How long are cooked lentils good for?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long are cooked lentils good for” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked lentils. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot spoiled lentils.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long are cooked lentils good for?

The shelf life of cooked lentils mainly depends upon the storage conditions in which they are kept and can range from 3-5 days in the fridge to about 6 months in the freezer.

In the fridge

Cooked lentils last for about 3-5 days if stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge. It should be stored in air-tight containers or plastic zipper bags on one of the shelves of the refrigerator.

At room temperature

Cooked lentils last for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. 

You should discard the cooked lentils that have been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the cooked lentils being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard cooked lentils that are left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the freezer

Cooked lentils, if kept in an air-tight container or air-tight plastic freezer bag, can last for up to 6 months in the freezer. 

Thus keeping the cooked lentils in the freezer will increase their shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the cooked lentils.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of cooked lentils.

How long do cooked lentils last after being frozen and thawed?

Frozen cooked lentils if thawed in the refrigerator can stay there for 3-4 days before reheating and consuming them. 

But if you thaw your cooked lentils in a bowl of cold water or the microwave, it is advised to use them immediately after heating them till their internal temperature rises to 165 °F.

Can I refrigerate the reheated cooked lentils?

So once you have reheated the precooked refrigerated/frozen lentils, you should never refrigerate them. As when you reheat the cooked lentils, their temperature rises more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and we know that bacteria grows at a faster rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So the bacteria will find their way to your cooked lentils and you should never refrigerate the reheated cooked lentils.

What is the optimum temperature to store cooked lentils?

You should always store your cooked lentils at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your cooked lentils at a lower temperature to preserve their freshness for a long time.

Different ways to spot spoiled lentils

There are a couple of indicators that point out spoiled lentils. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the cooked lentils to reach a  final verdict on whether or not they have gone bad.

Appearance

If you spot a mold or other organic growth on your cooked lentils then it means that your cooked lentils have gone bad and the best thing you can do in this scenario is to get rid of them.

It is worth mentioning that you should refrain from smelling lentils that have molds on them as molds can produce mycotoxins that if they enter your body even via inhalation can disrupt your gut microflora thereby weakening your immune system.

Texture 

If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the cooked lentils then it means that your cooked lentils have gone bad and it is better to discard them. 

Smell 

If you smell something sour or foul while taking a sniff test of your cooked lentils then it means that your cooked lentils have gone bad.

If microbes somehow found their way to your lentils and have spoiled it then the best thing you should do is to discard them.

You can read about different types of lentils here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long are cooked lentils good for” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked lentils. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot spoiled lentils.

Citations

https://foodsguy.com/how-long-cooked-lentils-last/#:~:text=a%20great%20idea.-,How%20long%20do%20cooked%20lentils%20last%3F,their%20flavor%20and%20texture%20rapidly.
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/17548
https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-And-Food/Legumes,-Soy,-Nuts-and-Seeds/All-About-Lentils.aspx
https://www.doesitgobad.com/do-lentils-go-bad/

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.