Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

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This Carrot Harissa Soup is creamy yet healthy and is easy to make, thanks to the Instant Pot. Packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins, it’s a perfect marriage of spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors.
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 20 minutes
5 from 11 votes

Here on the east coast, the temperatures have started to drop (it’s 27°F or -2.7°C as I type this), so I’ve been cozying up to all of the warming comfort food. While I don’t shy away from indulgent comfort food like Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells, I also like to throw in some less heavy dishes that are still comforting and cozy. Like this Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup.

And if you want more than 90 incredible vegan Instant Pot recipes, be sure to order my 5-star-rated cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook!

Three bowls of soup and a small bowl of pumpkin seeds on a grey table.

Let’s talk about all the reasons I like this soup.

First of all, this is a very, very creamy soup, which means it feels satisfying and even indulgent, even thought it’s just soup. Of course it’s even better when you have a crusty piece of bread for dunking purposes, IMHO. At the same time, it’s a very nourishing soup that’s made with vitamin-rich carrots and peppers, anti-inflammatory ginger and garlic, and healthy fats from tahini and coconut milk.

Secondly, this soup is intensely flavorful, with a nice marriage of smoky and spicy aromas. Most of the spiciness and smokiness come from harissa, a Tunisian chile paste that’s smoky and spicy and is made with dried chilies, spices, garlic, and olive oil. I love this brand, but Trader Joe’s also sells a decent one. I am pretty generous with the harissa, so this soup has a real kick to it. If you are sensitive to spicy food, use less harissa (about 1-2 tablespoons instead of 3 tablespoons).

Three bowls of soup and a plate with bread slices on a grey table.
Person placing bowl of soup on a table.

While I am not always a fan of smoky food (it reminds me of smoked meat TBH), the smokiness from the harissa and roasted red bell pepper work nicely in this soup because it’s well balanced by the spiciness, sweetness from the carrots, creaminess from the tahini and coconut milk, and acidity from the lemon juice. Speaking of acidity, I’m a firm believer in finishing most cooked dishes with a bit of acidity, such as freshly squeezed citrus or some sort of vinegar, as the acid brightens and freshens up the heaviness and richness. So don’t skip the squeeze of lemon juice at the end!

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Another plus for this soup: it is ridiculously easy to make thanks to the Instant Pot. After you roast the bell pepper and lightly sauté the aromatics, the Instant Pot takes care of the rest of the cooking.

Finally, this soup makes an excellent choice for a weekly meal prep because the leftovers will stay good for at least 5 days in your fridge.

I don’t have much else to say about this Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup, so I hope you enjoy this easy recipe!

Close up of two bowls of soup and a small bowl of pumpkin seeds on a grey counter.
Three bowls of soup and a small bowl of pumpkin seeds on a grey counter.


Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

5 from 11 votes
This Carrot Harissa Soup is creamy yet healthy and is easy to make, thanks to the Instant Pot. Packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins, it’s a perfect marriage of spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cuisine: Morrocan-Inspired
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4


  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for roasting the bell pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds (~680g) carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2- inch piece fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons (~45g) harissa sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/4 cups (540mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup (56g) high-quality tahini
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can lite coconut milk (~400 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Garnishes: chopped scallions and cilantro


  • Roast the bell pepper. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Lightly brush a sheet pan with olive oil and place the bell pepper on top. Roast the pepper for 20 minutes, then using a pair of tongs, flip the pepper over and roast for another 20 minutes. Once the pepper is charred in spots, remove from the oven and cover it with a glass bowl or place in a resealable plastic bag. Steam the pepper for 15 minutes. Once steamed, roughly slice the pepper and remove the seeds.
  • While the pepper is roasting, prepare the soup in the Instant Pot. Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. After a few minutes of heating up, add the 1 tablespoon olive oil, followed by the onion and carrots and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a few turns of black pepper. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and paprika, and cook for 1-2 minutes, coating the vegetables in the spices. Select the Cancel setting.
  • Add the harissa sauce, bay leaf, vegetable broth, tahini, coconut milk, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine.
  • Select the Pressure Cook or Manual button at high pressure and set the cook time to 10 minutes. Make sure the sealing vent is set to Sealing.
  • Once the timer goes off, perform a quick pressure release by carefully turning the sealing vent from Sealing to Venting. Give the soup a stir and taste for seasonings.
  • Transfer half of the soup to a stand blender and add the sliced roasted bell peppers. Blend until the soup is creamy and smooth. Repeat with the remaining soup. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to purée the soup directly in the Instant Pot. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and garnish the soup with scallions and cilantro if desired.

Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 903mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 30302IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 2mg


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38 comments on Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

  1. Amanda

    Question: I’m not a vegan and don’t consistently have tahini or coconut milk in the house. Could I sub cow’s milk or another non-diary milk for the coconut? And is there a sub for Tahini – maybe hummus? Or is that just replacing way too much?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Amanda, sorry for the late reply.

      As for the milk, you can use a creamy plant-based milk like a full-fat oat milk. Since we are a vegan blog, we don’t use cow’s milk and don’t know how it will work in this recipe.

      I would just omit the tahini in this particular recipe and finish the soup with a nice drizzle of good-quality olive oil. If you have vegan sour cream or a good-quality creamy vegan yogurt, a dollop of that on the soup might also be a nice alternative to the richness that tahini brings.

  2. Sarah

    5 stars
    I would say that, depedning on your harrisa, you might go with anywhere from 2-4 tblspns. Mine harrisa is very spicy – next time I will only use 2.5 tblspns.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing!

