Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice

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

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

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.

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)


1 Star (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

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

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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

Keywords: Instant Pot, Instant Pot Recipes, Pressure Cooker, Pressure Cooker Recipes, Lentils and Rice, How to Cook Lentils, Pressure Cooking

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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.

16 Comments

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    August 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Could you do this in a pot on the stove? I don’t have an instant pot and really want to eat this! Looks so good!

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 20, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Hi! Unfortunately the cook times are really different on the stove top so they can’t be cooked all together :(

  • Reply
    Lara
    August 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Tried this tonight and it wad SO good!! Will definitely be making it again as it was super easy and very flavorful!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 21, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Oh we are so glad to hear this! Thanks for trying it!

  • Reply
    Megan
    August 22, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I just have a regular (all be it very old) pressure cooker. Any idea if the cook times would be similar to insta pot cook times ?

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 22, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      I would expect that they would be similar in cooking time, but I do not know for sure! Let us know if you try it :)

      • Reply
        Megan
        August 26, 2018 at 11:43 am

        I tried this recipe today in my stovetop pressure cooker , and the cook times in the recipe were pretty much equivalent. It took about 15 minutes to get up to temp and pressure , and then I left it to cook under pressure for 16 minutes. The only difference would be next time, I will use a bit more liquid. For this time, since it was a little dry, I just added in some tomato sauce we had on hand which made it perfect consistency to add to salads or nachos for this week’s lunches. Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  • Reply
    Virginia
    August 23, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Sounds great! I can’t wait to make this for myself and my toddler. Do you think brown basmati rice would work? Also, do you think I could sub the onion and garlic powder for a diced onion and garlic and still get good results (it’s just what I have on hand)?

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 26, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Virginia — sorry for the delay! YES brown basmati rice will work, that’s what we used! On the onion and garlic — I actually wouldn’t sub them here since you’d have to saute them first (unless you’re comfortable using the saute feature!). I would use onion and garlic powder if you can since that’s how we tested it and I’m not sure how long to saute in an IP, how their volume would affect the overall cook time, etc!

  • Reply
    Janice
    September 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    I made this tonight for tacos. We love the flavor! But mine came out a little dry. Any suggestions to keep that from happening next time? I may try adding another cup of vegetable broth. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 1, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Can’t wait for more instant pot recipes from you! Keep them coming! I liked the dry crumbly yet chewy texture!

  • Reply
    Shirin
    January 3, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    Loved making this. Thank you so much! I had to use normal green lentils. They ended up being a little bit uncooked. Do you have any advice for that?

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 4, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      Oh you are so welcome! We don’t have a recipe for Instant Pot green lentils yet but it will be coming! In the meantime, I’d just 1 or 2 minutes to the cook time for this if your green lentils were too al dente for your liking. (We’ve had other people make it with green lentils that turned out fine, so it depends on the exact brand of lentils and pressure cooker.) THANKS!

  • Reply
    Todd Katz
    February 17, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    I’d like to make this with short grain brown rice … should I just experiment or is there some particular reason why you warn against using the short grain version? Thank in advance.

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 18, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Hi! This recipe was written for long grain, and not tested with short grain. We aren’t sure if it would get fully cooked or not!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    February 20, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    I made this and it is fabulous as a meat (think ground beef) substitute. It does come out dry-ish and that’s what gives it the texture of sauteed ground beef. I used it on a taco salad complete with salsa and guac. Yum! I want to try it in stuffed peppers ala mexicali and in a 5 ingredient enchilada casserole recipe that calls for pulled chicken.

    In response to the short grain rice question, long grain rice remains firm and non-sticky which allows the crumbly texture when cooked with the Puy lentils. Short grain rice cooks up with a much softer texture and sticks together. Probably not the best choice for this recipe.

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