Instant Pot Lentils – such a humble little powerhouse of an ingredient. Lentils are cheap, loaded with fiber and protein, and oh so versatile. This basic pressure cooker lentil recipe is going to be a new favorite, I promise you!
I'm pretty sure I was in my 30s before I ever tried lentils. Is that weird?
I eat beans of all kinds, but for some reason lentils just seemed weird/creepy/gross . . . I sound like I'm five.
Then the Instant Pot entered my life and suddenly lentils became this amazing staple of an ingredient and I'm so excited to finally introduce you to my basic Pressure Cooker Lentil recipe!
This recipe is full flavor, ca-ray-zee easy, and just so very satisfying.
So if you've been on the fence about lentils as well, now is your time to break free from any negative opinions you have about them and embrace this mini powerhouse as you should!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT LENTILS
- Sorry to keep saying it, but LENTILS ARE SO GOOD FOR YOU! They are a great source of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, and more!
- Versatile – throw them in salads, soups, quesadillas, wraps, nachos, and anything else you would put regular beans in.
- A big bite of lentils is just the funnest thing ever to eat. So soft, flavorful, and . . . I don't even know how to explain it, just FUN TO EAT!
- Cheap and cheerful – tons of nutrition, teeny tiny price tag.
HOW TO MAKE LENTILS IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Add all the ingredients to the pot
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes
- Stir. That's it, you're done!
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST LENTILS
- Cook them in broth, not water. This will infuse the lentils with lots of flavor.
- Spices! You can definitely cook them in just broth and have super versatile lentils to mix into whatever you like, but I like to pump up the flavor with a little bit of this and that from the spice cabinet.
- Let the pressure release naturally. If you're in a hurry, you can release the pressure after it sits for 10 minutes, but that extra sit time allows them to really soften and soak up all the broth.
- Use brown lentils, not red. Red lentils are smaller and will turn to mush in this recipe. Save red lentils for recipes like this Lemony Lentil Soup. They make it so rich and creamy.
- Lentils freeze great. Make a big batch so they are ready at any moment from the freezer.
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE LENTILS
- Store: Cooled lentils can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: Reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop.
- Freeze: Scoop lentils into a freezer safe ziploc and freeze flat for quick thawing.
What do you think? Are you going to try your first batch of lentils? Have you been eating and enjoying lentils for years and have some amazing tips and tricks for me? I'd love to hear it!
I will most definitely have more lentil recipes coming soon! In the meantime, grab a bag of lentils and get this recipe ready and waiting in your refrigerator.
MORE INSTANT POT LENTIL RECIPES
- Instant Pot Lentil Breakfast Taquitos
- Instant Pot Lemony Red Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Spinach Dal with Rice
- Instant Pot Turkey Lentil Taco Filling
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT LENTILSPrint
Instant Pot Lentils
Soft, tender, flavorful lentils, made so easy in the Instant Pot!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add all of the ingredients to the pressure cooker pot; stir.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release – can quick release pressure after 10 minutes if in a hurry.
- Stir, taste, and add extra salt if desired. I usually add another ¼ – ½ teaspoon of kosher salt depending on how I’m using them.
- Use brown lentils for this recipe. Red lentils require a much shorter cook time.
- Cooked lentils freeze great. Place in a freezer safe bag, press flat, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Keywords: Instant Pot Lentils, Lentils, Healthy Lentil recipe
Made this recipe using my ninja foodi and it came out delicious . I left out the ingredients I didn’t like as much.
It was Just the right amount of flavor. Used these to meal prep and also cook breakfast. Poached egg + sweet potatoes tots + lentils = AMAZING.
Mel, That sounds amazing! Were the tots homemade or do you have a favorite storebought tot? Did you put a sauce on it?
This is delicious, the best lentils I had thus far. This recipe will definitely become part of my usual rotation. I am also going to try and use this as a base for soup with added veggies and beef shin and extra stock. With fresh warm bread on a rainy evening – mmm… 🙂
Juliette, your soup description sounds amazing, what a fabulous idea! I’m going to play with that as well. I’m glad you loved them!
I did make the soup: I had a big piece of shin that I browned in a pan before cooking it in the instant pot. It took 30 mins (in 2 cups of stock) before it fell off the bone. While that was in the pot, I fried the onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms lightly in the same pan. When the shin was done, I added your lentil recipe ingredients, as well as the vegetables, and followed the rest of your recipe. The soup was almost more stew than a soup, but that is what my DH prefers, so I left it like that, but one could definitely use an immersed blender to make it soupier. It was very good, and I will make that again too. Thank you for sharing your recipe!
That sounds heavenly. Thank you for the idea!
The recipe using lentils with asparagus and eggs–is one of Skinny Tastes recipes and is on her web site. ( she has a couple variations) It has always been a favorite. The pressure cooker lentils were perfect with it.
Frances, found it, thank you!
This made the most flavorful lentils. I have a recipe for lentils, carrots, topped with asparagus, bacon if want it, and hard boiled or poached eggs. Decided to try this lentil recipe and it was so good. I was a bit worried that they would be too soft but it turns out we like it just fine that way. I know I have done some on stove top that turned out too “hard” and had to keep going and checking..this takes that guess work out of it. I could cut back a bit on time, but my husband pronounced them perfectly cooked, likes them softer like this. The broth and herbs adds a lot. Thank you.
Frances, I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! It’s my favorite I’ve tested. But now I’m curious about your version. I’d love to try that!
Hi! Would this recipe also work for black beluga lentils?
Melissa, I’m not positive, but I did some research on cook times, and I believe this time will work great for that variety.
I can’t find brown lentils so I purchased the green lentils. Will they take the same time or less time to cook?
Linda, Green can take longer to cook than brown so you may want to add a couple more minutes. I would leave the liquid amount the same though.
One cup equals 8 servings???
Kathie, oops, sorry! I wrote 6 in the nutrition facts and 8 in the recipe card. It’s more like 5-6 depending on how you’re eating it.
Your email came just days after I was wondering how I could cook lentils in my Power Quick Pot. Right on time. I added raw onion. Could have put in a potato but I didn’t. I love not worrying about over cooking or “watching the pot.” Just push the button and come back later. I used some for supper, and added raw oatmeal and walnuts to make a veggie “meatloaf” with barbecue sauce topping. Bake covered first at 350 for 45 minutes. Then add the BBQ sauce. Big thank you!
Debra, I love the meatloaf idea! Thank you for your tips and I’m going to experiment with this one.
Kathy H says
One important thing about lentils: since it’s an agricultural product, it’s good to go through the lentils to check for tiny pebbles and such. I haven’t gone through a bag yet without finding and picking out debris.
What I do is pour a little at a time on a flat surface (a bendable cutting mat) before pouring them into the I.P.
Kathy, Great tip, thank you!
I am like you– it took me years into my adult life to try lentils. They just weren’t on our family’s radar when I was young. Now I LOVE them and it is the top item I am missing in this stay at home phase of life. Apparently lots of people love lentils too because they have not been available at any of the grocery stores we order from around here. Thanks for your instant pot recipe!
Holly, oh no! I’m glad I stocked up when I did. I haven’t checked to see if they are low in my town. I hope you get to try them in the IP soon.