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This Instant Pot lentils and rice recipe for the pressure cooker is easy, delicious and versatile! Both grains cook together in the pot for simple assembly.

Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice (Pressure Cooker) | A Couple Cooks
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Meet our new favorite: this Instant Pot lentils and rice recipe! It came about as an accident, actually! I wanted to make a bowl meal with both lentils and rice, and needed to cook both of them. Alex and I knew you could cook rice in an Instant Pot, but wondered whether both lentils and rice could cook together our the Instant Pot (pressure cooker)! We tried it out using brown rice and lentils of the French variety, and added some spices to make them taste smoky and meaty. And guess what…

It worked! The Instant Pot lentils and rice cooked perfectly together, and the brown rice cooked much faster than on the stovetop! These lentils and rice are incredibly versatile: you can use them as a taco filling, as a bowl meal, in nachos, or as a side dish. And, we’re so smitten that we made you a video! Watch below.

Related: Use this recipe as a filling for our Instant Pot Tacos with Smoky Lentils!

Watch how to make Instant Pot lentils and rice

Important notes about this lentils and rice recipe

First, a few notes about this Instant Pot lentils and rice recipe! First, this recipe makes many servings. Since lentils and rice are great as leftovers and incredibly versatile, this makes enough for 10 cups, which is 8 or so servings. You’ll probably find you have leftovers unless you’re making this for a crowd.

Also, this lentils and rice recipe is a component meant to be served in various ways: like as a taco filling, in a bowl meal, or as a side to grilled fish. They’re not meant to be served just as is — so determine how you’d like to use them! Even throwing them over salad greens and topping with cheese crumbles and a few sliced veggies would be perfect. Our favorite way to eat our Instant Pot lentils is in our Instant Pot tacos or on our BEST Vegan Nachos. We’d love to hear how you serve them in the comments below!

Related: 15 Best Lentil Recipes | Dal Makhani | Cuban Black Beans & Rice

Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice (Pressure Cooker) | A Couple Cooks

How to make Instant Pot lentils and rice

And, a few things to note about the ingredients in our Instant Pot lentils and rice recipe:

  • Use long grain brown rice! We’ve optimized the timing for long grain brown rice in this Instant Pot rice recipe, so make sure to use this: it’s easy to find at most grocery stores.
  • Use French lentils! French lentils hold their shape better than green lentils, so we’ve used them here. If at all possible try to find French lentils (also called Puy), but you can use green lentils in a pinch!
  • Use smoked paprika! To make this Instant Pot brown rice and lentils taste smoky, we’ve used smoked paprika. Sometimes it’s called pimentón
  • Use fennel seeds. Using fennel seeds brings in a meaty flavor; since fennel seeds are typically used in sausage, the evoke the taste of meat in vegetarian dishes!

Other than keeping these notes in mind, it’s very simple to make Instant pot lentils and rice! Throw the ingredients in the pot, cook on high pressure for 16 minutes, and natural release for 16 minutes.

Related: Lentil to Water Ratio | What are Lentils?

Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice (Pressure Cooker) | A Couple Cooks

Looking for healthy Instant Pot recipes?

If you’ve read our other Instant Pot posts, you’ll know Alex and I used to be Instant Pot skeptics. We thought it was mostly helpful for cooking meat, but have found there are plenty of Instant Pot vegetarian recipes like these Instant Pot lentils! Instead of being just another kitchen appliance, we’ve enjoyed using our pressure cooker to simplify some of our vegetarian basics like sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Here are some of our other favorite Instant Pot recipes so far:

This recipe is…

This Instant Pot lentils and rice recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.

Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!

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Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice (Pressure Cooker) | A Couple Cooks

Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice (Pressure Cooker)

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4.6 from 18 reviews

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 37 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups (about 8 servings) 1x


This Instant Pot lentils and rice recipe for the pressure cooker is easy, delicious and versatile! Both grains cook together in the pot for simple assembly.


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice (do not sub short grain or white rice)
  • 2 cups French green lentils (also known as Puy; green works if you can’t find French)
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika (pimentón; do not sub sweet)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  1. In the Instant Pot, place all ingredients except the vinegar and give them a stir. Lock the lid and place the vent in the “Sealing” position.
  2. Cook the lentils: Press the Pressure Cook button (making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected) and set the time for 16 minutes. Wait while the Instant Pot cooks. (Note: It takes about 5 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. Wait for natural release: After the pot beeps, use the Natural Release method and wait another 16 minutes to let the pot cool down naturally (we set a timer so we don’t forget!). Then vent any remaining steam 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 steam release valve when releasing steam.)
  4. Open the lid and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Taste and add additional salt as necessary (veggie broth does vary in salt content, so you may need to add more salt). Serve warm. This recipe makes quite a bit and leftovers can be re-purposed throughout the week. 
  5. Storage info: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator; they do become more dry as they cool, so make sure to reheat them before serving again. Depending on the texture, consider adding a glug of olive oil for moisture.
  • Category: Main Dish, Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

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 for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Janice Nunez says:

    I made this last night for my taco salad and it is fantastic! I followed the recipe but I only had regular paprika regular brown rice and green lentils, but it came out great. My son had tacos with ground beef but had some as a side dish and really liked it! I will be making again and will try to get the right ingredients…but it still was yummy!

  2. Tom says:

    Can you make this in a regular rice cooker?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I’m not sure if the lentils would cook!

  3. Kimberly Williams says:

    I’ve tried this recipe previously and really liked it! This time I didn’t have enough rice so I added some hulled barley and got inspired to turn up the seasonings a lil too! Added some ginger and chili powder- I really like the variation and who knows- maybe next time I’ll try different seasonings too! Have fun with it!

  4. Christine Paquin says:

    I think the amount of broth amount is incorrect. I usually use 2 cups of Liquid for 1 cup of rice and 1cup of liquid for 1 cup of lentils. By my calculation this recipe requires 6 cups of Broth. When I followed the recipe my pressure cooker started to indicate the contents was burning. I added 2 more cups and all went well. Otherwise very tasty. Christine

  5. RJ Southgate says:

    I made these and we loved them as taco filling, I have just made the leftovers into meatlessballs and they were amazing. I just mixed these with a mix of wet and dry sourdough breadcrumbs, thyme, cumin seeds and some flour. I fried them in some oil in a pan to form a crust and then air-fried them. Will so make this again especially when you can take the same ingredient and make a whole new meal from them.

  6. Felix says:

    If I cut the recipe size in half, how long should I set the pressure cooker? Thanks

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I would add a two or three minutes because it will get up to pressure more quickly.

  7. Tom gilbert says:

    Hi, really enjoy this recipe Ty.
    How long does it keep in the fridge for?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      2 to 3 days.

  8. Raelynn D says:

    We made this tonight with brown lentils and the taste was amazing. It was a bit crunchy though, not sure if it needs more water or cook time?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Instant Pots can differ a bit, my guess would be another minute or two unless it seems very dry.

    2. Sonja Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! We have found that different types of pressure cookers work differently (unfortunately!). I would try a few extra minutes next time and see if that helps!

  9. Lynn says:

    Is it possible to halve this recipe? Would I still cook it for the same amount of time?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You should be able to! It might take like 1 minute longer due to it coming up to pressure more quickly.

  10. Shannon says:

    Tried this tonight and while I love the texture, I wasn’t fond of the flavor. I followed the recipe exactly, except I cut everything in half. I ended up putting some Tony’s seasoning on it and a little tiny splash of olive oil. Extremely filling.

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