Greek Instant Pot Lentils

After some trial and error with this recipe, I’m really happy with the result of these Instant Pot lentils. It can be a little tricky to get the desired tenderness of the lentils without undercooking or overcooking them. The flavors in this recipe are very traditional to the Greek island of Crete. The combination of cinnamon and orange really define the flavor of this dish.  This recipe starts like any good recipe, with a mirepoix of onion, carrot, celery, and garlic (which isn’t always part of a mirepoix). I wanted to saute everything in the Instant Pot first to bring out more of the flavor.

instant pot lentils

When testing this recipe out, I tried one version with crushed tomatoes, and one with grated tomatoes. They both came out amazing but I decided I liked the grated tomatoes better. You can use crushed tomatoes but it will have a more tomatoey flavor and a redder color.

instant pot lentils

One thing not to skimp on in this recipe is the olive oil. Lentils can be kind of bland, but the 1/2 cup of olive oil mixed with the herbs, spices, and citrus acts as a flavor vehicle for the lentils. One thing you can skimp on, however, is the crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how much you like spice. There will be a pleasant heat with the 1/2 tsp in this recipe.

This isn’t a lentil soup recipe, but you can make it a lentil soup by adding more water. The traditional Greek recipe for lentil soup contains all the same flavors as this recipe, so it just depends on what you’re looking for. These Instant Pot lentils can be either eaten as a main or side dish.

I’d really appreciate if you rate this recipe and leave a comment!

Check out our other Instant Pot recipes here!


Greek Instant Pot Lentils Pinterest

Greek instant pot lentils

Greek Instant Pot Lentils

George Zikos
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 425 kcal


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 onions, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 orange slices, peel and flesh
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups dried brown lentils, washed and stones removed
  • 2 tomatoes, grated
  • 2 1/2 cups water


  • Set Instant Pot to Saute. Add olive oil and wait 30 seconds to heat up.
  • Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste, orange slices, bay leaves, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and saute for 1 more minute.
  • Add lentils, grated tomato, and water. Stir well. Secure cover on Instant Pot.
  • Set manual time to 22 minutes on Sealing. Once done quick release pressure and serve.


Calories: 425kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 18gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 449mgPotassium: 909mgFiber: 22gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 3927IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 5mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
About the Author: George Zikos
George studied International Business in Greece in 2015 for three semesters. His family is from the island of Crete, and he lived with them for a whole summer. During that time, he started working for Mediterranean Living and contributing his firsthand experiences of the traditional Cretan diet. He learned fluent Greek along the way, being fully immersed in a traditional Cretan village. He is since graduated with a business degree from Worcester State University. George loves language and traveling, so he completed a TEFL certificate program at the Boston Language Institute in order to teach English abroad and travel the world. He currently works full-time blogging, recipe formulating, and social media marketing for Mediterranean Living. His passions include language, gardening, hiking, skateboarding, and watching sports. He dreams of living in Crete one day, after he travels the world learning as many languages and cultures as possible.


  1. Areatha May 1, 2022 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I have NEVER eaten lentils before trying this recipe, and I was “not” disappointed 😋. It was delicious and filling. The oranges kinda through me, but I realized; it gave a hint of sweetness without using sugar. This eliminated any bitterness.
    This recipe is a KEEPER ! Mmmmm😋

  2. Cookin' with Electrons March 21, 2021 at 10:05 am - Reply

    This is fantastic. I have to admit, I totally left out the oil because of calories. I used half a clementine because that’s what I had and split the pepper between black pepper and smoked paprika. Super wonderful. As someone who shies away from “sweet” ingredients in savory dishes, this recipe opened my willingness to try other combinations. Thank you.

  3. Anew October 16, 2019 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    This recipe was awesome! I never would have put these flavors together, but I am really surprised by the excellent taste.
    The sad thing is….. I had 2 helpings.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 21, 2019 at 1:38 am - Reply

      Glad you liked it! Greeks use lemons and orange in soups and stews often. I love it. Bill

  4. Leslie September 10, 2019 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    I have been unable to locate brown lentils, is there another type I can use? Red, yellow and green are commonly found here. Also wondering if molasses can be used in place of the tomato paste as in the Black Beans and Dill recipe.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 9, 2019 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Haven’t tried other lentils so probably shouldn’t say, but I think green would do great. Yes, you can substitute molasses for tomato paste.

  5. Laura August 3, 2019 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Spicy, plus cinnamon and orange–delicious!
    Went well with fish. Thank you for the recipe.

    • George Zikos August 6, 2019 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      Hey Laura! I love those flavor combinations. Glad you liked it!

  6. Genevieve June 18, 2019 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Really delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    • George Zikos June 18, 2019 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks for making it!

  7. Sherie Tazelaar June 4, 2019 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    I just made this today. It is absolutely delicious!!! My roommate walked in and raved about how great the house smelled. This will be one of my regular recipes.

    • George Zikos June 6, 2019 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      Thank you for making it and I’m happy you enjoyed it so much!

  8. Jim Hallmark April 9, 2019 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    George, if I choose to use the Lentils as a side dish, can you give me some suggestions for other things that I might serve with it? Salad? Couscous? Fish?

  9. Linda March 24, 2019 at 12:05 am - Reply

    This looks so delicious! Can you please tell me how to make this on the stove?

    • George Zikos March 26, 2019 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      We have a similar lentil recipe from the stove, Lentil Soup, but it has more liquid and is a soup. I haven’t tried the Instant Pot Greek Lentils on the stove yet.

  10. Ann March 23, 2019 at 11:32 am - Reply


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