Escape the winter blues with this comforting Turkish Lentil Soup!

I grew up eating this delicious lentil soup, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. hearty and filling, yet light enough to not weigh you down, it’s the perfect meal for any time of day.

Mercimek Çorbası

Prep Time

15 mins

Cook Time

35 mins

Total Time

50 mins


6 servings

Mercimek Çorbası


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 celery rib, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed


  • Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot (4 quarts or larger) over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
  • Add the celery, carrot, and garlic and sauté until the vegetables soften about 5 minutes.
  • Add cumin and oregano and stir the spices into the vegetable mixture.
  • Tatli Biber salçasi and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Add the lentils to the pot and stir to distribute evenly into the vegetable mixture.
  • Add the vegetable stock
  • Let the soup come to a boil Turn heat to low place lid on pot let the soup simmer until lentils and vegetables are tender about 20 minutes
  • Remove soup from heat use an immersion blender to purée soup work in batches blender
  • with the lid cracked add lemon juice salt pepper
  • Heat a small saucepan over medium heat add butter
  • Cook butter until just beginning to turn golden brown about 3 minutes
  • Remove from heat add 2 teaspoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons pul Biber Stir to combine
  • Ladle soup into bowls
  • Greek yogurt croutons
  • Drizzle the pul Biber butter
  • A sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley
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How much water does 1 cup of mercimek need?

Assuming you are referring to the amount of water needed to cook 1 cup of mercimek (Turkish red lentils), then you would need 4-5 cups of water. This is because mercimek çorbası, or Turkish red lentil soup, is a very traditional dish that uses heavily soaked and boiled red lentils as its base. Because of this, it takes quite a bit of water to properly cook the mercimek.

What goes into the soup to give it flavor?

Mercimek Çorbası, or lentil soup, is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for colder months. The soup gets its rich flavor from the combination of vegetables and herbs heated in fat (like oil or coconut milk) at the beginning of the cooking process, as well as from the addition of ground paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, ground ginger, and other powdered spices.

How to make mercimek soup using traditional methods?

  • Peel and chop one onion and a couple of carrots into small pieces.
  • Dice one potato into small cubes.
  • In a large pot or saucepan, sauté the chopped onion and carrots in oil for 2 minutes over medium to high heat.
  • Add the diced potato, 1 cup of red lentils, ½ cup of rice and 8 cups of hot water to the pan.
  • Stir well and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until everything is cooked through.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve hot with some chopped fresh parsley or mint leaves on top if desired.
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