This Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup is packed with flavor and filled with plenty of plant-based protein to keep you satisfied. You can whip up this recipe in just minutes!

red lentil soup in a bowl
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The first time I made this red lentil soup in the Instant Pot I was shocked at how delicious it was. It had so much flavor but yet, it was so simple! I fully expected to add additional spices but I loved the way the paprika and cumin added a warm spicy touch, while the lemon juice added brightness and helped all of the flavors really pop. Even though this recipe is simple, it has a lovely taste! If you like this soup, be sure to try my Greek Red Lentil Soup, too!

What are red lentils?

Red lentils are a unique type of lentil because they break down fairly quickly when cooked. While other types of lentils, like brown, green or black lentils take a long time to soften, red lentils cook quickly. Because of this, they can be prepared faster than other colors of lentils. Since they’re a unique type of lentil, don’t try to substitute green, brown or black lentils in their place because they won’t cook at the same rate.

Are red lentils healthy?

Yes! Red lentils are very healthy. They’re a great source of protein and fiber and they’re rich in folate and potassium. They’re also a source of iron, which is especially great for vegans and vegetarians! Red lentils are convenient to keep in the pantry because they last a long time and they’re very inexpensive. You can typically find them at the grocery store near the dried beans.

Ingredients & Substituions

  • Onion, carrot & celery– These three ingredients are traditionally used in a mirepiox and they make up the base of the soup. It’s a great way to add lots of vegetables into this recipe.
  • Smoked paprika– I love the warm, subtle heat of smoked paprika but you can use plain paprika, if you like.
  • Cumin– This adds a warm, earthy flavor to the soup.
  • Garlic– This adds a deeper flavor to the base of the soup.
  • Red lentils– Reminder, these must be red lentils! Don’t substitute green or brown.
  • Vegetable broth– I prefer to use a vegetarian-friendly “chicken” style broth which typically has more flavor.
  • Fire roasted diced tomatoes– I love the added flavor that fire-roasted tomatoes provide but plain diced tomatoes work, too.
  • Lemon juice– The lemon juice adds a bright, bold kick that helps enhance the overal flavor of the soup. If you don’t have lemon juice, try using red wine vinegar instead.

Topping Suggestions

If you want to add some toppings to this soup, feel free to get creative! It would be delicious topped with homemade croutons, crispy chickpeas, or a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

How to Make Red Lentil Soup in an Instant Pot