The creamiest Turkish lentil soup and you won’t believe that it’s made without even a drop of cream! This cozy soup is made with mostly pantry-staple ingredients and is vegetarian-friendly,and so comforting. Naturally gluten-free, creamy and can easily be made vegan!

turkish lentil soup in bowl with parsley

Golden drizzles of delish-us-ness.

Serving up bowlfuls of Turkish Lentil Soup in Houstons perpetual 100º weather like it’s my job.

But this one is worth the hype. It’s the creamiest lentil soup you’ll ever experience and yet there isn’t even a drop of cream in this recipe. We’re talking a lentil soup loaded with vegetables like onions, carrots, a squeeze of tomato paste, served up with lemon wedges on the side. It’s thickened up by with a potato. Yes, you read that right. And lets just say after trying this recipe, you’ll want to skip making a roux and start using potatoes in all of your roux-based soup recipes. This is a soup that you’ll on every street corner in Turkey. I’ve can be made with both red lentils and yellow lentils. This Turkish red lentil soup dish, is called mercimek çorbası.

This is the coziest, warmest, most comforting lentil soup to come out of my kitchen in possibly forever.  Bonus points that this recipe uses lots of pantry and refrigerator staple ingredients and the prep time it curbed at 15 minutes.

We’re talking about a veg-friendly turkish red lentil soup that contains almost 30 grams of protein not to mention that lentils are loaded with fiber, making this the perfect filling lunch. The total time is around 30 minutes and you only have a single pot to clean afterwards. All you need is a slice of toasted crusty bread drizzled with EVOO and a few rubs of a garlic clove to serve as a side.

ribbon of turkish lentil soup falling from spoon

Ingredients for Turkish Lentil Soup

  • Butter: Feel free to use butter or olive oil for this recipe. You’ll need about 4 tbsp of butter. We’ll use half for sautéing the onions and carrots. The other half is for finishing the soup at the end.
  • Onions: You’ll cook the onions in the oil to add flavor to the soup before pressure cooking the lentil soup.
  • Carrots: I like to dice up the carrots and saute them in the butter with the onions for a bit. The carrots add color and extra nutrition!
  • Lentils: You can use red lentils, yellow lentils or yellow split peas for this recipe.
  • Russet Potatoes: You’ll need a pound of potatoes for 1¾ cup of lentils. This ratio works best in giving the soup the perfect creamy texture.
  • Tomato Paste:
  • Broth: You can use vegetable broth or chicken stock for this recipe. Either works.
  • Spices: You’ll need turmeric and cayenne pepper to season the soup with when it simmers. You’ll also need kosher salt and black pepper. If you want to keep the spice level at bay, swap the cayenne pepper for paprika. It’ll give it that same color without giving it heat. I’ve seen people add ground cumin and lots of other spices to their lentil soup, I usually reserve that for my Indian Dal Soup.
  • Lemon Wedges: To squeeze fresh lemon juice on the soup for serving.
yellow split peas in glass jar
sautéed onions carrots and potatoes in instant pot for lentil soup

Homemade Turkish Lentil Soup Recipe

  1. Saute the aromatics. Add a couple tablespoons of butter and saute the onions and carrots together until the onions just barely start to brown. Giving the onions a head start develops more flavor in the soup. Add the potatoes, washed lentils, tomato paste, broth, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer to make the process of reaching steam quicker. Cover the instant pot and let it do it’s thing.
  2. Blend it up. Using an immersion blender or by transferring the soup to a traditional blender, blend the soup to your liking. I blend it completely for a silky smooth texture. You may need more broth to thin the soup out, it all just depends. The soup will thicken as it sits, so if it looks super thin, just let it hang out for a bit.
  3. Taste the soup and make adjustments. Add the remaining butter to the soup and give it a stir. Give the soup a taste. If you usually like a little more heat, add another pinch of cayenne pepper. I like to serve this soup with lemon wedges and chopped up parsley for the top. You could also use cilantro if that’s what you have on hand. Red pepper flakes also add a little heat and give the soup a little texture. You can also use a teaspoon of dried mint for a refreshing flavor.  
spoon of turkish red lentil soup

FAQs about this recipe

How do you store leftover Turkish soup?

 I keep the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate it. 

Can you make this soup on the stove top instead of the instant pot?

Yes, Saute the carrots and onions the same way. Then add all the other ingredients to the large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. The lentils will cause foam to rise to the top. Skim the foam off and then continue to cook until the potatoes are cooked through and the lentils have softened. Then you’ll just blend the soup up the same way!

If you like this soup, you might also like:

soup in bowls with spoon
Yield: Serves 8

Luxurious Turkish Lentil Soup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

The creamiest Turkish lentil soup and you won't believe that it's made without even a drop of cream! This cozy soup is made with mostly pantry-staple ingredients and is vegetarian-friendly,and so comforting. Naturally gluten-free, creamy and can easily be made vegan!

Luxurious Turkish Lentil Soup


  • 4 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 ¾ cups yellow lentils (or 1 ½ cups yellow split peas)
  • 1 lb. russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 5- 6 ½ cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)*
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • lemon wedges, parsley, etc. for topping


  1. SAUTE: Heat 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in the instant pot on the sauté setting. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until the onions just barely start to brown, about 9-10 minutes. Add the potatoes, lentils, tomato paste, 5 cups of broth, turmeric, and if desired, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cover the Instant Pot, hit the bean/chili button and adjust the pressure time. 10 minutes for yellow lentils, 13-15 minutes or split peas depending on how old they are. Once the timer goes off, turn the knob to vent.
  2. BLEND: Using a hand blender or by transferring the soup to a traditional blender, blend the soup completely. You may need additional broth to thin the soup out. I ended up using 1 additional cup to blend/thin soup to my liking. But note that the soup will thicken as it sits, to make sure you have a little extra broth or add water.
  3. FINISH: Adjust salt to taste and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. You can also add additional cayenne if you prefer spicier soups. Feel free to serve with lemon wedges and tons of chopped parsley. I go back and forth on the lemon wedge, love it with it, love it without it!

Have you made this recipe?

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