Tender and Flavorful Lentils (in the Instant Pot)

Delicious, versatile, and easy to make – this lentil recipe is great to have in your back pocket. These savory lentils are a healthy way to add plant-based protein and fiber to countless recipes. Just mix and let your Instant Pot do the work! They’re perfect for meal prep, a simple side dish, or adding to a quick weeknight meal.

bowl of cooked lentils with napkins and a wooden spoon in the background

Reasons to Love This Recipe

These are not your basic boiled lentils. It’s shocking how much more flavorful lentils are when they’re simmered with a bit of pepper and Italian seasoning. They give the dish a deeper, more herbaceous and savory flavor.

Plus, lentils can make a nutritious addition to so many recipes. Tacos, shepherd’s pie, soup, bean salad, beef stroganoff, power bowls… the sky is the limit!

bowl of cooked lentils

Nutrition Tidbits

Lentils are little nutrition powerhouses. They’re full of fiber, protein, iron, folate, potassium, and calcium. They’re a great option for vegans and vegetarians, but you don’t have to be either to enjoy lentils and reap their benefits.

I like doing a 50/50 mix of lentils and meat in recipes that call for ground beef. (Like the stroganoff and shepherd’s pie I mentioned earlier.) This will help you get the complementary benefits of both foods. It can also help the lentil-hesitant warm up to eating them.

side view of a bowl of lentils

Preparation Tips

This dish is one of those “set it and forget it” recipes. Just add everything to your pressure cooker, mix, set, and let the appliance take over.

I should note that I used standard brown lentils, but you can substitute in other types of lentils as well. If you use split lentils, cut the cooking time in half.

There are a few other tips you can use to modify this recipe.

Recipe Modifications

For extra flavor, you can swap out the water for broth (chicken, beef, veggie, or–if you can find it–mushroom).

If you prefer your lentils with a little more “bite” to them, natural release for 10-12 minutes instead of the full 15.

You can also switch up the seasoning if desired, depending on what you’re serving with the lentils. Some other seasoning options:

bowl of lentils placed on two napkins
bowl of lentils made in intant pot
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Tender and Flavorful Lentils (in the Instant Pot)

These quick and easy lentils will be a new staple in your recipe repertoire. They're ready in less than 30 minutes and can be easily added to your meal prep routine. Toss these lentils into a salad, mix them into recipes with ground meat, or add them to soup for some extra protein and fiber.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time9 minutes
Natural Release Time15 minutes
Total Time29 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30-minute, instant pot, meal prep, pressure cooker
Servings: 6
Calories: 115kcal
Author: Chelsea Jackle, RDN


  • pressure cooker


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cups water or broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste


  • Add all ingredients to your pressure cooker or Instant Pot and stir. Put the lid on, seal it, and set to 'manual' (high pressure) for 9 minutes. Your pressure cooker will take about 5 minutes to come up to temperature before it begins counting down.
  • Once the timer goes off, let the pressure cooker "natural release" (i.e. leave it alone) for 15 minutes. Do a quick release to release any remaining pressure.
  • Strain and serve! These lentils can be a yummy side dish or an addition to a recipe. (Toss them into a salad, mix them into recipes with ground meat, or add them to soup for some extra protein and fiber.)


  • Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used. 
  • Your pressure cooker may take a different amount of time to come to pressure, depending on what size it is.


Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 3mg

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