Here’s how to cook Instant Pot lentils – whether you’re cooking red or green lentils, they’re so easy to make in the pressure cooker!
Ingredients in this recipe
You don’t need many ingredients at all to make lentils in your Instant Pot! Here’s what you need:
- olive oil
- vegetable broth
- dry green, black or brown lentils (not canned)
How to cook lentils in the Instant Pot
- Add olive oil to bottom of Instant Pot.
- Add broth and lentils. Shake salt overtop of lentils, then pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Gently stir, then serve and enjoy!
Using green vs red lentils
There are some very distinct differences between green and red lentils that might help you choose what type you want to prepare.
Green lentils have a more robust, slightly peppery flavor. Though they take longer to cook than red lentils, they will keep their shape and texture. They are best for adding a plant-based protein to salads and other side dishes.
Red lentils are sweeter and nuttier than green lentils. They take less time to cook than green lentils but they break down no matter how long you cook them. They are the best lentils to use for Indian dals or to thicken soups.
- Olive oil – Use any type of light-flavored oil or omit it if you don’t want the added calories.
- Vegetable broth – You can substitute chicken or beef broth or stock if you are not making a vegetarian dish with the lentils. Plain water will also work if you have no other broth on hand.
- Dry lentils – Brown, black, and green lentils all cook for the same amount of time in the recipe below so you can use whatever type you prefer. Be sure to follow the notes in the recipe below if you choose to use red lentils.
- Salt – Salt helps bring out the flavors of the lentils. Leave out the salt if you prefer or add it after the lentils are cooked. For a little extra flavor, add a minced clove of garlic or chopped fresh herbs to the pot before cooking.
Do lentils have to be soaked before using?
One of the (many!) benefits of cooking lentils in a pressure cooker is that you don’t have to soak them! You can if you’d like but it’s a matter of personal preference.
Now that you have a protein-packed pot full of perfectly cooked lentils, what can you do with them?
- Use them instead of black beans in these Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.
- Add some extra protein to soups like this Cabbage Soup.
- Replace ground meat with an equal amount of lentils in recipes like Taco-Stuffed Avocados.
- Mix and match them with other vegan proteins in these Buddha Bowls or these Easy Quinoa Salads.
- Mash up 1 ½ cups of the lentils to replace the garbanzo beans in these Freezer Wraps.
- Use leftover lentils and veggies that you have already cooked for this yummy Lentil Veggie Burger from Veggies Don’t Bite.
Storing and reheating
Be sure to refrigerate any lentils you don’t use within two hours. You can keep cooked lentils in the fridge for up to a week in an air-tight container or plastic storage bag.
To reheat them, add the amount you need directly to any sauce or soup you are cooking or reheat thoroughly in the microwave.
Freezing cooked lentils
It’s easy to add lentils to any meal when you have them ready to go in the freezer.
To avoid reheating a big lump of lentils, spread the cooked lentils out on a baking sheet and let them freeze completely for about 2 hours. Store them in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
More Instant Pot vegetarian recipes
- Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Best, Creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Black Bean Soup
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on storing the leftovers
Instant Pot Lentils
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups dry green, black or brown lentils
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Add olive oil to Instant Pot, followed by broth and lentils. Shake salt overtop of lentils. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal.
- Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 10 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Gently stir, then serve and enjoy!