Beans & LegumesEuropeanHealthyMain DishOne Pot MealsSoups & Stews

Bavarian Lentil Soup

Smoky bacon, sharp leeks, and a splash of vinegar add bold flavor to this traditional German lentil soup recipe.

German lentil stew: Smoky bacon, sharp leeks, and a splash of vinegar add bold flavor to this traditional German lentil soup recipe. Serve along with homemade German spaetzle!

Have you ever had a Bavarian Lentil Soup served at a German Restaurant?

It’s basically perfection in a bowl. Bacon + Lentils + Leeks + Angel Tears.

Okay, there are no angel tears in this recipe, but only because I couldn’t find a good source today.

Please just ignore me, I’m having a weird morning.

I love, love, love this Bavarian Lentil Soup recipe!

Lentil Soup German: Smoky bacon, sharp leeks, and a splash of vinegar add bold flavor to this traditional German lentil soup recipe. Serve along with homemade German spaetzle!

It’s amazing and savory and delicious and you should definitely bake up a loaf of Savory Irish Soda Bread to go with it because it will change your life.

Random change of subject: Have I told you about the amazing and adorable kitchen scale the husband got me for Christmas?

Seriously, you guys, it’s so cute. I snapped a picture of it while I was weighing the bacon for this recipe. Just look:

Bavarian Lentil Soup |

It is so darn handy! Wanna know a weird secret? Before I had this thing, I would weigh food using this method: Weigh myself. Weigh myself holding the food. Subtract the difference. Urgh. I’m a weirdo.

I’m just not great at eyeing a chicken breast and thinking, hmm, yep, that looks to be about a pound and half.

Plus, I just love kitchen gadgets. I wrapped the little top thing with foil so I didn’t get it dirty from the bacon because I’m a bad person and I’d rather waste foil than wash something.

Bavarian Lentil Soup : Smoky bacon, sharp leeks, and a splash of vinegar add bold flavor to this traditional German lentils soup recipe. Serve along with homemade German spaetzle!

So other than the fun of weighing bacon, here’s a few reasons you should make this Bavarian soup:

  1. You get to weigh bacon. Oops, already said that.
  2. Lentils are so cheap they are practically free.
  3. This soup is a nutritional powerhouse!
  4. It’s really, really easy.
  5. You get to use your beautiful enameled cast iron dutch oven.

Bavarian Lentil Soup Smoky bacon, sharp leeks, and a splash of vinegar add bold flavor to this traditional German lentil soup recipe. Serve along with homemade German spaetzle!

Oh! And the bread. Gotta make the bread. Start to finish, you could have delicious lentil soup and Irish soda bread in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Put the bread in first, then make the soup while it’s baking.

Another great option is to serve Homemade German Spaetzle as a side with this German Lentil Soup!  

Dig in, and enjoy these last few weeks of winter!

Here’s the Recipe!

Bavarian Lentil Soup Recipe

Smoky bacon, sharp leeks, and a splash of vinegar add bold flavor to this traditional German lentil soup recipe. Serve along with homemade German spaetzle!
4.4 from 36 votes
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Course: Soups & Stews
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 6
Calories: 227kcal
Author: The Wanderlust Kitchen, adapted from The Rheinlander Restaurant
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  • 4 oz. sliced bacon - roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. diced onion
  • 1/2 c. diced leeks - white parts only
  • 1/2 c. diced celery
  • 1/2 c. diced carrots - unpeeled
  • 1 qt. chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c. brown lentils
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. diced raw yellow potatoes - unpeeled
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook the bacon until the fat has rendered into the pot and the bacon is crispy.
  • Add the onions, leeks, celery, and carrots to the pot. Saute five minutes, or until golden.
  • Pour in the broth and scrape any of the brown bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the lentils, thyme, bay leaves, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook for 30 minutes on medium, covered.
  • Add the potatoes and cook an additional 15 until lentils and vegetables are tender. Stir in vinegar and sugar, then add salt to taste. Serve with warm bread and butter.
Nutrition Facts
Bavarian Lentil Soup Recipe
Serving Size
1 serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About the Author


Hi, I'm Anetta! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel stories from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. I believe that food brings us together as much as it sets us apart. Be brave, try something new!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Flavors wonderful, but this was not “soup”, more like consistency of outmeal. Maybe only one cup of lentils? Or maybe I screwed up?

  2. This soups really is amazing! I love it and now it’s my go to dish to bring to friends when they’re moving or recovering. Thank you!

  3. Yum! I’ve made this and thought it was so good I made it again the next week when I went to visit my partner. He absolutely loved it and requested I keep the recipe forever. The only modification we made was not adding the bacon to the soup, we saved it and sprinkled it on top of the bowl to keep it crisp. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe.

