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How To Cook Lentils (Red, Black, Brown, Green or French Lentils)

How To Cook Lentils

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x


A complete tutorial for how to cook lentils (French, green, brown, black and red lentils).  See notes below for possible seasonings to add in too.


  • 1 cup uncooked lentils, picked over and rinsed*
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • Combine ingredients.  Stir together the lentils, water and salt in a large saucepan.
  • Simmer.  Heat over medium-high heat until the water reaches a vigorous simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer.  Cover and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, approximately:
    • Red Lentils: 12-15 minutes
    • Green/Brown Lentils: 20-30 minutes
    • French Lentils: 25-30 minutes
    • Black Lentils: 25-30 minutes
  • Drain. Drain the lentils completely using a strainer.
  • Serve.  Serve immediately and enjoy!


Optional aromatics: To add more flavor to the lentils, feel free to add a bay leaf, 1-2 whole cloves of fresh garlic, chicken or veggie bouillon, and/or any of your favorite herbs or spices to the water.  (Then be sure to discard the aromatics before serving the lentils.)  Or you can also simply use chicken or vegetable stock in place of water.

Picking over your lentils: Before you rinse the lentils, use your fingers to sift through them to see if there are any small stones or stray bits that need to be discarded.  Then rinse and drain using a strainer.

Larger batch instructions: Feel free to increase the size of your batch.  You will just need approximately a 1:4 lentils to water ratio.