Instant Pot Tacos

These Instant Pot tacos are almost totally hands off, making dinnertime easy! They’re colorful, irresistibly tasty, and please everyone at the table.

Instant Pot Tacos

Alex and I used to be major Instant Pot skeptics. Maybe even Instant Pot haters. When people would talk about the Instant Pot, we’d roll our eyes. Do we really need to add another appliance to our kitchen? It can’t be that great, can it? Well, we caved. We bought an Instant Pot. Then we made these Instant Pot tacos. And man, oh man, were they delicious! Since then, we’ve made oodles of recipes in our pressure cooker and it’s become our trusty side kick. But we keep going back to these tacos! They’re fresh and tasty, filled with an irresistible smoky lentil filling and topped with all the crunchy veggies. It’s an easy healthy dinner recipe that pleases everyone: set out the taco toppings and let everyone choose their own!

Video: Instant Pot tacos (1 minute!)

Make up a big pot of this healthy dinner recipe and it will feed you for the week! These tacos also kid friendly; our son Larson absolutely adores them. Here’s a 1 minute video showing me making them in our kitchen:

How to make Instant Pot tacos

Our Instant Pot tacos use our “famous” lentils and rice recipe as the filling. When we posted a photo on Instagram, our inbox was flooded with requests to test it. Here’s what one tester had to say: “I made your lentils and rice over the weekend and it was so good! My toddler Emma loved it straight out of the Instant Pot. Carnivore husband loved it too!” It makes a huge batch, so you can eat off of it for quite a while.

Make ahead tip: If you make the filling in advance, this Instant Pot tacos recipe can be made in about 15 minutes! If not, allow about 40 minutes.

Here are the basic steps for how to make the Instant Pot tacos filling:

  • Place veggie broth, rice, lentils, and spices (smoked paprika, fennel seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper) in an Instant Pot.
  • Pressure cook on High for 16 minutes.
  • Natural release for 16 minutes.
  • Open the lid and stir in apple cider vinegar. Taste and enjoy the meaty, smoky goodness!
Instant Pot Tacos

All the toppings!

The lentils and rice is an Instant Pot taco meat equivalent. Then load up your vegetarian tacos with colorful veggies and spicy sauces! This recipe is easily customizable, so you can use whatever vegetable or sauce toppings you prefer. Just make sure to use a creamy or wet sauce like salsa, otherwise the filling will be a bit dry. 

Here are some ideas for sauces for these Instant Pot tacos:

What would you drizzle on your taco? Would you try adding Pickled Jalapeños for a little kick? What are your favorite toppings? Let us know in the comments below or over on Instagram.

Instant pot

What Instant Pot do you use?

Instant Pot is just a brand name of a pressure cooker, and there are many great options out there (InstaPot is a common mis-spelling). Alex and I use the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker. All of the Instant Pot recipes on this website have been tested in this Instant Pot.

There are some variations between pressure cooker brands, so we can’t speak to the way that other brands cook. For example, we’ve heard that the Instant Pot Mini is pretty different and does not work as well as the standard size. So, only use the Instant Pot Mini or other pressure cookers for this recipe at your own risk!

Easy healthy dinner idea

Are lentils healthy?

This Instant Pot tacos recipe is healthier than most because…it stars lentils instead of ground beef! Lentils are not only tasty: they’re full of nutrition benefits and are inexpensive to buy! This vegan lentil recipe is not only good for your pocketbook, it’s healthy too. Here are a few of the major nutritional benefits of lentils:

  • Protein & Fiber: Lentils have a large amount of plant-based protein. 1 cup of cooked lentils has about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. (Source)
  • Low in Fat & Calories: Lentils have virtually no saturated fat and are low in calories.
  • Protect Against Heart Disease: Lentils are rich in polyphenols, micronutrients thought to help protect against cardiovascular disease. (Source)

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.

Instant Pot Tacos with Smoky Lentils | A Couple Cooks

Instant Pot Tacos

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 37 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos (4 servings) 1x


These Instant Pot tacos are almost totally hands off, making dinnertime easy! They’re colorful, irresistibly tasty, and please everyone at the table.




  1. Make the Instant Pot Smoky Lentils and Rice recipe (takes about 40 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, chop the cherry tomatoes and lettuce. Thinly slice the red onion.
  3. Warm the tortillas*, or char them by placing a tortilla on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until slightly blackened and warm.
  4. To assemble each taco, load the tortilla with smoky lentils, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, salsa, feta crumbles, and torn cilantro leaves. Feel free to customize with any other toppings you like!


*See How to Warm Tortillas for more!

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Instant Pot, Instant Pot Recipes, Pressure Cooker, Pressure Cooker Recipes, Lentils and Rice, How to Cook Lentils, Pressure Cooking, Tacos, Mexican, Vegan Mexican, Instant Pot Tacos, Pressure Cooker Tacos, Healthy, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Looking for Instant Pot recipes?

Outside of these Instant Pot tacos, here are a few more of our favorite Instant Pot recipes:

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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
    Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite
    August 20, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Love the idea of using lentils for taco meat!!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2018 at 8:43 am

    This looks delicious, and its great that your son loves them, too! I have a one year old daughter and we are trying to expose her to more diverse flavor profiles so we will have to give this a try! My husband and I are vegetarian, as well. Just curious about how it has been feeding a baby with a vegetarian lifestyle? Where do you go for inspiration? Would you consider doing a post about vegetarian friendly baby foods? Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      August 21, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      This is a great question! We actually eat “flexitarian” ourselves, so we feed Larson just a little bit of meat. Overall it’s about 90% vegetarian though, so we eat a TON of vegetarian items! That’s a great idea for a post and we’ll put it in our queue! The basic summary is that we feed him everything we eat, ha! We especially loved this one.

  • Reply
    Shannon Hill
    December 2, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    OMG. This was my first Instant Pot recipe and the whole family loved it. We used it as a filler in burritos. Delicious.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      December 2, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed :)

  • Reply
    January 6, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Very tasty recipe although I’m still trying to master the instant pot. Kinda tricky! Made the tacos tonite and they were good!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Menefee
    January 22, 2020 at 1:55 am

    Do you have the recipe for these tacos using the stove-top method. I don’t own a pressure cooker. I do own an air fryer though! Please advise. Thanks!

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