Instant Pot Quick Lentil Curry

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Instant Pot Quick Lentil Curry. Comforting lentils with curry powder from my Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker).



  • 1 pound lentils, sorted and rinsed (brown lentils are “lentils” in my area)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
  • 6 cups water
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt


  1. Rinse the lentils: Put the lentils in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let stand to drain while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  2. Sauté the aromatics and spices: Melt the butter in the pressure cooker over medium heat until the butter stops foaming. (Use sauté mode in an Instant Pot). Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the pot, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Sauté until the onion softens and the curry powder starts to smell toasty, about 5 minutes. Stir the lentils into to the pot, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned onions or spices. Pour in the 6 cups of water and add 1½ teaspoons of salt. Lock the lid.
  3. Pressure cook the lentils for 12 minutes with a quick pressure release: Pressure cook on high pressure for 12 minutes in an electric PC (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 10 minutes in a stovetop PC. When the cooking time is done, quick release the pressure.
  4. Serve: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Stir the lentils, and taste for doneness. If the lentils aren’t soft enough, simmer for another five minutes or so (don’t bring back to pressure – use simmer mode on the cooker or simmer on the stovetop). Serve with rice.


  • Quick releasing the pressure thickens the broth. The sudden pressure release shocks the water into a vigorous boil, which roughs up the lentils and releases starch into the liquid. If you don’t want the mess or noise of a quick release, cut the pressure cooking time back to 10 minutes and go with a natural pressure release, and then puree a cup of the lentils and stir them back into the pot to thicken the broth.
  • Basmati rice is the traditional side dish, but I usually serve it with Jasmine rice, which has a similar taste, but is much cheaper.


  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Instant Pot, Lentils