Warming Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup (Instant Pot!)

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Bowls of pepitas and creamy sweet potato soup

Cold temperatures call for warming soups! Inspired by our fan-favorite Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup, this incredibly delicious sweet potato soup is made in the Instant Pot.

It’s a 1-pot recipe with warming spices, creamy coconut milk, and sneaky red lentils for a protein and fiber boost. Let us show you how it’s done!

Coconut milk, sweet potato, red lentils, onion, ginger, spices, and vegetable broth

While experimenting for our guide to beans and lentils in the Instant Pot, we learned a couple things about red lentils. First, they cook incredibly quickly (in 3-4 minutes). And second, the options are uncooked or total mush — there’s no in-between.

So while cooking red lentils in the Instant Pot isn’t a good idea for recipes like Vegan Sloppy Joes, it’s a time-saving trick for soups, curries, and dal!

Sautéed onion, ginger, and sweet potato

For this soup, we started by sautéing onion, garlic, and ginger with a little salt and pepper. Then we added sweet potato and red lentils. Sweet potato makes the soup creamy and comforting (and naturally sweet!), while the red lentils add a protein and fiber boost that makes the soup feel more substantial.

Red lentils, sweet potato, vegetable broth, water, and spices in an Instant Pot

The warmth comes from the fresh ginger and dried spices — turmeric, cinnamon, clove, and cayenne. Coconut milk adds creaminess and an optional touch of maple syrup at the end elevates the flavor.

For an optional crunch and contrast of textures, we like topping the soup with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds). A swirl of coconut milk and pinches of cinnamon and cayenne are also a pretty touch!

Cooked red lentils, sweet potato, and spices in an Instant Pot

We hope you LOVE this lentil sweet potato soup! It’s:

Creamy
Warming
Naturally sweet
Savory
& SO delicious!

It’s the perfect easy entrée or side dish for cooler weather! Plus, it keeps well, making it a great option for meal prep. And while it’s plenty filling on its own, it would also pair nicely with salads, bread, and/or roasted vegetables.

Puréeing creamy sweet potato red lentil soup with an immersion blender

More Easy Soup Recipes

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!

Holding a bowl of creamy sweet potato red lentil soup topped with pepitas

Warming Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup (Instant Pot!)

Creamy sweet potato and red lentil soup infused with coconut milk and warming spices. The ultimate fall and winter dish. Made in the Instant Pot and perfect for meal prep!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Holding a bowl of creamy sweet potato lentil soup topped with coconut milk and pepitas
4.94 from 116 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 (~2-cup servings)
Course Entrée or Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Indian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

SOUP

  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed (or sub 2 tsp oil as recipe is written)
  • 1 heaping cup diced white or yellow onion (~1 small onion as recipe is written)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic (~1 Tbsp minced garlic as recipe is written)
  • 2 tsp fresh minced ginger (~1/2-inch or 1 ¼-cm piece as recipe is written)
  • 1 healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper
  • 4 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato (cut into 1/4-1/2-inch cubes- see photo // ~2 small-medium potatoes as recipe is written // or sub sweet winter squash such as butternut)
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 small pinch ground clove (optional)
  • 1 healthy pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (plus more to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

INSTANT POT

  • Turn on the sauté function on your Instant Pot (to the default “Normal” — not high or low). Once hot, add water (or oil), onion, garlic, and ginger. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add a little bit more water as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add sweet potato and stir. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a little more water as needed to prevent sticking (we added 2 Tbsp (30 ml)). Sweet potato should be slightly tender when pierced with a fork or knife.
  • Turn off the sauté function by pressing “Cancel.” Then add red lentils, vegetable broth, water, turmeric, cinnamon, clove (optional), cayenne, and sea salt, and stir.
  • Put on the Instant Pot lid and turn to seal. Pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes (it will take about 5-10 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize before cooking begins). Once the timer goes off, let the steam release naturally (~15 minutes), or carefully press the quick release if in a hurry. Turn off the Instant Pot by pressing “Cancel.”
  • Carefully open the lid and add coconut milk and maple syrup (optional) and purée with an immersion blender until smooth (or let cool slightly before transferring to a high-speed blender). Taste test and add more maple syrup for sweetness, coconut milk for creaminess, cinnamon for warmth, cayenne for heat, and salt for overall flavor.
  • Option to garnish with toasted pepitas, a swirl of coconut milk, and a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne. Best when fresh. Leftovers will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop.

