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Red Lentil Soup Recipe – A Turkish Favourite

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Admission: We’ve already polished off two separate full pans of our homemade Turkish red lentil soup!

We’re hitting that time of year.

That time of year where the intense summer heat and haze suddenly holds up its hands, goes into retreat and gives way to cooler autumnal breezes and clear air.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup
A bowl of comfort – Turkish red lentil soup

We can feel the change in the season.

And, after a long summer, many of us are basking in the comfortable temperatures. Perhaps even being a little bit premature.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup – Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası

The time of year is irrelevant, really.

Soup of various flavours is on the menu in all local lokantas whatever the season and whatever the time of day.

At home, though, we like to feel that soup season is upon us.

And autumn, despite temperatures still being in the mid 20s, heralds soup time for us.

Red Lentil Staple

Our Jar Of Red Lentils
Most Turkish kitchens have a healthy stock of red lentils

Our Turkish red lentil soup recipe is a favourite for us.

Red – and green – lentils are a staple of most Turkish kitchens.

And, since living in Turkey, our kitchen has been no different. They’re a comforting presence.

Mooching through the cupboards and wondering what to eat?

As long as the lentils are there and a few odds and ends, we can always rustle something up.

Green lentil soup and summer lentil salad use up our non-red variety.

Red Lentil Nutrition

And there’s certainly no need to feel guilty about what you’re about to eat, either, when you’re making red lentil soup.

These colourful little discs of loveliness are packed with lots of healthy benefits .

They’re gluten free, they’re virtually fat free and low in calories.

They’re high in fibre, high in protein, packed with Vitamin B and potassium. And they’re also a good source of iron.

And, most importantly, Turkish red lentil soup tastes great!

Turkish Red Lentil Soup Recipe – Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası

Not to be confused with the famous – and yummy – Ezo Gelin Çorbası which uses bulgur wheat and butter.

Anyway, let’s get cracking and get this soup on the hob, simmering away!

The quantities in our red lentil soup recipe are just meant as a guide. As with all soups, you can play around with these to suit your taste.

And the great thing about making a soup like this, of course, is, if it gets too thick, you can just add more stock or water.

Red Lentil Soup Recipe Variations

There are lots of variations to this; stock preferences for a start.

You can use plain old water or vegetable stock. Or we often make our own chicken stock, as shown in our Turkish tomato and noodle soup recipe.

a bowl of soup viewed from above. The soup is orange coloured and topped with red chilli flakes and green dried mint.
Spicy red lentil soup is one of our favourite Turkish soups

If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, chicken stock is a great pick-me-up.

Other variations of our kırmızı mercimek çorbası include the addition of one or two chopped carrots. Carrots are a common addition to many Turkish soups.

And, if you want to go even further down the comfort food route, you can also throw in a handful of rice around 15 minutes before the end of cooking time. Pirinçli kırmızı mercimek çorbası.


If you do ever find yourself in a lokanta, eating a bowl of steaming soup, your table is often filled with salad, fresh chillies and lemon wedges.

Condiments galore and dried mint is always present.

No reason not to replicate this at home.

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of dried mint (and extra chilli flakes if you like spicy) is perfect in your red lentil soup.

Oh, and don’t forget a loaf of fresh Turkish bread so that you can tear chunks off and dunk it in your soup.

a bowl of soup viewed from above. The soup is orange coloured and topped with red chilli flakes and green dried mint.
5 from 5 votes

Spicy Red Lentil Soup Recipe

This Turkish red lentil soup recipe is healthy and comforting during autumn and winter.
It's also nutritious with the added bonus, of course, of being completely delicious!
Dried mint and chilli flakes make a great topping when you serve up.
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Course Starter / Appetizer
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 172kcal
Author Turkey’s For Life


  • 1 Large saucepan
  • 1 Wooden spoon
  • 1 Hand blender


  • 1 cup red lentils approx 150 grams
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large potato scrubbed & roughly chopped
  • 1 large tomato roughly chopped (or 1×400 gram tin)
  • 1 dessert spoonful chilli flakes
  • pinch cumin
  • salt & pepper to season

For The Garnish

  • 1 lemon wedge
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint


  • In a large pan, heat a glug of olive oil.
  • Add the potato and onion and keep stirring for a few minutes over a low to medium heat.
  • Now add your lentils and mix together.
  • Add your chopped tomato, chilli and cumin, then stir.
  • Now add two mugfuls of hot water or stock, salt and pepper and stir everything together.
  • Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for around 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and give your red lentil soup a stir.
  • Add more water or stock if necessary.
  • Simmer for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and mash or blend your red lentil soup.
  • Ladle your soup into serving bowls and sprinkle your chilli flakes and dried mint over the top.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon wedge into your soup.
  • Now your Turkish red lentil soup is ready for you to enjoy.


  • This Turkish red lentil soup recipe makes 4 large servings.
  • Calories per serving are meant as a rough guide only.
  • The soup garnish is optional but it is very common in Turkey to add lemon, mint and chillies to red lentil soup.


Serving: 1Calories: 172kcal
Tried this recipe?Please consider Leaving a Review!

And there you have it. Our Turkish red lentil soup recipe!

For more recipes, take a look at our collection of Turkish dishes you can make at home.

Afiyet Olsun!

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5 from 5 votes
Recipe Rating

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Sunday 26th of March 2023

Simply delicious

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 28th of March 2023

hi Rania, thanks a lot for your recipe rating. Much appreciated. We really love red lentil soup! :)


Wednesday 26th of January 2022

On the hob simmering away, am most excited. Thanks for this much used recipe

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 27th of January 2022

Oooh, hello, this is a surprise! :) Enjoy your lentil soup and thanks a lot for the rating. Much appreciated. :)

carol kilgar

Thursday 13th of January 2022

Love Turkish soups so will be giving this one a try. Thank you for all your recipes, a little bit of turkey in my kitchen x

Turkey's For Life

Saturday 22nd of January 2022

Hi Carol, thanks a lot for your comment. We love red lentil soup and it's a favourite for many so hope you enjoy it, too. :)

Fallon Gokhman

Tuesday 4th of May 2021

Should the potato be soaked in water beforehand?

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 13th of May 2021

Hi Fallon, no need to soak the potato beforehand for red lentil soup. If you want to, you can, of course. :)

Susan Bakici

Tuesday 3rd of November 2020

Love Turkish Corba Kirmiza mercimek Corba Yayla Corba too.Love Turkish cuisine the Best in the World.look forward to more of your recipes.Teşekkur ederim.

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 4th of November 2020

Hi susan, thanks a lot for your comment. Currently got a big pan of red lentil soup on the hob. :) We love Turkish cuisine, too. Lots of recipes on the blog. Happy cooking. :)

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