’s still very mushy so I will keep adjusting. I use the crockpot express, in case anyone else has that model they might also need to adjust. :)

    1. Zarah

      Ps. I decided to just mix it instead and that turned out awesome! So if you end up with a slightly over cooked version of this soup, that is my recommendation! 🌞

  18. Alison Hunter

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times now, I used dried herbs & extra veg, topped with Nutritional Yeast & the family LOVED it!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Alison! :)

  19. KM

    5 stars
    hi! i want to try this recipe but is it 300g cooked lentils or 300g uncooked lentils?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi KM, 300g dry! We only use dry lentils over here, but if that changes we’ll be sure to note they’re pre-cooked in the ingredients list!

  20. LM

    5 stars
    Hi Nisha,
    The soup was delicious, but I didn’t have access to aged balsamic vinegar. Can I use honey instead to balance the flavors? Thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi LM, so happy you enjoyed the soup! An aged balsamic vinegar is acidic with a subtle sweetness, whereas honey is purely sweet. You can use any balsamic vinegar if you don’t have the aged version, or even a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar will help brighten the flavors. If the soup tastes a bit acidic from the tomatoes, then you can add a tiny bit of sugar, but just a tiny amount!

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