Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

I love green soups and I cannot lie.

This green lentil soup (which can be made with green split peas if you can’t find green lentils) is warm and hearty and absolutely delicious.

Truly the curried brown butter is the most amazing drizzle to hit a soup in the history of ever. The buttery spiciness compliments the creamy, simple soup perfectly. And I don’t know what it is about the combination of coconut and curry but it Although admittedly, the coconut milk in this soup is subtle…yet important.

I quickly sliced and toasted up (in a 425 degree oven) some leftover rolls hanging about my pantry and the kids went crazy dipping the crunchy croutons in the soup and fought over who could have the last remnants in their lunch thermos the next day. I solved that problem lickety split by simply finishing off the soup right then and there in order to eliminate arguing (and promised to make it again soon so I didn’t earn Worst Mother of the Year award by eating my kid’s dream lunch).

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

What To ServeFluffy Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls, or a really good store-bought roll
Broiled or griddled cheese quesadilla slices
Green salad with this Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

One Year Ago: Chicken and Butternut Squash Quinoa Stew
Two Years Ago: Spooky Eats: Jello Worms {Seriously Gross}
Three Years Ago: Classic Marinara Sauce

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Yield: Serves 4-6

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

I gave a range for red pepper flakes. They add a delicious flavor balance but if you want a slight hint of heat, use more; if not, use less.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk, light or regular
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Toasted bread or croutons for dipping, optional


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, anywhere from 20-50 minutes, so check occasionally.
  2. While the lentils simmer, melt the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown (watch it carefully since butter can go from brown to burned quickly!). When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. When the lentils are finished cooking, remove the pot from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt and puree with an immersion blender (or carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender in batches and puree before returning to the pot). Blend the soup until completely smooth or leave with a bit of texture; your choice.
  4. Stir in half of the spiced butter to the soup and add additional salt to taste, if needed.
  5. Serve the soup drizzled with the remaining spice butter and toasted bread if using.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from 101Cookbooks (increased coconut milk, used salted butter, used chicken broth, and a few other minor changes)

45 Responses to Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

  1. Jamie says:

    I tried this tonight for the first time and my husband and I both loved it! Getting a taste of that nutty browned curry butter drizzle here and there was my favorite! Soo tasty! Thanks for another great recipe!!! Now I am about to go make your cream cheese banana bread which is another of our favorites! I tried a delicious soup a few weeks ago and i want to give you at least one recipe to try since you have given me so many. It is called Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken and Quinoa Soup at the website I hope you try it and like it as much as we did. Thanks again! we love you!!!!

  2. Megan says:

    Is the coconut milk in this recipe the type in a can (which is thicker usually), or the type that is found by the other “milks” in a carton??

  3. Elise says:

    Wait, do you soak the lentils before you cook them? My bag says they need to soak for 8 hours…

  4. Jacqueline says:

    I found lentils in a mason jar while straightening out my kitchen drawers. “hmmm… I’m craving this right now…” Your blog inspired me to make this delicious looking goodness. And I have pieces of rye bread hanging out in my fridge! Perfect! Thanks for fulfilling my craving! ~Jax

  5. Melissa says:

    Oh!! I forgot to mention I used a different curry powder as that one I tried before you might recall was really bitter – I still can’t find the sweet curry powder anywhere but I am still on the look out. I also used red lentils instead of green – it was very good! Love this recipe!

  6. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel,

    I gave this a go again since the first batch I did a month or so ago didn’t pan out with the browned butter. I reduced the water and used this fabulous organic coconut milk I found that has a taste that is unparalleled with any other brand I have tried – so I used a full can (394 mls) and it was so good! I am glad I gave it another go and will definitely make this more in the Fall/Winter months as it is really a comfort soup to me!

  7. Katie says:

    This is my new favorite soup! So delicious…I even used light coconut milk and reduced the total butter from 5 to 3 tablespoons. It reminds me of a favorite soup we had in a restaurant in Japan. Is there any way to thicken the soup a bit?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Katie – you could use more lentils to thicken it up (blending them) or even a slurry of cornstarch and water added to the soup – letting the soup simmer – could help thicken it a bit.

  8. Melissa says:

    Mel I think I can answer my own question…the first ingredient on my curry powder is turmeric…others in my cupboard have coriander seeds listed as the first ingredient – this may explain the overpowering flavor – it was too heavy on the turmeric. I like the sounds of the sweet curry powder you use. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Melissa – I think you may be on to something there. Curry powders (because they are a blend) can vary widely in taste. I hope you can get your hands on some of that sweet curry. It’s amazing. 🙂

  9. Melissa says:

    Not sure what I did wrong, my soup was really good…but the curry and brown butter was really overpowering and I could barely eat it…I added it on top of the soup and in the soup. In the soup it was fine, but the sauce on the soup was startling! I didn’t burn the butter…it was a nice brown before I added the Tablespoon of curry powder. Any thoughts?

