In my eyes, the perfect meal is packed with extra flavor and health benefits, but requires less time cooking it in the kitchen.
Hours spent cooking was always the story until I purchased and started using an instant pot! One of my favorite things to make in the instant pot is several different types of lentils, some that simply add a nice side dish to a protein to a full blown instant pot lentil curry.
Let’s get started in discussing some of the best instant pot lentil recipes I know.
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How to make instant pot lentils recipe?
Fill the pot: First, add the lentils and one cup of water in the instant pot. Add seasonings and stir.
Cook: Next, close and secure the lid and select High Pressure Cook setting. Set the cook time for six to eight minutes. For softer lentils, you can cook your lentils for up to 10 minutes.
Vent: Allow pressure to naturally release.
Serve: Serve your lentils over basmati rice or quinoa and enjoy!
Instant Pot Lentil Recipes
While some of these printable recipe card directions will lead you to a meal all on its own, these recipes also allow plenty of time to be spent on other preparations for a meal.
Vegan Instant Pot Lentil Soup
In my opinion, the best kind of instant pot soup recipes are the ones like this vegan lentil soup, where all you have to do is let the machine do most of the work, and this is especially true for vegan and vegetarian soup recipes.
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This instant pot lentils recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- 1 medium onion
- 3 carrots
- 2 cups of fresh spinach
- half a cup of fresh parsley
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 4 cups vegetable broth ( I like using this bouillon cube for amazing flavor)
- cumin powder
- curry powder
- dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
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Chop all the veggies and the other ingredients including olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves, ½ cup lemon juice, 4 cups of vegetable broth, 1 can of diced tomatoes with the juice included, salt and black pepper, and 1 cup of either brown lentils, yellow lentils, or french green lentils.
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Saute the vegetables and olive oil in the instant pot on the saute mode for 5 minutes, then add in the garlic and seasonings and cancel the saute function so that you can next add the can of tomatoes, the cups of dry lentils, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper.
Cook on high pressure with the valve sealed for 15 minutes, allowing up to 15 minutes for a natural release of pressure, only opening the valve again to relieve leftover steam once the cooking process is completed.
To help add thickness to one of the most comforting soups I know about, you can remove 2 cups and puree it in a blender. Lastly, drop in the spinach and stir until wilted, adding the final touches of lemon juice and parsley as garnish.
Making this recipe in the slow cooker instead simply calls for you to saute the veggies over a stove top to ensure you still add a ton of flavor.
Immediately add in the spices, cup of lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil, reducing to medium-low and heating for 35 minutes. You would still puree 2 cups of this savory soup as it’s how we thicken it without dairy.
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Instant Pot Lentils
Using brown lentils, black lentils or even black beluga lentils, this tasty instant pot lentil recipe works as a complimentary side dish for when you’re searching for something healthy or are just sick of cooking brown rice.
Quick recipes like these instant pot lentils also keep your grocery store list light, as you’ll only need one cup lentils, 1 ¾ cups of chicken broth (you can substitute with cups of water or veggie broth), as well as the optional add-ins like ½ teaspoon of garam masala, 2 cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and ½ teaspoon of the dried or fresh herbs of your choice.
After rinsing the dry lentils under water to remove the skins, pour in the lentils, broth or water to the bottom of the instant pot, seal the valve, and set the instant pot lentils recipe in motion by selecting to pressure cook on a high heat setting for a cook time of 10 minutes to achieve tender lentils.
Once they’re done pressure cooking, allow for a natural release of pressure for 10 minutes, releasing the valve afterwards to let out any remaining pressure, and carefully remove aromatics to serve.
Mix with the salt, pepper, and other dried seasonings, or try different ways to enjoy this meal, like adding a little parmesan cheese or white garlic sauce.
Red Lentil Dal
This is one of my absolute favorite recipes. For the next time you have a schedule ahead full of busy weeknights, another great instant pot lentil soup recipe is this Indian dal that uses red lentils, because there’s literally hardly any meal prep.
Make sure that you do not purchase red whole lentils as they will not cook correctly for this recipe.
- 2 ½ cups of split red lentils (masoor dal) will work just fine
- 2 teaspoons of ghee or coconut oil
- half a minced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 3 minced cloves of garlic
- one teaspoon each of ground cumin seeds and ground coriander
- ¼ cup of either mild or spicy curry paste
- one 14 ounce can of coconut milk
- 5 cups of vegetable broth
Using the instant pot’s saute function, use the ghee or oil to cook the ginger and onion, shortly thereafter adding in the curry paste, garlic, and spices, cooking for one minute longer before switching the device off.
Next, whisk the vegetable broth, coconut milk, and red lentils into the instant pot, closing the lid and steam vent. Use the Manual or Pressure Cook settings at High pressure for 8 minutes, only to allow for the natural release of pressure for 10 minutes instead of the quick release method to complete this excellent recipe for red lentil soup.
Instant Pot Dal Makhani
If you’re looking for easy recipes with delicious flavor on this list of instant pot lentil recipes, try to make dal makhani, an Indian food which is delish next to sweet potato or savory, gold potatoes.
Specifically using 1 ½ cups of black, nutritious lentils and a half cup of dry kidney beans, rinse and massage with cold water, and then add the drained legumes and dry beans to an instant pot with 4 ½ cups of water.
Follow the typical locked lid, high pressure for 5 minutes, and the natural release of pressure procedure we’ve been following this article, though, note that the actual cooking time will also include the time the kitchen appliance needs to come to full pressure, which is about 10 minutes, then remove.
Saute ½ diced onion, 1 tablespoon of garlic paste, and 1 tablespoon of minced ginger in 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter until the garlic has become slightly browned bits.
Add ⅔ teaspoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, salt to taste, 4 tablespoons of tomato paste (not tomato sauce!), 3 cup of water, and the cooked lentils and beans back into the electric pressure cooker, sauteing and stirring frequently for 15 minutes.
The full recipe also calls for ⅓ cups of heavy cream for a layer of flavor that is absolutely the best part, and the amount of time left to cook after that is just another 5 minutes, stirring often, then serve any time of year as one of your go-to lentil recipes.
What is Garam Masala?
Garam masala is a blend of spices originating from India. Ingredients include cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. Garam masala blends may also include black and green cardamom, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, nutmeg, fenugreek and mace.
How To Store Leftovers?
Store: You can store leftover lentils in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to seven days.
Freeze: You can freeze lentils in a freezer bag for up to four months.
Thaw: Thaw lentils the night before you plan to eat them.
Reheat: Reheat lentils with a bit of water on the stove or in the microwave. Enjoy!