Thick and Creamy Lentil Soup with Lemon {Instant Pot or Stovetop}

This hearty lentil soup is thick and creamy and packed with flavor (not to mention pretty darn healthy)! Plus, it’s a cinch to make in the Instant Pot or on the stove!

Hearty Lentil Soup with Lemon {Instant Pot or Stovetop}

I know the humble lentil often gets the side eye from some people.

You? Are you one of those side-eyers?

It’s ok. I still love ya.

A latecomer to the lentil party, I’ve officially arrived, and now I can’t be stopped.

I love lentils. Terribly. They are healthy and hearty and they adapt well to so many different flavors and recipes.

And I have a feeling that most of the people who are self-proclaimed lentil avoiders would change their tune if they had them in this thick and creamy lentil soup with lemon.

Hearty Lentil Soup with Lemon {Instant Pot or Stovetop}

Or this amazing lentil chili. Seriously, it’s amazing. One of my favorite chilis ever and an oft go-to dinner in our house.

This Smoky Lentil Soup is also a major contender for lentil deliciousness (the rave reviews in the comments validate my love for this soup).

And you can’t forget about this Curried Lentil Soup OR this Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter.

Yeah, I guess I have a thing for lentils.

And lentil soup.

They are inexpensive, delicious…and they fare wonderfully well in a pressure cooker.

Hearty Lentil Soup with Lemon {Instant Pot or Stovetop}

This hearty lentil soup with that hint of lemon definitely gives all those other lentil soups a run for their money in terms of “best ever” or “crazy deliciousness.”

It is thick and hearty. It is extremely flavorful while still maintaining a creamy, mild vibe (as in, it’s not in-your-face with strong and/or weird flavors).

And it’s easy…whether you make it in the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) or on the stove.

I’ve made this soup several times over the last month or so, shared the recipe (once I got it just right) with my Aunt Marilyn and a few friends, and we all agree: it’s a keeper!


Cornbread muffins, flatbread or just simple pantry crackers (we’ve even pulled out the saltines before)
Fresh fruit or easy green salad

Thick and Creamy Lentil Soup with Lemon

4.5
4.5 / 5 (19 Reviews)
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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup chopped white or yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I use coarsely ground black pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups red or brown lentils (about 16 ounces), rinsed and picked through (see note)
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 9-12 ounces) small diced carrots
  • 1/2 to 1 cup canned coconut milk, reduced fat or regular
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

  1. For the Instant Pot, using the Sauté function, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they start to turn translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is sizzling and fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken broth,  lentils, and carrots. Give the mixture a good stir. Secure the lid, making sure the valve is closed. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes (I select Manual and then dial up or down to 12). The Instant Pot will start on it’s own and beep when finished.
  3. Let the Instant Pot naturally release pressure for 10 min and then quick release the rest of the pressure. If liquid bubbles and spurts through the valve, close the valve and wait a few minutes before trying again.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup of the coconut milk (adding more if you want extra creaminess), lemon juice, and additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  5. You can leave the soup chunky or you can puree in a blender (or use an immersion blender right in the pot) to desired consistency. The soup will thicken as it cools.
  6. For the stovetop, in a large saucepan/pot, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they start to turn translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is sizzling and fragrant.
  7. Add the chicken broth,  lentils, and carrots. Give the mixture a good stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are tender. Stir often to prevent sticking (and moderate heat if needed).
  8. Stir in 1/2 cup of the coconut milk (adding more if you want extra creaminess), lemon juice, and additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  9. You can leave the soup chunky or you can puree in a blender (or use an immersion blender right in the pot) to desired consistency. The soup will thicken as it cools.

Notes:

I guess technically the coconut milk could be considered optional here, but if you love me, you’ll add it. It lends a delicious creaminess to the soup that is fantastic. 

I’ve made this soup with all red lentils, all brown lentils, and one time a half red/half brown mashup. All variations have been delicious, so never fear. The red lentils tend to cook down a bit more while the brown lentils have a more toothsome texture to them after cooking. 

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Recipe Source: inspired by this recipe at Allrecipes (I created an Instant Pot version and altered a bunch of ingredients) after Rachel, a MKC reader, clued me in to its deliciousness

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