Best Lentil Soup Recipes

by Marion - Budget Bytes

Lentils are a superstar ingredient, and we love using them to help make meals that are fast, filling, and inexpensive. Lentils are easy to cook, can be paired with a variety of flavors, and are shelf stable so they’re a great staple to keep on hand for busy weeknight dinners. We’ve rounded up some of our best lentil soup and stew recipes so you can see just how delicious and versatile these humble little legumes can be!

A collage of six different lentil soups and stews with text in the center of the image and the budget bytes logo.

What Type of Lentils to Use for Soup

 There are hundreds of varieties of lentils available, but the most common types you’re likely to find in U.S. grocery stores are brown or green lentils, red lentils, and yellow lentils. Each variety has its own flavor and texture and will create a different outcome in your recipe. Here is a brief description of the types of lentils we use in our recipes:

  • Brown or green lentils: These lentils cook quickly, require no soaking, hold their shape well, and have a nice earthy flavor. Use these lentils when you want the lentils to retain their shape in the soup or stew.
  • Red lentils: Red lentils have a very mild flavor and break down quickly when cooked. These lentils are great for creating a thicker texture in your soup or stew and pairing them with more delicate flavors.
  • Yellow lentils: Similar to red lentils, yellow lentils have a nice mild flavor that can be paired with a variety of ingredients. Yellow lentils also create a nice thick texture in soup or stews.

Our Favorite Lentil Soup Recipes:

Tomato Lentil Soup

A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup. Makes great leftovers!
4.88 from 32 votes
$4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re looking for a simple way to incorporate lentils into something you know you already like, this Tomato Lentil Soup is an excellent choice! It’s like a vegetable soup with a tomato-based broth and an extra touch of earthiness courtesy of the lentils. It’s cozy, filling, and full of flavor and texture! 

Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup

This Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup is packed with hearty flavor, texture, and good-for-you vegetables! 
4.92 from 146 votes
$5.24 recipe / $0.52 serving Get the Recipe

Our Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup is perfect for the days when you need to shop out of the panty instead of spending even more at the store. The recipe makes a huge batch of soup – because it’s so great you will want to have it again and again – and it freezes extremely well, too!

Moroccan Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Warm intoxicating spices make this vegetable filled Moroccan Lentil and Vegetable Stew perfect for cold Autumn nights. BudgetBytes.com
Warm intoxicating spices make this vegetable filled Moroccan Lentil and Vegetable Soup perfect for cold Autumn nights.
4.85 from 111 votes
$7.43 recipe / $0.93 serving Get the Recipe

Morrocan Lentil and Vegetable Soup is one of Beth’s favorite recipes on the site because it’s packed with beans, lentils, and veggies brought perfectly into balance with mouthwatering warming spices. It’s the most delicious way to get your daily dose of veggies! 

Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy lentil vegetable soup.
This Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup is a medley of colors, flavors, and textures all in a hearty and inexpensive bowl. It's vegan, too! 
4.81 from 21 votes
$9.19 recipe / $2.30 serving Get the Recipe

This Creamy Lentil Vegetable Soup has a deep, umami-rich flavor that’s absolutely out of this world – thanks to the combination of brown lentils and sliced mushrooms. Full-fat coconut milk gives it an extra creamy and luscious finish without any dairy products! (Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never cooked with coconut milk before – once you try it, you will understand why we love it so much!)

Our Favorite lentil stew recipes:

If you want something more rich or hearty than a brothy lentil soup, these lentil stew recipes are for you! We like to utilize the lentil’s natural thickening properties, letting them break down as they continue to cook, which helps create a hearty stew base that can stand up to big flavors and spices.

Lentil and Sausage Stew

Lentil & Sausage Stew is a fast and easy soup bursting with flavor and chock full of good-for-you vegetables! Plus it freezes well for later. BudgetBytes.com
Lentil and Sausage Stew is a fast and easy soup bursting with flavor and chock full of good-for-you vegetables! Plus it freezes well for later. 
4.87 from 58 votes
$6.67 recipe / $0.83 serving Get the Recipe

One of our fan-favorite recipes, this Lentil and Sausage Stew is an absolute classic with a double dose of protein – thanks to the lentils! We suggest making a big batch so you will have leftovers to tuck away in the fridge or freezer. 

Mexican Red Lentil Stew

Smoky roasted tomatoes, fresh lime juice, and a handful of potent spices make this Mexican Red Lentil Stew anything but ordinary.
4.91 from 90 votes
$9.34 recipe / $1.33 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re a fan of our Chicken and Lime Soup, I bet you will also love this recipe for Mexican Red Lentil Stew because we use the same cooking technique, finishing the soup with fresh lime juice and cilantro to make it light and fresh. This recipe also makes a huge batch and freezes well!

Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

A spoonful of lentil and pumpkin soup being lifted from the bowl
This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is super fast and easy, and will keep you warm from the inside out on chilly fall evenings!
4.73 from 91 votes
$3.55 recipe / $0.59 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re a big fan of lentils but looking for a new spin on them, this Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is for you! It’s incredibly low-cost to make (just over $0.50 per serving!), vegan-friendly, and versatile in terms of ingredients because the pumpkin can be swapped for things like sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

vegan lentil soup recipes

While many of the recipes listed above are vegetarian or vegan, we have also created some soups and stews specifically for cooks looking to reduce the amount of animal protein in their diet with a fantastic, plant-based substitute like lentils – which contain even more protein than their cousins, beans!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! Budgetbytes.com
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! 
4.90 from 84 votes
$4.64 recipe / $0.77 serving Get the Recipe

For the days (or nights) when you need help from the slow cooker to get a wholesome dinner on the table, turn to this recipe for Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili. It comes together with only 10 minutes of prep time but is absolutely bursting with flavor!

Golden Coconut Lentil Soup

Golden Coconut Lentil Soup is a light and fresh bowl with vibrant turmeric and a handful of fun toppings. BudgetBytes.com
Golden Coconut Lentil Soup is a light and fresh bowl with vibrant turmeric and a handful of fun toppings.
4.69 from 114 votes
$4.27 recipe / $1.07 serving Get the Recipe

How would we describe our Golden Coconut Lentil Soup? “Light, bright, clean, and simple.” The perfect thing to make when you need a palate-cleansing meal. While lentils are the main ingredient in this soup, the real stars are the fresh ginger and turmeric that help flavor the dish and give it that jaw-dropping golden hue.

Vegan Red Lentil Stew

This hearty Vegan Red Lentil Stew is packed with vegetables for tons of flavor, and will keep you warm and full in the cold winter weather!
4.91 from 40 votes
$4.28 recipe / $0.71 serving Get the Recipe

With just five minutes of prep time and a laundry list of vegetables, this wholesome Vegan Red Lentil Stew will warm you up – even in the dead of winter. Red lentils are a must in this recipe if you want the stew to come together as quickly and easily as possible since they break down as they cook.

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

A rich and hearty medley of vegetables, lentils, and herbs makes this freezer-friendly Vegan Winter Lentil Stew the perfect cold-weather comfort food. Budgetbytes.com
A rich and hearty medley of vegetables, lentils, and herbs makes this freezer-friendly Vegan Winter Lentil Stew the perfect cold-weather comfort food. 
4.90 from 177 votes
$5.08 recipe / $0.64 serving Get the Recipe

This recipe for Vegan Winter Lentil Stew will satisfy that craving for hearty beef stew when meat isn’t in the budget or part of the meal plan. The best part is that the lentils really do all the heavy lifting but won’t leave you feeling unsatisfied. 

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  1. I love the variety of lentil soups/stews, lentils especially brown lentils are one of my favourite legumes, I haven’t tried the red lentils as yet, but soon will bcuz the the red lentil and pumpkin soup seems delicious they all seem and sound delicious

  2. Thank you for all these wonderful resources. Making cooking for my family more doable! You are all time savers, something that we all need in making more meaningful time with family. You are such important parts of my families life and I bet many of your subsrcribers’.

  3. Recap posts like this are pretty rough, looking at the food costs from a couple years ago and comparing them to today. $0.30 for an onion? I wish; I paid $1.60 each last week.
    To say nothing of the $6/lb butter or the $7/lb bacon (on sale!) on that same trip…

    I’m not expecting to keep hitting my $30/week standard this year.

    1. Hi, Logan! We agree!!! Looking at out-of-date food costs can be pretty stressful when living on a tight budget! Specifically, with things like onions and citrus, I find that buying a whole bag is a lot more economical than just getting a few at a time. Fresh citrus can be frozen, thawed, and then used as normal. I also find that onions ~almost always~ keep well in the time it takes to go through the 4-5 that come in the bag. But if they are getting yucky, onions be chopped & frozen raw if they will ultimately be cooked (but the texture will be unpleasant if thawed and eaten raw.) ~ Marion :)

      1. Good tips Marion.
        I got a 3 lb. bag of 10 navel orange for $5.
        50 cents each for medium oranges is very reasonable.
        I also chop extra onions to freeze.
        Saves time and so convenient for soups, stews and chili.

      2. The problem with bags of onions is that you can’t leave out the bad ones. It may be cheaper per onion in total, but if half of them have to be thrown away it’s not cheaper per usable onion. At least when buying individually you can pick through the display and only get the ones that haven’t gone squishy.

        And personally I prefer cooking with white onions, while it’s usually only yellow onions getting sold in bags. But were it not for the quality issue of bagged ones, using yellows is a sacrifice I’d be willing to make.