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Jar of Red Lentils with spoon and scattered lentils in the foreground.
How to Cook Red Lentils
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

Red lentils are delicious, healthy, and super easy to prepare. Read on to find out everything you need to know in order to get cooking with red lentils!

Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 190 kcal
Author: Alissa Saenz
  • 1 cup dried red lentils (split or whole)
  • 2 ½ cups water, plus more as needed (use only 2 cups for Instant Pot method)
  1. Place the lentils into a fine mesh strainer and rinse them well with water. Remove any foreign objects such as small stones.

Stove Method
  1. Transfer the lentils to a small saucepan and stir in 2 ½ cups of water.

  2. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the water to a boil.

  3. Lower the heat and allow the lentils to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep a container of hot water near the stove as they cook, adding water to the pot if it dries up.

  4. By the time the lentils have finished cooking they should have totally broken down and absorbed most of the water in the pot.

  5. Season as desired and serve.

Instant Pot Method
  1. Stir the lentils and 2 cups of water together in the Instant Pot.

  2. Close the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to the "sealing" position.

  3. Press the "pressure cook" or "manual" button and set the pressure to medium. Set the cook timer for 10 minutes.

  4. When the lentils have finished cooking, carefully move the valve to the "venting" position and allow the pressure to fully release.

  5. Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and give the lentils a stir.

  6. Season and serve as desired.

Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Red Lentils
Amount Per Serving (0.75 cups cooked lentils (¼ of recipe))
Calories 190 Calories from Fat 5
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.5g1%
Potassium 500mg14%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 12g24%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.