  3. Jenni P

    5 stars
    This soup is a warm, creamy, spicy hug in a bowl. I received some beautiful carrots and red peppers from my CSA. What an amazing recipe to utilize both. I used two tablespoons of Trader Joe’s harissa and it was the perfect level of spice for me. The cilantro garnish really brought it all together. I’ve made at least a dozen of Nisha’s recipes between this site and her instant pot cookbook and have never encountered a dud. I cannot wait for the new cookbook!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Jenni! It makes us so happy to know that you enjoy the recipes.

  4. Carla

    Tried this today and its actually pretty tasty. Ive always wanted to make a soup like this and im glad i went with your recipe. Everything ive made from your recipes are delicious!!!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Carla, we’re so happy you enjoyed this recipe and we’re looking forward to you trying even more! :) 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.

  5. Nicole S

    I think your pictures show pepitas on top, but they’re not mentioned anywhere as a topping. Are they raw, or are they prepared somehow? If prepared, what did you do? Thank you!

  6. Beth R

    5 stars
    Delicious. Had to modify a bit as the Trader’s Harissa with 3T was holly-harissa-Batman ! I was a goof. The last harissa jar was from WFs and 3Ts would have been fine. I should have tasted the TRader’s brand prior. I added a 2nd can of coconut milk and made a cashew-cream for garnish. Definitely saved the soup. For a side I roasted potatoes/peppers/onion/chickpeas with sumac/salt/pepper

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Beth!

  7. Rue

    Hi Nisha,
    I don’t have an Instant Pot but I still want to make this. How do I modify it for the stovetop?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi, Rue! You can saute the onions and carrots in the oil in a soup pot over medium or medium high heat, then add the ginger/garlic and spices and stir for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the pot, add the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are cooked through, 15-20 minutes would be my guess. Then immersion blend the soup or blend in a stand blender.

      1. Rue

        Ok thank you very much! Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Zina

    Hi, your lentil curry is our favourite family dish since I discovered it on your website. Thank you so much! I am now curious to try a new recipe of yours. While reading all the instructions I wonder: should take out the bay leave before blending the soup?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Zina, yes you should! Thanks for catching that :)

  9. NM

    5 stars
    I made this earlier today. It turned out really well!

    I wish I had cilantro on hand – it would have added a lot to the dish. As it was, I added a little bit too much harissa so I balanced it out with maple syrup.

    The recipe made a TON of soup so I will be eating it for the next few days – I think crispy chickpeas would work great as a topping (and add some protein).

    I had some bread that I used to dunk into the soup and it helped a lot as the flavors of the soup were quite intense so that helped balance it out.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing :)

  10. Jess

    5 stars
    Delicious soup and made it several times already! However, when do I put in the lemon?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Jess, thanks for pointing out that part was missing from the instructions! The lemon is meant to be squeezed on right before serving :) So glad you loved it!

  11. Lee Kaplan

    Hi, Nisha. Can this be made in a crockpot, after sautéing the veggies? My partner love’s Moroccan food and harissa, so id like to surprise him with this. (I have, as you call it, “baby mouth”.)
    Thank you, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “Haha, thank you Lee! I don’t see why not! I’d say slow cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.”

  12. san

    5 stars
    This was simple to make and delicious. I made it on the stove and used harissa powder and the depth of flavour was *chefs kiss*. Appreciate that it can be made quickly and has ingredients I always have on hand. Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, San! So glad you enjoyed!

  13. Maneesha

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this recipe of yours, Nisha! Absolutely delicious!! Love the addition of Harissa!

  14. Lottie

    Hi Nisha, this was delicious and I just wanted to thank you SO much for also including metric measurements on the recipe, I can’t even tell you how much it honestly helps 💕

  15. Kate

    Any thoughts on subbing jarred (store bought) roasted red peppers and harissa seasoning instead of sauce?
    Trying to squeeze an extra dinner in before my next trip to the grocery store :-D

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Kate,Store-bought roasted red peppers are totally fine. I haven’t tried this with harissa seasoning myself, but I’m sure it’ll still be tasty, just might not have as much depth of flavor. But this soup is really flavorful as is, so I think it’ll be fine :)

  16. Nikki

    If we don’t have an instant pot how would you modify the directions? Thanks!

  17. Rasika Venkatraman

    Hi Nisha!! I tried this soup tonight and we were blown away by how good it was!! Amazing complex flavors and so heartwarming on a cold night. We don’t have an instant pot so I made this stovetop (pre-microwaved the carrots for a few minutes beforehand) and it worked out perfect!I even tried to copy your garnish, my husband was so impressed! :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Rasika! Thank you for your thoughtful comment! So glad you and your family enjoyed this soup and the complex flavors. Great to know it can be made without the Instant Pot, I’m sure other readers will find that useful :)

  18. Lisa

    Can you freeze this soup!! It’s fantastic! I’m just afraid we won’t be able to eat it all because it made 2 quarts!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Lisa! So glad you enjoyed the soup :) Yes, you can freeze the soup – it should freeze pretty well!

      1. Barbara Larpenter

        I intend to try this tonight. Sounds wonderful and will let you know how It liked it!

  19. Amy

    When does the pepper go into the soup?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Oops forgot to add that :) It goes in at the final step in the blender. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect that. Thanks for pointing that out, Amy!

  20. Valerie Garcia

    Looks delicious! Not sure when to add the lemon juice…I think I will add it along with the broth?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Valeria! Oops didn’t include the last step! The lemon juice goes in at the very end after you’ve blended the soup. It adds a nice balance to the creaminess and spicness.

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