How to cook lentils perfectly every time! Lentils are so easy to make, inexpensive, delicious, and packed with protein and fiber. They’re the perfect addition to salads, side dishes, and more.
Whether you’re new to a plant-based diet or simply want to add more veggies into your weekly meal rotation, lentils are the one thing to always have on hand. They’re cheap, super nutritious, and extremely delicious. Lentils are also an excellent pantry staple because you can store them for up to a year.
Lentils are a great meat replacement for heartier recipes because they are so high in protein. But, they’re also rich in good carbs and fiber. Which means you’ll be satisfied, full of energy, and regular.
Ready? Let me show you how to cook lentils.
Table of Contents
How Do You Cook Lentils
Green or brown lentils are best when cooking on the stove. They cook quickly and evenly without becoming mushy and are very versatile when it comes to using them in different types of recipes. Yellow, red, and orange lentils are delicious but best for soups and sauces because they tend to get very mushy when cooked.
- Rinse the Lentils in a fine mesh strainer under a running faucet. You’ll sometimes find small rocks and other debris in the lentils. So, pick through and discard all those along with any bad lentils.
- Time To Cook! Add the water and lentils to a saucepan, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Types Of Lentils
There are many different varieties of lentils. But, for me, I prefer to use brown, green, and red lentils. Primarily because they’re very accessible, very common, and very versatile.
- Brown Lentils: brown lentils are the most common variety of lentils, and the one you’re most likely to see at your local grocery store. They have a mild, earthy flavor and usually cook in about 20 minutes.
- Green Lentils: green lentils have a somewhat peppery flavor, take about 20 minutes to cook, and keep a firm texture even after cooking. They’re great for salads, making veggie burgers, and hearty side dishes.
- Red Lentils: red lentils cook in about 15 minutes and very soft once they’re cooked. They’re perfect for soups and sauces. Check out this Red Lentil Chili from Chef AJ. It’s amazing!
- Watch The Time: Don’t just set the time and walk away. Once the lentils start to a boil, bring the heat down to low and then simmer. If the heat is too hight they will overcook and you will get mushy lentils. Keep an eye on the time because they can overcook very easily.
- Wait To Season: Adding things like salt while the lentils are cooking can cause them to stay hard and crunchy. Wait until the lentils have finished cooking and then add your desired spices.
- No Need To Soak: Lentils are small and cook quickly. So, there’s no need to soak them like other legumes.
- To Store: You can store cooked lentils for in the fridge 4-5 days in a covered container. And, you can freeze them up to 4 months.
Check Out These Amazing Lentil Recipes
- Homemade Vegan Meatloaf with Lentils & Oats
- Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
- Warming Lentil Soup by Monkey & Me Kitchens Adventures
Vegan Side Dishes To Try
Trying pairing some cooked lentils with any of these amazing recipes to create a delicious meal.Print
- 1 cup of green or brown lentils
- 3 cups of water
- Rinse the lentils under the faucet in a fine-mesh strainer. And, remove any debris and bad lentils.
- Combine the lentils and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
- If there’s any excess water simply drain then let cool.
Store cooked lentils in a covered container up to 5 days in the fridge. And, up to 4 months in the freezer.
- Prep Time: 2 mins.
- Cook Time: 20 mins.
- Category: One Bowl
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: Vegan
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 169
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 2.9 mg
- Fat: 0.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 30.4 g
- Fiber: 5.1 g
- Protein: 11.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: how to cook lentils, lentils recipes, how do you cook lentils