This garlic lentil soup is a tasty, budget-friendly meal that can be made on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker. It’s loaded with flavor and it’s a great weeknight dinner!

garlic lentil soup
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I love cooking with lentils. They’re cheap, easy, and full of plant-based protein. They’re super filling so they make this soup nice and hearty. It’s great for a chilly evening and the leftovers reheat well so it can be a great option for meal prep!

If you don’t cook with lentils often, let me share why I love and how to make the most of them!

Benefits of Eating Lentils

Lentils contain a whopping 9 grams of protein per 1⁄2-cup serving. A bowl of lentil soup like this one can easily provide more than 20 grams of protein. Plus, they’re easy on the budget. In fact, they’re one of the cheapest protein sources you’ll find at the grocery store!

Where to Buy Lentils

You can find dried lentils at most grocery stores. They’re often sold by the dried beans and rice, but you can also find them in bulk bins. They tend to be a bit cheaper in the bulk bins, but even the pre-bagged lentils are very affordable. 

lentils in a bowl

Different Types of Lentils

There are quite a few types of lentils and they’re not necessarily interchangeable.

  • Red lentils become very soft and breakdown when cooked. These can be great for pureed soups because they can thicken the broth.
  • French lentils are sometimes called lentils de puy. These small, black lentils keep their shape really well and they’re great tossed on salads or in wraps. These are great for meal prepping because they won’t get mushy after being cooked.
  • Brown or Green lentils are very similar, and that’s the type of lentil we’ll use for this soup. They maintain their shape when cooked, but get soft with just enough “bite”. They’re also great in this curry dish!

Buying Fresh Lentils

Be sure your lentils aren’t too old. Although lentils don’t “go bad” like a lot of other ingredients, if your lentils are old they won’t soften properly. They should last 2 years, but sometimes the lentils you buy at the grocery store have already been sitting on the shelf for a few months. I try to get them in the bulk bins because they tend to be fresher!

Can I Make this Soup in an Instant Pot?

Yes! I’ve included directions for both a stovetop version and an Instant Pot version. I typically make this in my Instant Pot because it’s faster than the stovetop. It’s nice that it’s ready quickly since lentils do tend to take a long time to simmer on the stovetop. But both methods create a delicious, hearty lentil soup! Looking for more soup recipes? I have a list of 21 Vegetarian Soups You Can Make in an Instant Pot

lentil soup in a bowl

Garlic Lentil Soup Ingredients

  • Lentils– Be sure to use brown or green lentils for this recipe. Red lentils and black lentils have a different texture that won’t work in this recipe.
  • Garlic– Don’t skimp on the garlic! This adds tons of flavor to the soup.
  • Vegetable Broth– I prefer Edward & Son’s “Not-Chicken” style broth.
  • Onion– This adds additional savory flavor to the soup.
  • Olive Oil– This helps enhance the falvors, but you can use additional broth to saute the onion if you wanted to keep this recipe oil free.
  • White Wine– This adds depth to the broth but you can substitue with more broth if needed.
  • Paprika– I love the warm, spicy flavor of paprika.
  • Cumin– This adds additional flavor with a hint of earthy spice.
  • Salt & Pepper– Always add a little salt and pepper to taste!

More Lentil Recipes

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Garlic Lentil Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Soup


This garlic lentil soup is a tasty, budget-friendly meal that can be made on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker. It’s loaded with flavor and it’s a great weeknight dinner!


  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups dried brown or green lentils
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste



  1. Cook the onions in the olive oil, over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stirring frequently so they don’t brown.
  2. Add in the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add in the lentils, white wine, paprika, cumin and broth, and turn the heat to high.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  5. Add in the salt and pepper, to taste.


  1. Set the pressure cooker to ‘saute’ and add the olive oil and onion. Stir and saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add in garlic, and saute for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add in the lentils, white wine, paprika, cumin and broth, and set the pressure cooker to ‘Manual’ and set it for 20 minutes.
  4. Once the pressure cooker has finished cooking, use the quick release valve to relieve the pressure. (This usually takes 3-4 minutes.)
  5. Add in the salt and pepper, to taste. If the lentils are still slightly firm, leave the lid on for 5 more minutes to let the lentils continue to soften.

This soup is really filling since it’s loaded with protein and fiber. I like serving this with a piece of sourdough bread or a side salad, to make it into a full meal. You definitely won’t be hungry after a bowl of this soup!

garlic lentil soup

Looking for other easy recipes? Try one of these meatless meals!

What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Originally published June 2012. Updated September 2019.