Instant Pot Garlic Lentil Soup

This easy Instant Pot garlic lentil soup is bursting with flavor from the roasted garlic. It tastes like it’s been cooking all day, but cooks up in less than an hour.

I didn’t grow up eating lentils, but in my adult life I’ve found that I love them. They’re one of the quickest cooking beans (no soaking required) and they’re loaded with protein, fiber, folate and iron. Plus I like their small size and versatility. There are so many different ways to prepare and eat lentils, but one of my favorites has to be soup.

I’ve shared several lentil soup recipes over the years from this cabbage lentil soup and lentil stew with kale to this butternut squash red lentil stew. This lentil soup is a bit different because we’re making it in the Instant Pot! Although, don’t worry… I’m still giving instructions for how to make it on the stove-top as well.

Bowl of lentil soup with celery and carrots. Beside the bowl is a slice of bread and parsley.

Garlic Lentil Soup Ingredients

  • vegetables – sweet yellow onion, carrots, celery and roasted garlic
  • French green or brown lentils
  • vegetable broth
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • red wine vinegar
  • tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • seasonings and spices – dried oregano, dried thyme, bay leaves, sea salt and pepper
  • optional toppings – sriracha, avocado, fresh parsley

Ingredients to make lentil soup including tomatoes, broth, carrots, lentils, onion, celery, tomato paste, garlic, vinegar and spices.

Roasted Garlic = Amazing Flavor

There’s actually a lentil soup on the menu at one of my favorite Greek restaurants in town called Stella’s. I typically order a big bowl of it as my meal with a salad on the side or convince Isaac to split a bowl with me if I’m ordering an entree. I’ve tried several times to make a lentil soup at home that tastes like Stella’s lentil soup and failed. My version has never had the same flavor… until now. And I think I figured out the secret ingredients – roasted garlic and vinegar.

By using a whole bulb of roasted garlic you get a lovely, robust garlic flavor and a hint of sweetness that permeates the whole soup. And the red wine vinegar simply brightens up the flavor of the soup. It’s kind of like salt. Whenever you feel like a dish is missing a little something, you tend to add salt, right? Well sometimes salt can do it, but other times you need something acidic like citrus juice or vinegar. In the case of this soup, vinegar is the winner!

Bowl of lentil soup with celery and carrots.

How to Roast Garlic

The first time I made roasted garlic at home I fell in love. If you’ve never roasted garlic, you have to try it! Your entire house will smell amazing and it takes any recipe that calls for garlic to the next level. Here’s how to make it:

  • Cut off the top – Cut the top of the garlic bulb off about ¼ inch down from the top. You want to make sure you’re cutting off a bit of each clove around the bulb. 
  • Prep – Place aluminum foil under the garlic bulb and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over top to cover the exposed cloves. Wrap the foil around the bulb tightly.
  • Bake – Bake the bulb at 400ºF for 30-40 minutes or until the garlic is soft and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Remove cloves – Once cool, pop each clove out of its paper. Some cloves slide out really easily while others need to be encouraged out!

Side by side photos of an instant pot. In the first photo, carrots, onions and celery are being sautéed. In the second photo is the cooked lentil soup.

How to Make Garlic Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot

Sauté – Using the sauté function on high heat, heat the oil in the inner pot and then add the onion, carrots and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and onions are softened. Season with a little salt and pepper while cooking.

Add remaining ingredients + pressure cook – Stir in the roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Stir to combine. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.

Release pressure – After the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then quick-release the remaining pressure.

Season + serve – Remove the bay leaves, stir in the vinegar and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings of choice!

Don’t worry! If you don’t have an Instant Pot you can still make this soup. I’m sharing stove-top instructions in the instructions as well!

Lentil soup in an instant pot. A wood spoon is in the pot.

More Lentil Recipes to Try:

If you make this Instant Pot lentil soup, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

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Bowl of lentil soup with celery and carrots. Beside the bowl is a slice of bread and parsley.

Instant Pot Garlic Lentil Soup


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This easy Instant Pot garlic lentil soup is bursting with flavor from the roasted garlic. It tastes like it’s been cooking all day, but cooks up in less than an hour.


Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic (about 810 cloves), chopped*
  • 116 oz bag dry French green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 (32 oz) containers of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper + more to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Optional toppings: sriracha, avocado, fresh parsley

Instructions

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

  1. Using the sauté function on high, heat oil in the inner pot for about 1 minute, until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and onions are turning translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper while cooking.
  2. Stir in the roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  3. Once the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  4. Remove bay leaves, stir in vinegar, taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
    Ladle soup into bowls and serve with toppings of choice. I personally love adding fresh parsley and a splash of sriracha.

Stove-Top

  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pot, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper while cooking. 
  2. Add roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring every so often, for at least 1 hour or until the lentils are soft. 
  4. Remove bay leaves, stir in vinegar, taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
    Ladle soup into bowls and serve with toppings of choice. I personally love adding fresh parsley and a splash of sriracha.

