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This Instant Pot lentil stew recipe is cozy, comforting, a little bit smoky, and you will love the bacon! Let your electric pressure cooker do the heavy lifting for this tasty meal. 

Instant Pot lentil stew (close-up)

This electric pressure cooker lentil stew is pretty hearty. It’s definitely got a stew/thick soup texture, and it will stick to your ribs. Perfect for cooler weather or if you can’t stand your air conditioned office. 😉

The Instant Pot is great for making stews/soups in general because you just set it and forget it, and you don’t have to babysit it on the stovetop at all. Lentils can take a while to cook, but the Instant Pot makes it simple and pretty hands-off once it gets going. 

Am I the only person who doesn’t cook lentils for ages and then when I cook them I’m always surprised just how tasty they are, vow to cook them more often, and then repeats the same cycle over and over again? Probably not.

Love lentils? Try my Mediterranean Lentil Salad or this Fresh and Easy Green Lentil Salad.

lentil stew in an Instant Pot

Recipe notes & tips:

  • If you want to make it more of a soup, I recommend adding some additional chicken broth after you release the pressure (this quantity of lentils really sucks up the liquid). Leftovers will continue to absorb liquid, so feel free to add more broth as needed when reheating. This is a total guess, but I would say that using half the amount of lentils and keeping the rest of the ingredient quantities the same will produce more of a soup than a stew.
  • I recommend using good quality, thick-cut bacon for this recipe. 
  • I’ve tested this recipe with green lentils, but brown lentils should be fine too. Red lentils will turn more mushy.
  • You can make it on the stove, but I haven’t tested it so I have no idea re: timing. Just cook it in a large pot until the lentils are soft and the liquid has been absorbed to your liking.
  • This is the Instant Pot that I use for my recipes.

What to serve with lentil stew?

Eat it as-is or serve it with some delicious crusty bread or even cornbread. You could always serve it over rice as well. Or with a simple side salad.

Other Instant Pot recipes to try:

Instant Pot lentil stew in two white bowls

Will you give this Instant Pot lentil stew a try? Questions? Give me a shout in the comments below.

Instant Pot lentil stew (close-up)
5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Lentil Stew

This Instant Pot lentil stew recipe is cozy, comforting, a little bit smoky, and you will love the bacon! Let your electric pressure cooker do the heavy lifting for this tasty meal. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Inactive time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 6 strips bacon cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled & chopped small
  • 2 sticks celery chopped small
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound uncooked green lentils
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Cut the bacon into small pieces (I use kitchen shears) and add it to your Instant Pot. Press the sauté button and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is just about crispy and the fat has been rendered out.
  • Meanwhile, prep the onion, carrots, and celery. When the bacon is ready, add them to the Instant Pot and continue sautéing for 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add in the lentils, tomato sauce, chicken broth, smoked paprika, and cumin. Give it a good stir and ensure nothing is sticking on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Close the lid, set the valve on "sealing", and set the timer to cook for 15 minutes on high pressure. It'll take about 10-15 minutes for the Instant Pot to get up to pressure.
  • Once the countdown has finished, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, and then do a quick release for the rest of the pressure.
  • Season the stew with salt & pepper as needed. If you want this to be more of a soup (or you feel it needs more liquid in general), add in more chicken broth and press the "sauté" button to help it warm through.


  • Inactive time indicates the time it takes the Instant Pot to get up to pressure and release pressure.
  • This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I used.
  • Stovetop tips: I have not tested this on the stove, but there's no reason that you can't do that.. it'll just take a while for the lentils and veggies to soften up. I would let them simmer in a large soup pot until they're tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.


Calories: 404kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 1383mg, Potassium: 1299mg, Fiber: 25g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 3937IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 82mg, Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. Jenny says:

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner last night and it was so incredibly good. Loved the warmth that the smoked paprika added to it. Also, I don’t have a instapot so I cooked it on my stovetop, and can say that it worked perfectly. Sautéed the bacon then the veggies, added in spices, tomato sauce, broth and lentils and then simmered for about 25-30 minutes. Yum.

    1. Natasha says:

      That makes me so happy!! I’m glad it worked out.

  2. Caitlin says:

    Cook time on this recipe was waaaaaay too long. They are absolute mush after 15 minutes. Good recipe, I will just have to experiment to figure out how long to cook next time.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hmmm I’m sorry to hear that. 🙁 I found the cook time to be fine, but you can definitely experiment with less time.

  3. Niya says:

    Delicious!! Almost like a lentil chili. I used smoked Turkey bacon since I don’t eat pork and it came out super tasty. Perfect for a crisp fall day and healthy enough to stick to my fitness goals.

    1. Natasha says:

      So happy you like it, Niya!

  4. Kristi says:

    Hi! I have a slow cooker. Any idea how long I would need to cook this recipe in there?

    Thank you

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! Sorry, I have not tested and I am not sure. You may want to look up similar lentil recipes for timing.

  5. Sharon says:

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe! Super quick and easy to make and very flavorful. I served over eggs noodles and even my toddlers enjoyed this!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s wonderful to hear!! Thank you for writing a review, Sharon! 🙂