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

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!
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



  • 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


  • 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


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.
  • 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


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