by Olena

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

by Olena

5 from 12 reviews

Best Instant Pot Lentil Soup with green or brown lentils, canned tomatoes and spinach. Only 5 mins of prep and no sauteing.

Ukrainian in me loves making one meal soups for dinner like Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup, Instant Pot borscht and chicken wild rice soup. They last for days, are cheap and kids love them!

Instant Pot lentil soup with spinach served in a bowl

Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup

Hey-hey, guys! Here it is, Instant Pot lentil soup with brown or green lentils, canned tomatoes and spinach. Then served with lots of fresh Parmesan cheese. Can you visualize this “yum”?

This pressure cooker lentil soup is a spin-off of my stove top spinach lentil soup recipe but even more simple. Lentils soup cooked in Instant Pot requires no sauteing because I see no point, honestly. I explain why below along with my veggies stock and spinach tips.

You couldn’t ask for a more simple and healthy lentil soup recipe with prep time of 5 minutes. Make a huge pot and eat it all week. Considering I own an 8 quart monster, you better believe me when I say we will be eating this soup all week haha.

Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out my most popular collection of 30 healthy Instant Pot recipes.

Are Lentils Good for You?

Lentils are a nutrition powerhouse – a plant-based source of complex carbs, fiber and whopping 25% of protein. Yeah! Lentils are edible seeds from a legume family. According to Healthline, 1 cup of cooked lentils provides 40 grams of carbs, 16 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein. Fiber in lentils helps with regular bowel movements and good bacteria growth in your gut. So many reasons to incorporate lentils in your diet!

And fun fact, Canada is the largest producer of lentils these days. That’s where I live.

How to Cook Instant Pot Lentils Soup

If you are new to pressure cooking, check out my Instant Pot guide. It explains what happens, why and how to avoid failures. If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet but are thinking about buying one, I explain which Instant Pot to buy in my humble opinion.

  1. In Instant Pot or any other electric pressure cooker, add carrots, celery and onion.
  2. Then add green lentils, diced tomatoes, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper and bouillon cubes + water or veggie stock.
  3. Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on high pressure for 18 minutes.How to make Instant Pot lentil soup recipe step by step

Why No Sautéing?

Because I truly believe that you don’t always have to when it comes to pressure cooking. Food cooked under pressure is more flavorful than same ingredients cooked using a stove top method. If I have to do the same amount of work as with stovetop method, what is the point of $100 appliance? So, don’t bother. Your green lentil soup will be super delicious my way!

Natural or Quick Release?

After lentil soup is ready but Instant Pot needs to bring pressure down before you can open it, which will be indicated by a dropped down float valve. You can let it do it on its own which will take less than an hour – Natural Release.

OR you can do Quick Release by turning pressure valve to Venting position, which takes 3-4 minutes. I recommend doing so outside to avoid the mess and smell.Instant Pot lentil soup to release pressure outside

Adding More Flavor to Vegan Lentil Soup

  1. Open the lid and you will see this beauty. Now is the time to add spinach or kale.

  2. Then it is time to add fresh garlic. Nothing brightens up a soup like fresh garlic, said Ukrainian me. There is a huge difference between cooked and fresh garlic flavour. HUGE! You have to trust me on this one because I’m Ukrainian of all Ukrainians.
  3. Stir and serve hot garnished with Parmesan cheese. If you are strict vegan, skip Parmesan. If you are strict vegetarian, I believe they sell vegetarian Parmesan cheese or skip.

All those layers of healthy flavors! Enjoy!

Tip: If you see organic box of spinach on sale – buy it and freeze it. Use in soups, green smoothies or make healthy spinach dip.

How to make pressure cooker lentil soup step by step

Variations of Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe

  • You can make lentil soup with red lentils if you reduce cooking time down to 12 minutes. Red lentils also do not hold their texture as well as green or brown lentils. Be prepared to be OK with more mushy soup. I love it too!
  • If you want to add diced ham or sausage I will not judge you. Just add it along with other ingredients. No changes to the recipe.
  • Throw a few pieces of fresh or frozen chicken. No changes to the recipe.
  • If you have 3 quart Instant Pot, cut 6 quart ingredients measurement in half. Same cooking time. Your pot always should be not more than 2/3 full when making soup in a pressure cooker (read more).

