Instant Pot Lentil Soup

This Instant Pot lentil soup is a new staple in our cold weather recipe rotation. Packed with lentils and fresh veggies, it's warming and nourishing.

Instant Pot lentil soup

This Instant Pot lentil soup recipe is what I make on nights when I wish that dinner could just cook itself. I’m not going to lie – you still have to chop, measure, and sauté to make this recipe – but once you get that prep work out of the way, the Instant Pot does the rest for you. Pretty awesome, right?

It’s especially awesome given how delicious this Instant Pot lentil soup actually is. It’s brothy, warming, and nourishing, with a savory, tangy flavor and plenty of texture from lentils and fresh veggies. It tastes even better on the second day than it does on the first, and it freezes perfectly, too. If you’re looking for a new soup recipe to add to your cold weather rotation, look no further. This Instant Pot lentil soup is it.

Kale, carrots, celery, lentils, diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, herbs, olive oil, vegetable broth, and pepper mill

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Instant Pot lentil soup recipe:

  • Lentils, of course! French green lentils and regular green lentils both work well in this recipe, adding earthy flavor and plant-based protein.
  • Onion, garlic, carrot, and celery – They add savory depth of flavor.
  • Kale – Any variety works! You’ll add the stems early in the cooking process and stir in the leaves right at the end.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes – For smoky, tangy flavor.
  • White wine vinegar – It makes the soup nice and bright.
  • Ground cumin – It brings out the earthiness of the lentils.
  • Fresh thyme – It gives the soup fresh, aromatic depth of flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes – For heat.
  • Vegetable broth – Use store-bought, or make your own.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Onions, carrots, and celery in the Instant Pot

How to Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Once you prep your ingredients, this recipe is easy to make. Here’s how it goes:

First, sauté the onion, carrots, and celery. Select the Instant Pot’s Sauté function, and set the time to 8 minutes. Once the Instant Pot preheats, pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the vegetables.

Sautéed onions, carrots, and celery

Cooking, stirring, for the 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.

Pouring broth into Instant Pot with lentils, diced tomatoes, garlic, and vegetables

Next, pressure cook. Add the kale stems, garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme, salt, cumin, and several grinds of pepper to the pot. Stir, and pour in the vegetable broth. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, and Pressure Cook on High for 15 minutes. (The actual cooking time will be a bit longer, as it takes a few minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure.)

Lentil soup in the Instant Pot with wooden spoon

Finally, stir in the kale, and season to taste! When the Instant Pot has finished pressure cooking, allow it to release pressure naturally. When the float valve drops, remove the lid, stir in the kale leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and season to taste.

Tip: don’t forget to remove the thyme bundle before serving!

Bowl of Instant Pot lentil soup with spoon

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Serving Suggestions

When you’re ready to eat, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish it with chopped fresh parsley. If you’re not vegan, you could also top your bowl with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for extra richness and salty, nutty flavor. Round out the meal with a couple slices of good crusty bread.

Hungry for more? This soup is a great partner for a fall salad. Try pairing it with any of these recipes:

If you have leftover soup, it will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months.

Instant Pot lentil soup recipe

More Favorite Soup Recipes

If you love this Instant Pot lentil soup, try one of these soup recipes next:

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Instant Pot Lentil Soup

rate this recipe:
4.99 from 59 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves 6
Filled with tender lentils and fresh veggies, this Instant Pot lentil soup recipe is an easy, delicious lunch or dinner. Just add crusty bread to make it a meal!


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped carrots, about 4 medium
  • 6 kale leaves, stems finely diced, leaves chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • ¾ cup uncooked green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 12 fresh thyme sprigs, bundled
  • teaspoons sea salt
  • Heaping ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • Red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving, optional
  • Crusty bread, for serving


  • Select the Sauté function on your Instant Pot. Set the level to medium and set the time to 8 minutes. When the Instant Pot is preheated, drizzle the oil into the pot and add the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for the 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.
  • Add the kale stems, garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme bundle, salt, cumin and several grinds of pepper to the pot and stir. Pour in the vegetable broth and secure the lid on the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.
  • Allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. When the float valve drops, remove the lid and stir in the kale leaves. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the thyme bundle, and garnish with the parsley and grated Parmesan, if desired. Serve with crusty bread.


Stovetop Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 8 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the kale stems, garlic, and cumin, followed by the vinegar, tomatoes, broth, thyme, lentils, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the kale leaves and cook for 5 minutes more, or until wilted. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired. 


4.99 from 59 votes (37 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Christy Scronce

    5 stars
    Such a great recipe! My husband finished his bowl before me and said, “Wow, that’s filling.” Will definitely be making this again in our Instant Pot. The soup is great with a few drops of Marie Sharps Habanero Pepper Sauce.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you both enjoyed it!

  2. imsen

    5 stars
    This is the BEST lentil soup ever!! I literally make it once a week.

  3. Jilly Rose

    5 stars
    So delicious and wonderful! I made it with red lentils since that’s what I had on hand and I added chopped red cabbage- so it wouldn’t go to waste 😉 This was spicy and warm all around. My family loves soup with veggies and this hit the spot on a chilly January Monday. Loved the addition of cumin and white wine vinegar- lovely warm and tangy flavors!

