Homemade German Lentil Soup Recipe (Made From Scratch Goodness)

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Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Europe with our German Lentil Soup recipe, a rustic and hearty bowl brimming with wholesome goodness. Savor the earthy flavors of lentils, melded seamlessly with smoky bacon, tender vegetables, and a splash of vinegar for an authentic touch. Each spoonful is a celebration of tradition and taste, providing a comforting and nourishing experience. Dive into this soul-warming soup, and let the rich, savory layers of our German Lentil Soup transport you to a cozy kitchen in the heart of Germany.

Savor the comfort of German Lentil Soup Recipe, a nourishing symphony of flavors enriched by tradition. Embrace the dance of hearty lentils, tender vegetables, and aromatic herbs that takes you to the heart of German kitchens.  

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This soup is a love letter to simplicity, yet makes your palate travel through a fascinating culinary landscape. Find comfort in each spoonful, reminiscing of heart-warming, homemade meals.

Sip, relish, and find yourself transported to the quaint cobblestone streets of Germany, experiencing the country’s culinary heartbeat

Each bowl offers a healthful, filling meal that marries taste with nourishment. Explore the magic of simple ingredients creating profound flavor, woven together by time-honored cooking techniques. 

Savor every spoonful of this German Lentil Soup and discover a world of flavor in your bowl every time.

Join us on this journey of wholesome indulgence. Taste the tradition, relish the warmth, and be a part of the German culinary legacy.

What Is German Lentil Soup?

German Lentil Soup, known as Linsensuppe, is a hearty, traditional dish steeped in simplicity yet rich in flavors.

This soul-warming delicacy features earthy lentils, and an assortment of vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery, bolstered by a smoky hint of bacon or sausage. 

Often accompanied by potatoes or bread, the soup is seasoned with bay leaves, thyme, and vinegar, offering a pleasing tanginess. A staple in German households, it’s a healthful, satisfying meal that embraces culinary heritage and hearty comfort.

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Can You Vary The German Lentil Soup With Other Ingredients? 

The German Lentil Soup can be modified to suit various dietary preferences and restrictions. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keto Replace lentils with more low-carb vegetables and increase the amount of ham or sausage. Add a splash of heavy cream for added richness.
  • Paleo Substitute lentils with chunks of meat or poultry and increase the variety of vegetables. Make sure your broth and seasonings are paleo-friendly.
  • Gluten-Free The soup is naturally gluten-free, but always double-check labels on broth, ham or sausage, and seasonings like Worcestershire sauce which may contain hidden gluten.
  • Whole30 Substitute lentils with compliant protein and ensure that your broth, ham or sausage, and seasonings are Whole30-compliant.
  • Vegetarian Remove the ham and add extra vegetables or cubed tofu for added protein. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.
  • Vegan Follow the exact instructions as vegetarians but ensure all the ingredients, like broth and Worcestershire sauce, are vegan.
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Recipe Directions

  • Rinse the lentils under cold water and place them in a slow cooker.
  • Add the chicken stock, celery, carrots, bay leaf, onion, and ham.
  • Season with nutmeg, garlic powder, caraway seeds, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, celery salt, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on Low for 10-13 hours.
  • After the extended cooking time, remove the bay leaf and taste the soup. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • Serve the hearty German Lentil Soup hot, and enjoy!
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Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Vegetarian Variant: Skip the ham and add smoked paprika or liquid smoke for the smoky flavor. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
  • Vegan Version: Follow the vegetarian variant and ensure Worcestershire sauce is vegan or substitute soy sauce.
  • Spicy Kick: Add extra hot pepper sauce or a dash of cayenne for those who enjoy more heat.


  • Proteins: Add chunks of chicken or turkey for added protein. Tofu cubes work well as a vegetarian option.
  • Grains: Stir in cooked barley or rice to fill the soup.
  • Greens: Spinach, kale, or Swiss chard can be added towards the end of cooking for a nutritional boost.


  • Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley, dill, or chives for a pop of color and freshness.
  • Cheese: A grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese sprinkle adds a lovely, savory finish.
  • Croutons: Top with homemade croutons for a crunchy contrast.
  • Sour Cream or Yogurt: A dollop adds a creamy tanginess that pairs well with the hearty soup.
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Can I Make German Lentil Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

German Lentil Soup adapts well to slow cookers and Instant Pots, making it a versatile recipe for any kitchen. Here’s how you can adapt the process:

Slow Cooker

  • Layer your ingredients in the slow cooker, starting with the lentils, then vegetables, ham (if using), and seasonings.
  • Pour in the chicken stock, ensuring all ingredients are covered.
  • Set your slow cooker on Low for 8-10 hours or High for 4-5 hours.
  • Before serving, remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Instant Pot

  • Using the sauté function, cook the ham (if using), followed by the vegetables, until they soften.
  • Add the lentils, seasonings, and chicken stock.
  • Lock the lid in place, ensure the pressure valve is set to ‘Sealing,’ and set to Manual High Pressure for 15 minutes.
  • After cooking, allow a natural pressure release for 10-15 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure.
  • Before serving, remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
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Can I Use Store Bought Broth Or Should I Make My Own?

Both store-bought and homemade broths can make German Lentil Soup, depending on your time, convenience, and preference for flavors.

The store-bought broth is an excellent time-saver and can still provide a robust base for your soup. When choosing one, look for low-sodium options. It allows you to control the salt content and season your soup to taste. Organic or all-natural broths often have cleaner ingredient lists and better flavor profiles.

On the other hand, homemade broth can elevate your soup to a new level. It allows you to customize the flavors precisely to your liking and avoid preservatives or additives. It’s also a great way to utilize leftover vegetable scraps or bones. You can make it in large batches and freeze it for future use.

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How To Serve?

Serving German Lentil Soup is a delightful experience that can be enhanced with a few thoughtful touches:

  • Warm Bowls: Serve the soup in warm bowls. It keeps the soup hot longer, especially during colder months.
  • Accompaniments: A hearty piece of crusty bread, like a German rye or pumpernickel, is a traditional side for dipping. A light salad with a tangy vinaigrette can also complement the rich flavors of the soup.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley or a swirl of cream for an appealing contrast. For a smoky twist, a little crumbled crispy bacon or a sprinkle of smoked paprika would work well too.
  • Additional Seasoning: Set out small dishes of extra pepper, hot sauce, or vinegar for those who like to customize their soup’s flavor.
  • Proper Utensils: Provide large, deep spoons for easy eating and a soup plate if serving as a main dish.
  • Pairing: If pairing with wine, a crisp Riesling or a light beer like a Pilsner complements the soup’s hearty flavors.
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Perfect Side Dishes

  • Crusty Bread: A hearty slice of German rye bread or a warm baguette pairs ideally, providing a delightful texture contrast and a way to soak up every last drop of soup.
  • German Potato Salad: With its tangy, hearty flavors, this salad can be a delicious accompaniment and keeps with the German theme.
  • Pretzels: Traditional German pretzels would be a nice touch. They’re great for dipping and adding a bit of salty crunch.
  • Mixed Greens Salad: A light salad with a tangy vinaigrette can help balance the rich, hearty flavors of the soup.
  • Sautéed or Roasted Vegetables: This can be a colorful, nutritious, and flavorful addition to your meal.
  • Cheese Board: A small selection of cheeses, particularly if you have some hearty German varieties like Tilsiter or Cambozola, can be an enjoyable accompaniment.
  • Applesauce may sound unconventional, but applesauce is often served with hearty dishes in Germany and can provide a refreshing, sweet contrast to the soup.
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Storage And Make Ahead

  • Storage: Store leftover German Lentil Soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  • Make Ahead: This soup is perfect for making ahead. Prepare the soup as instructed, allow it to cool completely, then store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a little water or broth if needed to reach the desired consistency.
  • Tips: For best results, store the soup and any toppings separately to prevent them from becoming soggy. When reheating, bring the soup to a gentle simmer over low heat to preserve its flavors.
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What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Reheat and Eat: The simplest option is to enjoy the soup again. It often tastes even better the next day!
  • Add to a Stew: Use leftover soup for a hearty stew. Just add some diced meat and additional vegetables.
  • Blend into a Dip: Blend the soup into a creamy dip for chips or raw vegetables. Add a bit of cream or yogurt to adjust the consistency if needed.
  • Pasta Sauce: Toss the soup with pasta for a quick and flavorful dish. Adding a little grated cheese on top is a delightful finishing touch.
  • Fill a Pie: Use the soup as a savory pie filling. Top with puff pastry or mashed potatoes for a comforting dish.
  • Make a Casserole: Mix with rice or quinoa and some extra veggies, top with cheese, and bake for a tasty casserole.
  • Use as a Bed for Protein: Use the soup as a flavorful bed to serve grilled or roasted meat or fish.


