Can you eat lentils raw?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat lentils raw?”. We will also elaborate on different types of lentils and some ways to cook them properly to help you avail of most of its benefits.

Can you eat lentils raw?

No! You can not eat lentils raw. Legumes and lentils are not safe for consumption as in raw form because all the raw form of beans including lentils consists of a content of lectin that is dangerous for human health. 

However, raw lentils can be made safe for consumption by passing them through a thorough process of cooking or sprouting.

What is the reason for not eating raw lentils?

Lentils provide us with a great nutritional profile along with adding flavour in our daily recipes like stews, casseroles, and soups. According to their nutritional content, it is also prescribed that these can not be used in every form.

The major reason that makes you control the consumption of raw lentils is a glycoprotein, which is also known as lectin. However, all forms of lectins are not dangerous to health. 

Some of the vegetables are considered more nutritious in raw form, while these beans or lentils gain more nutritional value as we boil them prior to cooking by eliminating lectins.

It is also said that certain animals detect the lectins through their sense of smell while humans are not able to detect these lectins. Humans are not capable of toxic detection in lentils through smell neither lentils provide any indication of toxicity.

What are lectins?

Lectins are basically considered as a form of protein that is almost present in all of the food recipes, particularly in grains and legumes. It is claimed that lectins could enhance the permeability factor of the gut which can lead to some diseases like autonomous diseases. 

It is recommended to thoroughly cook all those foods that contain lectins that are harmful to human health so that we can get rid of the harmful effects of lectins. 

Different varieties of lentils 

How to safely consume lentils?

First of all, it is necessary to read out the instructions which are mentioned on the package of raw lentils before their consumption or preparations. 

On the research basis, two methods are described for the conversion of raw lentils into edibles: sprouting or cooking. 

How to cook the lentils?

Lentils, and including all other beans, should be cooked by following the instructions which are given on the packaging for cooking and preparation of raw lentils. Most commonly, these instructions include:

  • Beans or raw lentils should be soaked for a long time such as overnight.
  • The water should be drained off and exchanged with fresh water before cooking.
  • Thoroughly cook the raw lentils until these get softened.

The cooking time of lentils and other beans can vary depending upon different factors such as what is the size of the bean, how long we left them under the soaking phenomenon, how much time they remain stored before cooking. Depending upon all these above-mentioned factors, cooking time can deviate from 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Most of the lentils take 30 to 45 minutes for cooking, falling under the category of lentils while the variety of beans such as black beans or kidney beans require almost 2 to 3 hours’ time period for cooking. 

There are different types of lentils. Most of them are differentiated upon the colour such as red, brown, green, yellow, and orange-coloured varieties of beans.

It is said that the green and brown-coloured variety of lentils maintain their shape after cooking while the other yellow, orange, and red-coloured varieties of lentils become undifferentiated or indistinguishable by removing their husks from the lentils.

Some of the tips which are suggested for cooking lentils are:

  • You will need to add water for most of the time in cooking lentils because it is always suggested to cover the lentils with water during cooking.
  • Never add salt to lentils or other legumes on boiling them because adding salt will not allow the lentils to be tender.
  • Lentils should be boiled enough to kill the lectins.

How can lentils be sprouted?

To sprout the lentils, soak them overnight or for a maximum of 12 hours, rinse them well and then drain them in a strainer, check to remove any dust particles or debris from the lentils, and place them in a dark area.

Other FAQs about Lentils that you may be interested in.

Are Lentils Vegetables?

How long do lentils keep?

Can you get sick from eating undercooked lentils?


In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat lentils raw?”. We have also elaborated on different types of lentils and some ways to cook them properly to help you avail of most of its benefits.