How to Prepare Lentils

I like lentils. They’re extremely healthy, affordable, eco-friendly, and can be found in a variety of colors and textures. All that, and they can be genuinely scrumptious if you understand how to prepare them appropriately. This lentil dish yields completely prepared lentils, whenever.

Lentils are among my preferred plant-based sources of protein, right up there with their bean cousins, black beans and chickpeas. The appeal of lentils is that they do not take long to prepare (around 20 minutes or two), whereas beans need a number of hours on the range. Given that I’m usually in a rush prior to supper, their fast cook time is a huge selling point.

lentil varieties before cooking (featuring regular green lentils, red lentils, French green lentils and black beluga lentils)

If you’re attempting to consume much better, simply include more lentils. They’re excellent in salads, soups (this lentil soup is popular), side meals, and even with pasta. Lentils continue to absorb close-by tastes as they rest, so they normally make excellent leftovers.

Because I have a lot of dishes with lentils on the blog site, I wished to share a guide on how to prepare lentils. I have actually been tweaking my strategy for many years, and I believe you’ll value this technique. Here we go!

how to cook perfect lentils

How to Prepare Lentils

My strategy is a little bit various than the dishes you’ll discover on the back of the bundles. It’s quicker, and I hope you’ll concur that it’s even much better!

1) Bring a pot of water to boil.

Fill it with lots of water, however leave space at the top for the water to come to a boil, and some additional area to accommodate the lentils.

2) On the other hand, sort through your lentils.

You might be questioning do I truly need to do that? Yes, yes, you do. I avoided this action when, and bit best into a little rock. It was disconcerting, and I’m fortunate I didn’t chip my tooth.

How to sort through your lentils: Simply put them, extremely gradually, into a fine-mesh screen (affiliate link), looking thoroughly for anything that looks amusing. For great procedure, sort through with your fingers later. Then, wash your lentils in the screen to eliminate any dust.

3) Once the water is boiling, include the lentils.

Lower the heat as needed to keep a dynamic simmer. No requirement to cover the pot I like to watch on them.

4) Include some taste boosters, if you ‘d like.

Include some salt, possibly a bay leaf, and possibly a clove of garlic (peeled however left entire). Some dishes will alert you to never ever include salt to beans or lentils while they’re cooking (they state it’ll avoid them from cooking through), however it’s just not real! Salt highlights their finest.

5) Prepare up until you reach your preferred consistency.

The quantity of time your lentils require to prepare will differ depending upon their range and their age. I have actually offered some beginning points for each range in the dish listed below. You’ll require to evaluate them for doneness when the timer goes off if they’re not rather done, provide another minute prior to retesting, or they’re absolutely refrained from doing, provide a number of minutes prior to attempting once again. Keep in mind, lentils prepare rapidly.

6) Pressure off the excess water.

We have actually prepared our lentils in an abundance of water, so now you’ll wish to put the mix through your fine-mesh strainer to eliminate the excess. Return your lentils to the pot, this time off the heat, and eliminate the bay leaf if you included one. If you included a clove of garlic, smash it versus the side of the pan and stir it in. Season with another pinch of salt or 2, as required. Your lentils are prepared to go!

Watch How to Prepare Lentils

Kinds Of Lentils

basic brown lentils

1) Standard Lentils (Brown/Green Lentils)

Call them fundamental, basic, brown or green or greenish-brown we’re speaking about the most typical lentil (imagined above). This range of lentil is likewise the most economical, and fortunate for us, it’s yummy and flexible.

These lentils are flatter and a little broader than the 2 expensive ranges listed below. You can replace fundamental lentils for French green or black beluga lentils if you beware to prepare them up until tender. If you overcook them, they can end up being rather mushy.

If you land someplace securely in between al dente and mush, brown lentils alleviate right into sauces and soups. You’ll discover these lentils in my finest lentil soup they include adequate starch to turn very velvety, particularly after mixing a part and putting it back in. They’re likewise remarkably scrumptious with marinara, as a replacement for hamburger see my lentil baked ziti and lentil and mushroom “meatballs” as evidence.

You can even prepare this range with wild rice in the very same pot if you follow the directions in my mujadara dish. If you’re aiming to alter your bean tacos, attempt replacing lentils, like I finished with these roasted cauliflower tacos with velvety chipotle sauce.

perfectly cooked French green lentils

2) French Green Lentils (Lentilles du Puy)

French green lentils are smaller sized and rounder than basic brown lentils. They’re mottled with dark gray and nearly appear like small turtle shells, if you utilize your creativity. Lentilles du Puy are exclusive to the Auvergne area in main France. They get their nutty, mineral-rich taste from maturing near mountains and volcanic deposits. Comparable green lentils grow in Idaho, and they’re apparently nearly as great.

