Learn how to cook Flavorful Hearty Instant Pot Lentil Soup (Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup)! Snuggle up with a comforting nutritious bowl of thick lentil soup, topped with crisp smoky bacon. Satisfy your crowd with this super easy to make Instant Pot Soup with simple affordable ingredients.
What are Lentils?
Lentils are highly affordable, high protein legumes that are full of fibre, complex carbohydrates & rich in iron; while low in calories & fat.
There are different varieties of lentils including Red Lentils, Yellow Lentils, Green Lentils, Puy Lentils, Beluga Lentils. You can find whole lentils or split lentils among these varieties.
Lentils are super quick & easy to cook – no need to soak before cooking! They’re great & versatile ingredient for making soups, stews, curry, salads, casseroles, or adding into your vegetarian, vegan diets.
What We Look for in a Great Lentil Soup?
A good bowl of lentil soup is hearty, comforting, and deliciously satisfying to eat.
The Lentil Soup should be full of flavors and not bland or tastes flat & boring, where the lentils are fully cooked & tender, but not mushy.
A taste of fall-winter flavors, like a homey warm hug on a cool day!
Ingredients for Lentil Soup in Instant Pot
*Note: For those looking to make a vegan Instant Pot Lentil Soup, we’ve provided substitution options for you! 🙂
- Lentils – We used Green Lentils to develop this lentil soup recipe because they hold up well after cooking and have a nutty taste; while Red Lentils will not hold up as well & may come out mushy.
- Unsalted Chicken Stock – Different brands or even different boxes of the same brand of salted chicken stock can differ in levels of sodium, so we prefer to develop recipes using unsalted chicken stock for more control & consistency on the dish’s flavor profile. Best if you can make your own chicken stock! 😀
- Vegan Option: Substitute chicken stock with vegetable stock.
Our Secret Ingredients:
- Bacon – Why use bacon in Lentil Soup? Bacon serves 3 grand purposes to kick this hearty soup to the next level! First, we used the delicious smoky-savory-bacony fat to saute the garlic & onion; secondly, it’ll add a smoky-savory-umami dimension of flavors to the lentil soup; lastly, the crispy bacon bits will add a satisfying texture to this hearty thick soup. yum yum~
- Vegan Option: Skip the bacon and use olive oil to saute the onions & garlic.
- Fish Sauce (Amy + Jacky’s favorite…hehe~) – This adds a magical delicious touch of savory-umami depth of flavors to the soup.
- Vegan Option: Substitute fish sauce with regular soy sauce.
- Sherry Vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar (optional) – This imparts a complex, rounded acidity flavor that will brighten up the overall flavor profile with a new dimension. Be sure to first taste test with a small portion to see if you like this flavor profile. Then add according to your personal preferences.
How to Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup Step by Step Guide
Tools for Instant Pot Lentil Soup
Lentil Soup Preparation
Rinse lentils in cold water, then remove any debris. Drain well.
*Pro Tip: You don’t need to soak lentils before cooking! 🙂
Preheat & Render Bacon
Before you turn on the heat, layer 6 slices of bacon in your Instant Pot’s inner pot.
*Note: We are using the preheating heat to render & crisp the bacon.
Heat up Instant Pot using “Sauté More” function.
*Tip: For older versions – press “Saute” button, then “Adjust” button. For newer versions – press “Saute” button twice.
Flip bacon slices occasionally.
Once the Instant Pot says “HOT” (roughly 12 minutes), the bacon should be done. Place the bacon slices on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.
Saute Onions & Garlic
There should be a lot of flavorful bacon fat in the Instant Pot. If you are on a diet, remove some of the fat.
Add in diced onion, then saute for three minutes.
Add in minced garlic, 1 tsp (2.7g) ground cumin, 1 tsp (0.6g) dried thyme, and 3 bay leaves. Saute for another minute.
Deglaze Instant Pot
Pour ½ cup (125ml) unsalted stock in Instant Pot, then deglaze by scrubbing all the flavorful brown bits off the bottom of the pot (as shown in below photo).
Give it a quick mix.
Pressure Cook Lentil Soup
Add 2 tbsp (30ml) fish sauce and 5 ½ cups (1375ml) unsalted chicken stock in Instant Pot.
