How to Cook Lentils in a Rice Cooker, A Quick and Easy Recipe

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023 is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Cook Lentils in a Rice Cooker

Hello, again! Do you know how to cook lentils in a rice cooker? I bet you haven’t tried yet so in this new post I’ll teach you a quick and easy lentil recipe to enlighten your next meal.

I bet it’s not the fact that it’s been enjoyed as part of a meal for about 13,000 years. It’s also probably not the fact that it’s one of the best plant-based meat substitutes. Or that you can cook it with a rice cooker.

Why Lentils?

Lentils are low-cost, highly nutritious, and versatile. It’s amazing that this nutritional wonder can come in such small sizes (pea-sized, to be specific).

Of all legumes and nuts, lentils have the third highest protein content (and an alkaline one too). Lentils also have more potassium compared to a banana and have fiber and folate content levels that make nutritionists smile from ear to ear.

Just a cup of cooked lentils will give you about 16 grams of fiber. With such a fantastic protein and fiber nutritional combo, eating lentils will help you lose weight as it is very filling and helpful in managing your blood sugar levels.

This type of legume also comes in many varieties – red, brown, and green are the most popular types – and makes a great addition to different kinds of dishes, ranging from salads to curries. You’d be happy to know that, unlike many legumes, lentils cook quicker and also do not need soaking.

Lentils Cooked the Traditional Way

The most commonly used method for cooking lentils – boiling – requires a stove, a cooking pot, and water. Here’s a classic recipe.

cooking lentils

What you need:

  • 1 cup dried lentils (red, green, or brown)
  • 2 cups water
  • Measuring cups
  • Small cooking pot
  • Colander or small bowl


  1. Sort the lentils to separate any foreign debris. It’s recommended to spread the legumes on a bright, flat surface so you can see and sort the pieces better.
  2. Rinse the batch with tap water to ensure it’s dirt-free. You can use a colander or a strainer for this step. If you don’t have one appropriate for such small-sized legumes, you can wash them in a small bowl and carefully pour out as much water as you can.
  3. Place the washed lentils in a pot and add the 2 cups of water. Cover.
  4. Put the pot on the stove, which is set at medium fire. When the water begins to boil and simmer rapidly, lower the fire setting until the water is simmering gently.
  5. Let the lentils cook uncovered until done. Green lentils, which have the longest cooking time, should be simmered for 40 minutes. Brown lentils should be done after 30 minutes of simmering. Red lentils should be ready to serve after about 20 minutes of simmering.
  6. Check the lentils every now and then to ensure the water has not run out before the appointed time. Add just enough water when needed.
  7. To test the texture and doneness of the lentils, use a fork to get a few lentils from the pot and taste them. They are done when they are tender and firm but no longer crunchy. If they’re not yet ready, wait for 5 more minutes before doing another test. Do this until the lentils are of the desired texture.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? What if I told you there’s an even easier way to prepare lentils than this process?

How to Cook Lentils in a Rice Cooker, The Best Way

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 rice cooker
Zojirushi NP-NVC Rice Cooker

You’ll skip some steps in the classic way of cooking lentils if you use a rice cooker. Yes, you heard it. Using a rice cooker to prepare lentils is the best way to do it.

For one, you may simply use the rice cooker pot to sort and rinse the lentils. You can easily drain the water with or without a strainer, too.

Plus, the rice cooker’s pot has embedded marks of measurement (in cups) that can help you determine how much water to add to the washed lentils. So, after rinsing the lentils, you simply turn on the tap and let the water flow until it reaches the desired level as indicated by the marks on the pot.

You also no longer need a stove, and you won’t need to make adjustments to the heat as the rice cooker can automatically do that for you. Once the rapid simmering begins, the rice cooker will adjust the heat accordingly.

All you do is wait for the “done” indicator to go off and then feast on nicely cooked lentils. For a great, hassle-free cooking experience with lentils, the Zojirushi NP-NVC Rice Cooker is highly recommended. Use the “Porridge” setting to get perfectly cooked lentils. Again, the lentil-to-water ratio is 1:2.

Tasty and Easy Lentil Recipe

Boiling lentils isn’t all there is to cooking such versatile legumes. With a rice cooker, you can make a savory version that you can customize to your own taste further every now and then.

Tasty and Easy Lentil Recipe


  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp.
  • 2 tbsp. of minced onion
  • vegetable flakes or chopped pieces of preferred veggies, 2 tbsp.
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley
  • 14 oz tomato pieces with juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, sorted and washed
  • 2 2/3 cups of water


  1. Combine all ingredients in the rice cooker pot, making sure everything is mixed well.
  2. Put the pot into the rice cooker, close the lid, and press the “cook” switch.
  3. Halfway through the cooking process, open the rice cooker carefully and stir the ingredients using a long spoon. This is to ensure the batch remains evenly mixed. Cover.
  4.  Let the batch continue to cook until the switch shifts to “warm.” When this happens, carefully open the cover and stir once more. Let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Easy-peasy, isn’t it? Just combine everything and cook! You can add your own spin to this recipe so you have some variation to the way you enjoy your lentils. This recipe can also be a great substitute for rice in case you are on a diet.

Watch this short video on how to cook lentils in a rice cooker that everyone will love!

Try it Now!

As you can see by now, cooking lentils is way easier when done with a rice cooker. There are so much more to do with this smart kitchen appliance.

There are different rice cookers out there that use modern technologies which no longer requires much interventions. It does the work on its own. You just simply need to choose what rice cooker is best for you!

If you have further suggestions on how to prepare lentils with a rice cooker or any other recipes, please share that with us in the comments below!