Spicy red lentil soup is both hearty and healthy!

Hearty, satisfying red lentil soup. Instant Pot or stovetop.

I may have mentioned before, we have “days” here on our food schedule. Souper Sunday, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, booze OK, (and quite possibly taco Thursday). Friday and Saturday are wild cards, which usually means I’m shooting a video so I’m cooking things that I shouldn’t be.

This spicy red lentil soup happened on Souper Sunday. Management and I just basically tossed some things in the Instant Pot and boom!

I call it spicy, but if you don’t put the jalapeño, it’s not. We like a little kick so we put it in, but it’s totally optional. You can also remove the seeds and membrane for just a tad of spiciness.

You’ll want to use red lentils for this, not the boring brown/green ones. (No offense to the boring brown/green ones. I realize #lentillivesmatter!) The red lentils break down and make it “creamy” and that’s what you want. You want to fool your brain into thinking you’re eating a wonderfully creamy soup but in reality it’s just broth based in disguise.

For all your hardcore carnivores, add some chicken in there. We’ve done both chicken breasts and pulled rotisserie chicken. We like the rotisserie chicken better, but it’s personal preference. Just toss about 1/2 to 1 pound of chicken breast with the rest of the ingredients or a handful or 2 of rotisserie chicken. If using whole chicken breast, remove when the soup is done and shred or cube and return to the pot.

Spicy red lentil soup - hearty, full of veg and totally healthy!
5 from 2 votes

Spicy Red Lentil Soup – Instant Pot and Stovetop


  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dry red split lentils, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • cayenne
 pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste (I used 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped or 3 roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 small onion chopped small-ish
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 stalks celery chopped small-ish
  • 1 sliced jalapenos, optional for heat
  • ¾ cups fresh cilantro, chopped
  • small avocado, cubed or sliced
  • sour cream optional
  • diced red onion optional
  • croutons optional
  • 1/2 – 1 pound chicken breast or pulled rotisserie chicken if using



  1. Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium soup pot. When it starts to boil,  add the next 12 ingredients (plus chicken if using).

  2. Cook over a medium-low flame for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender, semi-covered.

  3. Taste for any seasonings adjustments and serve with cilantro, avocado cubes, and other optional toppings listed.


  1. Add the broth and water to the pressure cooker, along with the next 12 ingredients (plus chicken if using). (Not the avocado, cilantro, or other optional toppings.)  Stir well. 

  2. Pressure on high for 10 minutes.  Let the pressure come down naturally – either fully if you’re busy or for at least 10 minutes.  

    If you used whole chicken breast, remove and cube or shred and return back to the pot.

    To serve, sprinkle with cilantro, chopped avocado.  Top with optional ingredients listed, if using.

Spicy red lentil soup can be made vegetarian or with chicken for a hearty, quick weeknight meal!
Spicy red lentil soup - hearty, full of veg and totally healthy!

Into soups? Check out some of my favs…

  • Corn Soup – Instant Pot and Stovetop
  • Mushroom Soup – Crazy delicious mushroom soup!
  • Easy Tomato Bisque – Straight from one of the most popular breakfast spots in Mobile – Spot of Tea
  • Chicken & Sausage Gumbo – Made with a no-fail oven roux. Don’t stand around stirring that roux until you faint, just put it in the oven.

32 thoughts on “Spicy Red Lentil Soup”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight. It was absolutely delicious. I even added the jalapeno and the heat wasn’t over powering. The spice combination was perfect. I will definitely be making this again.

      1. 5 stars
        I had leftovers when I made this. Since my son will not eat leftovers of any sort, I froze the soup. I reheated it tonight for my dinner. It was even better the second time around, if that’s even possible! 😊👍

    1. I’m really not sure. I tried on each of the recipes your pins failed on and it works for me. Did you try from the website or a Pinterest extension in your browser?

  2. This looks and sounds delcious and fits into my new plan to eat more legumes! Yum!! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. I love the things you bring.

  3. I make red lentils a lot as it’s a real staple Indian dish…fry and bit of garlic, ginger, chilli, onions, tomato paste and cumin. Add to the boiled lentils with a bit of turmeric for a lovely colour and then finish off with a dash of coriander. A perfect winter warmer like your soup recipe x #Alittlebitofeverything

  4. Happy New Year! Your Spicy Red Lentil Soup looks wonderful! Pinning and sharing. Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope your week is going well.

  5. I’m sorry – I removed your post from the #MLSTL party as it didn’t meet our guidelines – we’d love you to participate but please read the rules carefully. Cheers Leanne

    1. Sorry about that Leanne – linkpartyanimal did it. It must had added your party to the list of parties – I shall go and remove your party list today. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    1. Yikes! Next time bring this soup along in a thermos! Thanks for checking it out Matt -Stay warm!

      1. I love lentil soup and your recipe is different and looks wonderful.
        Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.
        I came from Make it Pretty Monday where you are featured.

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