Can You Freeze Cooked Lentils? Here’s How to Do This Right
Lentils are super healthy and you can use them with so many dishes, replacing some ingredients that may not agree with your diet. If you love lentils as much as we do, you may know how long it takes to make them some days, so we’re thinking about freezing them.
But the question is – can you freeze cooked lentils? Do they go soggy, do they change their taste? So many questions!
Can You Freeze Cooked Lentils?
We’re not the only ones who love lentils, so others have sent us questions about whether freezing cooked lentils will work. Here’s one of the messages we received:
I like to make lentil pilafs and salads, but I don’t always have the time to cook up the lentils when I feel like eating them. I have tried canned lentils before, but they are tiny and have a weird texture that I don’t really like. A friend suggested that I just freeze some cooked lentils, and then thaw them in the microwave when I want to use them. I would love to do this, but I’m not sure if cooked lentils will freeze well. I would hate to thaw out a batch only to find that they are ruined. Can you freeze cooked lentils?
Yes, you can freeze cooked lentils, although not all varieties are a good choice for freezing. For best results and lentils that hold their shape and texture, green lentils are the best type of lentils to use for cooking and freezing. Other types tend to go mushy and fall apart, although brown lentils can also be frozen quite well if you can’t find green lentils.
How to Freeze Cooked Lentils?
Before you freeze your cooked lentils, you have to follow a few steps:
- Be sure to rinse lentils well and pick through them to remove any small rocks or pebbles that may have made it into the pack of lentils.
- Cook lentils until still firm but not hard in the middle. Your teeth should sink through the lentil cleanly without it falling apart.
- The key to successfully freezing lentils is in the draining of them after cooking. If the lentils contain liquid when frozen, they will continue to absorb the liquid and become mushy and soft.
- Strain the lentils more than once, and then let them dry on paper towels or a clean dishtowel.
- When cool and dry, lentils can be spooned into a freezer bag or a hard freezer-safe container. I
- recommend the hard container in this case because the lentils are less likely to get squished and mushy in the freezer.
- Place the lid on the container, then label and date it.
How to Make Your Cooked Lentils Keep Longer?
One of the things you need to take into consideration is to get a food saver. These devices can help perfectly seal whatever food you want to put into the freezer, including cooked lentils. This will prolong the life of the food in your freezer and preserve the flavors better.
We favor the FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine, as it’s such a great device that works with freezer bags and containers alike, taking out the air to provide a better seal.
How to Thaw Cooked Lentils?
If you want to thaw your cooked lentils, you need to take a few steps to make it work.
- First, remove them from the freezer and place them in the fridge for several hours or overnight, until they are completely thawed.
- They can then be used cold in salads, or added to hot recipes.
- Lentils can also be thawed in the microwave or by being added directly to recipes as they are cooking.
Consume within two days for best results. It is not recommended to refreeze previously frozen cooked lentils.