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  • How To Cook Lentils

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    Learn how to cook lentils easily on the stovetop for an easy side, main, or add into salads. High in protein and fiber, and low in fat, they are a great addition to a well-balanced diet.

    how to cook lentils on the stovetop

    Lentils are a great addition to so many recipes! I love them in my lentil and sausage soup and they are a great way to bulk up salads.

    You just need water and dried lentils and cooking them is hands off. They make a great side dish for curries and can also be eaten by themselves for a healthy meat-free meal. They are also great for meal prep!

    What are Lentils

    You might be wondering are lentils beans? Lentils are classified as legumes, along with beans and peas as they grow in a pod. Lentils are a great ingredient to include in your diet if you are meat-free as they are high in protein and fiber and contain iron and potassium.

    Types of Lentils

    Lentils come in several varieties. They all have slightly different flavors and textures and the cooking times will vary slightly, although the cooking method remains the same.

    • Brown Lentils: The most common variety. They have a mild and earthy flavor that holds its shape. Great in salads, casseroles, and soups. Require about 25 – 30 minutes of cooking time.
    • Green Lentils: Green lentils have a more robust flavor, which is slightly peppery. They hold shape well and are great for salads and sides. Require about 35 minutes of cooking time.
    • Red and Yellow Lentils: These lentils are sweeter in flavor, and break down more when they cook. This makes them ideal for dahl, casseroles, and soups. These lentils cook quicker and have about a 20 minute cooking time.
    cooked lentils in a white bowl

    How To Cook Lentils On The Stove Perfectly

    My method for how to cook lentils is easy. For perfectly cooked lentils who are not mushy but tender, follow my step by step instructions.

    Step By Step Instructions

    • Rinse the lentils thoroughly under running water and remove any debris and rocks.
    • Combine 1 cup of lentils and 3 cups of water in a pot. Add bay leave and any seasonings (without salt).
    • Bring to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, cover with a lid, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer the lentils for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
    • Lentils are ready as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Drain any remaining liquid, remove the bay leaves, and season with salt as needed.
    how to cook lentils - step by step instructions and shots

    How much water do you need to cook lentils?

    The ratio for lentils to water is 1:3, so for each cup of dried lentils you use, you need to add 3 cups of water.

    Do You Have To Soak Lentils Before Cooking Them

    Lentils don’t require to be soaked before cooking. Rinse them well, remove any debris, and drain the water. Then you can proceed with the recipe.

    How Long to Cook Lentils

    Lentils cook fairy quickly compared to beans. After you bring the water & lentils to a rapid boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.

    How much does 1 cup of dried lentils make?

    1 cup of dry lentils makes 2 1/2 cups of cooked lentils, which is enough for 4 servings.

    How long do cooked lentils keep?

    Lentils are a great option if you are planning your meals for the week. I often make up a double batch and keep them for quick dinners or add them to salads for lunches.

    • Refrigerate: Let the lentils cool and then place them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep well for up to a week and are ready to use.
    • Freeze: Cooked lentils can be frozen for up to 6 months. Spread out cooked and chilled lentils on a baking sheet and freeze them for a couple of hours. After they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container to prevent freezer burn. Thaw frozen lentils in the fridge overnight before using.
    cooked lentils in a white bowl with parsley & lemons

    Recipe Notes and Tips

    • Be sure to rinse and sift your lentils before cooking them to remove any rocks. They aren’t too pleasant when you bite into them!
    • Be sure to season the water, I like to add bay leaves and sometimes peppercorns. This helps to bring out the natural flavors of the lentils.
    • Don’t add salt to the lentils before cooking, or they will be tough. Add salt after you cook them.
    • For more flavor, you can cook the lentils in vegetable stock rather than water.
    • If after 20 minutes simmering, lentils are not tender, check them every 3 minutes after that.
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    How To Cook Lentils

    Learn how to cook lentils easily on the stovetop for an easy side, main or add into salads. High in protein and fiber, and low in fat, they are a great addition to a well-balanced diet.
    Prep Time 2 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 22 minutes
    Servings 4 servings
    Calories 209kcal

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 cup lentils
    • 3 cups water

    INSTRUCTIONS

    • Rinse the lentils thoroughly under running water and remove any debris and rocks.
    • Combine 1 cup of lentils and 3 cups of water in a pot. Add bay leave and any seasonings (without salt).
    • Bring to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, cover with a lid and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer the lentils for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
    • Lentils are ready as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Drain any remaining liquid, remove the bay leave, and season with salt as needed. You can enjoy them on their own or add the lentils to soup or salads.

    TIPS & NOTES

    • Be sure to rinse and sift your lentils before cooking them to remove any rocks. They aren’t too pleasant when you bite into them!
    • Be sure to season the water, I like to add bay leaves and sometimes peppercorns. This helps to bring out the natural flavors of the lentils.
    • Don’t add salt to the lentils before cooking, or they will be tough. Add salt after you cook them.
    • For more flavor, you can cook the lentils in vegetable stock rather than water.
    • If after 20 minutes simmering, lentils are not tender, check them every 3 minutes after that.

    NUTRITION

    Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 565mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 4mg
    Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine American
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    October 29, 2020

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