Hearty, full of flavor, nutritious, and a meal-in-one. That’s what you’ve got with this, my very favorite Instant Pot Lentil Soup recipe.

I call it “golden” because it sports the current it-food, turmeric, which gives it sort of a golden glow. This really is a vibrant lentil soup both looks-wise and taste-wise – it packs a ton of flavor and nutrition and it’s about the coziest dinner around.

Plus, lentil soup is the perfect thing to make in your electric pressure cooker – it really is super easy and with that intense cooking environment, the flavors are seriously amped up.

I love this Instant Pot Lentil Soup recipe, especially for the winter months. Add a crusty slice of bread and it’s the perfect fast, easy, and satiating winter weeknight meal.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Ingredients:

Instant Pot Golden Lentil & Spinach Soup has a pretty simple list of ingredients, including:

  • Brown lentils – these are probably the most common lentils out there; at least where I am, they are the easiest to find. You can also use French green lentils or other lentils but may have to adjust the cooking time.
  • Baby spinach – pre-washed makes it so easy to just grab a few handfuls and throw them in
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Thyme and
  • Vegetable broth

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

How Do You Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup?

Like many Instant Pot soup recipes, it’s a two-step process. First, you sauté your veggies in a bit of olive oil – onion, carrots, celery, garlic. And include your spices – cumin, turmeric, and thyme – to really amp up the flavors.

Then, you add your broth and lentils, then place the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to high pressure.

Remove the lid after it’s done, stir in the spinach, and serve. That’s it!

For the full recipe, including exact measurements and directions, scroll down to the printable at the bottom of the page.

General Instant Pot Thoughts

This was my very first Instant Pot recipe I created and shared, and actually one of the first things I ever made in my Instant Pot. So when I wrote this post, I decided to share my thoughts about the Instant Pot from a beginner’s perspective.

If you received an Instant Pot from Santa, read on for the honest thoughts I was having about mine after I got my own a couple of years ago (along with a handful of tips and tricks). And then break out the lentils, spices, and spinach because this Instant Pot Lentil Soup recipe will be the perfect thing to make first! Add some crusty bread – and a green salad if you like – and you’ve got a seriously comforting wintertime meal.

Well, we bought an Instant Pot (finally!) a few weeks ago, and as my friend Laurie says, there’s a definite learning curve. While I am growing to really like this herkin’ new appliance that we have exactly zero counter space for, I have to say it is not the most intuitive to operate. Either that, or I’m really dumb. (I suppose it’s a bit of both).

I’ve finally figured out how to both saute and use the manual feature. I’m not sure what the difference is between the manual feature and all the other buttons on there; I tried some of them without much luck.

I have figured out that “On” means it’s warming up and then a number on the screen means it’s actually starting to cook and it’s counting down the minutes left. And then the next number on the screen, which apparently says “LO” and then has two numbers on the right, shows it is done cooking and is now on low heat to keep the food warm. The number then counts back up.

Instant Pot settings

Naturally.

I’ve also come to terms with the fact that “instant” it is not. Yes, actual cooking time for some items like dried legumes is faster – but sometimes you also have to account for sauteeing (right in the pot, which is nifty), and then there’s the warm-up time, which is usually about 10 minutes, plus you need to add the depressurizing time AFTER it cooks if you’re making a recipe that needs it. My guy and I have decided that the “Instant Pot” should actually be called the “Hands-Off Pot,” because while it may not be the fastest ever, it is definitely zero-maintenance once the lid goes on.

Hard-boiled eggs? All they’re cracked up to be, for sure – the peel, indeed, comes clean off with hardly any effort. (I share all about how to make hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot here).

Rice cooks up like a champ – a little bit faster than stovetop (yay!) and pretty perfect.

Steel cut oats in the Instant Pot are the bomb. I love how creamy they come out, and I don’t have to keep stirring them.