  4. Becky

    5 stars
    Made this soup for dinner tonight and it is really delicious and a little different than my other lentil soup recipes. The addition of the vinegar really took it over the top! I will certainly add this to my soup rotation. I could eat soup 365 days a year! I have both cookbooks and love every recipe I have made.

    • Anonymous

      5 stars
      Delicious this is my go to weekly lentil recipe.

  5. Megan

    5 stars
    Made this soup and its delicious!
    Im 9 weeks postpartum and this is just the meal I’ve been looking for: delicious, quick and easy to make, and nutritious.
    Im curious, will this freeze well? I would love to make a large batch and freeze for those days that become too hectic to cook.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Megan, I’m so glad you loved it! Yes, it freezes really well.

  6. Rae

    5 stars
    So good! I didn’t have white wine vinegar so used red wine vinegar. Also didn’t measure the kale I just used the whole bunch from the grocery. And the only thyme I could get was lemon thyme, which I think added a nice flavor. This is exactly the clear broth hearty, vegetarian soup I was craving. The ratio of veggies and broth to lentils is lovely, it’s not a mushy lentil soup but more like a stew where the ingredients keep some separate form but are still soft. Can’t wait to make it for my parents who make a delicious beefless stew.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  7. Christine

    If I don’t have fresh thyme, how much dried thyme would I use?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Christine, I would use 1 teaspoon dried thyme.

  8. Teresa

    5 stars
    Very tasty soup! My IP didn’t naturally release, at the end of 30 mins, so I had to do a manual release at that point.

    I did add a few extra veggies: a cup of chopped red/yellow bell peppers, precooked mushrooms (I added at the end when cooking was done) and about 4 teaspoons of tomato paste. I plan on serving both as a soup and also as a main dish over rice or steamed potatoes. All total the soup made almost 3 qts.

  9. Rae

    I made your Instant Pot lentil soup last week and it was so delicious. My husband even said, “please make this again”! Thanks for the recipe and very easy instructions (for the Instant Pot).

  10. Claudia

    5 stars
    I just made this soup tonight for my husband, who has just gone vegan for his heart health. It is the most delicious vegetable soup we’ve ever eaten. I’m no vegan but plan to try new recipes for him to be supportive. However, if I can find more dishes as good as this one, I can see going all (or mostly all) in on his new way of eating. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  11. Pat

    5 stars
    Very yummy recipe! Thank you for sharing. I did find that as I was adding the stock that my 6Qt. Pot wouldn’t hold the 6 cups! I went ahead anyway, figuring I would add the remaining 2 cups after cooking. You know, it turned out tasting great with just 4 cups of stock.

  12. Kim

    I hope this isn’t a silly question. I don’t have a lot of experience with lentils. These go in dried? Or do they need to be soaked or cooked first?

    • Kim

      Helpful if I read the recipe carefully. Uncooked lentils it is! 🤦🏻‍♀️

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        I hope you enjoy the soup!

      • laurie

        Yes, they go in dry but always best to rinse well, prior.

    • Gaby

      Hopefully by now you have the answer…rince them, sort through them for any tiny stones and then put them in as is! Unsoaked.

  13. Lianne byrne

    Would this work it a slow cooker?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Lianne, I’m sure it would – I don’t have one so I’m not exactly sure of the cooking instructions.

  14. Mo

    5 stars
    Prep was the hard part but a lovely flavorful soup. Had it for dinner with a baked sweet potato.

  15. Elisa

    5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner and it is fabulous! I’m so happy to see an Instant Pot recipe from L&L – Thank You!!!

    Now for confession time. I’ve broken one of my cardinal rules and made this for the first time with an alteration. Someone in my family used up my Kale and I was not aware of it when I began making this recipe. I did however, have a Napa Cabbage in the fridge, so I substituted the Kale with the Cabbage. It still turned out delicious but I am determined to make this next week with Kale since I love it so much. I may eventually try this with some spinach at some point, but I do believe that the Kale will be the best flavor with lentils.
    Thanks again for adding an IP recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Ha ha, I finally got one! I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup. Let me know how you like it with the kale 🙂

  16. Peter

    Can you use chicken broth instead of veggie?

  17. Sabrina from

    a great lentil soup with all of these extra ingredients, at least compared to my more basic recipe, thank you

  18. Judy

    Can I substitute split red lentils for the ones listed in the recipe. Those are the ones I have on hand. Will they cook the same way?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Judy, you can, but it’ll become a thicker stew since red lentils fall apart more. Should still be delicious! If it gets too thick, you could add a little water or broth.

  19. Laura

    I don’t have an instant pot and don’t plan on buying one. But this soup looks SO good that I’d spend my time cooking it on the stove top. Any recommendations/instructions you can offer on how best to do that?

    • Elizabeth

      I have this same question! Is it possible to make this on the stovetop instead? Thank you!

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Elizabeth, we just added the stovetop instructions to the recipe notes. I hope you love the soup!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Laura, we just added the stovetop instructions to the recipe notes. I hope you enjoy!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.