Notes

  • The garlic can be roasted in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. I highly recommend prepping it ahead of time to speed up the cooking process.
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 259
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 738mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 29g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: garlic lentil soup

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Recipe rating

    61 comments
    1. Dawn Thomas
      February 8, 2021 AT 10:26 am

      I made this three times (including this morning) since you first posted it. I was the one who asked if red lentils could be used; I ended up not using them as I know they would not have turned out as good. This soup is such a hit in my house and in my sisters house (sharing is caring). Thank you for sharing!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 8, 2021 AT 8:10 pm

        Woo!! So glad this soup has been a hit. Thanks for coming back to leave a review, Dawn. I so appreciate it!

    2. Stacey
      February 2, 2021 AT 1:47 pm

      I want to make this for dinner tonight, but I only have minced garlic. Do you think it will totally ruin the flavor not having the roasted garlic?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 2, 2021 AT 9:34 pm

        The roasted garlic adds extra flavor, but minced garlic will work in a pinch. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

    3. Lily
      January 30, 2021 AT 12:03 pm

      I made this last night for my husband and it was a hit! He kept asking if I really made it. He even dared to ask of the lentils were purchased pre cooked. Nope- with this recipe, I managed the whole thing. We are newlyweds and just purchased a house so I am starting to cook more. Previously, we were in the city eating out all the time.Thank you for making my novice cooking skills appear way more impressive!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 1, 2021 AT 1:03 am

        Ahh I love hearing this, Lily!! So glad this soup was a hit. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    4. Julia
      January 27, 2021 AT 10:10 pm

      This was the first meal I prepared in my Instant Pot! It smelled amazing while cooking. I used red lentils and the soup came out very mushy. Next time I will try green lentils and add more broth. Very tasty!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2021 AT 12:13 pm

        Yeah red lentils are softer than green lentils so that tends to happen. I’m glad you still enjoyed this soup! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review, Julia. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    5. Jen
      January 27, 2021 AT 5:03 pm

      Did you make this in a 6qt instant pot? Did it fill up the 6qt? I have a 3qt should i halve the recipe? This sounds so yummy can’t wait to make it! Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2021 AT 12:14 pm

        Hey Jen – I think I tested this one in my 6 qt pressure cooker. I think I’d half the recipe for a 3 qt instant pot.

        1. Jen
          January 31, 2021 AT 12:28 am

          Thank you for your quick reply Brittany. I made this last night and it was very very good! I basically halved everything for my 3qt instant pot, only 1 cup of Lentils, but could prolly have fit a bit more, and broth almost to the 2/3 fill line. So so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

          1. Brittany Mullins
            February 1, 2021 AT 12:54 am

            Woo!! So glad you loved this, Jen. Thanks for letting me know how it turned out and for leaving a review. I so appreciate it!

    6. Rachel
      January 13, 2021 AT 4:06 pm

      I loved the flavors of the soup and the suggestion to put sriracha in it was great. My only problem is the lentils came out very mushy. I followed the instant pot instructions. 15 minutes on manual, 10 minute slow release, then a quick release. I don’t know if I did something wrong or if they’re supposed to be mushy.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 14, 2021 AT 10:39 pm

        What kind of lentils did you use?

    7. Kim Gill
      December 28, 2020 AT 6:33 pm

      Love, love, love this soup! Rich and hearty like a stew. I have made it for all my sick friends to help them feel better.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 29, 2020 AT 2:23 am

        That’s so sweet of you!! So glad this soup has been a hit. I so appreciate you coming back to leave a review. 🙂

    8. Chris
      December 9, 2020 AT 9:03 pm

      Excellent! Love the veggie Instant Pot recipes.

    9. Mandy
      December 9, 2020 AT 11:53 am

      This came together fast and was so yummy! It is cozy and comforting and I will be adding this to my meal rotation! We had it topped with avocado and tortilla chips and the family loved it. 👌

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 10, 2020 AT 12:35 am

        Yay!! So glad this recipe was a hit. Thanks for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    10. Brittany
      December 8, 2020 AT 1:26 pm

      All I have to say is HOLY FLAVOURS BATMAN! I made this in my crockpot and followed the stovetop instructions but instead of a soup pot I dumped the sautéed veg and rest of ingredients into my crockpot and let it cook all day and it worked beautifully. This soup is PACKED with layers on layers of cozy winter flavours. I served it with some local sourdough bread and it was magnificent *chef’s kiss*

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 8, 2020 AT 7:14 pm

        Ahh this makes me so happy to hear, Brittany. I’m so pumped this soup was a hit! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it. 🙂

    11. Kay
      December 8, 2020 AT 11:55 am

      I followed your recipe exactly, except that I added a 1/2 teaspoon of dried turmeric, and it came out perfect! My Instant Pot took about 15 minutes to come to pressure, so I’d say the overall prep/cook time was about an hour. I topped it with avocado and cilantro and served it with a green salad. I bet baby spinach stirred in at the end would be good too. Another great recipe from you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 8, 2020 AT 7:15 pm

        Woo!! So glad this soup was a hit, Kay. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    12. Tara
      December 5, 2020 AT 10:22 pm

      This was delicious. 4/4 of the adults who ate it raved about how tasty- and filling-it was. I haven’t used an Instant Pot more than a few times and this recipe was so easy and quick. Yum!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 6, 2020 AT 12:23 pm

        Woo! This makes me so happy to hear. Thank you for coming back to leave a comment and star rating.I really appreciate it! And I’m right there with you on using my Instant Pot. I’m determined to use it more!

