Instant Pot Lentils | {Stove Top Version}

This instant pot lentils recipe is such a family favorite that there are almost always lentils in our fridge.

Close up of two flour tortillas in a taco holder with the lentils - one with cheese the other withoutPin

I make these lentils a lot. You can use them in so many different ways. I love to put them in flour tortillas, the way you see them here. But I also love them on their own as a side dish.

This combination of ingredients makes the lentils slightly sweet, hearty and delicious.

I look forward to blogging about some of the other recipes I make with these pressure cooker lentils.

You’re going to love them.

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Ingredients and substitutions

  • Black lentils – These are my favorite lentils by far, but you can use any type of lentil you prefer.
  • Onion – I use the sweet Vidalia onions just about every time I cook with onions.
  • Beef broth – I love the deep flavor of this broth and get it (and the chicken broth) from Trader Joe’s. It’s robust, organic and doesn’t contain anything I don’t want to put in my body.
  • Tomato paste – I love the flavor tomato paste adds to lentils. I use the canned kind in this recipe, but if you have the paste in a tube, since it’s concentrated, use 2 tablespoons.
  • Ground cumin – This spice is so versatile, it goes in a lot of my dishes. I always use organic.
  • Ground basil – Although I use this herb just about every time I make this recipe, I’ve also used oregano or parsley.
  • Ground chipotle powder – If I were eating this dish by myself, I’d put at least a half teaspoon in the lentils, if not more. I love the smokey flavor and the heat chipotle brings to the dish. But since hubby can’t take the heat, I put in only a few shakes.
  • Bay leaf
  • Garlic paste – you can find this in the produce section in the grocery store. It comes in tubes. If you would rather fresh garlic, substitute a clove per teaspoon.
  • Salt

Helpful tips

  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry, I also include a stovetop version in the notes section of the recipe card.
  • I absolutely love black lentils. They are small and round and they have a very satisfying taste, but if you can’t find them (I get them at Whole Foods) you can use whichever type of lentils you like. French lentils are also a great choice, just saying.
  • If I’m making this recipe on the stove top, I soak the lentils for a half hour before starting.
  • I always wash grains and lentils. Here’s how: I add lentils to a fine meshed strainer and place in a large bowl and run water over the legumes. Swish your fingers through the lentils. Drain the water and repeat.
  • If you feel like your instant pot is taking longer than normal to come to and release the pressure, then it’s a sign to replace your sealing ring.
  • In this recipe, I’m using beef broth, but I use chicken broth and beef broth interchangeably.
  • When I use the instant pot, I don’t sauté the onion anymore because I’ve tried it both ways and it really doesn’t change the taste, so I save calories by not using olive oil.
  • How to do a quick release: Let your cooker rest for 5 – 10 minutes before putting on an oven mitt. Nudge the knob to the venting position keeping yourself clear of the valve. Be careful, the steam will be hot. Let the steam release and wait for the silver pressure gauge to drop back into the lid before attempting to open the pressure cooker.

How to make instant pot lentils

Pre-step

Get out your instant pot or pressure cooker and wash the lentils.

Step two

Gather the ingredients – black lentils, onion, cumin, basil, chipotle powder, broth and tomato paste. (A)

Step three

Peel and chop the onion and add it to the instant pot container. (B)

Left - black lentils, onion, spices, broth and tomato paste. Right - onion chopped in a metal containerPin

Step four

Add lentils to the container with the onion. (C)

Step five

Add basil, cumin, salt, bay leaf, chipotle powder and garlic paste. (D)

Left - lentils added with the onions. Right - herbs, spices, salt, bay leaf and garlic in with the lentilsPin

Step six

Add tomato paste. (E)

Step seven

Add broth and stir with a wooden spoon to break up the tomato paste. (F)

Left - tomato paste added to the lentils. Right - broth added with the lentils and stirredPin

Step eight

Place the lid on the pressure cooker and seal it. Make sure the venting knob is in the sealed position.

Press the pressure cooker button, make sure the pressure is set to high and the mode is normal. Set the time to 10 minutes.

The instant pot will take up to 20 minutes to come to pressure.

Once the instant pot beeps that it’s done, you can do a quick release after 10 minutes (see helpful tips or notes on how) or you can let it release the pressure naturally.

A big bowl filled with lentils with the tacos off to the sidePin

See how robust and delicious they look?

Time to add the lentils to flour tortillas for tacos. I add refried beans and sautéed cauliflower.

A large spoon of lentils held over the two flour tortillas with a big bowl in the backgroundPin

I sprinkle shredded Mexican cheese on one and leave the other plain.

A white plate with a taco holder with flour tortillas and the taco filling in it along with a bowl of lentils in the backPin

So good! You have to try them.

Overhead view of a plate with two tacos on it with lentils off the the sidePin

I hope you enjoyed this instant pot lentils recipe. It’s such a versatile dish.

