How to Cook Lentils

Learn how to cook lentils on the stovetop and in the oven. Brining the lentils produces a creamy texture and helps to retain their spherical shape.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 150kcal
Author: Jessica Gavin

Ingredients

Lentil Brine

  • 1 cup dried lentils green, brown, French green, Lentilles du Puy, black
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 7 cups water divided

Lentils (no brine)

  • 1 cup dried lentils green, brown, French green, Lentilles du Puy, black, red, yellow
  • 1/2 teaspon kosher salt
  • 4 cups water (3 cups for stovetop, 4 cups for baking method)

Instructions

Lentil Brine

  • Add 1 cup lentils to a fine mesh strainer. Sort and then rinse with cold water.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups warm water (110°F/43°C) to a medium-sized bowl, stir to dissolve the salt.
  • Add lentils to the brine and allow to sit for 1 hour.
  • Drain the lentils into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water.
  • Lentils can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days after brining before cooking.
  • Cook lentils by the stovetop or baking method.

Stovetop Method

  • Add lentils to a fine mesh strainer. Sort and then rinse with cold water. Skip step if already brined.
  • Transfer lentils to a medium-sized pot. Add 3 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once it just begins to boil, reduce to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Minimal agitation is the goal.
  • Add more water as needed to the pot, keeping the lentils submerged.
  • Cook until lentils are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes for brined lentils, or 15 to 30 minutes for unbrined lentils. Time varies based on the type of lentil.
  • Strain the cooked lentils through a fine mesh colander and transfer to a bowl or container.

Baking Method

  • Set oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • Add lentils to a fine mesh strainer. Sort and then rinse then rinse with cold water. Skip step if already brined.
  • Transfer lentils to a medium-sized ovenproof pot or Dutch oven.
  • Add 4 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Cover pot and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Check lentils for doneness, continuing to bake and checking every 5 minutes until tender. Bake up to 60 minutes. Time varies depending on the type of lentil.
  • Strain the cooked lentils through a fine mesh colander and transfer to a bowl or container.

Notes

After brining, you can drain and store the lentils in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 11g | Sodium: 85mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 4% | Iron: 15%
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