How to Make Easy Lentil Soup

With smoky bacon, tender lentils and plenty of veggies, this easy lentil soup recipe is an affordable meal that you can prepare on the stovetop in about an hour, or make ahead for busy days.

Classic comfort food at its finest! Simmer a pot of easy lentil soup on the stovetop for a simple meal that everyone loves. With crispy bacon, protein-packed lentils and plenty of fresh veggies, this is a nourishing one-pot meal to keep your weeknights stress-free. Serve a warm bowl with a French baguette, corn muffins or buttermilk biscuits and watch your family smile!

How to Make Easy Lentil Soup

You’ll love the convenience of this flavorful soup, which comes together on the stovetop in about an hour. If you’re looking ahead to a busy week, prepare a pot on the weekend and reheat the soup for easy lunches, or freeze your leftovers for another meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups dry brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1-½ tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Step 1: Cook the bacon

Bacon bits on a plateBlair Lonergan for Taste of Home

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp (about 5 minutes). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside to use as a garnish on top of the soup later. Leave the bacon drippings in the pot.

Step 2: Cook the vegetables

saute vegetables in a potBlair Lonergan for Taste of Home

Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pot. Cook and stir over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they’re starting to soften.

Step 3: Add remaining ingredients

close up of spoon with lentil soupBlair Lonergan for Taste of Home

Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaf; cook for 1 more minute.

Stir in the lentils, chicken stock, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes (or until lentils and vegetables are tender). Remove bay leaf.

Step 4: Puree

Immersion blender in lentil soupBlair Lonergan for Taste of Home

Using an immersion blender, pulse about 3 times to puree a small portion of the lentils and vegetables. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer about 1 or 2 cups of the soup to a regular blender to puree. Stir the pureed portion into the rest of the soup to give the soup a thicker, creamier texture.

Step 5: Serve

Easy lentil soupBlair Lonergan for Taste of Home

Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish each serving with the reserved crispy bacon and chopped fresh parsley.

What to Serve with Homemade Lentil Soup

This soup is thick, satisfying and perfectly filling on its own. That said, here are a few sides that pair well with lentil soup:

FAQs About Lentil Soup

Which lentils are best?

cup of lentilsBlair Lonergan for Taste of Home

I recommend using dried brown or green lentils for this soup because they’re sturdy and don’t break down into mush during the cooking process.

Do you have to soak lentils before cooking them?

No. That’s yet another reason that this soup is so easy! You do not have to soak lentils before cooking them. Just rinse the lentils, pick out any irregular or bad ones, and drain them before adding them to your pot.

Is lentil soup healthy?

Yes! Lentils are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Potassium, Folate and Niacin. Enjoying lentils may help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, lower cholesterol, add healthy fiber to your diet and reduce triglycerides. Plus, they’re a great source of vegetarian protein.

Thanks to all of the vegetables and lentils in one bowl of soup, you get a hearty and satisfying meal that’s full of nutrition. A pot of this easy lentil soup yields approximately 13 to 14 cups. Each 1-cup serving includes about 180 calories, 5 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbohydrates, a whopping 10 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar and 11 grams of protein.

Recipe Variations for This Lentil Soup

  • Vegetarian. You can make this a vegetarian recipe with a couple of simple tweaks. Omit the bacon and instead sauté the vegetables in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Instead of the chicken stock, use vegetable broth (or vegetable stock).
  • Add Sausage. Add a pound of Italian sausage without casings (or other sausage of choice) to the soup. You’ll need to brown the meat in a skillet and drain off the fat before adding it to the soup pot.
  • Use Ham. Simmer the soup with a meaty ham bone or ham hock for plenty of rich, smoky flavor. When done, chop the meat from the bone and stir it into the soup (discard the bone).
  • Skip the Puree. I like to puree a small amount of the soup to give the dish a thicker, creamier texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, or if you just don’t want to bother with this step, that’s fine. The soup will still be delicious!

Note: Recipes submitted by our trusted contributors are created and tested in their kitchens. 

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Blair Lonergan
Blair Lonergan lives with her husband and three young boys in a 100-year-old farmhouse at the base of Central Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. A freelance writer and food photographer, Blair shares easy, quick-prep recipes for busy families on her blog, The Seasoned Mom. Her work has been featured in magazines and online at Today, SELF magazine, Buzzfeed, Parade, and Redbook magazine.