Instant Pot Lentil Curry is a creamy, easy and delicious vegan Indian curry recipe that’s made in minutes in your pressure cooker! It’s a flavorful, classic mild curry made with pantry ingredients, minimal everyday spices and spinach. It is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
We absolutely love making Indian curries at home. They’re quick, easy, flavorful and always a family crowd pleaser.
A few spices, some veggies and pulses and soon you’ll have a nourishing, dish of comfort food. Just add rice or naan bread.
A perfect Friday night curry at home, or a midweek meal. I always make a big batch to stash some in the freezer too.
Curries can take hours to make, but not this one! This is my pressure cooker Instant Pot lentil curry that’s ready in just 20 minutes!
Plus, you don’t have to stand stirring the pot - just saute the vegetables in the Instant Pot, dump in the ingredients, stir and go!
That’s the beauty of this healthy, vegan, Lentil Curry - it’s easy, foolproof and tastes incredible.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Easy to make Instant Pot curry recipe.
A quick and easy midweek meal.
An easy pressure cooker recipe for beginners.
Deliciously spiced with a mild flavor that you can spice up if you like it hot!
The Instant Pot’s Pressure Cook setting means you get hours of slowly-cooked flavor in just minutes!
It’s a quick recipe, with layers of tasty flavors.
Ready in just 20 minutes.
Store cupboard ingredients, plus spinach (or substitute greens or kale).
It’s quicker than ordering a takeout!
No long list of spices - just garam masala, curry powder and chilli powder - things most people have in their cupboards already.
Ingredients & Tools
Oil - for sauteing - use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable.
Onion and Garlic - the basis of a great curry!
Carrots - you could also add celery or other root vegetables.
Curry Powder, Garam Masala and Chili Powder - go for mild versions if you like it mild, or hot if you like it spicy!
Dried Red Lentils - I love how they taste and cook quickly. You could use green or brown dried lentils - but increase the cooking time by 5 minutes or let the Instant Pot naturally pressure release.
Coconut Milk - use full fat or light.
Canned Tomatoes - use chopped/diced or crush them up if using whole tomatoes.
Tomato Puree/Paste - to add a richness to cut through the creamy coconut milk
Spinach - Wilt it in at the end, or substitute chopped kale. Greens and chard work too.
Lemon Juice - this little touch of acid stirred in at the end really brightens the curry. I use fresh, but bottled lemon juice works fine.
Instant Pot - I use the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 10-in-1 Multi Pressure Cooker. The multicooker is really simple to use, easy to clean, fast and versatile. It has lots of functions, from sous vide and steamer to cake maker and saute. Plus, cooking times are up to 70% faster than traditional methods!
Try adding other vegetables, along with the carrots and onions. Diced celery, potatoes, peas, sweet potato, squash and cauliflower are all great choices.
Do not touch the lid’s hot surfaces during or after cooking.
Be sure to set your Instant Pot valve to ‘sealing’ position before starting to pressure cook, if you don't have a self-sealing version like the Evo.
If you don’t want your kitchen to get too much moisture, you can set a tea towel over the valve before releasing the pressure. Be careful of the hot steam!
Make this an oil-free recipe by sauteing in a little water.
Check out these Instant Pot cooking tips.
To make this a Slow Cooker lentil curry, simply cook the onion and carrot on the stovetop, stir in the spices and garlic, then transfer it to your slow cooker / Crock Pot. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and lentils and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir in the spinach, coconut cream and lemon juice, then serve.
I love to serve this pressure cooker lentil curry with Turmeric Rice or my super Easy Naan Bread Recipe (just 4 ingredients and 15 minutes for homemade naan bread, plus it's yeast-free and easily vegan or gluten free). It's also amazing with Bombay Potatoes.
How to make Instant Pot Lentil Curry
Wondering how to make this recipe? Follow this step by step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Sauté onions and carrot in the oil for about 5 minutes, using the Saute function of the Instant Pot
Stir in the garlic, garam masala, curry powder and chilli powder and sauté for a further minute, then press Off to stop the saute function.
Stir in the lentils, water, canned tomatoes and tomato puree.
Secure the lid on the Instant Pot (turn the knob to 'sealing' if you don't have a self-sealing model) and Pressure Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
(Note that it can take up to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurise before the cooking begins).
Quick Release the steam, then stir in the coconut milk, spinach and lemon juice until the spinach wilts.
Taste the instant pot curried lentils and season with salt and pepper and add more chilli powder if desired.
Make it vegan: this recipe is naturally vegan.
Make it gluten-free: this recipe is naturally gluten-free. Celiacs - double check all your ingredients lists as products often change their recipes.
Storage and Freezing
Storage - Keep your completely cooled curried lentils in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing - this red lentil curry freezes well. When completely cooled, place into freezer-safe bags or containers (I like to freeze single portions separately) and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Indian Inspired recipes
I’m a huge fan of Indian recipes - they have so much flavor and there are loads of great vegetarian and vegan recipes.
I hope you love this Instant Pot vegan curry recipe and love these other recipes too!
I use the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus.
This is a great 5.7 Litre version that's perfect for a family - up to 6 people. It has 10 multicook functions, from the classic pressure cook to saute, yogurt, slow cook, steam, bake and more.
I've loved putting my new IP through its paces and learning all about pressure cooking.
It's a fast gadget that's easy to clean. I love that for many recipes you just dump and go - add the ingredients, set the machine and then get on with other tasks.
It's a real workhorse in the kitchen as it can perform so many duties.
Get the recipe
Did you make this Instant Pot Vegetarian Curry recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you!
Instant Pot Lentil Curry
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chili powder or more to taste
- 1 cup (215g) red lentils rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 x 15oz / 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree/paste
- ½ a 15oz / 400g can coconut milk
- 2 cups spinach packed, chopped
- Juice of ½ a lemon
To serve (optional)
- Chopped cilantro/coriander
- Black onion seeds
- Dried chilli flakes
- Sauté onions and carrot in the oil for about 5 minutes, using the Saute function of the Instant Pot
- Stir in the garlic, garam masala, curry powder and chilli powder and sauté for a further minute, then press Off to stop the saute function.
- Stir in the lentils, water, canned tomatoes and tomato puree.
- Secure the lid on the Instant Pot (turn the knob to 'sealing' if you don't have a self-sealing model) and Pressure Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
- Note that it can take up to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurise before the cooking begins.
- Quick Release the steam (careful!), then stir in the coconut milk, spinach and lemon juice until the spinach wilts.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper and add more chilli powder if desired.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.