I told you this Instant Pot lentil soup recipe is amazing!

Make a Freezer Meal

Add all ingredients in the order listed in the recipe minus water, spinach and garlic and freeze uncooked in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Cook from frozen with 10 or 14 cups of water for 20 minutes. Do quick release, then add spinach and garlic.

Check out my full list of healthy freezer meals. I’m obsessed!

Can I Freeze Soup?

Absolutely. Lentils freeze beautifully and there are no tender vegetables in this lentil soup either. Well, except spinach. But we already froze, thawed and cooked. So its vibrant color is gone anyways. Freeze cooled down soup leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Thaw on a counter overnight and reheat. For quick thawing, place frozen soup into a pot and simmer on low covered, stirring occasionally. Takes time but “crap, forgot to take out … from the freezer” happens to the best of us!

More Vegetarian Soups to Try:

Print

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

5 from 12 reviews

Best Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe with green or brown lentils, canned tomatoes and spinach. Only 5 mins of prep and no sauteing.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 7 (6 Qt.), 11 (8 Qt.) servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

6 Quart Instant Pot

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 small celery, chopped
  • 2 cups green or brown lentils, rinsed & drained (uncooked)
  • 28 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes, low sodium
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt*
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 bouillon cubes + 10 cups water or 10 cups veggie stock, low sodium**
  • 11 oz box of spinach or kale
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

8 Quart Instant Pot

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 small celery, chopped
  • 3 cups green lentils, rinsed & drained
  • 28 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes, low sodium
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt*
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 bouillon cubes + 14 cups water or 14 cups veggie stock, low sodium**
  • 11 oz box of spinach
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. In Instant Pot, add onion, carrot, celery, lentils, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, bay leaves and bouillon cubes. Add water enough to fill up to 2/3 full line or approximately 10 cups.***
  2. Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking for 18 minutes. Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 30 minutes to come to pressure, you will see a bit of steam coming out from a valve, then float valve will rise and countdown from 18 minutes will begin.
  3. Lentil soup is ready but your Instant Pot needs to bring pressure down before you can open it, which will be indicated by a dropped down float valve. You can let it do it on its own which will take less than an hour – Natural Release. OR you can do Quick Release by turning pressure valve to Venting position, which takes 3-4 minutes. I recommend doing so outside to avoid the mess and smell.
  4. Open the lid, add spinach and garlic, stir and serve hot garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container or inner Instant Pot pot with a fitting glass lid for up to 5 days.

Make Ahead: Refrigerate chopped veggies with spices in an airtight container for up to 3 days and mix with the rest when ready to cook.

Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.

Freezer Meal: Add all ingredients in the order listed in the recipe minus water, spinach and garlic and freeze uncooked in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Cook from frozen with 10 or 14 cups of water for 20 minutes. Do quick release, then add spinach and garlic.

Notes

*Add less salt if using not low sodium tomatoes and stock.

**I highly recommend to buy organic bouillon cubes available at many grocery stores – cheaper and more convenient than carton broth. You can also do half stock/half water to cut back on cost.

***If your inner pot doesn’t have 2/3 full marking, it is very important to fill the pot only 2/3 full when pressure cooking. Ignore the cups, L and near the edge Max ticks. Your pot always should be not more than 2/3 full when making soup (read more).

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

30 comments on “Instant Pot Lentil Soup

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  1. Hi Olena. Just made this as we speak- minus the cumin which I couldn’t find. But what? From Ukraine & no paprika🧐. Our son just got back from a very rural village in Ukraine about 12 hrs train ride from Kiev. The mayor of the town treated him so wonderfully & of course gave him some of “his” vodka to take back. I loved the pictures & he could have been 1 of the family. (I’m polish). Anyhow I’m happy to find your blog & will check it out when I have some time.
    Oh my, soup is done & so tasty. ( I put. My kale & garlic in at the beginning by mistake, & added a bit of chili powder as it has some cumin in it.
    Thanks Olena

    1. Haha yes “samogonka”. Moonshine basically. You know paprika is more traditionally Hungarian. We never had paprika. It was an exotic spice. So happy you like my soup.

