How To Cook Red Lentils In Instant Pot

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How To Cook Lentils On The Stovetop


Lentils are extremely forgiving when boiled on the stovetop and allow you to have complete control over their doneness. Green, brown, and black lentils can be boiled as you would pasta just put them in a pot with a good amount of water, cook to the desired consistency, and drain whatever liquid you don’t need. This method, however, doesn’t work well with red and yellow lentils because their starch content causes them to disintegrate. Thus, when discarding some of the water after cooking, a good amount of lentils will be tossed out as well.

Recipes for dal and lentil soup vary greatly in the amount of liquid they call for because consistency is a matter of personal preference. Other factors, like the surface area of the pot, altitude, and the age of the lentils, will also affect cooking time.

For red and yellow lentils, use at least 2 cups of water per 1 cup of lentils for green lentils, use 2 1/2 cups of water for every 1 cup of lentils. When cooking black lentils, use 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of lentils.

  • Place the lentils in a saucepan with the water.
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to low. Place a lid on top and allow it to simmer for the recommended time. Feel free to add any herbs and spices at this point but be careful to not add salt, as that’s going to lengthen cooking time.
  • Add liquid as needed if the lentils become dry.
  • Do a taste test to see if the lentils are tender. When done, drain the lentils if necessary and salt to taste.
  • Red Lentil Dal Recipe

    Make a big batch of this vegan Red Lentil Dal in your Instant Pot and enjoy it for meatless lunches and dinners the rest of the week. So easy to make!

    When I first bought an Instant Pot, my initial cooking goal was to make an amazing red lentil dal. A year and half later, after many batches of Instant Pot Lentil Soup, chicken stew and vegetarian chili, I finally got around to making my first pressure cooker dal recipe.

    These Indian spiced lentils, also known as masoor dal, are a breeze to make, particularly with my cheat ingredient . The leftovers keep well in the fridge, making them the perfect make-ahead option for quick vegan meals throughout the week. Just add a little extra vegetable broth when reheating.

    Easy Instant Pot Red Lentil Curry


    Inspired by red lentil dal, this somewhat non-traditional red lentil curry emphasizes convenience and ease, relying on pantry staples and the Instant Pot. Just 5 minutes of prep, then sit back and relax! Comforting and full of flavor. Vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free.

    With endless days at home plus a hot and humid summer, lately I’m often so tired by dinner time that even the thought of whipping up one of my go-to weeknight veggie sautés is too much. And that’s exactly how this Instant Pot Red Lentil Curry was born.

    I also had some pantry items that really needed to be put to use, like fire roasted tomatoes, red lentils, and soy curls. But mainly, I just wanted to just throw some ingredients in the Instant Pot, press a button, and sit the heck down.

    You know what I mean? I wanted zero fuss and zero standing at the stove.

    To my surprise, that first experimental batch was AMAZING! It was so delicious I couldn’t wait to make it again.

    I’ve changed the recipe a bit each time, trimming down ingredients and choosing only the most essential ones to make this lentil curry as easy and accessible as possible.

    Also Check: How To Reheat Tamales In Instant Pot

    Serving Suggestions And Storage

    I actually prefer to eat this lentil curry on its own because it’s just so good! Of course, it also pairs well with potatoes, quinoa, and rice.

    If you have other veggies that need to be used, feel free to add them to the pot. Try chopped carrot, bell pepper, or mushrooms. For something green, stir baby spinach into the pot after cooking.

    Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime, and if you’re into spiciness, a dash of cayenne plus extra black pepper is also great.

    And not that this curry is especially spicy, but a dollop of Instant Pot Cashew Yogurt adds a nice, cooling element.

    This red lentil curry reheats beautifully and is a great dish to add to weekly meal prep. It can also be frozen for longer storage.

    I love hearing from you! If you try the recipe be sure to leave a comment and a star rating below to let us know how it turned out.

    Water Ratio For Lentils

    Instant Pot Lentil Gumbo

    When cooking red lentils in an Instant Pot or boiling lentils on a stovetop, combine 1 cup lentils with 2 cups water or 3 cups water . Or, just make sure there is about 2 to 3 inches of water above the lentils. If you’re making red lentil soup, you’ll need to add more water so more liquid remains after cooking. Most red lentil soup recipes call for anywhere between 4 to 8 cups of water/broth.

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    Why Cook Lentils In The Instant Pot

    I prefer to cook my lentils in the Instant Pot rather than using other methods because:

    • It’s so fast! Using a pressure cooker to cook your lentils takes as little as just 3 minutes, depending on the type of lentil.
    • No hovering over a pot on the stove – this method is almost completely hands-off.
    • Your lentils end up perfectly tender every time.
    • This method is perfect with or without soaking your lentils ahead of time.

    The Easiest Lentil Curry

    The only chopping involved in preparing this curry is for the onion and garlic. If you have a microplane zester, use that to zest the fresh ginger. If not, go ahead and mince the ginger, as well.