So my take on the Instant Pot? Overall, it’s a yes. Get one, but keep your expectations in check and know there’s a bit of a learning curve. And then make some of this lentil soup.

But Back to the Soup!

Here’s where the Instant Pot really shines, because while it’s not necessarily intuitive (for me) – or truly instant, for that matter – it does take whole, healthy ingredients and squeeze the most flavor it can out of them. This Instant Pot Lentil Soup cooks for a mere 12 minutes (not including warm-up time), but it tastes like it simmered all day.

Stirring the spinach into Instant Pot Golden Lentil and Spinach Soup
Spoonful of Instant Pot Golden Lentil and Spinach Soup

Basically, I LOVE THIS SOUP. And, once you know your way around the Instant Pot, it really is super easy to whip up.

Bowl of Instant Pot Golden Lentil and Spinach Soup

FAQs about this Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe

Q: I tried making it and when I went to open the instant pot the lentils absorbs all of the liquid! I don’t know why that happened!
A: Did the Instant Pot seal? I’ve had this happen. I’ve forgotten to make sure my handle is in the “seal” position, or I’ve needed to clean the sealing ring, lid area, float valve, and anti-block shield. Usually one of those things is the culprit. 

Q: What size Instant Pot are you using?
A: I am using a 6-quart Instant Pot.

Q: How would you edit this recipe for a 3-quart Instant Pot?
A: I have not tried the recipe in a 3-quart, but as long as you don’t double the recipe, everything should be the same.

Q: Can I double this recipe?
A: I have tried doubling this recipe and while it cooks up just fine, the flavor isn’t quite as nice. I’m honestly not quite sure why that is, but I’m determined to figure it out!

Q: Can I use other lentils other than brown lentils?
A: Yes! But be prepared to alter your cooking time and know the outcome may be different than what you see in photos. French green lentils would up the time to about 20 minutes. Split red lentils would take more like 8 minutes but they will dissolve as red lentil do.

Q: Can I freeze this lentil soup?
A: Yes, it freezes beautifully! However, the spinach loses its vibrant color when you freeze it. My suggestion is to freeze without the spinach then add it at the last minute when you warm it back up.

Q: Can you make this in a pot on the stove?
I haven’t tried it that way yet, but I’m sure you can – I’d say it should take about 35-40 minutes?

Q: Is it 12 minutes manual on low or high pressure?
A: High pressure. 

More Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipes

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins

Instant Pot Golden Lentil & Spinach Soup

4.9 from 86 votes
Thick, hearty, and oh-so full of flavor, this Instant Pot Lentil Soup is my very favorite Instant Pot recipe. Add a thick slice of crusty bread and your winter weeknight dinner is made!
Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (diced) (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots (peeled and diced) (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium stalk celery (diced) (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic (minced) (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (+ more to taste*)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (+ more to taste)
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils (rinsed well in cold water)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (one 32-ounce box)
  • 8 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)

Instructions

  • Hit “Saute” button on Instant Pot. Add oil. When hot, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the lentils and pour in the broth. Stir.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the release valve is in the “sealing” position. Press the “Manual” button and set the timer at 12 minutes.
  • The Instant Pot will warm up for about 10 minutes and then start cooking. After the 12 minutes is up, quick-release by flipping the release valve to “venting” (a little bit at a time at first).
  • Once venting is complete, remove the lid of the Instant Pot. Stir in the spinach. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve.
  • Keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Freezes well too!

Notes

Cook time includes sautéing and warm-up.
* Update 11/8/19: Based on a handful of reader comments about this soup tasting too salty, I reduced the initial salt amount from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon. Please taste and adjust at the end until it’s perfect for you!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1.5cups, Calories: 245kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 371mg, Potassium: 961mg, Fiber: 19g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 10488IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 120mg, Iron: 6mg
Instant Pot Vegan Golden Lentil & Spinach Soup recipe - Lentils, turmeric, and spinach team up in this flavor-packed soup that cooks up super easy - right in the pressure cooker.
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