    13. Oksana Robak
      December 4, 2020 AT 4:49 pm

      Absolutely delicious! And so easy to make! That roasted garlic is a game changer! I was expecting the soup to be super spiced and be more of a Indian dish but it’s very mild (in the best way) and my two year old twin daughters loved it too so it’s an absolute win!!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 4, 2020 AT 6:24 pm

        Woo!! That makes me so happy to hear. I’m glad this soup was a hit. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    14. Amanda
      December 3, 2020 AT 6:47 pm

      This looks delicious! If I am using a slow cooker, should I cook the lentils before? Thank you! Your recipes are always so delicious!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 3, 2020 AT 10:18 pm

        No I would add them to the slow cooker uncooked. It should take 3-4 hours on high or 6+ hours on low. It’ll be done once the lentils are soft and cooked. 🙂 Let me know how it turns out for you!!

    15. Jenn
      December 3, 2020 AT 5:43 am

      Is it possible to cook this soup on the hob as I don’t have an instant pot or pressure cooker but would love to try. How would I adapt the recipe?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 3, 2020 AT 10:21 pm

        Hey Jenn – I share instructions for how to make this soup on the stove top in the post. 🙂

    16. Dawn
      December 2, 2020 AT 6:24 pm

      I only have red lentils, will that work here?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 3, 2020 AT 10:23 pm

        It should work, but they might turn out softer. Let me know if you try it!

    17. Jenna Lewis
      October 11, 2020 AT 1:17 pm

      I thought the soup had too much vinegar and not enough broth. The lentils took way longer than the allotted time to cook.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 12, 2020 AT 12:36 am

        Hey Jenna – Thanks for your feedback. This soup isn’t meant to be very brothy, but you can always add more broth to make it more liquidy if you prefer. How long did it take for your lentils to cook?

    18. Lauren
      September 30, 2020 AT 7:06 pm

      Have made this twice now and it is delicious! It freezes perfectly and is great for meal prep. I had it with some naan on the side and it was an A+ dinner.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 1, 2020 AT 11:40 pm

        Yay! So glad this soup was a hit! Thanks so much for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I really appreciate it. 🙂

    19. CounselorChick
      September 5, 2020 AT 10:31 pm

      I did need to add more salt & a few splashes of siracha at the end. Topped it with some avocado & bit of sour cream, sprinkling of fresh dill. It’s the roasted garlic that makes this extra delicious. Great idea! Hubby said it was the best soup I’ve ever made & I make a ton of great soups. 😋

      1. Gabby
        January 12, 2021 AT 5:12 pm

        If using presteamed lentils (Trader Joe’s), should we add them in at the very end? Also, should I reduce the amount of broth?

      2. Brittany Mullins
        September 7, 2020 AT 5:47 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear!! SO pumped this recipe was a hit. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I really appreciate it. 🙂

    20. Sarah
      March 14, 2020 AT 11:10 am

      Does this freeze well? How long does it last in the fridge?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 14, 2020 AT 1:44 pm

        Hey Sarah! I think this soup would freeze just fine in an airtight container or a freezer bag. It should last about a week in the fridge.

    21. Tyler
      July 14, 2018 AT 2:35 pm

      What is a good pairing food to go with this soup

    22. Megan S.
      March 23, 2016 AT 8:59 pm

      Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious!!! So simple and such great flavor. Hit the spot on a rainy night. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 23, 2016 AT 9:15 pm

        Ahh.. this makes me so happy! It will taste even better tomorrow (if you have any left over). 🙂

    23. monica1210x
      March 22, 2016 AT 3:57 pm

      LOVE lentils! this soup looks awesome 🙂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 22, 2016 AT 4:31 pm

        Thanks Monica!

    24. Kate | HappyForks.com
      March 22, 2016 AT 3:51 pm

      I totally agree! By eating only one portion of this kind of soup you’ll get almost entire daily recommended intake of folate and fiber (without mentioning all other good stuff you’ll get). And why should anyone stop after one portion?!

    25. Sam @ Barrister’s Beet
      March 22, 2016 AT 8:59 am

      I love lentils, so I’m very excited to try this! It looks delicious. I love soup year-round, too. So i’m happy to eat this throughout the spring and summer : )

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