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This ultra cozy Instant Pot lentil soup stars fennel, fire roasted tomatoes, and lentils: it’s an easy vegetarian meal that everyone will love!

Instant pot lentil soup
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Can you make soup in an Instant Pot? Absolutely. This Instant Pot lentil soup recipe is the perfect intro to pressure cooker soups! It’s easy to make and full of nutritious ingredients. Lentils load it with plant based protein, and it’s bright red from fire roasted tomatoes. The star ingredient: fresh fennel, which adds a smoky undertone. This soup is ultra cozy and Alex and I have been enjoying a steaming bowl with a side of our best vegan cornbread. And don’t take it just from us: reader Laura told us,“My husband said this could easily go into regular rotation at our house.” Score! Let’s get started.

Instant pot lentil soup

Why make Instant Pot soup?

As we’ve shared extensively, Alex and I used to be Instant Pot haters. Then we got one…and we ended up falling in love! As people who eat mainly vegetarian and vegan recipes, we started only making basics like rice, dried beans, sweet potatoes, etc. But we’ve branched out into using our Instant Pot for vegetarian meals, like pasta (like spaghetti and creamy penne) and now soup.

Now, despite its name: the Instant Pot does not cook food in an instant. The advantage of cooking Instant Pot soup recipes is that it’s totally hands off once the cooking starts. You can throw the soup in the pot and then go do other things, until your dinner is done! Overall, this soup will take about 45 minutes to make, with the “preheat time” included.

Instant pot

How to make lentil soup in an Instant Pot

To make this Instant Pot lentil soup recipe, you’ll use the Saute mode on the Instant Pot. This is just like sauteing on the stovetop, but you’ll do it right in the pressure cooker itself. In this lentil soup, you’ll saute the fennel and onion. Why do you need to saute? Couldn’t you just throw everything into the pot? Sauteing the veggies makes them perfectly cooked and brings out their flavor in a way that pressure cooking them does not. So make sure to do this step!

By the way, if you’re not sure how to cut fennel and how to dice an onion quickly: we can help! We have some great knife skills tutorials that can help you cut them in a flash:

Saute up the onion and fennel, then add the remainder of the ingredients and pressure cook for just 10 minutes! However, we want to be clear about the overall time. Because of the amount of ingredients in the pressure cooker, it will take about 20 minutes to “preheat” or come up to pressure. Because we’re all about truth in advertising (ha!), we’ve incorporated this time into our overall time that the recipe takes to cook.

Lentil soup Instant pot

What people are saying

Because Instant Pot cooking can be a little variable, we like to test the recipes with our readers before publishing them here on A Couple Cooks. This cozy Instant Pot lentil soup went over with our real-life recipe testers! Here’s what they had to say:

  • “Made the soup last night. Timing was spot on. The soup was thicker…not quite stew, but definitely thicker than a veggie soup. It divided into 6+ hearty portions. I liked the flavor. My husband said this could easily go into regular rotation at our house!” -Laura
  • “The lentil soup turned out great! We really liked it! We think it would serve 4 to 5 people, but I guess it depends on the people (my boyfriend can eat haha!).” -Amanda

What kind of Instant Pot to use?

Alex and I use an Instant Pot brand Instant Pot (Instant Pot is the brand name; Instapot is a slang variation). The Instant Pot we use is the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

We’d only recommend using a 6 quart pressure cooker for this recipe. We also can’t speak to other brands and types of pressure cookers. For example, we’ve heard that the Instant Pot Mini works pretty differently than the standard size: we also wouldn’t recommend it here since the quantity is much too large.

Instant pot lentil soup

Looking for Instant Pot recipes?

Outside of this Instant Pot lentil soup recipe, here are some of our favorite Instant Pot Recipes:

This lentil soup Instant Pot recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

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Lentil soup

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.3 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This ultra cozy Instant Pot lentil soup stars fennel, fire roasted tomatoes, and lentils: it’s an easy vegetarian meal that everyone will love!


  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups brown or green lentils
  • 28 ounce diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 cups baby spinach (or chopped standard spinach)


  1. Dice the onion. Dice the fennel. Peel and dice the carrots. Grate the garlic and set aside to stir in once the soup is cooked.
  2. Turn on Saute mode and add the olive oil. When it is heated, add the onion and fennel and saute for 6 to 7 minutes until translucent. Add the carrots, lentils, tomatoes, broth, water, salt, paprika, and oregano. Lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Place the pressure release handle (vent) in the “Sealing” position.
  3. Cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes about 20 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  4. Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid.
  5. Stir in the spinach and grated garlic, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Taste and season with additional salt and fresh ground pepper as necessary. Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

A few more soups…

Because we’re soup obsessed (aren’t you?), here are a few more of our favorite soup recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. ira lustman says:

    Substituted kale for the spinach. It was more of a stew than a soup but it was delicious! I will make this again.

  2. Kristin H says:

    We love this soup! I have never tried fennel and now I just love it! We have a picky eater and they give 2 thumbs up. This soup freezes well. I froze flat in a freezer bag and reheated on stove no problem:) I added a little fresh lemon zest to your recipe and it played well with the fennel and balanced the tomatoes

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Susan Schuba says:

    Made this in the Instant Pot and was it was easy and delicious. I taste a bitter aftertaste and am wondering what that is from. Could it be from the fennel? I will make again but will leave out the fennel and spinach to see if one of those caused the slight bitterness.

  4. imsen says:

    This is the BEST lentil soup ever!! I literally make it once a week.

  5. Michelle says:

    If using diced tomatoes instead of the spicy ones listed, should I add more flavor?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      The fire roasted aren’t spicy, just roasted before canning. You don’t need to add more flavor if you substitute, but the overall soup may be just a tad sour depending on the brand of tomatoes.

  6. TOM A KLIMEK says:

    I loved the Instapot Lentil Soup. Perfect to come home to on a cold winter day!

  7. Courtney S says:

    This sounds and looks fabulous! Do you start with dried lentils or need to soak and cook them first? Thanks!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Dried lentils.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Not a fan of the “pizza flavor.” I would cut down on the tomato sauce by a lot.

  9. Karen Cain says:

    Really good! I added a splash of white wine and lemon for some tang. One question- recipes generally don’t include how big a serving size is, which I don’t understand. For this one, what is the amount of each serving?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I’m sorry, we don’t have it measured.

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