This easy Instant Pot Lentils recipe uses simple ingredients for tender lentils that can be flavored many different ways and enjoyed as part of a meatless meal.
I have always cooked lentils on the stove top. And, while the cooking process itself is pretty easy, it’s not very quick.
Fortunately, a programmable pressure multicooker like the Instant Pot can cut down on the cooking time and make the process more hands-off. Every little bit of time savings helps when you have a busy family!
One of my favorite things about lentils, though, is that they’re so versatile. They taste amazing on their own thanks to their earthy flavor, but they can be seasoned to work well with many different cuisines too.
- By the Numbers: How to Make Instant Pot Lentils
- Tips for Making Lentils in the Instant Pot
- Easy Instant Pot Lentils Recipe
- More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
- 2 cups of green or brown lentils
- 4 cups of water or chicken stock
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Instant Pot
- Fine mesh strainer
- Serving spoon
By the Numbers: How to Make Instant Pot Lentils
Follow these simple step by step instructions to learn the easy way to pressure cook lentils in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.
Step 1: Add Ingredients to Instant Pot
Start by rinsing your lentils in a fine mesh strainer under running cold water. Discard any small rocks or damaged lentils.
Add 2 cups of lentils and 4 cups of filtered water to the inner cooking pot of your Instant Pot pressure cooker. You can also use chicken broth (or vegetable broth) instead of water for extra flavor.
Step 2: Pressure Cook Lentils
Secure the lid on your Instant Pot, make sure the float valve is in the sealing position (if your model has one) and cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes. When the cook time is up, use a natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. Open the lid.
Step 3: Stir and Drain
After opening the lid, let some of the hot steam escape, then stir the lentils and strain any excess water through a fine mesh strainer. There should be very little water left to strain.
Step 4: Eat Cooked Lentils
Your lentils are now ready to enjoy as part of a main dish, soup or side dish. They also make a great addition to salads.
Tips for Making Lentils in the Instant Pot
Answers to all of your questions about making this Instant Pot lentils recipe, including tips and substitution ideas.
Different types of lentils
There are several different varieties of lentils and they don’t all cook at the same rate. If you have a different type of lentils, use this chart to help you calculate the cook time.
I most often make green or brown lentils – they’re the most common type you find at the store. After that, I commonly make French Green Lentils. They’re smaller than other types, but we really like the flavor.
Red Lentils come out mushy no matter how long you cook them (as will some types of yellow lentils), so be careful about adding extra liquid. They’re great for adding to soups because of how easily they break down and work to thicken the liquid.
|Lentil Type||Cups of Whole Lentils||Cups of Liquid||Cook Time|
|Green Lentils||2 cups||4 cups||7-9 minutes|
|Brown Lentils||2 cups||4 cups||7-9 minutes|
|French Lentils||2 cups||3 cups||5-7 minutes|
|Red Lentils||2 cups||3.5 cups||2-3 minutes|
|Yellow Lentils||2 cups||3.5 cups||2-3 minutes|
|Black Beluga Lentils||2 cups||3.5 cups||7-8 minutes|
Over or undercooked lentils
Out of all of the legumes I make in my Instant Pot, lentils are the most finicky. It seems like every bag needs to be cooked for a slightly different amount of time to get the right texture.
If you follow this recipe once and your lentils are either under or overcooked, next time, simply adjust the cooking time up or down by a minute or two. Add more time for softer lentils and reduce time for firmer lentils.
Make a big batch
This recipe makes about 5 cups of cooked lentils. If you want to make a bigger batch, you can do that by doubling or tripling the recipe. Just make sure you don’t put more into your Instant Pot than will fit below the fill line.
Ways to eat lentils
We always have a big bag of lentils in our pantry because there are so many ways to eat them and it makes meal prep easy. I’ll often cook this recipe for lunch, then the whole family seasons their lentils with their favorite seasoning mix (like curry powder or taco seasoning). Sometimes I also make a batch of Instant Pot Basmati Rice to eat with the legumes.
However, there are so many ways to enjoy the delicious flavors of cooked lentils. Here are some more lentil recipes to try:
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
- Lentil Soup
- Green Salad with Lentils
- Grain Bowls
- Lentil Wraps
- Indian Dal
- Lentil Curry
Store your cooked lentils in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Eat within 5-7 days.
Alternatively, they can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months.
Where to buy lentils
You can find lentils in the rice and beans section at the grocery store. However, they can also be ordered online from popular retailers like Amazon. My favorite produce delivery service, Misfits Market, usually carries them as well.
More Instant Pot bean recipes
If you want to learn more easy recipes for beans in the Instant Pot, here are some of my favorites:
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Instant Pot Hummus
- Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas
- Instant Pot Spicy Bean Soup
Or check out my post on everything you need to know about making legumes and beans in the Instant Pot.
Easy Instant Pot Lentils Recipe
- 2 cups green lentils - or brown lentils
- 4 cups water - or chicken stock
- Rinse lentils under cold water. Discard any rocks or bad lentils.
- Add clean lentils and water to the Instant Pot inner pot.
- Close the lid and cook on High Pressure for 9 minutes. Use a natural release for 15 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure. Open the lid.
- Stir the lentils and strain any excess water through a fine mesh strainer.
- Enjoy your pressure cooker lentils on their own or with your favorite dish.