Reheating Lentils: A Comprehensive Guide to Safely Enjoying Leftovers

Can you reheat lentils? – The Complete Guide

Lentils are a versatile and nutritious food that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. However, there are times when you may have leftover lentils that need to be reheated. The question is, can you reheat lentils without compromising their flavor and safety? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different methods of reheating lentils and provide you with practical tips to ensure the best results.

Reheating Lentils: An Overview

Reheating lentils is not only safe, but also a convenient way to enjoy a quick and healthy meal. Whether you have cooked lentils stored in the refrigerator or frozen lentils, there are several methods you can use to efficiently reheat them.

Method 1: Reheat lentils with warm water

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reheat lentils is with warm water. This method works best when the lentils are stored separately without any additional ingredients or spices. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place the lentils in a bowl.
  2. Pour warm water over the lentils, making sure they are completely submerged.
  3. Allow the lentils to soak in the water until they are thoroughly heated.
  4. Drain the water and stir the reheated lentils into the dish of your choice.

Using warm water to reheat lentils helps maintain their texture and flavor without the risk of overcooking. It is a simple method that produces satisfying results.

Method 2: Microwave lentils

If you have lentils mixed with other ingredients, such as spices or vegetables, microwaving is a quick and convenient way to reheat your meal. Follow these steps to effectively microwave lentils:

  1. Place the lentils in a microwave-safe container.
  2. Cover the container with a splash guard or microwave-safe lid.
  3. Microwave the lentils for one minute.
  4. Stir the lentils well to distribute the heat evenly.
  5. Continue to heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until the lentils reach the desired temperature.

Microwaving lentils is an efficient way to reheat them while preserving their moisture. If your lentils are plain with no added ingredients, adding a small amount of water to the container before microwaving can prevent them from drying out.

Method 3: Stove Top Reheating

Another way to reheat lentils is on the stove. This method works for both plain lentils and those mixed with other ingredients. Here’s how to reheat lentils on the stovetop:

  1. For plain lentils:
    a. Place the cold lentils in a saucepan.
    b. Cover lentils with cold water.
    c. Bring the water to a boil and immediately remove the pot from the heat.
    d. Drain and serve the lentils.
  2. For lentils mixed with sauce or broth
    a. Place the lentils and sauce in a saucepan.
    b. Heat the pot over medium heat until the sauce comes to a low simmer.
    c. Stir the lentils occasionally to ensure even heating.
    d. When heated through, remove from heat and serve.
  3. For lentils mixed with other ingredients (such as rice or vegetables)
    a. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil.
    b. Add the lentils and other ingredients to the pan.
    c. Stir frequently to distribute the heat and prevent sticking.
    d. Cook for about 5 minutes or until lentils are heated through.

Reheating lentils on the stovetop allows for precise temperature control and even heating. It is especially useful when lentils are mixed with other ingredients.

Method 4: Reheating frozen lentils

If you have frozen lentils, you can thaw and reheat them using methods similar to those for refrigerated lentils. Here’s how to effectively thaw and reheat frozen lentils:

  1. For frozen lentils with no added ingredients
    a. Place the frozen lentils in a colander or strainer with small holes.
    b. Run hot tap water over the lentils until they are completely thawed.
    c. Place the thawed lentils in a bowl and cover with hot water for 5 minutes to warm them thoroughly.
  2. For frozen lentils mixed with other ingredients or seasonings
    a. Store the lentils in their sealed container.
    b. Place the container in a pot or sink of warm water.
    c. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent water from entering.
    d. If necessary, combine this method with one of the other reheating techniques listed above for best results.

Thawing and ReheatingFrozen lentils require a little extra care to maintain their texture and flavor. By following these steps, you can reheat frozen lentils safely and efficiently.

Best practices for reheating lentils

To ensure the best results when reheating lentils, here are some additional tips and best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Proper Storage: Store cooked lentils in a sealed container within 2-3 hours of cooking to minimize the risk of contamination. If you plan to reheat them later, refrigerate or freeze them immediately.
  2. Portion control: Divide cooked lentils into smaller portions before storing. This makes them easier to reheat and reduces waste.
  3. Seal containers properly: When reheating lentils with water or in a sauce, make sure the containers are well sealed and heat resistant. Avoid containers that contain BPA (bisphenol A) as they may not be suitable for reheating.
  4. Add moisture: If your lentils appear dry during reheating, add a small amount of water or broth to keep them moist and prevent them from becoming too dry.
  5. Stir frequently: When reheating lentils, stir frequently to distribute the heat evenly and prevent hot spots or uneven heating.
  6. Monitor cooking time: Monitor cooking time to avoid overcooking or undercooking lentils. Different reheating methods may require different amounts of time, so keep a close eye on the lentils as they heat up.
  7. Customize with spices and seasonings: As you reheat the lentils, you can add additional spices, herbs, or seasonings to enhance the flavor. Experiment with different combinations to suit your taste preferences.
  8. Use reheated lentils in recipes: Reheated lentils can be used in a variety of recipes such as soups, stews, salads, or side dishes. Incorporate them into your favorite dishes to add a protein-packed and nutritious element.


Reheating lentils is a safe and convenient way to enjoy leftover or cooked lentils. Whether you use warm water, the microwave, the stovetop, or thaw and reheat frozen lentils, following the proper techniques will result in delicious and satisfying meals. Remember to store lentils properly, portion them appropriately, and monitor the reheating process to maintain flavor and texture. With these guidelines in mind, you can reheat lentils with confidence and create flavorful dishes whenever you want.


Can reheating lentils affect their taste and safety?

Reheating lentils does not compromise their taste or safety when done properly. By following the recommended methods and guidelines, you can enjoy reheated lentils that are both delicious and safe to consume.

Can reheated lentils cause food poisoning?

Lentils by themselves do not pose a significant risk of food poisoning. However, if lentils are not properly stored and reheated, they can become contaminated with bacteria. It is important to store cooked lentils in a sealed container and reheat them within a safe time frame to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

What is the best way to reheat lentils?

The best method for reheating lentils depends on personal preference and the type of lentils you have. Some common and effective methods include reheating with warm water, using the microwave, or reheating on the stove. Choose the method that best suits your needs and produces the desired results.

Can I reheat frozen lentils?

Yes, you can reheat frozen lentils. Thaw frozen lentils using the appropriate method, such as running them under hot water or placing them in warm water. Once thawed, you can follow the recommended reheating methods to reheat the lentils before eating.

How long can I keep cooked lentils before reheating them?

It is recommended that cooked lentils be stored in a sealed container and refrigerated within 2-3 hours of cooking. This time frame helps minimize the risk of bacterial contamination. If you plan to store them for a longer period of time, it is advisable to freeze them instead.

Can I add additional ingredients or spices when reheating lentils?

Yes, you can add additional ingredients or spices when reheating lentils to enhance their flavor. Whether you choose to mix them with sauces, vegetables or herbs, incorporating additional elements can add variety and create delicious meals with reheated lentils.