Can You Reheat Lentils?

Lentils dish with spinach and garlic

Lentils are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre and are a nutritious addition to many meals.

Thanks to their high protein content, they’re also a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.

That’s not to mention they’re affordable and extremely versatile. And they’re one of your five a day!

Unfortunately, cooking lentils can take some time. Therefore, you might be wondering if batch cooking is an option here.

You can cook and store your lentils for later, ready to be added to whatever dish you like.

So, can you reheat lentils?

The answer here is yes! You can easily reheat lentils in a microwave or on the stove, a perfect solution when you need a healthy meal in a hurry.

You can reheat lentils safely, but what is the best way to do this?

Many people like reheating lentils in the microwave, whereas others prefer doing so on the stove.

Here is a step-by-step process for each method, so choose whichever you prefer.

How to Reheat Lentils in the Microwave

Reheating lentils in the microwave is a super simple process that only takes a few minutes. You can easily reheat your lentils using the microwave oven in these five easy steps:

  1. Transfer the lentils for their storage container into a microwave-safe dish
  2. Add a teaspoon of water to the dish along with the lentils and stir
  3. Place a paper towel or lid loosely onto the dish to prevent splashes when heating
  4. Turn the microwave on for 60 seconds on a medium heat
  5. Remove the lentils, stir them thoroughly, and repeat the previous step until your lentils are at the desired temperature


How to Reheat Lentils on the Hob/Stove

Heating lentils on the hob

Reheating lentils on the hob/stove is another safe and viable option, though it does take slightly longer. Nevertheless, it is a great alternative for anyone that doesn’t have a microwave oven.

If you are reheating plain lentils on the hob, follow these steps:

  1. Transfer the lentils into a pan and cover them with cold water
  2. Place the pan over a medium heat and slowly bring the water to a boil
  3. As soon as the water reached boiling point, remove the pan from the heat
  4. Drain the water from the lentils immediately before serving them right away


Can You Reheat Lentil Soup?

Lentil soup

The above methods for reheating lentils are for plain lentils stored without a sauce. However, you can also reheat complete pre-cooked dishes such as lentil soup.

When reheating in the microwave, follow the exact same steps as listed above.

But if you’re reheating on the stove, you’ll want to follow this guide instead:

  1. Pour the lentil soup into a pan and place this over a medium heat
  2. Allow the soup to reach boiling point, before turning it down to simmer
  3. Let the soup simmer for around five minutes, stirring regularly
  4. Once hot, remove from the heat and enjoy your lentil soup!


Can You Reheat Lentil Curry?

Lentil curry

Another popular lentil dish is lentil curry, also known as daal. If you have prepared this ahead of time, you’ll be pleased to know you can easily reheat this dish.

It can be done in the microwave by adding a splash of water and heating for 60-second intervals.

Alternatively, it can be cooked on the hob much like soup. Simply pour it into a pan and reheat it on a low heat. Beware that the lentils can easily stick to the bottom, so constant stirring is a must!


Other Tips for Reheating Lentils

The above methods should give you perfectly reheated lentils every time! But if you want even more guaranteed success, here are our top three reheating tips.

1. Don’t overheat lentils

When cooked lentils are overheated they lose their texture and go mushy. Try and limit the cooking time to 2 minutes in the microwave and 5 minutes on the stovetop.

If they need longer, that’s fine! But check how warm they are first before potentially ruining your dish.

2. Defrost frozen lentils first

You can store lentils in the fridge for 3-4 days, but anything longer than this and you’ll need to freeze the lentils.

When cooking frozen lentils, there will be added moisture in the container which can make your lentils lose their consistency after reheating. So, you’ll want to defrost your lentils before reheating.

This can be done in the fridge overnight, or you can place the container of lentils in boiling water to help speed up the process.

3. Don’t reheat lentils twice

According to the Food Standards Agency, leftovers should only be reheated once. When cooked lentils are exposed to air, there is a chance they can be contaminated with bacteria that could multiply and cause food poisoning. Therefore, you should only ever reheat lentils once to avoid the risks.


Is Reheating Lentils Safe?

Reheating lentils is completely safe and is not going to give you food poisoning. As long as they are warm when you eat them, there is no chance of you getting sick.

However, this does depend on how the lentils are stored prior to reheating.

Any food left out at room temperature can easily be spoilt by bacteria. If reheating your food properly, the bacteria are usually destroyed before you come to eat the food. But it isn’t worth the risk!

As soon as your cooked lentils have cooled to room temperature, they need to be stored in the fridge or freezer. Any lentils not stored correctly should be discarded.