  4. Almost perfect. The sugar was a weird after taste, even with vinegar during service. I countered it by adding hot sauce, but next time will not add sugar.

  5. I don’t remember when I discovered this recipe, but it has become a part of my regular rotation. I’ve made it so many times that I felt like I should thank the person for putting it online. Thank you! It’s the BEST. I occasionally make variations on it and right now I am making it for the first time in a pressure cooker.

  6. This was delicious! I didn’t add the salt or sugar (sorry!) and still loved it. I cooked it in my Instant Pot for 15 minutes and then did natural release for 10 minutes. Yum!

  7. I’m making this one for the angel tears. LOL. Lentil soup is my absolute favorite and here in the midwest we get some pretty cold days and yes get snowed in. I’ll be making this before that happens and that bread makes it. Love the recipe!

  8. Ack! So good… I just ate two bowls full of this deliciousness and now my belly hurts… ha! This is the second recipe of yours I’ve tried, and both have been perfectly seasoned. I’m looking forward to trying more. Thanks so much.

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, Melissa! This is one of my favorites, too. Totally hits the spot this time of year πŸ™‚

  9. I’ve been making this monthly since you published the recipe so I owe you a positive review! I love love love this recipe! My 3 year daughter asks for it regularly. Yes, it is even kid approved. I’ve paired it with the Irish soda bread recipe a few times and it really is a good combo. The only thing I do differently with the soup is I add a cup or two more water. I’ve found that the lentils suck up all the juice and are still firm if I don’t. Otherwise I change nothing. So delicious. Thank you!

  10. I’m making this and the Irish Soda Bread tomorrow. It’s freezing here in the DC area and tomorrows going to be even colder.

  11. I made it and loved it, my boyfriend too, it is now a staple here! I add more onions, use apple cider vinegar and use red lentils (coral) instead, it cooks faster and I prefer the mushier texture they give. Comforting, cheap, easy: 5 stars! (Also I had ordinary white potatoes and it came out fine).

  12. Hi Anetta, I’ve just now discovered your blog by way of a recipe of yours that country singer Martina McBride pinned on Pinterest (Piri-piri Chicken). While going through your recipes, I came across this one and found that you’re a Portlander! I live in Bremerton, WA, about an hour’s drive from Seattle. What really got me excited was your mention of Der Rheinlander. My husband’s parents immigrated from Germany, so we are partial to wonderful German cooking and have made a couple of trips to Portland simply to have dinner at Der Rhinelander. Such delicious food they serve! I can’t wait to try this one! Have a wonderful day!

    1. Hi, Sharon! I had no idea Martina McBride pinned one of my recipes – how awesome! Der Rheinlander is the BEST. We just ate there two weeks ago – it’s our tradition to eat there the night before we go on a trip, so we grabbed dinner there right before our trip to Greece!

  13. Absolutely stunning soup. Went with the apple cider vinegar and slab of bacon as suggested above, and it brought the house down. First time I comment on your site, but I’ve been trying out some of your recipes for a little while (the arabian date cake is off the charts!!!) and they’ve all turned out great. Some real satisfying flavors that tend to contrast the usual edgeless North American cuisine…not that I want to sound like an elitist or that sort of thing πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work!

    Mark from Quebec, Canada.

    1. Thank you, Mark!! I’m so glad you like the recipes – I totally agree, it’s so nice to have new flavors! Thanks for being here πŸ™‚

  14. I just made this and my bf said it was in the top three meals I’ve ever made for him! The bread and butter were great too!

  15. Being a native born German, I grew up with a very similar soup as the one you made. It was always a favorite. I make this soup as well, but with one variation, I add Apple Cider Vinegar rather than the more harsh white vinegar. Germans are also more likely to cook with slabs of bacon rather than sliced. Great recipe and thanks for bringing back childhood memories!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Marlis! I’ve just been checking out your site – it seems we have a lot in common! Apple Cider Vinegar would definitely be delicious in this one. I’ll have to give it a try next time! Cheers πŸ™‚

  16. What’s up with the bacon. Is it chopped, rendered and left in the soup or are the full slices rendered and removed after rendering (and discarded) to saute the veges or just left whole & crisp in the pan?

    1. Hi, Mitch! The bacon is chopped, rendered, and left in the soup. Thanks for asking for clarification – I’ve updated the recipe to make sure it is clear. Hope you enjoy it!

  17. That”s a nice warm bowl of soup. Lentils are my fav! I call them “Vegetarian’s meat” because of all the proteins they offer πŸ™‚

    1. Absolutely! I keep mason jars full of them – right now I have red, french green, brown, black caviar, and mung bean varietals. YUM!