How to Cook French Lentils

Lentils are among the top nutrient-dense, wholesome, and cost-effective foods worldwide. There’s no reason not to consume more of them. When cooked properly, French lentils, in particular, tend to keep their shape, making them ideal for salad recipes and side dishes for a wide range of recipes.

This article will show you how best to cook French lentils to maximize their flavorful and nutritious benefits. You’ll also be learning some really helpful tips to make the cooking process a breeze and guarantee tasty results every time.

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How To Cook French Lentils (4)

Lentils Nutrition Facts

How To Cook French Lentils

Tips for Cooking French Lentils

The following helpful tips are necessary to keep in mind when cooking French lentils to achieve desirable end products:

To soak or not – Unlike other dried beans, French lentils do not require presoaking, ideal for weeknight recipes such as pilafs and salads. If, however, you know you’ll be pressed for time during meal preparations, soak the lentils overnight to cut down on cooking time. One cup of French lentils, 3 cups of water, and one teaspoon of salt are all you need to do this. Drain after the soaking duration and cook according to the directions in your favorite recipe.

Different cooking methods to choose from – With French lentils, there are many cooking methods you can explore to achieve delicious results. Some of such methods have been described below:

Using the stovetop method

  • Before cooking the lentils on the stovetop, give them a good rinse.
  • In a large pot, combine 1 cup of rinsed French lentils, 2½ cups of water, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil, lower to a reduced heat level, cover the pot, and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
  • Drain the water before using the cooked lentils in your meal.

Using a slow cooker

  • Could you give them a good rinse before cooking your French lentils in a slow cooker?
  • In a slow cooker, combine 1 cup of lentils, 2 cups of water, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • Cook this mixture on low setting for 3 hours or on high for 1½ hours, ensuring to keep the lentils covered.
  • Drain the water from the cooked lentils before proceeding to eat them.

Using a multi-cooker

  • Before cooking French lentils in your multi-cooker, rinse them properly.
  • In the multi-cooker pot, combine 1 cup of lentils, 2½ cups of water, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • Set the valve of the multi-cooker to the closed position. Set the timer for 5 minutes on manual and high pressure.
  • Allow for a 20-minute natural release of pressure after the cooking time has passed.
  • Drain the water from the cooked lentils before using them in your preferred recipe.

Any of the methods described above can be used to cook French lentils to perfection. You can choose any based on your preference, and the results will be wonderful every time.


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Cooking Time for French Lentils

When cooking French lentils, determining the time taken to properly cook them typically depends on the cooking method you choose to employ. The ideal cooking time to ensure the best results with French lentil recipes have been described in the table below:

Cooking Method

Cooking Time

Cooking French Lentils on the stovetop

25 minutes

Cooking French Lentils in a slow cooker

3 hours on low; 1½ hours on high

Cooking French lentils in a multi-cooker

5 minutes cooking time; 20 minutes of natural pressure release

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Basic French Lentils Recipe (4 Servings)

  • Author: Bobby


  • 1 cup of lentils du Puy (also known as French lentils)
  • One clove
  • One small onion, peeled
  • One medium carrot, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 4 to 6 pieces
  • One celery stalk, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 4 to 6 pieces
  • One garlic clove, smashed, peeled, and germ removed
  • One bay leaf
  • 3½ cups of chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac (optional)
  • One shallot, finely chopped, rinsed and patted dry (optional)
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. Rinse the lentils under cold running water after putting them in a strainer and picking through them, eliminating any particles of stone that may have escaped the packers.
  2. In a medium saucepan, pour in the rinsed lentils, pour cold water over them, bring the water to a boil, allow to cook for 2 minutes; then pour the lentils onto a filter. Drain properly, then rinse the lentils, as well as the pot.
  3. Stir the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and bay leaf into the pan after pressing the clove into the onion.
  4. Allow the water or broth to reach a boil, do this after stirring in the lentils. Reduce to low heat and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, or till the lentils become practically soft. Skim off any sediments that come to the surface of the cooking liquid as the lentils simmer and stir them if necessary.
  5. Add salt and pepper to season, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Afterward, add the Cognac if you’re using it in your recipe. Stir everything together well and cook for another minute over high heat.
  6. Drain them and save the cooking liquid if you wish to reheat the lentils later. Take out the vegetables and discard them whole, or you could opt to toss the bay leaf and clove away and finely chop the soft but appetizing vegetables. Return the vegetables to the lentils and mix well. Stir in the shallot now if you’re using it (you’ll find that it introduces a lot to the cooking mixture).
  7. The lentils can now be served, or they can be kept away and warmed over low heat using the liquid you’ve saved, or they can be used in other meals.
  8. The lentils and their cooking liquid can be packaged tightly and kept cold for up to 3 days once cooled. Warm over low heat in a covered saucepan.

This recipe for French lentils is easy to achieve. Just make sure to follow the cooking instructions accordingly. If you’d like more recipe ideas for French lentils, we recommend that you see this video recipe for some inspiration.