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How to Cook Lentils in a Rice Cooker Recipe

Learn how to cook lentils in a rice cooker with great flavor and perfect texture! This recipe is great for easy hands-off cooking, as the rice cooker does all the work.

These lentils turn out perfectly every time, and are great to enjoy all kinds of recipes. I love adding cooked lentils to salads, soups, and even pastas!

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Since we upgraded to a new rice cooker, I’ve been looking for new foods to cook it in besides rice.  Lentils seemed like the perfect candidate to try out – they’re small, cook quickly, and can be seasoned in many different ways.  

I used the standard 2:1 water to lentil ratio and added a few bay leaves, olive oil, and garlic cloves to the pot. Even though there aren’t many seasonings, they are a great addition to the slightly nutty flavor and great peppery taste of these lentils.  And they came out perfect! The texture was just right.

These Lentils in the Rice Cooker Are:

  • Firm
  • Tender
  • Perfectly Cooked
  • Flavorful
  • Great to add to soups, stews, and salads
  • Made without the stove top or stirring!
  • Vegan, gluten free, high protein, and SO yummy!

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The Best Lentil to Water Ratio

I used the standard 2 cups water to 1 cup lentil ratio and put the rice cooker on the ‘Grain’ cycle.  I steamed them for about 45 minutes, and checked them about every 10 minutes towards the end so I didn’t over or under cook the lentils.  Lentils are such a versatile ingredient, which you can use in many recipes – like my Instant Pot Lentil Stew or Lentil Spinach Salad.

I find that 2:1 is a great ratio, but you can try different water ratios for different textures. This recipe made perfectly tender lentils, and I had some leftover to throw into a salad later in the week! 

What’s The Best Rice Cooker to Buy?

There are many manufacturers of rice cookers, and we’ve tried quite a few models at home. We had this fantastic budget Hamilton Beach rice cooker that has lasted us years and years, so I have to say I’ve been very happy with it! It gets weekly use, and is great for cooking rice, lentils, and quinoa in the rice cooker.  But I’d love to upgrade to this Zojirushi rice cooker eventually, it’s highly rated, and our family uses it. And it has a great feature which keeps the rice warm on the counter, so you can enjoy it all day.

The cooking time may vary on your model of rice cooker. If your rice cooker doesn’t have a ‘grain’ mode, you can select brown rice mode which should go for about 40-60 minutes.

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What’s In These Rice Cooker Lentils?

I cook with fresh produce from my garden and from Misfits Market– they sell fantastic fruit, vegetables, & pantry staples at a discounted price. We get Misfit boxes every other week and love picking out favorite produce for delivery. Get $10 off your first box here!

Optional Add-Ins for Extra Flavor

I keep my lentil recipe basic, but if you want to add more flavor you can try the following suggestions.

  • Chili Powder & Cumin 
  • Lemon Juice
  • Cilantro or Parsley
  • Bell Pepper 
  • Curry Powder
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Red Onion

Different Types of Lentils To Cook

The below lentil recipe will work for green, French lentils, brown, and black lentils… but not red lentils. Red lentils have a different texture and will still fall apart when cooked in the rice cooker. I recommend adding dried red lentils directly to soups and stews.

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How Do I Make Lentils in a Rice Steamer?

In just a few simple steps, you can have perfectly cooked lentils!

  1. Rinse lentils and pick out any small stones or sticks.
  2. Add lentils, water or vegetable stock, bay leaves, and garlic to the rice cooker.
  3. Set rice cooker to Grain mode if you have it, or on High on close lid.
  4. Cook for 40 minutes, and check to see if lentils are done.  If they need more time, put on for another 10 minutes and check again.  Repeat every 10 minutes until lentils are finished.
  5. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil before serving, and enjoy!

An Inexpensive Pantry Staple Protein

This rice steamer lentils recipe is one of our favorite plant-based meals!   It uses almost all ingredients you would have in your dry pantry or cupboards – most of which you probably have on hand. Keeping a well-stocked pantry makes it easy to come up with delicious and tasty meals using a few staples you can rotate. 

I made a list of my Top 125 Plant-Based Pantry Staples that always keep stocked. And you can check out all my favorite pantry staple ingredients.  By stocking up on whole ingredients you can cook delicious recipes without a trip to the store!

More Easy Lentil Recipes You’ll Love!

Coconut Curry Lentils (Vegan, Gluten Free, Vegetarian)

Lentil Pasta Fagioli Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, High Protein)

French Lentil Salad with Cider Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Double Lentil Detox Soup (Vegan, Slow Cooker, & Gluten Free!)

Get the Same Ingredients I Use For My Rice Cooker Lentils

As always, if you make this easy lentils in a rice cooker be sure to leave me a comment, rate this recipe, and tag me @theherbeevore on Instagram so I can feature you.  I love seeing all your photos of my recipe recreations!

Let’s keep in touch – make sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter to get free recipe inspiration. 

And don’t forget to follow over on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube & TikTok – I’d love to connect with you there! 

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Rice Cooker Lentils

Kelly Jensen
These rice cooker lentils cooked in the rice cooker and come out with a perfect texture! Easy hands off cooking, the rice cooker does all the work.
5 from 9 votes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 193 kcal


  • Rice Cooker



  • Rinse lentils and pick out any small stones or sticks
  • Add lentils, water, bay leaves, olive oil, and garlic to the rice cooker
  • Set rice cooker to Grain mode if you have it, or on High on close lid.
  • Cook for 40 minutes, and check to see if lentils are done.  If they need more time, put on for another 10 minutes and check again.  Repeat every 10 minutes until lentils are finished.


Save on Fresh Groceries & Pantry Staples

I love shopping for fresh produce through Misfits Market. They sell fresh produce, pantry staples, and fantastic groceries (even wine!) at a discounted price. Choose your favorite seasonal produce, enjoy delivery right to your door, & $10 off your first box by clicking here.
Getting groceries online has turned out to be a huge time and money saver for us. If you haven’t tried a produce box yet, I highly recommend trying one out!


Calories: 193kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 12gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 473mgPotassium: 463mgFiber: 15gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 271IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 4mg
Keyword can i cook lentils in a rice cooker, cook lentils in rice cooker, lentils in rice machine, lentils in rice steamer, rice cooker lentils, rice machine lentils, steamed lentils recipe
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a rating and comment below!
Or tag me @theherbeevore in your photo on Instagram!

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Posted in American, Dinners, Easy Weeknight Meals, Favorites, Gluten Free, Low Sodium, Make Ahead, Meal Prep, Pantry Recipes, Rice Cooker Recipes, Side Dishes, The Herbeevore Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes


    • The Herbeevore

      Hi Amy,
      I like adding olive oil for a little extra flavor to my lentils, and I find it keeps them from sticking. If you wanted to make them oil-free and leave it out, you absolutely can!
      Let me know how they are!
      – Kelly

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