  10. Ashlee says:

    I made this and invited my dad over who LOVES split pea soup, and he couldn’t get enough. My hubby and I were fighting over leftovers!:)

  11. Andrea says:

    Has anyone experimented with substituting the coconut milk with something healthier? I’m thinking of trying skim milk and just expecting a less dense soup.

  12. Ava says:

    I used brown lentils because I had a bag at home. I also used a coconut almond milk blend. Super delicious and unique. I was sure my kids would not touch it – so I didn’t even bother serving it to them. Oh well, more for me! I will make this again soon .

  13. Marisa says:

    I know there are varieties of curry, but what about regular old “curry powder”? I’m assuming that works too?

    • Mel says:

      Marisa – any type of curry powder would work as long as you enjoy the flavor – I’m thinking that the “Indian curry powder” called for in the recipe is the same thing you are thinking of as regular curry powder.

  14. Maria says:

    I have a tin of green lentils to use up can I use instead of dried lentils?

  15. Melissa says:

    You make me feel like a TOTAL rockstar in the kitchen!! Love your site to death. You ROCK Mel.

  16. Rebekah says:

    I am super excited about making this but I could only find whole green lentils. Do you know if they will cook up the same way as split lentils?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Rebekah – I don’t think I’ve ever seen split lentils so if you could only find whole, that’s exactly what you need. Should work just fine!

  17. Tracey says:

    Gonna try this tonight with your pretzel rolls….

  18. Candela says:

    Oh, wow! I just made this soup for dinner. It’s LIFE-CHANGING! de-li-ci-ous!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  19. Nikki says:

    I had some red lentils, so I made this. It was really, really good. Even my picky eater six-year-old said it was “really good” when forced to try a bite. Then he ate the whole bowl. I’m glad I used red lentils so the soup was yellow instead of green. What a great recipe!!

  20. Laura says:

    Yum! This recipe was amazing. Thanks Mel! What did you do with the leftover coconut milk?

  21. Deb says:

    Made this for dinner tonight with the Grilled Coconut Lime Chicken on your website and some garlic naan from Trader Joe’s. Super combo! This soup could not be easier and so tasty! My boys all ate it and liked it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  22. Vicky says:

    Made this tonight with brown lentils. Not sure what difference green lentils would have made. Also, since my family cares little for presentation, I just stirred all of the curried browned butter into the pot of soup. Most of us enjoyed it and I’ll likely make it again since it comes together very quickly and is a hearty meal. Thanks!

  23. Sarah says:

    Hi. I am inclined to try this in the slow cooker. I plan to omit the butter. Are you optimistic that this will work well? Thanks….

  24. Nita says:

    I made this soup on Monday for dinner and it was fantastic! It was so flavorful. I will definitely be making this again. I followed the recipe exactly and it was great! I wouldn’t change a thing.

  25. Lisa says:

    Please enlighten me on curry. What is Indian curry? What brand do you use. Is it red, green or yellow? What is the difference in heat? Thanks so much.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lisa – I use a curry powder from Penzey’s spices called Sweet Curry but I’ve also used red curry powder and Hot Madras curry powder (in different recipes). It really depends on your taste preference. The Hot Madras is more spicy; the other two are more mild. I’ve used every brand under the sun and really like Penzey’s or Spice Islands.

  26. J Kelley says:

    I found green, yellow, orange & brown lentils at Walmart. The colorful ones were in the ethnic food aisle.

  27. Buck Weber says:

    I have some split peas leftover in the pantry so I am going to make that version. Thanks for the recipe.

  28. Tiffany says:

    YUM! Can this be cooked in the crockpot?

  29. Tahnycooks says:

    I love green soups too. Actually, when I was pregnant all I wanted to eat was split pea soup! Eating green is good, especially in the form of this soup!! I love lentils!! Just had to throw that in there….

  30. Denise says:


    Someone just turned me on to your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook (also a blog). I’m so excited to look through your blog. Denise

  31. So, it’s raining here and I have decided that nothing will do but this soup. Cozy time!!

    Also…I eat my son’s lunch regularly. It’s okay, he’s generally cool with a few Starbursts that I find in the bottom of my diaper bag. #bestmomever

  32. Oh my!! This is such a fabulous flavour!

    • Shoby says:

      This is the most amazing soup ever! I make a ton of soups, but this has definitely made it to the top of my list! Thank you!!

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