STOVETOP

  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add water (or oil), onion, garlic, and ginger. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add a little bit more water as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add sweet potato and stir. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a little more water as needed to prevent sticking (we added 2 Tbsp (30 ml)). Sweet potato should be slightly tender when pierced with a fork or knife.
  • Add red lentils, vegetable broth, water, turmeric, cinnamon, clove (optional), cayenne, and sea salt, and stir. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sweet potatoes and red lentils are tender.
  • Add coconut milk and maple syrup (optional) and purée with an immersion blender until smooth (or let cool slightly before transferring to a high-speed blender). Taste test and add more maple syrup for sweetness, coconut milk for creaminess, cinnamon for warmth, cayenne for heat, vegetable broth or water to thin, and salt for overall flavor.
  • Option to garnish with toasted pepitas, a swirl of coconut milk, and a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne. Best when fresh. Leftovers will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 2 cups Calories: 318 Carbohydrates: 55.7 g Protein: 11.6 g Fat: 5.9 g Saturated Fat: 4.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.45 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 510 mg Potassium: 796 mg Fiber: 9 g Sugar: 8.5 g Vitamin A: 17786 IU Vitamin C: 7.69 mg Calcium: 81.66 mg Iron: 4.06 mg

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  1. Rachel says

    A lovely, creamy, warming soup on a very cold day. I made it on the stove and doubled the dry spices (about 1/4 t cayenne), added 1/4 t red pepper flakes, and omitted the maple syrup. Very good and plentiful serving size for 4 (though we stretched it to 6 servings). Can’t wait to see how the leftovers taste after the spices meld overnight!

  2. Nadia says

    This soup was delicious! I opted to omit the cinnamon and added extra cayenne because I like heat. It was a hit with the whole family and paired perfectly with a toasted gluten free baguette. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  3. SKK says

    Hi, this looks yummy but I’m wondering about the methodology. It looks like it takes just as long in the instapot (considering pressurizing and depressurizing time) compared to the stovetop. Is there other benefit to the instapot compared to the stovetop?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, the Instant Pot is more hands-off, while the stovetop requires occasionally stirring. The other bonus of the Instant Pot is the keep warm function, which means you can make it a few hours in advance and then enjoy when ready. Hope that helps!

  4. Juliet says

    What a great side dish! I paired this with some crispy pan-fried gnocchi and a mixed green salad for the perfect cozy fall meal.

  5. Jill says

    Thanks for this recipe, MB! We are new to the instant pot (late in the game) and THIS has been a solid way to learn how to make a great fall soup… plus it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how we could take this base in other directions with butternut etc.

    Since I spotted this recipe I’ve made it twice… in one case we froze and gave away half the batch to a neighbour who maybe needed/deserved it. YUMMMMMMMM. I tend to be generous with spice as well as with my timing carmelizing onions etc. I think you have lots of great recipes that only get better with a few extra minutes at these steps! Yay, you & me!

    Have loved books and recipe site for years and years. TY!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Jill! And love your tweaks to our recipes. Thank you so much for sharing and for your support over the years! xo

  6. Michele Smith says

    Soup recipes look delicious and I’m looking forward to making them. It would be great to know which ones are suitable for home freezing. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michele, we’d say pretty much any soup freezes well! The only exception that’s coming to mind would be soups with noodles in them as the noodles can get a bit soggy when reheated. You can also find notes on whether it’s freezer friendly in the section above the ingredients header. Hope that helps!

  7. Pdilutis says

    I just made this soup for lunch. I left out the milk and maple syrup, increasing the spice. It was amazing. Thank you for this great recipe. It will become a staple in our home.

  8. Sara says

    Such a warming, tasty soup. I follow the recipe as is, opting not to add the optional
    cloves and maple syrup

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Sara! Thanks so much for the lovely review. xo

  9. Naty says

    Hello! I’m making this recipe tomorrow night on the stovetop (I don’t have an instant pot), and was wondering if it would work the same if I roast the sweet potatoes in the oven (as you do in your pumpkin soup which I LOVE so much), rather than cooking them in the pot. Thoughts??

    Looking forward to giving this one a go!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Naty, Yes, that should work great and give it even more flavor! Let us know how it goes!

  10. Rachel says

    I can’t eat garlic or onions as I am on a special Ayurvedic diet. Do you think this recipe would taste good without it and/or do you recommend any substitutions?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rachel, it might be good without, since there is ginger and other spices. Let us know how it goes!

  11. Jody says

    I’d like to use only half the potatoes and the other half use frozen chunks of butternut squash.
    Maybe only puree half? Leaving some chunks.
    Does that substitution sound like it would work?
    Thanks.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jody, that should work! The squash might need to go in later as it will soften much faster than potatoes. Let us know how it goes!

