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red lentils

How to Cook Red Lentils

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  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop or Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Red lentils are one of my favorite sources of plant-based protein! Here’s the best way to prepare them and some of my favorite recipes that use red lentils.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 22 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth


How to Make Red Lentils on the Stovetop

  1. Add the lentils and 2 cups of water or broth to a pot and cover.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer 6-10 minutes or until you reach desired firmness.

How to Make Red Lentils in an Instant Pot

  1. Combine 1 cup of red lentils and 2 1/2 cups of water to vegetable broth in the Instant Pot.
  2. Lock the lid in place and ensure the pressure valve is set to seal.
  3. Cook on manual pressure cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Let the steam naturally release for 5 minutes, then turn the valve to release any remaining steam.