Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Pressure Build/Release: 20 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 bowls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
265 Calories
8g Fat
42g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 705mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 13g 45%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 38mg 188%
Calcium 141mg 11%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 1114mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This soup goes from basic to sophisticated by using French lentils and seasoning with the elegant and unique French Espelette pepper. French lentils are a variety of green lentils with a nutty and peppery kick, as well as a slightly earthy flavor. They also tend to hold their shape well in a recipe like this.

The ingredient that gives this soup its distinctive flavor is Espelette pepper. This is a variety of pepper that's cultivated in the French commune of Espelette in the French Basque country. It offers a mild heat and distinctive flavor. If you can't find Espelette pepper in your local grocery store, it can be ordered online or found in French specialty stores. You won't regret adding this gourmet ingredient to your spice cabinet. Alternately, smoked paprika is a delicious substitute in this recipe.

This classic French recipe is prepared quickly and easily by using the Instant Pot. There is no need to soak the lentils and the soup cooks on high pressure for only 15 minutes. It also calls for vegetable broth, so it's vegetarian and vegan. Be sure to serve this lentil soup with warm, crusty French bread. For added elegance, it pairs well with white or red French wine such as a Sancerre or pinot noir.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups onion, chopped

  • 1 cup carrots, chopped

  • 1 cup celery, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon Espelette pepper, or smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Instant Pot Lentil Soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Drizzle olive oil into Instant Pot and set to sauté. Once oil is hot, add onion. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. 

    oil and onions in a instant pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Add carrots and celery and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes.

    onions, carrots and celery in an instant pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Add minced garlic, thyme, Espelette pepper, salt, and black pepper. Sauté for 30 seconds, until garlic is fragrant. 

    vegetables, herbs and spices in an instant pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Add lentils, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable broth. 

    lentils, tomatoes, and vegetable broth added to the mixture in the instant pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Cover and seal pressure cooker, then use manual setting to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of high pressure, allow cooker to release pressure naturally. This will take about 10 to 15 additional minutes. The pressure cooker is safe to open when the pressure valve is down.

    lentil soup cooking in an instant pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  7. Open lid and stir soup to combine. Taste soup and adjust seasonings as desired. If necessary, add additional broth to achieve desired consistency.

    lentil soup in an instant pot

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  8. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and crusty French bread for dipping.

    Instant Pot Lentil Soup in a bowl, bread on a plate

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg