A Deliciously Tasty Yellow Lentil Soup Recipe

Yellow lentil soups are right up there in “ultimate comfort food” territory. Not only are they filling, but they have plenty of health benefits, like being rich in fiber and iron. Furthermore, they’re also vegan, affordable, and easy to find at most grocery stores.

With all this in mind, are you looking for a tasty yellow lentil soup recipe? Well, I’ve got you covered. This delicious recipe is a favorite in my home, and it’s super simple to make.

Most lentil soups have several ingredients and spices in common, which we’ll unpack in greater detail in this article. A deep dive into the Internet’s recipe repository will quickly prove that there are hundreds of ways to make a yellow lentil soup.

However, as mentioned, there are a few ingredients that almost always find their way into this dish, including a combination of warm spices, stock or broth, onions, and garlic.

Across the board, some cooking techniques also repeatedly crop up to ensure the lentils are appropriately softened. Let’s take a look at a basic yellow lentil soup recipe that you can jazz up to suit your taste.

The more you make it, the more likely you’ll start experimenting and forging your own flavors. But for now, here’s a list of basic ingredients and their quantities to set you on your way.


  • 2 tablespoons of oil or butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ½ cup of orange/yellow lentils
  • 6 – 8 cups of chicken broth
  • Lemon juice
  • Extra salt and pepper to taste


  1. Finely chop your onions and then your garlic, keeping them separate.
  2. Measure out your spices and combine them in a small bowl.
  3. Once you have all your ingredients at the ready, warm up your oil or butter over medium-high heat.
  4. Add your onions to your pot and cook them until they’re soft and glossy.
  5. Next, add your garlic and spices, frying them until they turn golden (and intensely aromatic).
  6. Add your lentils and chicken broth, occasionally stirring to prevent them from sticking or burning to the bottom of the pot.
  7. It should take between 30 and 40 minutes for your lentils to soften, after which you can add a splash of lemon juice before serving.

As a side note, if you want to add extra vegetables to your soup, like carrots or cauliflower, you can do so at the halfway mark.

You can also blend your lentil soup for a smoother texture if you wish.

Where does the humble yellow lentil come from?

Lentils have been around for a crazy long time, potentially from about 8000 B.C., making them one of humankind’s first staple foods. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, they likely hailed initially from East Asia and North Africa before becoming widely cultivated across the world today.

Traditionally, lentils are used in stews and soups, given their propensity to swell in size and thicken, making them a dense source of nutrients. In India, specifically, lentils hold great cultural significance. They are the primary ingredient in Dal, which is India’s most eaten and best-known dish.

In its raw state, the yellow lentil is orange, taking on a golden hue as it cooks and softens – hence the “yellow” in its moniker.

Let’s talk a little more about those spices

We’ve covered technique, but let’s talk heat. How few or how many spices you add to your yellow lentil soup depends on your personal preference. That said, for those without much experience in working with lentils, the spices I find most complementary are cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, and paprika.

Occasionally, I like to mix it up with the addition of some masala, curry powder, or coriander. Don’t be afraid to add a dash of Cayenne pepper for heat if it’s icy out or you have a penchant for spicy food.

Top tips for the perfect hearty yellow lentil soup

Yellow lentil soup is often associated with Indian culture, so it makes sense that it follows many of the same steps that one would undertake to make a curry. This process includes frying off your onions and spices in oil or butter to make the most of their aromatic flavors.

Personally, I always opt for a heavy-bottomed pot that retains heat well and cooks evenly, but a thinner base or a wok works fine too. The recipe above will leave you with enough soup for at least six servings, so you can half it if you want to make less. You can also add a cup or two of grated carrots for additional flavor and vitamins.

Top tip: if your soup gets too thick, add more broth or a little water until the texture settles to your liking.

Serving suggestions to pair with your delicious yellow lentil soup

If you plan on serving your soup as a main dish, or even a hearty starter, you can jazz it up with a splash of coconut milk and some freshly chopped parsley. I also recommend a piece of buttery naan or two for dipping.

This gives yellow lentil soup a really authentic taste and will definitely leave your guests feeling satisfied. Other serving suggestions include a side of jasmine rice, a butter roti, or even a spicy samosa.

What’s the difference between brown lentils and yellow lentils?

Yellow lentils have a soft, mushy texture when cooked, making them ideal for soups. Brown lentils, conversely, tend to hold their shape, making them better for dishes like salads and casseroles.

Additionally, brown lentils are duller in flavor than their colorful counterparts, which have a richer, nuttier, and slightly sweeter taste.

Aee lentils good for weight loss?

Lentils are an excellent choice for those wanting to pursue a healthier lifestyle. They’re quite low in fat but are really high in fiber, which means they make you full without using up too many calories.

They’re also satisfying and curb persistent hunger pangs.

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