How to Make Delicious Lentils from a Can


Lentils are a versatile and nutritious legume that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. While many people prefer to cook lentils from scratch, using canned lentils can be a convenient and time-saving option. In this article, we will explore the process of making delicious lentils from a can, providing you with step-by-step instructions and valuable insights to enhance your cooking experience.

Why Choose Canned Lentils?

Before we dive into the details of how to make lentils from a can, let’s first understand why you might choose this option. Canned lentils offer several advantages:

  • Convenience: Canned lentils are pre-cooked and ready to use, saving you time and effort in the kitchen.
  • Long Shelf Life: Canned lentils have a long shelf life, making them a pantry staple that can be easily incorporated into your meals whenever you need them.
  • Consistency: Canned lentils are cooked and packaged under controlled conditions, ensuring a consistent texture and taste.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make Lentils from a Can

Now that we understand the benefits of using canned lentils, let’s explore the step-by-step process of making delicious lentils:

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients on hand. For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 can of lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 2: Prepare the Lentils

Start by draining and rinsing the lentils from the can. This step helps remove any excess salt or preservatives that may be present. Set the lentils aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Step 3: Sauté the Onion and Garlic

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant. This process usually takes about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Add the Lentils and Spices

Once the onion and garlic are cooked, add the drained lentils to the skillet. Stir well to combine the ingredients. Then, sprinkle the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper over the lentils. These spices will enhance the flavor of the dish.

Step 5: Simmer and Serve

Reduce the heat to low and let the lentils simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Once the lentils are heated through, they are ready to be served.

Tips for Enhancing the Flavor

While the basic recipe outlined above is delicious on its own, there are several ways to enhance the flavor of your canned lentils:

  • Add Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, can add a burst of freshness to your lentils.
  • Squeeze of Lemon: A squeeze of lemon juice just before serving can brighten the flavors and add a tangy twist.
  • Experiment with Spices: Feel free to experiment with different spices to suit your taste preferences. For example, adding a pinch of chili powder can give your lentils a spicy kick.


Q: Are canned lentils as nutritious as dried lentils?

A: Yes, canned lentils are just as nutritious as dried lentils. They retain most of their nutritional value during the canning process.

Q: Can I freeze leftover canned lentils?

A: Yes, you can freeze leftover canned lentils. Simply transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months.

Q: Can I use canned lentils in salads?

A: Absolutely! Canned lentils are a great addition to salads, providing a protein-packed and fiber-rich ingredient.

Q: How can I make lentils from a can taste less canned?

A: To reduce the canned taste, make sure to rinse the lentils thoroughly before using them. Additionally, adding flavorful ingredients like spices, herbs, and aromatics can help mask any residual canned flavor.

Q: Can I substitute canned lentils for dried lentils in recipes?

A: Yes, you can substitute canned lentils for dried lentils in most recipes. Just keep in mind that canned lentils are already cooked, so you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.


Cooking lentils from a can is a convenient and time-saving option that doesn’t compromise on taste or nutrition. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can easily make delicious lentils using canned legumes. Remember to experiment with different spices and flavor enhancers to customize the dish to your liking. Whether you’re adding them to salads, soups, or main dishes, canned lentils are a versatile ingredient that can elevate your cooking to new heights.



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