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How To Store Lentils

Are you ready to discover everything there is to know about storing your favorite legumes? With their delicious taste and health benefits, lentils are truly a superstar food. Today, we’re going to talk about how to keep your lentils fresher for longer. So, let’s dive right in.

A large wooden spoon full of dried lentils.

Lentils can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to one year. To store lentils in the refrigerator, simply place them in an airtight container and store them in the crisper drawer. For longer storage, lentils can be frozen for up to six months.

What are Lentils?

Lentils are small, lens-shaped legumes that are a staple in many cuisines worldwide. They’re high in protein, fiber, and a range of essential nutrients, making them a great choice for a healthy diet. There are different types of lentils, including green, red, brown, and black, each with its own unique taste and texture.

How to Store Lentils?

Just like their taste, the storage methods for lentils also depend on their type. Primarily, we’ll talk about how to store cooked lentils and dried lentils, as these are the two most common forms you’ll encounter.

It’s also worth noting here that if you’re someone who enjoys spices in your lentil dishes, proper spice storage is important too. Similar to dried lentils, spices should be stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container to preserve their flavor and extend their shelf life.

Cooked Lentils

Once lentils are cooked, you should store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Make sure to cool them to room temperature before storing them to prevent condensation inside the container, which can lead to spoilage.

Dried Lentils

Dried lentils should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from heat and moisture. You can use an airtight container or a sealed bag to store them. If stored properly, they can last for up to a year.

Shelf Life of Dried Lentils

One of the best things about dried lentils is their long shelf life. If kept in ideal conditions – that is, in a cool, dark place and in an airtight container – dried lentils can last up to 12 months. However, they’re best used within a few months of purchase, as they can become harder and take longer to cook over time.

As a quick side note, if you’re a fan of pairing your lentil dishes with pasta, remember that dry pasta also has a long shelf life. Similar to lentils, it should be stored in a cool, dark place in a sealed container to keep it fresh and ready for your next meal.

Lentil TypeStorage MethodShelf LifeSigns of Spoilage
Cooked LentilsRefrigerator in an airtight container5-7 daysOdd color, sour smell, overly mushy
Cooked Lentils (Frozen)Freezer in an airtight, freezer-safe container/bagUp to 6 monthsIce crystals, freezer burn, odd smell
Dried LentilsCool, dark place in an airtight container/sealed bagUp to 12 months (best within a few months)Harder texture even after cooking, odd smell, presence of pests

Different kinds of Lentils

Red and green lentils in glass jars.
  1. Green Lentils: They hold their shape well and have a slightly peppery flavor. Great for salads and side dishes.
  2. Brown Lentils: The most common type, good for soups and stews as they become quite soft when cooked.
  3. Red and Yellow Lentils: These lentils are often split and cook quickly. They’re excellent for purees or Indian dal.
  4. Puy Lentils: Also known as French green lentils, these are small and have a distinct peppery flavor. They’re great in salads.
  5. Beluga Lentils: These are tiny black lentils that resemble caviar. They have an earthy flavor and hold their shape well when cooked.
  6. Masoor Dal: This is a hulled and split red lentil, popular in Indian cuisine.

How Long Do Cooked Lentils Last?

Lentil soup in a red bowl on a green linen napkin.

Cooked lentils have a shorter shelf life than their dried counterparts. When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, cooked lentils should stay fresh for about 5-7 days. If you’re planning a meal with both lentils and rice, remember that cooked rice can also be stored in the refrigerator for 4-6 days.

If you need to store them for longer, you can freeze cooked lentils. Stored in airtight freezer-safe containers or freezer bags, cooked lentils can last up to 6 months in the freezer.

If you’ve found our information on storing lentils helpful, you might also enjoy our detailed guide on how to store beans, another nutritious and versatile legume that deserves proper storage.

If you are looking for a lentil soup recipe you should give this one a try!

How Do You Know If Lentils Have Gone Bad?

Just like any food item, lentils can also go bad. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Appearance: If your lentils have mold or an odd color, it’s best to toss them out.
  • Smell: Bad lentils often give off an unpleasant, sour smell. Fresh lentils should have a mild, earthy scent.
  • Texture: If cooked lentils become overly mushy or dried lentils become extra hard even after cooking, they’ve probably gone bad.

Frequently asked questions about how to store lentils

Yes, you can freeze cooked lentils. To maximize their quality, store cooked lentils in airtight freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. They can last up to 6 months in the freezer.

Dried lentils should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from heat and sunlight. Use an airtight container or a sealed bag for storage. If stored properly, they can last for up to 12 months.

Yes, lentils can go bad. Signs of spoilage include an odd color, a sour smell, an overly mushy or hard texture, or the presence of mold.


And there you have it! You’re now an expert in storing lentils. Remember, how you store your lentils, whether dried or cooked, can significantly affect their freshness and taste.

Using these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious, nutritious lentils any time you want. So go ahead and make lentils a staple in your pantry, and you’ll always have a hearty ingredient on hand for your next culinary masterpiece!

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