  • Bacon Boost: For added depth of flavor, start by sautéing bacon pieces until crispy, then use the rendered fat to cook your veggies. Add the bacon back in at the end for a smoky touch.
  • Spice It Up: German lentil soup can benefit from spices like cumin, paprika, and a pinch of nutmeg. These warm flavors complement the earthy lentils beautifully.
  • Citrus Zest: A squeeze of lemon or a bit of lemon zest just before serving brightens up the soup and adds a refreshing contrast to the hearty lentils.
  • Creamy Finish: For a creamier texture, blend a portion of the soup and mix it back in. This adds richness without the need for heavy cream.
Homemade German Lentil Soup Recipe (Made From Scratch Goodness)

Homemade German Lentil Soup Recipe (Made From Scratch Goodness)

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Course: Soup Recipes


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Enjoy the hearty flavors of German Lentil Soup! This recipe combines tender brown lentils, aromatic vegetables, and savory ham in a rich chicken stock base. Simmered with spices and herbs, it creates a comforting and nourishing dish.


  • 2 cups 2 Dried brown lentils

  • 3 cups 3 Chicken stock

  • 1 1 Bay leaf

  • 1 cup 1 Carrots, chopped

  • 1 cup 1 Celery, chopped

  • 1 cup 1 Onion, chopped

  • 1 cup 1 Cooked ham, cubed

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 Garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 Freshly grated nutmeg

  • 5 drops 5 Hot pepper sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 Caraway seed

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 Celery salt

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 Ground black pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation
    Start by gathering all your ingredients. Ensure all vegetables are washed, peeled, and chopped as necessary.
    Place lentils in your 5-6 quart slow cooker. This size is perfect for achieving the ideal consistency and depth of flavors.
    Next, pour in the chicken stock, creating a liquid base for your soup. Add the bay leaf, chopped carrots, celery, and onion. Include ham for that rich, savory note.
  • Seasoning
    It’s time for the flavor magic. Season your soup with Worcestershire sauce for a tangy kick, garlic powder for a hint of warmth, nutmeg for a subtle sweetness, and hot pepper sauce for a bit of heat. The caraway seed adds a pleasing crunch and unique aroma, while celery salt adds a savory touch. Sprinkle in parsley for freshness and a pop of color, and finally, add pepper to taste.
  • Cooking
    Once everything is in your slow cooker, cover it and set the temperature to Low. Allow the soup to simmer gently for 8-10 hours. This slow, steady cook time melts all the ingredients together beautifully, enhancing the overall flavor.
  • Final Touches
    After your soup has cooked, remove the bay leaf before serving. It has imparted its flavor during cooking and is no longer needed.
  • Serving
    Ladle the soup into bowls, allowing the inviting aroma to fill the room. If desired, garnish with extra parsley or a sprinkle of black pepper for an added touch.
  • Additional Options
    Ladle the soup into bowls, allowing the inviting aroma to fill the room. Garnish with extra parsley or a sprinkle of black pepper for an added touch if desired.
  • Large Soup Pot Or Dutch Oven
  • Cutting Board And Knife
  • Wooden Spoon Or Ladle
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons
  • Can Opener
  • Grater
  • Soup Bowls And Soup Spoons


  • Lentil Varieties: While the recipe calls for dried brown lentils, you can also experiment with other lentil varieties, like green or French lentils, for slightly different textures and flavors.
  • Soaking Lentils: Soaking them overnight can help reduce cooking time, but it’s unnecessary for this recipe. If you choose to soak them, adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Adjusting Consistency: If you prefer a thicker soup, simmer it uncovered longer to allow some liquid to evaporate. Conversely, add more chicken stock or water if you desire a thinner consistency.
  • Ham Substitutions: If you don’t have ham on hand or prefer a vegetarian version, you can omit the ham or substitute it with cooked bacon, smoked sausage, or even smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
  • Seasoning to Taste: The listed spices and seasonings are a guide, but feel free to adjust them based on your preferences. Taste the soup as it cooks, and add more salt, pepper, or spices if needed.
  • Serving Suggestions: German Lentil Soup pairs well with crusty bread, such as rye or whole-grain bread, for a complete and satisfying meal. You can also garnish each serving with a sprinkle of fresh parsley for a pop of color.

Nutrition Table 

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