Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
Find Out More


Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
Find out more

Hearty Turkish Red Lentil Soup – Kirmizi Mercimek Corbasi

Because of their rich protein content, lentils have been a valuable food source in Asia Minor since Neolithic times. This soup is most probably Turkey’s most popular soup, enjoyed not only for lunch and dinner but also for a hearty breakfast in Anatolia.

I like to add carrots and potatoes to this easy, delicious and nutritious soup. The lovely colours of red lentils, carrots and potatoes bring an array of sunshine to any cold winter day! The addition of cumin and red pepper flakes add a wonderful, energising flavour, as we do in Southern Turkish cooking. I recommend you to make a big batch and freeze some, as it freezes really well.

Signed copies of  Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, available to order at this link

This delicious soup and many more wholesome Turkish recipes along my stories from my homeland is included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My HomelandSigned copies  are now 20 % Off at this link. Delivered worldwide including the US and Canada.

Also, as a new item, Ozlem’s Turkish Table aprons, with Antakya’s celebrated daphne leaves in the embroidered design, are now available to purchase via GB Publishing, at this link, it can be a lovely gift to a foodie, delivered worldwide.

Serves 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes

250gr/9oz/generous 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
15ml/1 tablespoon long grain rice, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot cut in small cubes
1 medium potato, peeled and cut in small cubes
1.2lt/2 pints/5 cups hot water
15ml/ 1 tablespoon olive oil
15ml/1 tablespoon butter
10ml /2 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

For the pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil:

10ml/2tsp (or more) pul biber or red pepper flakes

30ml/2tbsp olive oil

Extra wedge of lemon (and if you’d like) croutons to serve

Pour in the olive oil into a large heavy pan. Stir in the onion, carrots and potato and saute for 2 minutes, over medium to high heat. Add the red lentils, rice and hot water to the pan. Bring to boil and skim off any froth. Over a medium heat, simmer for about 35 minutes or until the lentils, rice and the vegetables cooked. Please stir occasionally to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add a little more water to the pan if the soup appears to be too thick to your liking.

Once cooked, add the lemon juice, butter and cumin to the mixture. Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper to your taste, combine well.

In a separate small pan, stir in the olive oil and Turkish pul biber or red pepper flakes. Combine well over a low to medium heat. The pul biber will infuse to the olive oil and this will taste spectacular in the soup.

Serve the hot soup, with a drizzle of pul biber infused olive oil over the top and a wedge o lemon for extra zing by the side. Some nice crusty bread by the side or croutons over the soup would go very well.

You can cook this wonderful soup ahead of time and freeze some if you’d like.

Afiyet Olsun,


, , , ,

24 Responses to Hearty Turkish Red Lentil Soup – Kirmizi Mercimek Corbasi

  1. Erica (Irene) December 12, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    I make this soup for my Husband Dogan almost weekly, it's his favourite.
    I'm so glad that I found your Blog and will now be a follower. You have some great Turkish recipes.
    I've been going to Izmir for over 20 years now and just love it there.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ozlem's Turkish Table December 13, 2010 at 2:11 am #

    Merhaba Erica:)
    I am delighted to get your comment, so nice to be able to connect with food lovers. This soup is one of our favorites too. We love going to Izmir too, and love the Agean cuisine. I hope the recipes in the blog inspires you, best wishes for Christmas and New Year! Ozlem

  3. Ozlem's Turkish Table December 13, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    This lentil soup, mercimek corbasi, is literally served all day at home too, especially in Anatolia, and makes a great hearty breakfast! Many thanks for sharing your experience, we have so much in common with Greek friends in terms of food and culture and it is lovely to hear experiences. Afiyet Olsun:) Ozlem

  4. Ozlem's Turkish Table December 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Merhaba:) you are most welcome, I am very glad the recipe worked and it is a joy to share these recipes:) Best wishes, Ozlem

  5. Kerry December 6, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Ozlem we just had this soup for lunch was lovely and perfect for the cold weather we have just now. It was also very quick to prepare and full of flavour just perfect. Kerry 🙂

    • Ozlem December 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Merhaba Kerry, so glad you enjoyed the Yayla corba! It is my to go soup too; easy to prep and packed with flavor 🙂

  6. özge December 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    dear özlem…this soup actually become more delicious if we add flour that scorched with some butter.