  12. Shirl says

    I made this and it was the most delicious soup I think I’ve ever had. I love that you can make it a little hotter or not according to your preference. Wonderful soup.

  13. Jo says

    Thankyou so much ! I’ve been trying out so many different recipes for a warming lentil soup.. trying out so many different recommended spice mixes.. your recipe is our favourite so far. It’s delicious!!! I didn’t have as much coconut milk.. and did add some extra chilli flakes and squeezed lemon and leftover coriander at the end just for our taste. But it didn’t need it. So delighted to find your recipes. Thankyou! Happy New Year 😊

  14. emily says

    This is one of the most delicious and easy soups I’ve ever made. We loved it. I left the potato skins on and it came out fine. Thank you!

  15. Mary says

    I made this soup and it is lovely.
    I used cumin and turmeric instead of cinnamon and cayenne and left out the cloves .
    I had planned to use the coconut milk but tasted it before I added and it did not need it , it was delicious on its own .
    I have used many of your recipes and not been disappointed so far
    thank you

  16. Anita Tennent says

    Super quick, easy, and absolutely delicious!!!! Hubby even loved it! Turned out amazing on this cold winter night in London. Pinning this as a easy go-to for those winter days.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed it, Anita. Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  17. Anita Tennent says

    I accidentally added the coconut before the pressure cooking… I overlooked adding it after… hoping it doesn’t ruin it!!

  18. Eva says

    Easy and delicious! I also added some loosely torn up fresh spinach leaves in the bottom of the serving bowls before adding the hot soup, which was just right for the added texture of slightly wilted, bright green leaves.

  19. Eva says

    Excellent meal for a rainy winter night! I made this on the stovetop in a le Creuset, added a teaspoon of garam masala and an extra shake of cayenne, and used a full can of coconut milk, because I think I used too much sweet potato, extra onion and extra fresh ginger. (I should have also added more lentils!) I kept half the soup non-blended and we liked it that way. The toasted pepitas really brought the dish to the next level! They are worth the effort and easily toasted in a pan on the stove top. Enjoy!

  20. Karen says

    I used a mix of butternut squash and sweet potato since that’s what I had on hand. I needed to add more water than called for as it’s a very thick soup. The flavor is good but I wanted something a bit spicier so I added a good spoonful of hot curry paste. Very good with the pepitas and a swirl of coconut milk.

  21. Amy L says

    Made this tonight using items we already had – brown lentils instead of red, ground ginger rather than fresh ((1/4 tsp) and Silk whipping cream instead of coconut milk. It’s SO good! I’m looking forward to making it with the coconut milk and fresh ginger sometime in the future. Thank you!

  22. Libby R. says

    This was a delicious soup and I am not even the biggest fan of sweet potatoes. Me and my boyfriend were pleasantly surprised. I think the toasted pepitas are a must!!!!!
    Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  23. Katrina says

    Sounds delicious! What’s the best way to cook this if you don’t have an instant pot? I do have a slow cooker and a stove.

  24. KAREN W says

    Hi
    I will have to make this later in the year as I’m in Oz and it is summer and a bit hot to have soup now but have saved the recipe and I will leave out the ginger and garlic as I cant have it (allege) and the lentils as well but I think the spices will make up for that thanks for the recipe

  25. Fiona X says

    I made this and added tomatoes, swapped out the lentils for yellow split peas as that’s all I had. Left it chunky. Deeeeeelicious!

  26. Anna says

    Wow, this soup is delicious! Love the complex flavor! I used half red lentils and the other half a mix including some black lentils that survived the blender and gave the soup a little box of texture. Doubled the recipe and used a whole can of coconut milk. Generously seasoned with cayenne. Absolutely adored the results. Such an excellent fall soup!

  27. Nyx says

    This recipe is quite good, I increased the spices, garlic and ginger, and added garam masala, and added the spices while sautéing the sweet potato. My Instant Pot had some trouble pressurizing, and I got the burn message while preheating, but everything was, for the most part, cooked through. While cleaning up I found a piece of onion where the lid snaps in place so it was likely user error. I had to add a lot of extra water as the soup was so thick it wouldn’t fall off the spoon! The end result was much more spice forward than I believe the recipe intended, but it’s good, very creamy, the spices make it reminiscent of Indian food, I think adding tofu would taste nice, add a nice textural component, and be an easy way to add more protein. Tomorrow I plan to pair it with some tandoori style chicken and rice, maybe add some cumin and other spices and lean into the curry vibe I get from it. Overall a really good basic recipe that can easily be added on to just depending on your tastes and what you have on what you have on hand.