I usually schedule French green lentils for applications that permit the lentil’s unique shape and texture to shine. In my lentil and couscous packed peppers dish, for instance, the round, tender French green lentils contrast with the small, fluffy grains of couscous. Like brown lentils, earthy French green lentils are likewise good with marinara, as seen in my hearty spaghetti dish.

I utilize French green lentils and black beluga lentils nearly interchangeably in salads, offered their comparable shapes and textures. You might utilize French green lentils in my dishes for roasted broccoli, arugula and lentil salad or lentil and chickpea salad with radish and herbs.

perfectly cooked black beluga lentils

3) Black Lentils (Beluga Lentils)

Black lentils might nearly pass as caviar (that’s why they’re likewise called “beluga” lentils). Like black beans, black lentils are in fact so dark blue that they appear black. That’s a hint that they’re truly helpful for you black beans, lentils and blueberries all get their color from effective anti-oxidants called anthocyanins.

Black lentils resemble French green lentils in size, shape and texture, however have a more moderate taste. Black lentils are included in my dishes for Greek lentil salad, lemony roasted broccoli, arugula and lentil salad or lemony lentil and chickpea salad with radish and herbs. The titles offered it away, however black lentils are particularly good with lemon, fresh greens and tender herbs.

Black lentils likewise work well with vibrant spices and Indian tastes. Take a look at this masala lentil salad with cumin roasted carrots and my faster way variation of dal makhani, which generally requires entire black lentils (urad dal).

perfectly cooked red lentils

4) Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)

Red lentils, likewise called pink lentils, are a various ballgame. They prepare a lot more rapidly due to the fact that they have actually currently had their fibrous skins gotten rid of, and they have actually been divided open. These lentils turn soft and mushy prior to you understand it, which is why they’re perfect for soups and stews. You’ll discover them utilized in Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.

Might the record program that you do not need to prepare them up until they have actually totally broken down. The dish listed below offers cook times to accomplish the outcomes you see above. Take a look at my curried red lentil soup to see how charming they can be when they have actually been prepared longer. You’ll see that they turned a more golden color as they prepare.

You’ll discover the dish to prepare any range of lentils listed below! Please let me understand how this strategy works for you in the remarks. I ‘d likewise like to hear how you enjoy your lentils!

lentil varieties after cooking

How to Prepare Lentils

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Prepare Time: 15 minutes
  • Overall Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1 x
  • Classification: Standard
  • Technique: Stovetop
  • Food: Mediterranean

4.8 from 17 evaluations

Discover how to prepare completely tender lentils, whenever, with this sure-fire dish. Lentil cook times differ by range and age you’ll discover beginning points and assistance in the directions. One cup dry lentils yields about 3 cups prepared, so increase as needed.

Active Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry lentils (any range)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Optional taste enhancers: 1 bay leaf and/or 1 big clove garlic (peeled however left entire) and/or 1 to 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Fill a medium-to-large pan with water, leaving numerous inches of space at the top. Bring it to a boil over high heat.
  2. On the other hand, sort through your lentils for particles. I do this by gradually putting the lentils into a fine-mesh screen, keeping a mindful eye out for any small rocks or extraneous products. Sort through the lentils with your fingers to make certain you didn’t miss out on anything. Then, wash your lentils under running water up until the water runs clear. Reserve.
  3. Once the water is boiling, include the rinsed lentils. Include the salt, and the bay leaf and/or garlic, if utilizing.
  4. If you’re cooking red lentils, set the timer for 6 minutes. For routine green lentils, set the timer for 13 minutes. For black lentils, set the timer for 16 minutes. For French green lentils, set the timer for 18 minutes.
  5. On the other hand, decrease the heat as needed to avoid overflow and to keep a dynamic simmer. As soon as your timer has actually gone off, utilize a fork to dig a couple of lentils and test for doneness (cautious, they’re hot). Your lentils are done when they are happily tender throughout (not mushy or breaking down) and taste perfectly earthy (undercooked lentils tend to taste rather metal). If your lentils aren’t completely prepared yet, retest every 1 to 2 minutes up until they are.
  6. As soon as prepared, right away strain off all the excess water. Put the lentils back into your pot, off the heat. If you included a bay leaf, discard it now. If you included a garlic clove, utilize a fork to smash it versus the side of the pot, then stir it into the lentils.
  7. Taste, and include a pinch or 2 of salt if needed. If you’re utilizing these lentils as an element in another dish, they’re prepared to go. If you’re serving them by themselves or as an aspect in a salad, you may wish to stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil to avoid sticking and include some elegant taste. Take pleasure in.


Storage recommendations: Remaining lentils will keep well in the fridge, covered, for 4 to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze remaining lentils for approximately 6 months. Given that lentils are rather fragile, it’s finest to thaw them in the fridge. If you remain in a rush you can carefully microwave them, stirring frequently.

▸ Nutrition Info

The details revealed is a price quote offered by an online nutrition calculator. It ought to not be thought about an alternative to an expert nutritional expert’s recommendations. See our complete nutrition disclosure here.

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