Instant Pot Lentils

Wondering how to cook Instant Pot lentils? Here’s how to cook lentils in a pressure cooker, whether you want them straight up or seasoned for a fast dinner!

Instant Pot Lentils

If you’re looking to eat more plant based recipes, you’ve probably heard this: eat more lentils! Right? Alex and I have been trying to eat our good share of lentils for years. But we admit: it can be hard to know where to start! We’ve created this recipe to be a delicious basic lentil recipe that can be served many different ways: as part of a bowl meal, in a taco, and more! (Our two-year-old Larson adores them.) The great part: pressure cooker lentils are totally hands off! Keep reading for our Instant Pot lentils recipe and more about how you can serve them.

Want to make these on the stove? Seasoned Brown Lentils

Instant Pot Lentils

How to make lentils in an Instant Pot

Making Instant Pot lentils is one of the easier things you can make in your pressure cooker! Now that we’ve become Instant Pot experts, let me be the first to admit: I’m all about the Quick Release. Why? Because I’m impatient. If you’ve used your Instant Pot a lot, you’ll know that many recipes call for a natural release: which is perfectly well and good, except it does tack on extra time to the recipe.

We’re happy to report that this Instant Pot lentils recipe is seriously quick. How long do you cook lentils in an Instant Pot? 9 minutes. Then, do a Quick Release and you’re done! The only other time you have to factor in is the “preheat” time, which takes about 5 to 10 minutes depending on your Instant Pot. Overall, this Instant Pot lentils recipe has about 5 minutes of hands on time, and 15 to 20 minutes start to finish.

For our Instant Pot lentils recipe, we wanted to add seasonings so that you could serve these lentils as part of a dinner recipe without having to add anything more. Here are the pressure cooker lentils ingredients:

  • Brown or green lentils (either will work)
  • Vegetable broth (you can sub water in a pinch, but veggie broth adds great flavor)
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • Salt & pepper

And that’s it! The lentils come out perfectly spiced and very moist. You’ll notice that the bowl of the pressure cooker comes out with a bit of broth left over: stir it in and the lentils will absorb the broth upon sitting. They turn out perfectly moist (being overly dry can be a complaint when cooking lentils)!

Instant Pot lentils

How to serve these lentils

As I noted above, Alex and I wanted to make this Instant Pot lentils recipe to function as a base recipe. It will work both if you need lentils for another recipe–but it’s seasoned so that you can eat it as an easy lunch or dinner recipe!

If you’re making these Instant Pot lentils as a component for another recipe, you can omit the spices: unless you think they would go with the flavor! Keep in mind that this recipe uses salt: so if you use them as a component in another recipe, adjust the salt accordingly based on that recipe.

If you’re making these Instant Pot lentils as an easy lunch or dinner, here are a few ways that we would serve them:

  • As a bowl meal (pictured): Throw them in a bowl with pita bread, a dollop of Greek yogurt, tomato wedges, and chopped cilantro
  • In a taco: Throw them into a tortilla with salsa and sour cream: or try them in place of the filling in our Verde Lentil Tacos
  • With eggs: This morning Alex and Larson ate a delicious brunch of scrambled eggs and lentils! Here’s our Best Scrambled Eggs recipe.
Instant Pot lentils

Looking for lentil recipes?

Here are a few of our favorite lentil recipes:

Instant Pot Lentils

This Instant Pot lentils recipe is…

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

Lentils nutrition

Instant Pot Lentils

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (132 votes, average: 4.02 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 (about 4 cups) 1x


Wondering how to cook Instant Pot lentils? Here’s how to cook lentils in a pressure cooker, whether you want them straight up or seasoned for a fast dinner!



  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In the Instant Pot, place all ingredients and give them a stir. Lock the lid and place the vent in the “Sealing” position.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button (making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected) and set the time for 9 minutes. Wait while the Instant Pot cooks. (Note: It takes about 5 to 10 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. Open the lid and stir; there will be some leftover broth but the lentils will soak it up as they sit and become perfectly moist. Serve warm. (Storage info: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator; reheat on the stovetop.)

  • Category: Base recipe
  • Method: Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: Instant Pot Lentils, Lentils Recipe, How to Cook Lentils

Looking for Instant Pot recipes?

Outside of this Instant Pot lentils recipe, here are some of our favorite things we’ve made in our Instant Pot (pressure cooker):

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    December 14, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Do you let the lentils soak before cooking, and if so how long?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      December 15, 2019 at 11:22 am

      No! Straight into the pot.

  • Reply
    Josh Gleason
    December 17, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    SO GOOD!!! This is my new go-to lentil recipe. Can this be doubled in a 6 quart pot?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      December 18, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Glad you love it! We haven’t tried it, but I think it would still work to double in a 6 quart.

      • Reply
        Alberto Gonzalez
        January 21, 2020 at 11:17 am

        Of course!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Do you know the time difference for red split lentils rather than whole brown or green? I would assume it’s less because of size and split but not sure how much less. Thank you for this recipe, though!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 3, 2020 at 10:03 am

      Hi! We haven’t tested red lentils yet, but it would definitely be a few minutes less.

    • Reply
      March 2, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      I tried 6 min with red split lentils and it came out a bit mushy but still good, might try 4 min next time.

      • Reply
        Alex Overhiser
        March 3, 2020 at 9:15 am

        Thanks for the comment! We need to add a version for red lentils :)

  • Reply
    Sarah Dickison
    February 16, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Came out perfect at 10 minutes on high for my elevation (1200ft). Used 6qt IP. Out of oregano substituted cumin. Out of broth substituted beef bouillon. Ate it on a flour tortilla. Would make a great taco bowl too. Thank you for this recipe

  • Reply
    February 20, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    This is awesome! I am fairly new to using my IP, and I love lentils, but every time I cook them on the stove they turn into mush. This was perfect thank you!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Just made this and it was sooo good! Only had 3/4 cup lentils so I halved everything and did a little less paprika since I only had smoked paprika. It is soooo good alone as it is! Quick and delicious. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 23, 2020 at 8:08 pm

      You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed.

  • Reply
    Mr user.
    March 22, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    Mine were mushy. Not happy with the turnout.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Timing on this is spot on for lentils that are not mushy. I doubled the recipe keeping the timing the same and they came out great! Big thanks for this recipe.

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