If there were ever a magical, “cures what ails you” soup, this Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup would be it! Full of creamy, flavorful, good for you foods that will fill your belly with warm, comforting “food medicine” (as I like to call it). Winter viruses got nothin' on this!
I have a new obsession and it comes in a small, round, cheap, and nutritious package. Oh hey there lentils. Sorry about rejecting your existence for 30 plus years in favor of other legumes.
I keep trying to think of a time when lentils might have offended me so much so that I ignored them for 3 decades, but I'm comin' up blank.
Anyone else new to lentils? Here's a quick low down if that's the case.
WHAT ARE LENTILS
Lentils are a type of legume, quite inexpensive, and contain a lot of protein and fiber. For all those reasons, they tend to be a very popular food in many cultures – most recently, the TIDBITS culture 😉
There are many different varieties of lentils, but the most common ones you'll find in stores and recipes are red, brown, and green.
Red lentils are the quickest cooking lentil and have a softer texture. They are great in soups and wonderful for creating smooth purees.
Green and brown are soft when cooked but hold their shape better than red lentils, so they can tolerate a good stirring. They are great in soups but also work well in salads and pilafs.
I'll add a few pointers below on how to cook brown and green lentils in the Instant Pot, but today is all about the red variety!
Pretty, soft, and creamy, these red lentils have stolen my heart and saved me from my anti lentil ways. This Red Lentil Soup showcases them in the best way.
We love cooking legumes (a.k.a. beans!) in the Instant Pot! Here are some fundamental bean recipes we recommend you check out: How to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot, No Soak Black Beans in the Instant Pot, Refried Beans in the Instant Pot.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS EASY INSTANT POT RED LENTIL SOUP
- Loaded with veggies and spices like turmeric and curry to make it a nutritious fighting machine
- Perfect balance of sweet, from corn and carrots, earthy, from the turmeric and curry powder, and bright, from the splash of lemon
- Serve it chunky, smooth, or somewhere in between, it's perfect every way!
- It doubles perfectly! Simply double the ingredients, but keep the cook time the same.
- You know those recipes you can imagine yourself sitting by a fireplace in a cabin with warm slippers and a giant cozy blanket with a look of contentment all over your face? This is that recipe
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST LENTIL SOUP EVER IN 3 EASY STEPS
- Dump the carrots and onions into the pot and saute until soft, add garlic for another minute
- Add broth, lentils, corn, spices, lemon zest and juice and set the pressure cooker for 7 minutes
- Once cooked, use an immersion blender to achieve desired consistency or use a regular blender and blend about 1/3 of the soup, then return to the pot. That's it! You're done!
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
I'm not gonna promise you perfect health all winter, but between a big bowl of this and regular shots of Instant Pot Elderberry Juice, I'll predict one of your best seasons yet.
Now go put on your comfiest sweater, your coziest slippers, and tell your kids that the quietest person gets out of dish duty. Then dream of slurping hot lentil soup in a beautiful mountain cabin. Good Vibes Soup, that will be its new name.
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE LENTIL SOUP
- Store: Cool leftovers and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of broth or water to help thin it out.
- Freeze: Cool leftovers and place in a sealed container or freeze flat in a freezer safe zip top bag. To eat, let thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as directed above.
- Add meat, cooked sliced sausage would be my top suggestion
- For a spicier version, nix the curry powder and use a tablespoon of red curry paste instead
- As written, this soup will become quite thick as it sits. For a thinner, more brothy soup simply add extra broth.
- Nix the spoon and serve with hunks of Instant Pot Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Crusty Bread
HOW TO COOK LENTILS IN AN INSTANT POT
Most recipes call for cooking lentils in a crock pot for several hours or on the stove top for about 20 minutes. Since we are all here because of our love of pressure cooking, I'm declaring the Instant Pot to be THE ONLY WAY TO COOK LENTILS.
For all the details on how to cook lentils in a pressure cooker, go to this Instant Pot Lentil recipe. But in general, for brown and green lentils, use 1 cup lentils to 2 cups liquid ratio and cook for 15 minutes at high pressure. Allow for a natural release of the pressure or do a quick release after 10 minutes if you're in a hurry.
You'll want to rinse the lentils before you cook them, but there is no need to soak them. Red lentils are better for soups and purees because they get really soft when cooked and only require 7 minutes of cook time.
Turmeric gets the prize for being the most popular spice for the past couple of years. I'm a sucker for its bright yellow color and earthy taste (in moderation, too much is no bueno). I use it to Naturally Dye Easter Eggs and to give this Golden Sunshine Soup its color and depth of flavor.
Why is it so popular? Studies of turmeric suggest it has many healing factors like reducing inflammation in the body, boosting immunity, balancing hormone levels, improving digestion, etc. You can read more about it in this in-depth article about the Top 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric.
Be sure and check out 20+ Best Healthy Instant Pot Soup Recipes for even more amazing pressure cooker soup recipes!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH SOUP
Looking for yummy recipes ideas to go with the soup? Here are our favorite pairings:
MORE INSTANT POT SOUP RECIPES
- Instant Pot Broccoli Zucchini Cheddar Soup
- Instant Pot Creamy Cauliflower Soup
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Soup
TOOLS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT RED LENTIL SOUP WITH LEMONPrint
Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
Nutritious, delicious, and ready in minutes, this Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup is layers of sweet, earthy, and bright flavors.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 7 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small sweet or yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable)
- 1 1/2 cups rinsed red lentils
- 3/4 cup canned, fresh, or frozen sweet corn
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit for a no spicy heat)
- pinch of saffron (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
for serving: torn fresh basil for garnish, heavy cream, lemon wedges
- Preheat the pressure cooker by selecting saute. Add oil.
- When hot, add onions and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth, lentils, corn, lemon juice and zest, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, red pepper flakes, saffron, salt, and pepper; stir.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a quick release.
- Puree soup to desired consistency with an immersion blender. For a regular blender, puree about 1/3 of the soup then return it to the pot.
- Serve hot with a garnish of basil, a swirl of cream, and a squeeze of lemon. Extra fresh cracked pepper is also amazing.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen for at least 3 months.
- Saffron can be a very expensive spice. While it adds great flavor to the soup, you won't miss it if you omit it
- Use red lentils for this soup to achieve maximum creaminess, not brown or green.
Keywords: instant pot soup, lentil soup, healthy soup