How to Cook Lentils: A Perfect Pot of Lentils in Under 30 Minutes

I get excited about lentils. That’s just a fact. You can love me or leave me for it. But I suggest you stay. If you do, I’ll show you how to cook lentils befitting the fabulous person you are.

Here’s the thing. Legumes are wonderful. Satisfying, versatile, nutritious, comforting. And lentils? Lentils are the breezy, low-maintenance, smarter-than-they-seem friend in the legume squad. (I almost wrote posse instead of squad, but see how millennial I am?) (Not very.)

Psst...here's how to cook a pound of dried beans on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the Instant Pot, too.

Tip

A teaspoon of herbes de Provence adds a lot of flavor to these lentils. Blends vary but usually contain some combination of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and lavender.

How to cook lentils

A perfect pot of lentils — savory, lightly herbaceous, perfectly tender — can be yours in under 30 minutes. Then you can spend the week tossing them into grain bowls and onto salads or leftover sweet potatoes or really wherever your heart desires. You can make a complete meal out of all of the things all of the time (give or take) as long as there’s a great pot of lentils in your fridge.

How to Cook Lentils 780 | Umami Girl-2

We love Puy lentils, but any type will do

Any variety of lentil will work with this cooking method, but I particularly like Puy lentils for salads and bowls because they hold their shape and a little bit of bite even when beautifully tender, and even after a week in the fridge. They taste great, too. Otherwise, what’s the point?

How to Cook a Great Pot of Lentils

A really great, flavorful pot of lentils is less than 30 minutes away. 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. 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. 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.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry Puy lentils (see headnote)
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

  1. Rinse lentils well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  2. Place in a small (about 2-quart) pot and cover with water by 1 to 2 inches. Stir in herbs and salt.
  3. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  4. Cook until lentils are tender but still intact, about 25 minutes.
  5. Drain and serve as you like.
  6. Keeps, tightly covered, in the fridge for a week.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

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