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Here’s how to cook a perfect pot of savory, satisfying lentils in under 30 minutes. This simple recipe has many devotees, and for good reason. Don’t miss it.

cooked lentils in a bowl
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Why we love this recipe

A simple — and simply perfect — pot of cooked lentils is such a versatile kitchen tool. These babies will keep well in the fridge for a week, and some weeks that’s a lifeline. They’ll turn anything from a simple green salad to a leftover sweet potato into a meal. This recipe is:

  • Savory and satisfying
  • A wildly amenable side dish for fish, chicken, beef, pork, and more
  • Equally at home as an element of a salad, grain bowl, or more complex recipe
  • Make-ahead friendly
  • Vegan and gluten-free

I first published this recipe here back in 2018. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Any variety of lentil will work with this cooking method, but I particularly like Puy lentils (sometimes called French lentils) for salads and bowls because they hold their shape and a little bit of bite even when beautifully creamy and tender, and even after a week in the fridge. They have a delicate, complex, earthy flavor.
  • A teaspoon of herbes de Provence adds the perfect subtle flavor to this recipe. Blends vary but usually contain some combination of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and lavender.
  • Here and in virtually all recipes, I use fine sea salt. You can substitute an equal amount of kosher salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount by half.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to cook a perfect pot lentils. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Rinse the lentils and place into a pot.
  2. Add water, herbs, and salt.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender.
  4. Drain and serve or use in recipes. That’s it!
How to Cook Lentils | Umami Girl

Expert tips and FAQs

How should I serve them?

Lentils make a great side dish as-is (try them with salmon, steak, or chicken). They also make a lovely element of grain bowls and salads like this one and this one.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Yes! Cooked lentils keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

More favorite simple side dishes

cooked lentils in a bowl

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4.80 from 39 votes

How to Cook a Great Pot of Lentils

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Here's how to cook a perfect pot of savory, satisfying lentils in under 30 minutes. This simple recipe has many devotees, and for good reason. Don't miss it.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (180 grams) dry Puy lentils
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions 

  • Rinse lentils well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Place in a small (about 2-quart) pot and cover with water by 2 inches.
  • Stir in herbs and salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  • Cook until lentils are tender but still intact, about 25 minutes.
  • Drain and serve as you like.

Notes

  1. Any lentil variety will work for this recipe as long as you test for doneness, but I especially like Puy lentils for salads and bowls because they taste great and hold their shape even when nice and tender.
  2. Exact cooking time will depend on the age and variety of your lentils, but I find 25 minutes is almost always right for the Puy lentils I buy, regardless of source.
  3. Cooked lentils keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal, Carbohydrates: 30.4g, Protein: 11.8g, Fat: 0.5g, Fiber: 5.1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Beans + Lentils
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.80 from 39 votes (39 ratings without comment)

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