The Shelf Life of Cooked Lentils: A Comprehensive Guide

How long do cooked lentils keep?

Lentils are a popular legume known for their nutritional value and versatility in cooking. If you have recently cooked lentils and are wondering how long they can be safely stored, this article will provide you with the information you need. Proper storage is key to ensuring that cooked lentils maintain their quality and remain safe to eat. In this article, we will discuss the storage guidelines for cooked lentils, including refrigeration and freezing methods.

Storing Cooked Lentils

When it comes to storing cooked lentils, proper handling and storage techniques are essential to maintaining their freshness and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Cooling: Allow cooked lentils to cool completely to room temperature before storing. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria.
  2. Refrigeration: If you plan to consume the lentils within a few days, refrigeration is the best option. Transfer the cooked lentils to a flat, airtight container or Ziploc bag. Be sure to remove as much air as possible from the container or bag to minimize air exposure. Cooked lentils stored in the refrigerator will remain fresh for approximately 3-5 days, with a maximum of 1 week.
  3. Freezing: If you want to extend the shelf life of cooked lentils, freezing is a great option. Make sure the lentils are completely cold before freezing. For best results, freeze lentils in individual servings. Place the cooked, drained, and cooled lentils in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 1-2 hours until thoroughly frozen. Once frozen, transfer the lentils to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, removing as much air as possible. Frozen cooked lentils will keep for about 6 months.

Reheating Cooked Lentils

When it’s time to enjoy your stored cooked lentils, reheating them properly is crucial to maintaining their texture and flavor. Here’s how to reheat cooked lentils:

  1. Stovetop: Place the desired amount of cooked lentils in a saucepan. Add a small amount of water or broth to keep the lentils from drying out. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are heated through.
  2. Microwave: Place the cooked lentils in a microwave-safe container and add a little water or broth. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap, leaving a small vent to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the lentils are thoroughly heated.

How long does lentil soup keep?

Lentil soup is a delicious and nutritious dish made from cooked lentils. However, the shelf life of lentil soup can vary depending on the ingredients. Here are some guidelines for storing lentil soup:

  1. Refrigeration: If you have made lentil soup and want to store it in the refrigerator, be sure to transfer it to an airtight container or an airtight Ziploc bag. Properly refrigerated, lentil soup will stay fresh for about 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: Freezing lentil soup is an excellent option for long-term storage. Allow the soup to cool completely before freezing. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag, leaving some room for expansion. Frozen lentil soup can maintain its quality for several months.

Storing Canned Lentils

Canned lentils are a convenient option for quick meals. Here’s what you need to know about storing canned lentils:

  1. Unopened cans: Unopened cans of lentils do not need to be refrigerated. They can be stored indefinitely in a cool, dry pantry. However, it’s always a good idea to check the expiration date on the can for optimal quality.
  2. Opened cans: Once you open a can of lentils, transfer the remaining lentils to an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 5 days or up to 1 week.

Do dried lentils go bad?

Dried lentils have a much longer shelf life than cooked lentils. When properly stored, dried lentils can last indefinitely. However, it’s recommended that they be consumed within 1 year of opening the package for the best quality. Store dried lentils in an airtight container or glass jar with a tightly closed lid to prevent moisture and pests from affecting their quality.


In summary, cooked lentils can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, with a maximum of 1 week. Freezing cooked lentils extends their shelf life to about 6 months. Proper refrigeration and packaging are critical to maintaining the quality of cooked lentils during storage. Lentil soup can be refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for long-term storage. Once opened, canned lentils should be treated as cooked lentils and consumed within 5 days, with a maximum of 1 week. Dried lentils have an indefinite shelf life when properly stored.
Remember to chill cooked lentils before storing and use airtight containers or Ziploc bags to minimize air exposure. When reheating cooked lentils, you can use stovetop or microwave methods. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your cooked lentils remain safe and delicious for future meals. Enjoy the versatility and nutritional benefits of lentils while effectively managing their storage.


How long will cooked lentils keep in the refrigerator?

Cooked lentils can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, with a maximum of 1 week if properly refrigerated and stored in an airtight container.

Can I freeze cooked lentils to extend their shelf life?

Yes, you can freeze cooked lentils. When stored in the freezer, cooked lentils can maintain their quality for about 6 months.

How do I reheat cooked lentils?

To reheat cooked lentils, you can either heat them on the stovetop by adding a small amount of water or broth and cooking over medium-low heat, or you can microwave them by placing them in a microwave-safe container with a little water or broth and heating on high for 1-2 minutes.

How long will lentil soup keep in the refrigerator?

Lentil soup will keep in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. It’s important to store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

How long do canned lentils keep once opened?

Once opened, canned lentils should be transferred to an airtight container or Ziploc bag and stored in the refrigerator. They should be consumed within 5 days, with a maximum of 1 week.

Do dried lentils have a long shelf life?

Yes, dried lentils have a much longer shelf life than cooked lentils. If properly stored in an airtight container or jar, they can last indefinitely, although it’s best to consume them within 1 year of opening the package for optimal quality.