Lemony Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot

As I believe I’ve mentioned a few times before, James is not a soup lover. Oddly, he makes THE most delicious soups himself (and even eats them sometimes). One of his most amazing soups is a lemony lentil soup from the Whitewater Cooks cookbook.


The soup is basically vegan, though the original calls for the addition of feta cheese to finish. I just leave it out of mine (though James is known to have a knob or two of feta in his). I also cut down the oil to only one tablespoon. In future, I might try just dry sauteing.

The poor boy is ill today, however, so I thought I’d make some for him and decided to adapt it to the Instant Pot, so here’s my adapted recipe!

The great thing about this absolutely DELICIOUS soup is that it takes only about twenty minutes to make (and most of that is waiting for the Instant Pot to come to pressure). Just make sure that the minute you start chopping the onions, you hit the saute button on the Instant Pot and start boiling water in the kettle.

I’ve made this few times in the Instant Pot and I keep adjusting the time down. I now wait until the ingredients are boiling before I toss in the carrots, then I close the pot and set the pressure time.

I’ve reduced the time to only two minutes, and I’ve also changed to a quick controlled release (rather than a natural pressure release) in order to keep the carrots from turning to mush. I actually think next time I’ll try setting the pressure to one minute…or even “0” minutes because I think the soup might be ready once it achieves pressure.

Instant Pot Lemony Lentil Soup


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 3 TBS Better Than Bouillon vegetable base
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 6 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • fresh (or dried, if you don’t have fresh) dill to sprinkle


  1. Rinse the lentils and set aside to drain.
  2. Start the Instant Pot on Saute and saute the onions in the olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, salt, pepper, chili flakes, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves, and saute for one more minute.
  4. Add the boiling water, BTB base, and the lentils, bring to a boil, add the chopped carrots, and then close the lid to the Instant Pot, hit “Manual” and set for 2 minutes.
  5. The soup contains a great deal of liquid, so it will take a few minutes to come to pressure.
  6. Do a controlled quick release (this will take about four minutes).
  7. Add the lemon juice, zest and adjust seasonings. The lemon juice and lemon zest are what make the soup so special, so don’t skimp!!
  8. Sprinkle a bit of fresh (or dried, if need be) dill on top of each bowl.


I served it with a couple of freshly baked herb rolls (from my no-knead dough).

It was almost as delicious as James’s stove top version!

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