    Now, the fun part:

  • Toss everything in the Instant Pot, give it a stir, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Place a dish towel over the steam vent, and quick release the pressure.
  • And that’s it. You’re ready to eat!

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    Why You Will Love This Easy Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup

    • Loaded with veggies and spices like turmeric and curry to make it a nutritious fighting machine
    • Perfect balance of sweet, from corn and carrots, earthy, from the turmeric and curry powder, and bright, from the splash of lemon
    • Serve it chunky, smooth, or somewhere in between, it’s perfect every way!
    • It doubles perfectly! Simply double the ingredients, but keep the cook time the same.
    • You know those recipes you can imagine yourself sitting by a fireplace in a cabin with warm slippers and a giant cozy blanket with a look of contentment all over your face? This is that recipe

    How To Cook Red Lentils & Rice Together

    Vegan Red Lentil Soup Pressure Cooked in Instant Pot

    One of the big advantages of the Instant Pot is the option to do Pot-in-Pot Cooking or PIP. This means being able to cook multiple things at a time, by also cooking in a small pot inside the main pot. To do pot-in-pot cooking, you need a tall trivet and stainless steel containers that you can use within the main pot.

    After adding all the ingredients for the lentils. Place a trivet. Then a steel bowl with rice and water on the trivet.

    The cooking time for white basmati rice is similar to the cooking time of Masoor Dal. You always want to match things that cook in approximately the same time when doing pot-in-pot cooking.

    The cooking time for white basmati rice is similar to the cooking time of Masoor Dal. You always want to match things that cook in approximately the same time when doing pot-in-pot cooking.

    Stir in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

    The lentils are perfectly cooked and so creamy!

    Read Also: How Long To Steam Broccoli In Instant Pot

    Water To Lentils Ratio:

    • The water to lentils ratio for cooking lentils in the Instant Pot is 2:1. So, if you are cooking 1 ½ cups of lentils, use 3 cups of stock or water. You can easily double or triple the recipe as well. The cook time will remain the same, though it will take longer for the pressure to build and release in the pot.

    How To Cook Lentils 2 Ways

    Here are two easy methods for cooking lentils: the classic stovetop method and the Instant Pot method. Both ways are quick and easy, but if you have an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, using it to cook lentils keeps you from spending time bent over the stove. And because lentils are so small, they don’t require soaking like beans. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to cook lentils.

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    Make From Frozen Serving Day Directions

    These directions help you cook or reheat this meal AFTER it’s been frozen for when you are ready to eat it.

  • Prep from frozen
  • **Depending on your container size/shape and your serving size, you may need to adjust cooking times given as it is based on 4 servings frozen in indicated container.**
  • Add frozen contents to Instant Pot.
  • Lock lid into place and seal steam nozzle.
  • Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes.
  • Naturally release pressure for 5 minutes then release any remaining pressure.
  • Top with parsley.
  • How To Cook Instant Pot Lentils + Video

    Yesss, These 17 Instant Pot Dinners Are 500 Calories or ...

    A recipe for how to cook lentils in the Instant Pot with perfect results every time. Using this super easy water to lentil ratio and cook time makes for the best, tender lentils in your electric pressure cooker.

    It seems whenever Im cooking bean-based dishes lately, I always use the Instant Pot. It saves so much time, and I love how hands-free it makes the cooking process with no soaking. Ive made Instant Pot Refried Beans, Instant Pot Red Beans & Rice, Instant Pot Chickpeas and Instant Pot Bean Soup with Pesto. And while Ive made Instant Pot Lentil Soup and Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils, I thought it was time to just write a straightforward post on how to cook lentils in the Instant Pot, with simple seasonings, to use in other recipes or to just eat plain on their own, perhaps with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro?

    As with other Instant Pot recipes Ive tested, I find that when cooked in the Instant Pot, the spices in recipes become a bit less noticeable. So, I amped up these Instant Pot Lentils with a few of my favorite spices cumin, onion powder and paprika. I also used my homemade Instant Pot Bone Broth as the stock , but you can swap it out for some boxed chicken or beef broth too.

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    What Lentils Are Used In Curry

    For this recipe, we are using either split red or split yellow lentils. They are the fastest cooking lentils and break down into the perfect consistancy for serving over rice.

    Brown, black, or unsplit red lentils will take longer to cook and require a different moisture content than the recipe calls for. For best results, and Instant Pot safety, stick with the recipe as written.

    How To Make Lentils In An Instant Pot

    Making Instant Pot lentils is one of the easier things you can make in your pressure cooker! Now that weve become Instant Pot experts, let me be the first to admit: Im all about the Quick Release. Why? Because Im impatient. If youve used your Instant Pot a lot, youll know that many recipes call for a natural release: which is perfectly well and good, except it does tack on extra time to the recipe.

    Were happy to report that this Instant Pot lentils recipe is seriously quick. How long do you cook lentils in an Instant Pot? 9 minutes. Then, do a Quick Release and youre done! The only other time you have to factor in is the preheat time, which takes about 5 to 10 minutes depending on your Instant Pot. Overall, this Instant Pot lentils recipe has about 5 minutes of hands on time, and 15 to 20 minutes start to finish.