  2. Oh my goodness!!! I LOVE it! And my 5 year old who has never eaten a full bowl of soup in his life had seconds! I added some ground sausage before because my husband needs meat in all his dishes 😂 and I only had better than boullian beef paste but it was amazing and I’m so happy I made the 8qt recipe! Definite keeper!

  3. The taste is great but I think my lentils are overcooked. This is the first time I have ever cooked lentils myself so I don’t know how to fix this.I am also relatively new with IP. I did 18 minutes cooking then 10 minutes NR then QR. Should I just decrease the 18 minutes and do the QR or any combination therein. I like the lentils to have a little bite

  4. My son, Andrew, bought me an Instant Pot. I was so excited. Looking for a Lentil Soup Recipe and came across your recipes. It is nice to meet you, Olena. My name is Anastasia and I am also Ukrainian (100%).

    1. Hi Anastasia! Nice to meet you too! Your son is a smart man – he knows where to invest his money.:) Hope to hear from you more, especially would love to know which recipes you try.:)
      Sorry this is so late. I was away on vacation.

  5. Happy New Year! I recently came across your website for the first time, (Googling an Instant Pot lentil recipe). I started reading your blog, and your frank, honest conversation resonates with me. (just finished reading your 2018 in Review – I can empathize and relate.) I was born and raised in Victoria, now in Ontario, and sure do miss the Island! Anyhow, I made the Instant Pot Lentil Soup tonight, and it was very flavourful indeed! Love your tips about not sauteing veggies beforehand, and adding fresh garlic instead – and frozen spinach – Who knew!? My hubby and son enjoyed it too!
    I look forward to trying more of your recipes! All the best for 2019.

    1. Hi Cheryl. Every time I go to Victoria (and we go a lot for hockey) I think how pretty it is. It’s still a big city but way nicer than Vancouver LOL. Love the small pockets of rural areas and water everywhere. So pretty. I just never knew.
      Aw, so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Glad I could be of help.

  6. A wonderful recipe, Olena! Simply loved it on a cold day! And so full with good nutrition. And you are right: sauteing the onions and veggies prior the actual pressure cooking is not necessary at all – it comes out excellent without it – and less work :)… Thanks so much!

  7. This recipe is wonderful! I make it a few times a month since discovering it and I have shared it with many people.

  8. I’d like to make your Lentil Soup but I do not have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Can you tell me how I can make this stove top or with a slow cooker. Thank you!

  9. I have made this soup soooo many times and just wanted to thank you for the recipe! It’s my go-to when I’m sick, and perfect for weekday lunches. I’ll often freeze 2-3 portions because it thaws perfectly. I usually double the spices and garlic. Sometimes I throw in a small potato.

  10. Enjoyed the recipe. Second time round, used home made stock (also produced in InstantPot!) and found sodium greatly reduced without sacrificing flavour. Reducing the cumin by half and adding 2tsp smoky organic paprika really bumped the flavour up. I also added 2-3 cubed and peeled sweet potatoes, plus gently scorched the veggies and lentils using the saute function. You can then use the first lot of broth to deglaze the pan before switching to pressure cook. Great base for many variations!

    1. YES for smoked paprika. I have to slap my hand adding it to all soups and stews because otherwise my culinary skills might be questioned. It elevates any dish 100%. Glad you were so creative with this soup and made it your own.

  11. Wow – so delicious and easy! I used a 32 oz. jar of marinara because I didn’t have crushed tomatoes and it worked out well. The parmesan is a great touch – makes for a hearty soup. Thanks for a wonderful and low point recipe!

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