This Instant Pot Lentil Soup is the absolute BEST Lentil Soup recipe. Full of earthy lentils and a richly seasoned broth, this vegan-friendly soup is anything but bland or boring.
This soup makes a hearty meatless entree or is a perfect complement to a grilled cheese sandwich in place of traditional tomato soup for lunch. I love to pair this soup with Dutch Oven Bread and a side spinach avocado salad for a healthy and easy meal.
THIS is the lentil soup to beat all lentil soup recipes!
Not only is Instant Pot Lentil Soup easy to make with basic pantry staples, but it is also healthy, hearty, and packed with INCREDIBLE flavor.
There are a few key tips that take this Instant Pot Lentil Soup from good to ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!
Keys for the Best Lentil Soup
- Lentils--It is critical you use the right lentils for lentil soup. Brown or green lentils work well for this soup. I do not advise red lentils as they will turn to mush during pressure cooking. It is also important to rinse and sort the lentils well, as they are often dirty and you may find a piece of stone in the dried lentils.
- Italian Battuto--This Italian combination of celery, onions, carrots, and garlic is the Italian version of France's mirepoix. It is the base for this soup and is key to adding flavor. In most of my recipes, I suggest leaving an ingredient, like celery or onions, out if your family does not care for them. While you certainly can choose to do so, I do find this lentil soup shines best when all four ingredients are used.
- Spices--The mixture of dried spices are key for the best flavor. Oregano, ground coriander, cumin, and bay leaves all work together to give this lentil soup depth and earthiness. It is critical that your spices are not too old. After 2 to 3 years of sitting in your pantry, dried spices can lose their potency and flavor.
- Acid--A key to making the flavors pop in this soup is to finish it with acid. Fresh lemon juice is best, but balsamic vinegar can be used if you don't have fresh lemons. Do not use jarred lemon juice, as it will not have the same flavor as fresh lemon juice.
Step One: Prepare Soup
- Rinse lentils well. Be sure to quickly sort them to ensure there are no rocks or stones.
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute and let heat up until it reads Hot. Add in olive oil, carrots, onions, and celery. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in lentils and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes longer. Turn Instant Pot off.
- Add in stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot. This helps to prevent a burn warning.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, spices, and salt.
Step Two: Pressure Cook Soup
- Place lid on the pressure cooker and be sure the vent knob is pointed to sealed.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes.
Step Three: Finish and Serve
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally.
- Open Instant Pot, remove bay leaves and stir in the lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
Recipes Notes and Tips
- Feel free to use all crushed tomatoes or all diced tomatoes. I like to use a mixture of the two for a variety of textures, but it is fine to use a total of 30 ounces of one or the other.
- Lentil Soup will store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days in a sealed container. Lentil soup will freeze for up to 3 months.
- Vegetable stock or chicken stock can be used for Instant Pot Lentil Soup, just be sure to use vegetable stock to keep this soup Vegan Friendly.
- Use low sodium canned tomatoes and stock to control the sodium content of this soup. You can adjust seasonings to add more salt if needed. I just suggest waiting until after the lemon juice/balsamic vinegar has been added as that acid helps the flavors pop, just as salt does.
- If you have an issue with your Instant Pot sealing, be sure to troubleshoot with these reasons why your Instant Pot may not seal.
More Instant Pot Soup Recipes
- Instant Pot Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Lasagna Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
Looking for more recipes that use lentils? Lentil Tacos, Vegan Sloppy Joes, and Lentil Meatballs are all tried and true favorites. And if you try this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. I love to hear from you!
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- ⅓ cup celery finely diced
- ½ cup carrots peeled finely diced
- 1 cup dried brown or green lentils rinsed
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 cups vegetable broth low sodium
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes low sodium
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes no salt added
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt see note
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
- Turn Instant Pot to saute and let heat up.
- Add in olive oil, onions, celery, and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
- Add in lentils and garlic and saute for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Turn Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in vegetable stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the instant pot to prevent a burn warning.
- Add in the crushed and diced tomatoes, oregano, coriander, cumin, salt (if using), and bay leaves.
- Place lid on pressure cooker and be sure vent knob is pointed towards sealed.
- Set cook time for 15 minutes on high pressure.
- Once cook time has elapsed, allow pressure to release naturally.
- Once pressure is released, open Instant Pot and discard bay leaves. Stir in lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and serve.
- Be sure to only use green or brown lentils for this lentil soup. Red lentils will become mushy.
- If stock and tomatoes are not low sodium, cut the salt down to ½ teaspoon.
- Feel free to use all crushed tomatoes or all diced tomatoes instead of a combination of the two.
- Lentil soup will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days and will freeze for up to 3 months.
- Cooking at high altitude? Use the conversion chart for cooking in the Instant Pot at High Altitude.