Basic Stove-Top Lentils - KNEP - Kentucky Nutrition Education Program


Basic Stove-Top Lentils

Servings:6Serving Size:1 cup


  • 1 pound dry lentils
  • 5 ½ cups water
  • Salt, herbs, other seasonings (optional)


  1. Wash hands with warm water and soap, scrubbing for 20 seconds.
  2. Sort and rinse lentils with cool running water to remove debris and dirt.
  3. Combine lentils and water in a pot large enough to accommodate them doubling or tripling in size. Do not add salt before cooking because it may toughen the lentils.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer. Most types of lentils need to simmer for 20 to 40 minutes until tender. Some types of lentils (like split red lentils) only take 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to check the package directions for the suggested cooking times for the type you are using.
  5. When done, add salt, herbs, and/or seasonings to the lentils, if desired.
  6. Cooked lentils should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 4 days. They can also be frozen and used within three months. Use airtight containers for storing leftovers.


  • One pound of dry lentils makes about 7 cups of cooked lentils.
  • Lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking.
  • Do not add salt before cooking because this will toughen the lentils. 
  • Lentils can be used in stews and soups and give a source of plant protein.
  • Lentils can be drained and tossed into salads, used in sandwich wraps, and used to prepare taco or grain bowls.
  • Lentils can be pureed and used as a thickener in soups.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 260 calories;0.8g total fat; 0.1g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 0mg cholesterol; 4mg sodium; 39.9g total carbohydrate; 15.6 dietary fiber; 0g added sugar; 17.9g protein; 3% Daily Value vitamin C; 0% Daily Value vitamin D; 37% Daily Value iron; 3% Daily Value calcium; 16% Daily Value potassium