Instant Pot Lentil Soup

The easiest, best-tasting Instant Pot lentil soup with onions, carrots, and celery is a breeze to prep and pure comfort to eat. A good lentil soup doesn't have to take hours of simmering on the stovetop, waiting for the lentils to soften and the vegetables to cook, says food blogger and photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table. You can use an Instant Pot to layer flavors and sauté the vegetables, then use pressure to cook the lentils in a rich tomato broth in a fraction of the time it normally takes on the stovetop.

Served with your favorite toppings — we recommend a drizzle of sour cream, grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh chopped parsley — and a piece of good, crusty bread, this Instant Pot lentil soup is a perfect, easy lunch. Make our Instant Pot lentil soup today, and be amazed at how quickly a great flavorful soup can be ready and waiting for you on the table.

Gather the ingredients for Instant Pot lentil soup

The ingredients of our Instant Pot lentil soup are similar to any traditional lentil soup. In fact, the only thing that differs is that you'll use slightly less broth than normal, because you won't cook off as much of it as you do via the traditional stovetop cooking method.

In terms of fresh vegetables, you're going to need onions, carrots, and celery. Fresh thyme and parsley are optional, however you can also use dried oregano if that's all you have. A large can of diced tomatoes and prepared vegetable broth will provide the liquid you need.

In terms of lentils, you can use any brown or green lentils you have on hand, although we particularly love French green Puy lentils in this soup. French lentils keep their firm texture and distinct nutty flavor despite the pressure cooking, and we like that they keep their shape and don't turn to mush on your plate.

Finally, as far as seasoning is concerned, all this soup needs is salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. If you only have regular paprika, that will work as well, although its flavor won't be as deep and nuanced.

For serving, we recommend stocking up on some of your favorite crusty bread like sourdough, in addition to grated Parmesan cheese and sour cream.

Dice the veggies for Instant Pot lentil soup

Prior to starting the cooking, we recommend cutting all the veggies for the soup. That way, your onion won't burn while you're struggling to get a fine dice on the celery you need for the next stage.

Finely dice the onion. Keep in mind that you don't want large chunks in your soup. Peel the carrots, and cut them into a small dice. Dice the celery the same size. Mince the garlic finely.

Keep the onion and garlic separate, but feel free to mix the celery and carrots in one larger bowl — you'll be adding them to the pot at the same time.

Sauté the onion

Once all of your vegetables are chopped, you're ready to get cooking on your soup. Set the Instant Pot to the sauté function. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, allow it to heat for a couple of minutes, then add the diced onion and stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon.

Sauté the onion pieces, stirring often, until they are very soft and beginning to brown around the edges, which should take about eight minutes. The onion should change color from opaque white to translucent and should begin to taste sweet if you were to bite into it. Don't worry about obtaining perfect texture or caramelization, because the onion will continue cooking with the soup.

Add the carrots, celery, herbs, and spices, followed by the lentils and garlic

You're adding your ingredients in stages, which helps build the flavor of the soup. The Instant Pot speeds every stage considerably — if you were working in a normal pot on the stovetop, each of these stages would take upwards of ten minutes.

Once your onion has changed color to golden, it's time to add the rest of the vegetables. Add the carrots, celery, herbs, salt, pepper, and paprika to the pot. Sauté for two minutes. Then, add the lentils and garlic, and sauté for one minute, until the garlic smells fragrant.

Add the liquids to the Instant Pot

With your vegetables properly browned and their flavors locked in, it's time to add the liquid to your soup. The liquid will help the lentils cook fully, while the rest of the veggies will soften and lend their distinct flavors and aromas to the broth. The resulting lentil soup will be rich, filling, and aromatic.

Add the diced tomatoes, along with their juice, to the pot. Add the vegetable broth as well. If instead of canned diced tomatoes, all you have on hand are canned whole tomatoes, give them a quick pulse in the blender or dice them with a knife. If you have pureed tomatoes, add them to the pot as they are.

Cook the Instant Pot lentil soup for 15 minutes

Close and turn the Instant Pot lid to seal. Select pressure cook on the manual setting, and set pressure to high. Set time for 15 minutes.

The Instant Pot should take about ten minutes to build up the necessary pressure. Use this time to relax, pour yourself a glass of wine, and toast a few pieces of bread drizzled with olive oil and flaky sea salt in the oven. Once the pressure is attained, a countdown will begin, displaying how much cooking time remains on your preset timer.

At the end of the cooking cycle, perform a quick release on the Instant Pot according to manufacturer's instructions.

Serve Instant Pot lentil soup with your favorite toppings and a piece of crusty bread

Once you've released the pressure, the Instant Pot is safe to open, and your Instant Pot lentil soup is ready to eat!

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper, as needed. The flavor should be tomatoey, rich, earthy, and balanced. There shouldn't be strong notes of spice or acid. Overall, the soup should make you feel comforted, like a favorite sweater or a hug from a friend.

Ladle the Instant Pot lentil soup into bowls. Serve soup drizzled with sour cream and sprinkled with fresh parsley, Parmesan cheese, flaky sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. This soup calls for sopping up the flavors left at the end, so don't forget a couple of slices of crusty bread.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup
5 from 23 ratings
The easiest, best-tasting Instant Pot lentil soup with onions, carrots, and celery is a breeze to prep and pure comfort to eat
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
6
servings
bowl of lentil soup with bread
Ready in 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups French green lentils
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 4 medium or 2 large carrots, finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano, or the leaves off of 4 stems fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped fresh parsley, for serving
  • crusty bread, for serving
  • grated Parmesan, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving
Directions
  1. Finely dice 1 medium onion. Peel 4 medium or 2 large carrots and cut into a small dice. Dice 3 celery stalks the same size. Mince 4 cloves of garlic.
  2. Set Instant Pot to sauté function. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, allow to heat for a couple of minutes, then add the onion and stir. Sauté the onion, stirring often, until the onions are very soft and beginning to brown around the edges, about eight minutes.
  3. Add carrots, celery, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to the pot. Sauté for two minutes.
  4. Add 1 ½ cups of French green lentils and garlic, and sauté for one minute, until garlic is fragrant.
  5. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes and 4 cups of vegetable broth. Close lid. Select pressure cook on the manual setting, and set pressure to high. Set time for 15 minutes. At the end of the cooking cycle, perform a quick release according to manufacturer's instructions.
  6. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Serve topped with fresh parsley, Parmesan, sour cream, and crusty bread.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 269
Total Fat 5.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 43.3 g
Dietary Fiber 10.0 g
Total Sugars 7.8 g
Sodium 404.2 mg
Protein 14.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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