This Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup recipe has a surprise ingredient–BACON!!! Didn’t expect that in lentil soup, did ya?! Never worry, this recipe can be super easily adapted to be a vegetarian or vegan lentil soup, too! Don’t let the bacon scare you away. It’s delicious with or without!
Typically I love warm, comforting soups and stews ONLY in the winter…I know, call me weird. It’s just a thing. However, this instant pot red lentil soup is chock full of so many bright flavors and spices that this is one that is on my year-round rotation!
Layers of rich flavors, combined with the freshness of the lemon at the end….oh, yes and did I mention the bacon??! Even if you have never tried lentil soup, TRY THIS!! I think you’ll be surprised how much you love it! You MUST MUST serve it with my Perfect Air Fryer Garlic Bread–I promise you will not be sorry!!!
If you love this warm, comforting soup, don’t forget to try my Easy Vegetable Beef Soupm my Rigatoni Meatball Soup and this class 15 Bean Soup with Ham! And if you LOVE bacon( I know you do!) try this Cheesy Velveeta Potato Soup with Bacon!!
How to make Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup: The Game Plan
I love giving you a “game plan” or “order of operations” to make recipes come together super quickly and help you make the best use of your time.
- Saute bacon using the saute setting on your Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker.
- While bacon is cooking, chop onions, carrots and garlic (this is my FAVORITE kitchen tool for chopping garlic!)
- Add veggies to the Instant Pot, season with spices, crushed tomatoes, lentils, chicken stock, salt/pepper and a pinch of sugar.
- Pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 10-15 minutes more.
- Stir in lemon juice and serve it up!
Do I have to soak the lentils first?
Nope! Just throw them in! Most lentils at the store are pretty clean, but take a quick peek for any stones or debris.
Can I use other types of lentils?
Sure! There are so many varieties of lentils, so get creative! Red lentils cook up the quickest which is why I choose them the most often. If you choose another variety of lentil, increase the cooking time by 10 minutes.
Can I cook this instant pot red lentil soup on the stove top?
You sure can! Follow the recipe as written except do everything in a medium stockpot. After the liquids are added, cook for about 20 minutes until the lentils are tender.
Leftovers & Freezing
This soup is wonderful the next day! Store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days–I feel like it gets a little better each day!
To reheat, simmer over the stove with a little chicken stock to thin it out. OR just reheat without the stock for a thicker “stew like” texture. It’s delish either way!
To freeze, I like to cool the soup completely then store flat in a large freezer bag. Soup will store in the freezer for 1-2 months.
What to serve with red lentil soup
Hands down, you HAVE to make my Perfect Air Fryer Garlic Bread to serve with this!! ((You can also make the garlic bread in the oven if you don’t have an air fryer)). Naan bread works great too. Fresh baby arugula dressed with a little lemon and olive oil is also the perfect complement.
Recipe notes and tips
- Making this a vegan lentil soup recipe is super easy. Just omit the bacon and use veggie stock. Easy breezy!
- This soup is a perfect meal prep lunch because it keeps so well in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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Other soup recipes you’ll love
Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup
- 6 slices bacon, chopped* (see Note 1)
- 1 cup onion, small dice
- 1 cup carrot, small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 32 oz chicken stock* (see Note 1)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- greek yogurt, cilantro for garish (optional)
- Set Instant Pot to saute and allow it to heat up for a minute or two.
- Add bacon and saute for 7-8 minutes until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon from Instant Pot and drain on paper towels (if you like you can drain most of the bacon grease from the pot, but usually I leave most of it in for max flavor!)
- Add onion, carrot and garlic to Instant Pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
- Add turmeric, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, tomatoes, sugar, chicken stock and lentils.
- Stir until everything is well mixed, then cover and pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.
- Allow the pot to natural release for another 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in lemon juice and serve immediately garnished with reserved bacon pieces, greek yogurt and cilantro (optional).