Add in 2 cups (400g) green lentils, chopped carrots, and chopped celery. Give it a quick mix.
Layer 14oz (400g) crushed tomatoes on top. Do not mix.
With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position.
- Pressure Cooking Methods: High Pressure 8 minutes + Natural Release 10 minutes
After 10 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to Venting Position.
While the soup is pressure cooking, cut bacon slices into bacon bits.
When Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.
Season Lentil Soup
Taste the lentil soup in Instant Pot, then adjust seasoning accordingly.
*Pro Tip: For reference, you will need roughly 4 – 5 pinches of salt to season properly & open up the flavors.
Serve Instant Pot Lentil Soup
Garnish Instant Pot Lentil Soup with freshly chopped parsley and bacon bits, then serve immediately 🙂
*Pro Tip: You can also add just a bit of sherry vinegar or rice wine vinegar for another layer of flavor. As always, first taste test with a small portion in a bowl to see if you like this flavor profile before serving the Instant Pot Lentil Soup with sherry vinegar.
Enjoy your Comforting Hearty Instant Pot Lentil Soup!~
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- 2 cups (400g) dried split green lentils
- 6 slices (210g) bacon , browned and cut into bits
- 6 (27g) garlic cloves , minced
- 1 (245g) large onion , roughly diced
- 2 (325g) large carrot , roughly chopped
- 2 (161g) celery ribs , roughly chopped
- 14 oz (400g) crushed tomatoes
- 3 (0.4g) bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon (2.7g) ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon (0.6g) dried thyme
- 6 cups (1.5L) unsalted chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons (15ml) fish sauce
- A dash sherry vinegar or rice wine vinegar (optional)
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Bacon bits
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- Preheat & Render Bacon: Before you turn on the heat, layer 6 slices of bacon in Instant Pot's inner pot. *Note: We are using the preheating heat to render & crisp the bacon. Heat up Instant Pot using "Sauté More" function. Flip bacon occasionally. Once Instant Pot says "HOT" (~12 mins), the bacon should be done. Place bacon on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.
- Saute Onions & Garlic: Keep the flavorful bacon fat in Instant Pot. Add in diced onion, then saute for 3 minutes. Add in minced garlic, 1 tsp (2.7g) ground cumin, 1 tsp (0.6g) dried thyme, and 3 bay leaves. Saute for another minute.
- Deglaze Instant Pot: Pour ½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock in Instant Pot, then deglaze by scrubbing all the flavorful brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Give it a quick mix.
- Pressure Cook Lentil Soup: Add 2 tbsp (30ml) fish sauce and 5 ½ cups (1375ml) unsalted chicken stock in Instant Pot. Add in 2 cups (400g) green lentils, chopped carrots, and chopped celery. Give it a quick mix. Layer 14oz (400g) crushed tomatoes on top. Do not mix. With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position. Pressure cook at High Pressure 8 minutes + Natural Release 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, release the remaining pressure. Open the lid carefully. While the soup is pressure cooking, cut bacon slices into bacon bits.
- Season Lentil Soup: Taste the lentil soup, then adjust seasoning accordingly (for reference, we added roughly 4 - 5 pinches of salt to balance & open up the flavors).
- Serve Instant Pot Lentil Soup: Garnish Lentil Soup with freshly chopped parsley and bacon bits, then serve immediately. *Pro Tip: You can also add just a bit of sherry vinegar or rice wine vinegar for another layer of flavor just before serving. Enjoy!~
Lentil Soup Frequently Asked Questions
To make this into a vegan lentil recipe, substitute the unsalted chicken stock with vegetable stock and fish sauce with regular soy sauce. Skip the bacon and use olive oil to saute the onions.
This will make a great “dump-it-all-in” lentil soup in Instant Pot. To start, place all the ingredients in the Instant Pot (except crushed tomatoes and bacon slices). Now layer the crushed tomatoes on the very top and do not mix. Close lid and pressure cook as directed.
*Bacon Bits: Follow the oven instructions for crisping the bacon slices below.
To prepare the bacon in the oven, place bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place it on the middle rack of a preheated 400°F oven. Bake bacon until crispy and golden-brown. Set a timer for roughly 18 – 20 minutes. Place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Cut bacon strips into bacon bits. Enjoy these addictive umami bits~
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