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If you love split pea and ham soup you are sure to love Instant Pot Lentil Soup with ham even more. Seriously. It’s so easy to make (for real) and budget-friendly. Plus, dinner is ready with much less time spent watching the stove.

Every time I make lentil soup in the Instant Pot it amazes me how little work it is. In fact, it’s taken over an old favorite, this Slow Cooker Ham and Lentil Soup (which I still make occasionally but not nearly as often now.)

You only need some common ingredients that can mostly be stocked in your pantry – dried lentils, ham, onion, garlic, stock, salt, pepper, canned tomatoes, and ground cumin.

What kind of lentils should you use?

You can use any kind of lentils. The most cost-efficient lentils are green lentils, which often look brown’ish. The other kind are red lentils, which actually look orange, haha. Either way, you need one pound of lentils, but if you use an 8-quart Instant Pot you can double it and make 2 meals at the same time because this soup freezes great.

Can you make Instant Pot Lentil Soup vegetarian or vegan?

Just below this I tell you what kind of ham to use, but you can totally skip the ham and make this a vegan recipe. Simply add a little extra salt because the ham adds quite a bit to the dish, making the amount of salt added lower than you’ll want.

What kind of ham should you use?

I like to use leftover ham from cooking a big ham dinner. I’ll often dice the leftover ham and package it in 2 cup increments just to make lentil soup. Another options is to get ham at the deli counter. Just ask them to give you a pound of ham in thick slices – 1/2 inch thick if they will slice it that thick for you. I would stick with tavern or Virginia Baked Ham but if you get creative with a brown sugar ham or honey baked ham let me know how it turned out.

What kind of stock should you use?

You can use plain water if you want, but stock will add more flavor and you can use whatever you have on hand, including chicken or beef. I generally use homemade veggie stock or ham stock that I made by cooking down the ham bone and some scraps in water overnight.

Tip: This soup thickens up the more it sits so make sure you keep a quart of stock on hand for when you heat it up.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup is sure to become a favorite meal, especially for chilly winter nights. Don’t forget to double up the batch and put one in the freezer. You might also like this Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup so make sure you save it for later!


Instant Pot Lentil Soup

If you love split pea and ham soup you’re sure to love Instant Pot Lentil Soup with ham even more. Seriously. It’s so easy to make (for real) and budget-friendly. Plus, dinner is ready with much less time spent watching the stove.

  • Author: Heather L McCurdy
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. dried lentils
  • 8 cups water or stock (optional: additional 4 cups to thin soup as desired)
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 1 (24-28 oz.) can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper


  1. Turn Instant Pot to SAUTÈ and select MORE.
  2. Add oil to pot and heat while you chop the onion.
  3. Add the chopped onion to the Instant Pot, stirring frequently.
  4. Mince garlic then add to the pot.
  5. Once onion is softened and translucent, add the lentils and ham and stir.
  6. Add water/stock, tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir.
  7. Secure the lid on the pot. Close the pressure-release valve.
  8. Select MANUAL (6-quart) or PRESSURE COOK (8-quart) and set pressure level to high pressure. Set time to 35 minutes.
  9. When cooking time is complete, use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes then use a quick pressure release.


Cook time includes 20 minutes for sauté and cook time as well as 20 minutes to come to pressure and 10 minutes for natural pressure release.

You might also want to try this savory Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup.

Ham and Bean Soup

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