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Cooked lentils in a silver pot with some in a spoon resting on the edge of the pot.

How to Cook Lentils

The lowly lentil is a pantry staple and a real star on the health front; knowing how to cook lentils will make your soups, salads, and side dishes all the more healthy and delicious. And they cook in just 20 minutes!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 169kcal


  • 1 cup lentils
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, optional
  • 3 cups water


  • Rinse lentils in cold tap water to remove any dust or debris. 
  • Add lentils and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Do not salt lentils until they're finished cooking. 
  • Drain well. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.


Lentils do not need soaking, unlike other legumes. 
1 cup dried lentils yields approximately 2 1/2 cups lentils, cooked.  


Calories: 169kcal