Instant Pot Red Lentils (Tender, Fast, No Soaking!)

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Bowl of cooked red lentils

With an Instant Pot and less than 30 minutes, you can make perfectly tender red lentils (no soaking required)! Let us show you how.

Bowl and spoon of red lentils

Instant Pot Red Lentils

The Instant Pot produces lentils with a more tender, mushy texture. They’re ideal for making dal and soups or for adding to healthier desserts (like these blondies from Ambitious Kitchen).

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Ratio = 1 part red lentils : 2 ½ parts water
  • Cook Time = 3-4 minutes
  • Release = 15 minute natural release, then release any remaining pressure

If you’re looking for red lentils with more texture, it’s best to cook them on the stovetop.

Pouring water over dry red lentils
Cooked red lentils in an Instant Pot

Did you find this helpful? If so, be sure to check out our Instant Pot Cooking Times Guide for perfectly cooked grains and beans every time!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Spoon in a bowl of cooked red lentils

Instant Pot Red Lentils (Tender, Fast, No Soaking!)

A quick & simple method for making red lentils in the Instant Pot! Perfect for dal and adding to healthier desserts. Just 1 ingredient and less than 30 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Pouring water over red lentils
4 from 4 votes
Prep Time 23 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 (~2/3 cup servings)
Course Helpful How-to, Side Dish
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5 Days

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add red lentils and water (or vegetable broth) to the Instant Pot and stir to prevent sticking. If making dal or soup, add seasonings at this time. Pressure cook on high for 3-4 minutes (3 for more textured, 4 for more tender // it will take about 8 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize before cooking begins).
  • Once the timer goes off, allow to naturally release for 15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove lid once steam has fully escaped. There shouldn't be any excess liquid to strain off.
  • Enjoy immediately in dal, soups, or healthier desserts. Store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop, adding a little water, as needed, to prevent sticking.

Notes

*The Instant Pot produces more tender, mushy lentils. If you’re looking for more texture, it’s best to cook them on the stovetop.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Total time includes active cook time, release time, and the time it takes for the Instant Pot to heat up (~8 minutes).

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 two-third-cup serving Calories: 172 Carbohydrates: 30.3 g Protein: 11.5 g Fat: 1 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.55 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.24 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 3 mg Potassium: 321 mg Fiber: 5.2 g Sugar: 0 g Vitamin A: 27.84 IU Vitamin C: 0.82 mg Calcium: 23.04 mg Iron: 3.55 mg

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  1. Sarah says

    I added some chopped onions and carrots, as well as a scoop of the roasted garlic Better than Bouillon. I did mine for 4 minutes and natural release for 15. Came out exactly like the lentil soup they give as a starter at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. It was perfect topped off with a squeeze of fresh lemon!

    • Diana Bourassa says

      I was curious about the flavor. Thanks for sharing what you added. I have to pressure cook pulses due to lectin found in them.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Robin, we found that cooking for less time caused the lentils to not fully cook. With the Instant Pot, they are going to be more mushy. If you’re looking for red lentils with more texture, it’s best to cook them on the stovetop.

  2. Annette says

    Waaay too wet. It looks like soup. ☹️ Do I cook it longer for this batch and reduce the water for the next time?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Annette, The Instant Pot produces lentils with a more tender, mushy texture. They’re ideal for making dal and soups. We tested reducing the water and cooking for less time, but the problem we encountered is that they cook unevenly. Stovetop is the way to go if you’re looking for textured red lentils.

  3. carmella taylor says

    Per the note of “there shouldn’t be any liquid left to strain off”…..What if there IS liquid left?😳😳