3 Ways to Cook Lentils

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3 Ways to Cook Lentils
3 Ways to Cook Lentils

At first glance, lentils appear to be just a bland legume. However, it is an excellent addition to any pantry. Rich in protein and fiber, green, brown or red lentils are low in calories and have a thin shell that makes them cook quickly and become very soft. As such, it is a great ingredient for stews, thicker sauces and curries. If you prefer that the lentils retain their shape after cooking, choose the French or Beluga and serve them as a side dish or with a warm salad.


  • 1 cup of dried lentils.
  • 3 cups of water.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Makes 4 servings.


Method 1 of 3: Choosing a Type of Lentil

Make Lentils Step 1

Step 1. Opt for green or brown lentils for soft, quick-cooking beans

Green and brown lentils are the easiest to find in supermarkets. The thin shells cause the beans to cook quickly and lose their shape. As you stir, the lentils mix, forming a smooth, rustic-flavored puree.

Green and brown lentils are widely used in soups and thick stews, as a meat substitute in pasta and casseroles, and in patties

Make Lentils Step 2

Step 2. Buy French or Puy lentils if you prefer more consistent grains

If you prefer beans that don't lose their shape after they're cooked, opt for the gray French lentils, also known as Puy's lentils. The beans maintain the table texture once ready and are great in hot salads, with grated cheese or as an accompaniment.

French lentils have a thicker husk that prevents the beans from turning into a paste. However, they also take longer to cook than green and red lentils

Make Lentils Step 3

Step 3. Try making a mashed red lentils

If you're a fan of Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine, you've certainly seen red lentils in curries. Owners of a sweet flavor and a thin skin, they cook quickly and lose their shape, becoming super-soft.

Red, yellow and orange lentils are great for cream soups, thick sauces and dal. You can also add lentil puree to baked dishes to make them more nutritious

Make Lentils Step 4

Step 4. Bet on black lentils or beluga if you prefer small, firm grains

Small and round, black lentils have a rustic flavor similar to green or brown, but the husk of the beans is a little thicker. This prevents them from falling apart during cooking. Beluga lentils are delicious with other rustic foods like mushrooms and leeks.

  • The lentils will turn to puree anyway if they go past the point.
  • Add cooked black lentils to salads and soups for added texture.

Method 2 of 3: Cooking a Serving of Lentils

Step 1. Put a cup of lentils in a colander and wash it with cold water

Place a fine strainer in the sink and pour a cup of lentils of any kind into it. Take a look at the grains and remove any that are wrinkled as well as the pebbles. Then wash the lentils under cold running water to remove dirt and other dirt.

  • To make more or less lentils, use the ratio of one part lentils to three parts water. To make half a cup of lentils, for example, use a cup and a half of water.
  • A cup of dried lentils makes four servings once cooked.

Step 2. Transfer the lentils to a pot with three cups of water

The beans will double or even triple in size once cooked, so choose a large pot. Pour the grains and water into it and cook it.

  • Use cold water. Hot water can soften lentils before cooking, causing the beans to crack or crumble.
  • If you don't want to cook the lentils on the stove, place them in an electric pressure cooker with water. They usually take 20-30 minutes to soften, but it's always good to see the manufacturer's instructions in the manual.

Step 3. Cover the pan and boil the water over high heat

When steam starts to come out from under the lid, turn the heat down.

Do not salt the lentils at the beginning of cooking. Otherwise they got hard

Step 4. Cook the lidless lentils over medium heat for 15 to 45 minutes

Put the heat on medium or low temperature and let the water bubble slightly. Protect your hands with gloves and uncover the pan. Cook the lentils uncovered until they are soft. In general, cooking times are as follows:

  • Green and brown lentils need 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Broken red lentils need 15 to 20 minutes.
  • French, Puy, Black and Beluga lentils need 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Yellow lentils need 40 to 45 minutes.

Step 5. Drain the lentils if you have chosen a firmer variety such as black or Puy

French, Puy, black and beluga lentils do not absorb all the water in the pot. So that they don't get squishy, ​​place a fine sieve in the sink and carefully drain the water.

Make Lentils Step 10

Step 6. Serve the lentils or store them in the fridge

As most lentils absorb the water in the pan, it is not necessary to drain them before savoring them. Season the lentils with half a teaspoon of salt or your favorite spices.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days

Method 3 of 3: Creating Custom Dishes

Make Lentils Step 11

Step 1. Swap the water for a broth for a tastier dish

There's nothing wrong with cooking lentils with water, but a chicken or vegetable stock can add even more flavor to the beans. Buy a broth or prepare a homemade version and use it in place of water. The lentils will soak up the broth and be full of flavor.

Reduce the amount of salt or opt for a low-sodium broth to control the amount of sodium in the dish

Make Lentils Step 12

Step 2. Add up to a tablespoon of dry spices to the water to flavor the lentils

Lentils have a very mild taste on their own, but they are able to absorb the flavors of water. Season them with up to a tablespoon of your spice or your favorite spice mix. Try it:

  • One teaspoon dried oregano, one teaspoon dried parsley, ¼ teaspoon ground sage, and ¼ teaspoon ground onion powder for a Mediterranean flavor.
  • A teaspoon of ground cumin, a teaspoon of ground turmeric and half a teaspoon of pepperoni pepper flakes for an Indian touch.
  • One teaspoon of paprika, one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of ground ginger, half a teaspoon of turmeric and half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to make spicy lentils.
Make Lentils Step 13

Step 3. Add garlic, onion and other aromatic spices to the water for a more intense flavor

You don't need a lot of ingredients to taste lentils. Just put four cloves of peeled and chopped garlic in the water along with the beans before you start cooking. Also add a chopped onion and any other aromatic seasoning you prefer.

Add a bay leaf or two to add a leafy flavor to the beans, or a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary for a taste of herbs. Just be sure to remove the ingredients before serving the lentils

Make Lentils Step 14

Step 4. Avoid using acidic ingredients at the beginning of cooking so as not to harden the beans

To make Italian-style lentils, add chopped tomatoes to the cooked beans. You can also season the beans with oil and lemon vinaigrette for a real flavor explosion.

To keep the lentils fresh, add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to the cooked beans


  • Store dry lentils in an airtight container, away from direct light. Although they have a shelf life of one year, it is best to cook them straight away to make the most of their flavor and texture.
  • Do not soak the lentils before cooking them. They can end up getting too soft.
  • Add enough water to cover the lentils if they absorb all the liquid during cooking.

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