When you need something soothing and simple, this Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup is a perfect choice. This Instant Pot version makes it all the more simple by making it a simple one-pot recipe!
This post contains helpful tips and tricks! If you're in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" below!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy and flavor-packed Indian-inspired soup that combines the sweetness of apples, the heartiness of lentils, and the creaminess of coconut milk.
- Bursting with curry flavor. The combination of apples, spices and lentils creates an amazing medley of flavors and textures - while it has a bit of a kick, it's not super spicy!
- Easy, one pot recipe. Using an Instant Pot means that you can whip up this delicious meal in no time at all—perfect for those busy weeknights. It's a hearty make ahead meal when you don't have the energy.
- Vegan and gluten-free as written. Mulligatawny soup typically uses chicken broth and meat, but this version is vegan, and swaps heavy cream for coconut milk, so it's also dairy free.
📋 Ingredients and notes
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
Notes and Variations
- Choice of apples: I like tart Granny Smith apples although you can utilize any type of apple that suits your taste (for instance, Fuji, Gala and Honeycrisp are commonly used, you can even use green apple)
- Add extra vegetables like diced potatoes, carrots, or bell peppers to make the soup heartier. Just make sure to cook them properly.
- Play around with spices. Want an extra kick? Add in chili powder instead of red pepper flakes. Add more garam masala to enhance the curry flavors of the recipe. The choices are endless!
- Type of coconut milk. I use full fat coconut milk, but you can also use light coconut milk or coconut cream depending on your preference.
- Substitute vegetable oil. You can use any oil of your choice (e.g., coconut oil) like with traditional South Indian cuisine, or make it oil-free by using broth.
📖 How to make Instant Pot Mulligatawny soup
First, add vegetable oil to the Instant Pot on sauté mode. Then, add chopped onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5 minutes)
Add mustard seeds, cook until mustard seeds pop and sizzle, about 1 minute. Then add minced garlic and ginger paste (or fresh ginger) and cook until fragrant, taking care not to burn them, for about 2 minutes. Finally, add ground turmeric, curry powder, red pepper flakes, and ground cumin and cook.
Once the spices have blended together, add the carrots, potatoes, and apple cubes, and cook until just starting to soften for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and flour. If you don't have tomato paste handy, check out these tomato paste substitutes.. Cook, stirring well to coat all the ingredients, for 2 minutes.
Add the Masoor dal (red lentils) and vegetable broth to the cooked vegetables and spices. Season lightly with salt (you can adjust later). Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits (this is where all the tastiness is!)
Cover the pot and turn the valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. When the pressure cooking time is up, do a quick release.
Check the consistency of the soup, adjust the salt if needed, or cook for longer until the ingredients are soft to your liking. Once done, add coconut milk.
Serve hot, topped with fresh cilantro leaves and/or more red pepper flakes. Your Instant Pot Mulligatawny soup is ready to be devoured, by itself, or with some warm crusty bread, some delicious homemade naan or cumin rice.
👩🏽🍳Top tips for making the best mulligatawny soup
- Don't skip sautéing aromatics: There's a temptation to dump ingredients and get cooking, but to get the most flavor out of your Mulligatawny soup, sauté onions, garlic, and ginger first. This helps release their flavors before you add in other ingredients.
- Don't skimp on the spices: The key to delicious Mulligatawny soup is its bold blend of spices, including turmeric, cumin, and curry powder. Be sure to use fresh spices for maximum flavor and adjust amounts according to your taste preferences.
- Don’t overcook. You want to soup to be cooked to just be soft, not mushy. The key here is to quickly release pressure once the soup is done cooking. I've found that natural pressure release, you will end up with a less flavorful and more watery result.
- Serve it up hot. Make sure that when serving this delicious soup you do so while it’s still hot! This will allow all those amazing flavors to come through and make the experience even better for everyone at the table!
Traditional Mulligatawny soup includes either chicken or lamb but this version is vegan!
The soup is believed to have originated in India, in the South. The word itself is derived from the Tamil phrase "Milagu Thaneer" meaning pepper water (a version of rasam, one of the staples of my childhood!) During the British Raj, this soup was adapted with more Western flavors (such as the addition of apples and cream to the point where this is more common in England than it is in India at this moment in time.
Yes, absolutely! To make this on the stovetop, check out my original Mulligatawny soup recipe.
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
Store this Instant Pot Mulligatawny soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. You can also portion it (for instance, in these souper cubes) or freezer (three months). When ready to indulge, simply thaw if frozen and reheat on low heat over a stovetop burner or microwave until warm.
Check out these other hearty, delicious and plant-based soups:
Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced
- 1 medium potato, cubed
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, cubed (granny smith)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup masoor dal, split red lentils
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves , for garnish
- Heat the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and add the oil. When hot, add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and softened about 2 minutes. Add mustard seeds, turmeric, curry powder, red pepper flakes, and ground cumin and cook until mustard seeds pop and sizzle, about 1 minute.
- Bring in the carrots, potatoes and apple cubes, and cook until just starting to soften for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and flour. Cook, stirring well to coat all the ingredients, for 2 minutes.
- Add the masoor dal and vegetable broth. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.
- Cover the pot and turn the valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. When the cooking time is up, quick release the pressure.
- Check the consistency of the soup, adjust the salt if needed or cook for longer until the ingredients are soft to your liking. Once done, stir in the coconut milk.
- Serve hot, topped with fresh cilantro leaves and more red pepper flakes, if desired.
- I use Granny Smith apples in this recipe for its tartness, but you can also use Honeycrisp, Fuji or Gala apples based on your preference for sweetness.
- To make this recipe on the stovetop, check out Stovetop Mulligatawny Soup
- Don’t overcook. You want to soup to be cooked to just be soft, not mushy. The key here is to quick release pressure once it's done cooking. I've found that natural pressure release, you will end up with a less flavorful and more watery result.