    For our Instant Pot lentils recipe, we wanted to add seasonings so that you could serve these lentils as part of a dinner recipe without having to add anything more. Here are the pressure cooker lentils ingredients:

    Recommended Reading: How To Cook Frozen Tamales In Instant Pot

    How To Make Marinara Sauce With Red Lentils

    This whole recipe comes together in the Instant Pot, so you dont have to worry about dirtying any other dishes!

    You can see how I make the recipe in this short video or follow the step-by-step instructions below.

    Step 1: Pick over the lentils, removing any shriveled pieces or stones, and rinse in a fine-mesh strainer. Drain well.

    Step 2: Set the electric pressure cooker to the Sauté setting. When the pot is hot, pour in the avocado oil.

    Step 3: Add the onion and green pepper to the pot and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Hit Cancel on the control panel once the vegetables are ready.

    Step 4: Add the broth to the pot and scrape up any brown bits. Stir in the tomato paste.

    Step 5: Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Stir well.

    Step 6: Close and lock the lid. Make sure the pressure valve is set to Sealing.

    Step 7: Cook the sauce on high pressure for 13 minutes.

    Step 8: When the cooking is complete, hit Cancel. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

    Step 9: Once the pin drops, unlock and remove the lid. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir well.

    The consistency of the sauce will depend on the amount of liquid in your tomatoes. If its too thin for your liking, there are two easy ways to thicken it up.

    How Long Does It Take To Cook Lentils In The Instant Pot

    Red Lentil and Yellow Curry EASY RECIPE Instant Pot Easy & Flavorful
    • The cook time to make pressure cooker lentils is 10 minutes, however, you need to also take into account the time it takes for the pressure to build in the pot. It will take about 15 minutes for the pressure to build, then the countdown timer will start. So, in total, it will take about 25 minutes to cook instant pot lentils.

    Read Also: Make Bread In Instant Pot

    Adding Flavor To Lentils

    But if you want to make your lentils more flavorful, youll need to add some more flavorings . Lentils are sponges, so they absorb the flavors of the ingredients in which theyre cooked.

    I like to begin my lentils by sautéing some aromatics in oil, such as onion and garlic. And because I like things spicy, I often sauté some chili peppers too. If Im cooking Indian food, Ill also add in cumin seeds and ginger before adding the lentils. Or, if Im making Mexican-flavored lentils, I might sauté an onion, green pepper, and jalapeño pepper.

    After you cook your aromatics, its time for more seasonings. You can keep it simple with just salt and pepper, or you can add an array of your favorite spices, such as cumin, paprika, or turmeric. The exact spices will depend on the flavor profile/specific cuisine you are cooking. I also love adding fresh herbs to the cooking liquid for more depth of flavor. Sturdy herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and bay leaves work excellently.

    Finally, I like to cook the lentils in vegetable broth instead of water since it gives the lentils a little more richness and flavor.

    Below you will find four incredibly easy recipes for Instant Pot lentils. And in case you are a fan of other legumes , here are more Instant Pot recipes featuring lentils and other legumes!

    • Spiced Lentil, Kale and Sausage Soup
    • Red Lentil Almond Curry
    • Red Curry Rice Noodle Soup
    • Lentil-Walnut Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki
    • Lentil Shepherds Pie
    • Khichdi / Kitchari

    Whats Not To Love About This Red Lentil Curry

    • Ready in 30 minutes for a majorly flavorful weeknight win.
    • Hearty and warming but light and healthy.
    • Ready at the push of a button thanks to my most reliable kitchen assistant, the Instant Pot.
    • A one pot recipe aka minimal cleanup, maximum after-dinner enjoyment.
    • Made almost entirely with pantry and fridge staples.

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    Lentils Instant Pot Recipe

    Here is what youll need to get started on this:

  • Lentils dry, we used split red lentils here
  • Water or other liquid such as vegetable broth to add more flavor
  • Seasonings
  • only salt and pepper were added to this
  • garlic salt and/or powder is great too
  • Instant Pot cooking makes this healthy recipe super easy. You just cook at high pressure and allow for a natural release so they get nice and tender.

    Whether you want brown lentils or red lentils, they cook basically the same. If you arent super familiar with pressure cooking, natural release means to leave the steam valve in the sealing position.

    After the 15 minutes is up, flip it open so the remainder can escape and the lid will lift off easily and safely. Lentils are tender when cooked this way.

    From there you can blend to make them smooth like mashed potatoes, or cut down the cooking time by a few minutes if you dont want them quite as soft.

    Here are quick step by steps but you can jump to recipe at the bottom of this post as well. It is printable so you can keep it handy.

    Time needed: 31 minutes.

    Instant Pot Red Lentils

  • Add ingredients

    Pour in lentils and water + a pinch of salt and pepper or other seasonings youd like. Stir.

  • Cook

    Seal lid and steam valve. Set to high pressure for 16 minutes with a 15 minute natural release.Open pot, slowly stir, taste, season more if you like and serve.

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