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
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. 


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Julianna

    4 stars
    So good! I love the cumin and thyme.

    I used dry thyme, yellow instead of green lentils and added some cayenne pepper along with the red pepper flakes because I love spicy soup. I reduced the cook time by 10 min due to the yellow lentils, and it worked fine. I also added some fresh tomatoes and vegan Worchester sauce to enhance the umami flavor.
    My family of four ate the whole thing 🙂

    • Lorrie Keaveny

      Thank you – was hoping dried thyme would work.

  2. Irina

    5 stars
    I love all your recipes but I wish they included nutritional values!

  3. Kait

    Hi! I’m worried about carrots getting mushy. ( I like carrots that are still a bit firm.) Can anyone tell me if this happened doing the instant pot version? I’m wondering if I should just steam carrots separately in microwave and add at the end.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kait, they soften in the soup but I don’t think they’re too mushy.

  4. Gloria

    5 stars
    Wow! My 13 year old Granddaughters claim this is the best soup they ever had. I couldn’t give you a more positive review. Followed it to a T.

  5. Michelle

    5 stars
    So good! Subbed rice vinegar and spinach. Perfect flavor and so easy in InstantPot!

  6. Andrea

    5 stars
    I thought this was delicious! Instead of kale, I added half a bag of frozen peas and, after cooking, some frozen spinach greens. I also used 1.5 tsp dried thyme instead of fresh thyme… and I added the white wine and garlic in the middle of sautéing the carrots/celery/onion.. I was trying to make the white wine flavor more subtle and garlic more fragrant.
    Next time I will try 1-1.25 cups lentils.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Andrea, I’m so glad you loved the soup!

  7. Tahoe Boy

    5 stars
    This soup is worthy to be on the menu every three weeks. The only adjustment I make is to cut down on the cook time to 10 minutes, which is plenty and in accordance with the InstyPot guide to cooking lentils. The cumin really rocks this dish!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you love it!

  8. Rhonda

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! So easy, healthy, and tasty. Evidently, this is my week for Love and Lemons recipes as I’ve also made your pumpkin bread and oatmeal pancakes–all so good!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes this week!

  9. Lynsey

    I’ve recently changed my diet to add more veggies/plant based and all I can say is WOW! Recipe and after recipe I find myself loving veggies more and more. Thank you for these wonderful recipes and this soup! Yum!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Linsey, I’m so glad you’ve loved the recipes and the soup!

  10. celia

    5 stars
    used no celery, no vinegar, and no fire roasted tomatoes. instead used copious amounts of fresh sage and extra garlic , a green bell pepper, tomato paste and chicken stock….came out amazing! next time will double the lentil amount as the pot was not close to being full…the flavor is wonderful!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Olivia from

    5 stars
    I have to say, this recipe was delicious! I made it for my husband and my friends and they all LOVED it. So easy, so healthy and super delicious. The flavour is outrageous! This will be making an appearance in my kitchen again for sure!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  12. LABumy

    5 stars
    Omg this soup is baller AF. You’re like OMG what’s this flavor? Bro it’s just a little cumin and it just sets this light yet hardy soup OFF

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  13. Bonnie

    5 stars
    This soup is absolutely delicious! Easy, quick, and so healthy. Perfect for a winter night!

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.