Cook black lentils in the Instant Pot for an uber-healthy and protein-packed dish.

This easy and delicious recipe starts with basic veggies, such as carrots and celery, and seasonings for a simple lunch or light dinner! Make a batch or two of Instant Pot black lentils and serve them in hot or cold recipes all week!

instant pot beluga lentils in a bowl

Protein-Packed Black Lentils

  • Black lentils, AKA beluga lentils, are small and round (think caviar) and taste delicious! They have a higher protein content than most lentils and hold their shape (al dente) once they are cooked.
  • Serve black lentils on their own or as a hearty side dish to any protein.
  • Enjoy all the health benefits of black lentils and add them to a salad or make energizing black lentil burritos with eggs, veggies, or rice.
  • The Instant Pot makes cooking lentils so easy! By pressure cooking lentils, there’s no soaking, no stirring, or extended cook time on the stove.

ingredients assembled to make instant pot black lentils, including carrots, onions, celery, chicken stock, garlic, black lentils, thyme, and salt and pepper

Ingredients & Variations

BELUGA LENTILS: Small, round beluga lentils have an earthy flavor like black beans. Substitute red or French green lentils if black lentils aren’t available or use a colorful combination of all three! Be sure to adjust cooking time accordingly.

VEGETABLES: Carrots, onion, and celery provide the base flavor for black lentils. This is a great recipe to add leftover veggies like tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, or zucchini.

SEASONINGS: Garlic and thyme are all that’s needed for this recipe. Taste test and add salt and pepper, as needed. For a spicy kick, add a splash or two of Tabasco sauce, if desired.

process of cooking lentils in an instant pot

How to Make Black Lentils in the Instant Pot

  1. Chop carrots, celery, and onion and saute with garlic and thyme until tender (per recipe below).
  2. Add lentils and stock (or water) and cook until tender.

Garnish with sliced green onions or a dollop of sour cream.

Serve with air fryer breaded zucchini chips or buttery, pull apart cheese bread!

dried lentils in a jar

Our Secrets to Successful Lentils

Here’s how to ensure your black lentils come out perfect every time!

  • Always pick through lentils and remove any small bits of debris that they might have been packaged with. For best results, rinse lentils thoroughly before using. Rinsing lentils before cooking also makes them less gassy.
  • Beluga lentils are firmer than regular lentils once they are cooked. For a softer texture, add extra minutes to the cooking time, or use the natural release instead of the quick release function.
  • Keep leftover Instant Pot black lentils in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in zippered bags for up to 6 weeks. Reheat on the stovetop.

Other Side Dishes in the Instant Pot

instant pot beluga lentils in a bowl
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Instant Pot Black Lentils (AKA Beluga Lentils)

Cooking lentils has never been easier with this easy instant pot black lentils recipe.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings



  • 1 cup beluga lentils
  • 1 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup carrots finely chopped
  • ¼ cup onion finely chopped
  • ¼ cup celery finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Set your Instant Pot to saute and add the butter. Add the garlic, celery, onions, carrots, and thyme.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add the lentils and cook for one minute. Add the chicken stock and set it to "soup" for 20 minutes.
  • Once they are done cooking quick release for 5 minutes.
5 from 4 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 976IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a mom of 4 with a love for all things air fryer! Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making recipes for the everyday home cook!
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    1. Hi Cherisse, great question! Quick Release is when you manually open the steam valve to depressurize the instant pot. Natural release is when you let the Instant Pot release pressure on its own. So for this recipe, we quick release by opening the steam valve manually for 5 minutes. Hope that helps!