Don’t discount this humble pressure cooker lentil potato soup – packed with flavor (that smoked paprika!), it is amazingly delicious and super simple!

There is literally no way to photograph and make lentil soup look as good as it tastes. But let me tell you, this smoky lentil potato soup is delicious, and it won over even my toughest skeptics.

Brian walked in from work the night I made this for the first time, and instantly, his face froze in skepticism.

I get it.

A bowl of soup filled with cooked lentils and vegetables.

This isn’t the prettiest dish on the food market. And I don’t know what it is about lentils, but every time my family sees them on the menu plan (I swear, I’m going to start hiding the menu plan as to avoid preconceived notions), there’s a bit of moaning and groaning.

I happen to love the humble little legume, but it’s often a tough sell for the fam, especially if the entire dish is meatless.

So Brian walks in, looks skeptical (but is smart enough to know that if he utters even one naysaying word in front of the kids, those impressionable young souls, he’s sleeping on the couch for a month), and sits down at the table with a slightly sardonic smile on his face, saying “mmm, lentil soup, yum” while giving me the side eye.

A white bowl of soup filled with cooked lentils, carrots, sausage, potato, and spinach.

You probably know where I’m going here. This simple lentil potato soup, with all the delicious flavor that smoked paprika (so key to this recipe) brings, was a smash hit.

Not only with Brian, but the kids loved it. Honestly, they loved it.

And I’m not going to lie: it’s sooooo ridiculously hard in these situations when, in the end, everyone is vying for seconds, for me not to gloat or offer a little lecture about quick assumptions or just adopt a very smug expression on my face for at least a day and a half.

I held myself back (this time).

My whole point is, this lentil potato soup is amazing! Not only does it cook for a short three minutes in the pressure cooker, but the flavor is incredible. And never fear, stovetop instructions included below!

The lovely red lentils basically melt into the soup while cooking so the end result is a thick, naturally creamy soup that is hearty, wholesome, and tasty.

A bowl of soup filled with cooked lentils, carrots, sausage, potato, and spinach.

A couple FYIs:
1)I have a beloved Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) which is what I have used to make this soup; a stovetop pressure cooker (this is the one I have) or other electric model would work just as well. I’ve written more details about the ins and outs of pressure cooking here. And if you are interested in more pressure cooking recipes, I have a list of favorites here.

2)I found the red lentils in my grocery store’s bulk bin section; they are similar to these red lentils on Amazon, if you need a visual. These are the brown lentils I use.

This soup is going to be on repeat during the colder months ahead, especially since the leftovers are even better the next day (although still not pretty, JBHH*).

*Just Being Honest Here

What to Serve With This

One Year Ago: Amazing Crustless Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin White Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake {Egg-Free, Easily Gluten Free}
Three Years Ago: Creamy Confetti Corn with Bacon


Pressure Cooker Smoky Lentil and Potato Soup

4.76 stars (253 ratings)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • ½ cup diced carrots, about 2 medium carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery, about 2 stalks
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (I do not peel but you can if you want)
  • 1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed (see note)
  • 1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed (see note)
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
  • 8 to 10 ounces kale or spinach, chopped (optional but delicious)


  • In a stovetop or electric pressure cooker, heat the oil (use the Sauté function in the Instant Pot). Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Add the cumin, paprika and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Add the potatoes, lentils and stock or broth.
  • Secure the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at 3 minutes on high pressure. Quick release the pressure, unlock the lid, and stir in the kale or spinach, if using.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper (very important!) and serve. The soup will thicken a bit as it cools.


Lentils: ok, let’s talk lentils. There are lots of varieties, and you can definitely experiment with this recipe, but I’ve made this with all (2 cups total) brown lentils and then decided to try it with half red and half brown lentils (1 cup each, as written in the recipe) and it was better. The red lentils absorb and kind of melt into the soup giving it a delicious creaminess. I found red lentils in the bulk bins at my local grocery store.
Paprika: if there is one recipe that should put you over the top to finally buy smoked paprika, let it be this. That amazingly fragrant and delicious flavor is so important to the tastiness of this soup.
Stovetop: if you don’t have a pressure cooker, try this on the stovetop: follow the directions, sautéing the vegetables in oil and adding the rest of the ingredients, except the kale or spinach. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and let cook for 35-40 minutes (maybe longer, just keep an eye on it), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir in the kale or spinach, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 349kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1573mg, Fiber: 22g, Sugar: 3g

Recipe Source: sent to me by a MKC reader, Laura A., similar to this recipe at Eat Within Your Means