    • Ozlem December 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Merhabalar Sevgili Ozge,
      Cok tesekkurler commentin icin, bir dahaki sefere una tereyagi ile deneyegim, sagolasin 🙂

  7. özge December 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    or i think so:)

  8. Julie March 21, 2016 at 4:23 pm #


    Love the sound of your soup recipe. Where do you buy red pepper flakes in England? Thanks,


    • Ozlem Warren March 21, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

      Merhaba Julie,

      Most supermarkets carry that, you can also replace with chili flakes, I hope you enjoy the soup, afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  9. Suzette Nguyen January 30, 2019 at 3:07 am #

    Just finished making this soup – delicious and again, so quick and easy to put together, Ozlem! Thank you! I’m really enjoying your recipes and strongly considering purchasing your cookbook, it looks beautiful. Cheers!

    • Ozlem Warren January 30, 2019 at 2:23 pm #

      Merhaba dear Suzette, so delighted to hear you are enjoying my recipes here – I love this hearty lentil soup too : )

      And thank you for your kind interest for my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table – it is a special book with over 90 authentic recipes like this one, with easy to follow instructions, great photography and personal stories – and it is signed copies at this link, until the stocks last –

      many thanks and Afiyet Olsun,

  10. Elin January 8, 2021 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi Ozlem, we love lentil soup, and make it frequently, but we have always blended the lentils. Most Turkish recipes I have seen ask you to sieve the lentils. Do you just leave the lentils as they are when they are cooked?? I am very interested in trying your way. It might be a bit similar to Ezo Gellin then? Many thanks.

    • Ozlem Warren January 9, 2021 at 4:32 pm #

      Merhaba Elin,
      Thank you for stopping by – yes my lentil soup is a rustic one. In our family, we don’t blend it and we also add cubed potatoes and carrots to it. You are right, Turkish lentil soup traditionally is blended with no add on veg. I wouldn’t sieve the lentils either, all the goodness in there and fiber, but that’s how I like to do it. Most welcome to try my way and I do hope you enjoy it. Lemon wedges aside and extra pul biber is also a tradition in our family – Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem x

  11. Wardah Khan August 10, 2021 at 3:07 pm #

    I love this soup…I must have it everytime I visit Turkey…Thank You for the recipe will definitely try it.. unfortunately we don’t get the pepper flakes here in Cape Town South Africa.

    • Ozlem Warren August 27, 2021 at 9:46 am #

      Merhaba, thank you for your kind note; indeed a delicious hearty soup; you can use chilli flakes or paprika flakes too, afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  12. Agnieszka August 27, 2023 at 1:55 pm #

    We came back yesterday night from Turkey and today decided to invite some friends for dinner..well the lentil soup is a must! Thank you for the recepy!!! Will start cooking briefly 🙂 Can’t wait to try more recipes from. Your blog and book (already ordered)!

    • Ozlem Warren August 28, 2023 at 2:13 pm #

      Merhaba Agnieszka,

      Thank you so much for your kind note : ) Hope you enjoy the lentil soup and my book, Afiyet olsun! Ozlem x


  1. Turkish Yoghurt Soup with rice, mint and red pepper flakes; Yayla Corbasi | Ozlem's Turkish Table - April 22, 2014

    […] with soup in Turkish households. In rural Anatolia, it is very common for this yoghurt soup or the hearty red lentil soup to be eaten as breakfast, for a substantial meal, throughout the year. You see soup stalls in every […]

  2. Turkish Red Lentil Soup – Bon Appetit Baby! - August 15, 2017

    […] (Adapted from Ozlem’s Turkish Table) […]

  3. Ozlem's Turkish Table Cookery Book on its way! Hope it inspires | Ozlem's Turkish Table - January 22, 2018

    […] have been making at lot of Lentil soup with vegetables, Mercimek Corbasi, lately. My children, whole family love it; the warming, pungent cumin and squeeze of lemon juice […]

  4. Ozlem's Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland - the new cookery book is on its way - Fethiye Times - January 26, 2018

    […] flask as her school lunch – so it can be a wholesome lunch alternative for school or work too. Here’s my recipe link for the lentil soup; needless to say it is included in my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table […]

  5. Турска супа с леща (постен вариант) – Kiflichka Cuisine - July 22, 2019

    […] е моя адаптация по рецепта на прекрасната Ozlem Warren ( […]

Leave a Reply