Other delicious side dishes

And always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love the know what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Two flour tortillas in a holder filled with lentils and other taco filling - squarePin

Instant Pot Lentils

This quick and easy lentils recipe is so delicious that you're going to want it every week. Dollop them on tacos, roll them in enchiladas or eat as a side dish!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook lentils in a pressure cooker, instant pot lentils, pressure cooker lentils
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 143kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion (or large – chopped)
  • 1 cup black lentils (rinsed – or French lentils or whatever lentils you prefer)
  • 4 cups beef broth (I sometimes use chicken broth instead)
  • .50 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon basil (dried)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • .25 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more, hubby can't take much heat)
  • .75 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons garlic paste (or 3 garlic cloves minced)
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  • Add the all the ingredients to the instant pot container – onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, basil, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, garlic and bay leaf
  • Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the tomato paste and stir the ingredients together
  • Place cover on the pressure cooker and seal it. Make sure the venting knob is in the sealed position
  • Press the pressure cooker button and make sure the mode is set to normal and the pressure is set to high
  • Set the timer to 10 minutes. The pressure cooker will take up to 20 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking
  • Once the pressure cooker beeps to that it's done, wait 10 minutes before doing a quick release (see notes on how)
  • Transfer to a serving bowl
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy

Equipment

pressure cooker
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Notes

Helpful tips
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry, I’ll also include a stovetop version in the notes section of the recipe card.
  • I absolutely love black lentils. They are small and round and they have a very satisfying taste, but if you can’t find them (I get them at Whole Foods) you can use whichever type of lentils you like. French lentils are also a great choice, just saying.
  • If I’m making this recipe on the stove top, I soak the lentils for a half hour before starting.
  • I always wash grains and lentils. Here’s how: I add lentils to a fine meshed strainer and place in a large bowl and run water over the legumes. Swish your fingers through the lentils. Dumb the water and repeat.
  • If you feel like your instant pot is taking longer than normal to come to and release the pressure, then it’s a sign to replace your sealing ring.
  • In this recipe, I’m using beef broth, but I use chicken broth and beef broth interchangeably.
  • I don’t sauté the onion anymore because I’ve tried it both ways and it really doesn’t change the taste and if you do it this way, you save calories by not using olive oil.
  • How to do a quick release: Let your cooker rest for 5 – 10 minutes before putting on an oven mitt. Nudge the knob to the venting position keeping yourself clear of the valve. Be careful, the steam will be hot. Let the steam release and wait for the silver pressure gauge to drop back into the lid before attempting to open the pressure cooker.
 

Stove top version

The ingredients are the same except for the addition of olive oil. Also soak the lentils for at least a half hour before starting the recipe.
Steps
  • Heat a medium Dutch oven or deep sauté pan on medium
  • Once it heats up add 1 tablespoon of oil and once that heats up, add onions and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and sauté for another minute
  • Add the rest of the ingredients
  • Use a wooden spatula to break up the tomato paste and stir the ingredients together
  • Bring to a boil and once it comes to one, lower the heat to a lively simmer
  • Cook for 45 – 50 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1063mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 366IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 4mg
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18 Comments

  1. I think lentils are underrated. I loved how straightforward and easy to replicate your Instant Pot instructions were. I made a big batch of lentils yesterday so we can eat them throughout the week.

  2. Love the fact you included stovetop instructions since I do not have an instant pot. I do have a regular pressure cooker, so I am sure I could make it in there as well.

    1. You definitely can use a regular pressure cooker! Thanks, Gloria and I hope you enjoy it when you make it.

  3. I love lentils and love that I can make this recipe in my instant pot. And why have I never thought to turn them into tacos!? Yess..trying this dish this week!

  4. This Instant Pot Lentils looks absolutely scrumptious! I am so excited for my taste buds to have this.

    1. Thanks Paige. I appreciate it. And to make it truly meatless, use vegetable broth instead of beef broth and you are good to go.

  5. I’m all about using the Instant Pot so will be saving this recipe for next time I make lentils. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love lentils and I need to try instant pot ones since they look amazing! I love the whole look of this recipe and I can’t wait to try it out. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you Ramona. I love my instant pot and not sure I would want to live without it. If it broke, I’d run out for another one! 🙂 I hope you enjoy it if you try the recipe.

  7. The instant pot is such a time saver, I love recipes like this! So many great flavors yet it can be made vegan! I’m gonna use veggie broth and definitely try this for our taco night this week, can’t wait!

    1. Yay. I’m so glad to hear that Veronika! I do make it vegan as well when I’m bringing it to my veggie family members. It’s just as luscious!

  8. I love trying new recipes out on the children and husband when we used to eat the same old same old until I found your blog on Pinterest, and now we never have to repeat meals if we don’t want to! Keep the fantastic recipes rolling. We’re happy to try them out!

    1. Aww that is so sweet Heidy! I appreciate it. I’m glad you enjoy the recipes and that you took the time to let me know.