How long does dhal last in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does dal last in the fridge?”, and how to make lentil dahl?

How long does dhal last in the fridge?

If stored correctly, dal lasts about 3-4 days in the fridge (1). To make the dal last longer, let it come to room temperature before refrigerating and store it within 2 hours of cooking (2).

Dry beans and pulses are grown widely in different regions of the world. The total world production of these grain legumes was over 68 million metric tons in 2019, with Asia alone contributing 50.67%, followed by Africa (27.80%, and Americas − North, Central, and South (15.62%). The major regionally produced legumes were lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, pigeon peas, and other local pulses (Asia), cowpeas and vetches (Africa), dry beans, lentils, and chickpeas (Americas), lentils, lupins, vetches, and other pulses (EU region), and lupins and vetches (Oceania) (3).

Dhal is popular because dehulling pigeon pea greatly reduces its cooking time and improves the appearance, texture, palatability, digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients of the grain (4).

Lentil dhal recipe 


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cm (0.8 inches) ginger root grated
  • 2 cm (0.8 inches) turmeric grated
  • 1 green chili stemmed, deseeded, and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
  • ½ can (200 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup (150 grams) lentils red
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves fresh


  1. In a pot, heat oil and sizzle cumin seeds. Then stir in the diced onion and saute until it’s soft and translucent.
  2. Then add the grated ginger, turmeric, chili, and garlic to the pot. Saute for an additional 1 minute or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the curry powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cook for 20 seconds. Mix in the rinsed and drained lentils. Then pour the stock.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer on low heat, with the lid on, for about 20 minutes.
  5. Keep stirring the mixture after every 5 minutes to prevent the dhal from scorching.
  6. Finish off with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves on top. Serve with basmati rice and naan or chapati bread.


  1. Use minced green chili or serrano pepper for a spicy flavor. For a mild flavor, opt for jalapenos.
  2. Substitute fresh turmeric with 1 teaspoon of dried ground turmeric.

Nutrition facts 

Calories 107 kcal
Carbohydrates 10 g
Proteins 26 g 
Fats 7 g 
Saturated fat 1 g 
Sodium 665 mg 
Potassium 106 mg 
Fiber 3 g 
Sugar 3 g 
Vitamin C 8 mg 
Calcium 18 mg 
Iron 1 mg 

How to tell if cooked lentils are bad?

  1. The surface of fuzzy colored spots on the surface of cooked lentils is a sign that the lentils have been contaminated with mold/fungi. Always inspect the cooked lentils for spoilage before reheating and discard if moldy. Changes in the texture are noticed, where there is an increase in the consistency and cohesiveness of the product due to retrogradation of the starch particles of the food (4).
  2. The weird smell of the spoiled lentils never goes unnoticed. Pay attention and discard the cooked lentils if they smell off. The variation in pH of food is associated with growth of microorganisms and consequent production of organic acids (acidic aroma or taste). Rancidity and off flavors in the lentils indicate the deterioration of fatty acids (4).
  3. Do not keep the lentils in the fridge for more than a week. This applies even if the lentils look, smell, and taste good. This is because the spoiled lentils may contain toxins that are not visible to the naked eye.

How to store cooked lentils?

Cooked lentils should be stored in an air-tight container or a lidded pot. Before you pack the lentils in the storage container, make sure they cool down and reach room temperature (2). 

However, do not leave your cooked lentils cooling on the counter for hours. Refrigerate your cooked lentils within 2 hours of preparation.

Can you freeze cooked lentils?

Whether it’s lentil soup or a cooked lentil dish, lentils freeze pretty well. Make sure the lentils come down to room temperature before you pack them away for freezing (2). 

Almost all types of lentil soups freeze well. However, it is a good point to check the ingredient list of the lentil soup to take any extra freezing steps if required.

One tip to safely freeze lentils soups is to leave out the fresh herbs. Add the herbs after you have defrosted and reheated the lentil soup. Defrost the lentil soup by leaving it in the fridge overnight.  Add a splash of water to the lentil soup for reheating. 

How long do dried lentils last?

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the shelf life of dried lentils is 1 year, depending on the storage conditions. If the lentils are kept in a dry, dark, and cool place, they stay good for about 1-2 years, however, there is loss of quality. The shelf life of dried pulses may be extended by decreasing the initial moisture content of beans and by controlling storage conditions, and lower storage temperatures are favorable (5). However, older lentils have a poor nutritional profile. Vitamins and other nutrients of the lentils degrade over time.

The best-by-date printed on the package of the dry lentils is only an indicator of the best quality and not safety. It is an estimation made by the processor of how long the product will remain in its best quality. The bottom line is that the lentils do not necessarily go bad after the printed date.

Do dry lentils go bad?

Food loss is measured by weight loss during storage (not moisture loss). Rodents and moth larvae may preferentially target the grain’s germ, reducing a significant portion of the protein and vitamin content, whereas weevils feeding mostly on the endosperm lower carbohydrate and protein levels. The pantry bugs are a sign that the lentils are spoiled. Discard the lentils that have been infested by pests (6).

Discard the moldy lentils even if the mold is isolated to a single spot. Mold in lentils appears when the lentils are exposed to moisture. If the dry lentils give off a sour or weird smell, they are done for.


In this article, we answered the question “How long does dal last in the fridge?”, and how to make lentil dahl?


  1. Lentils. Spend smart. Eat smart. Iowa State University.
  2. Leftovers and Food Safety. US Department of Agriculture. 2020.
  3. Siddiq, Muhammad, Mark A. Uebersax, and Farihah Siddiq. Global production, trade, processing and nutritional profile of dry beans and other pulses. Dry Beans and Pulses: Production, Processing, and Nutrition. 2022, 1-28.
  4. Jafri, Mahwash, et al. Development of a process for the manufacture of shelf stable dhal and its physico-chemical properties. J food sci technol, 2015, 52, 5709-5717. 
  5. Karathanos, Vaios T., et al. Color degradation of beans during storage. Int J Food Prop, 2006, 9, 61-71.
  6. Dugesar, Vijay, A. K. Chaurasia, and Sachchida Nand Mishra. A review: Loss of pulses seed during storage. Pharma Inn J, 2021, 11, 2798-28052021.