I'm making dal for dinner tomorrow and am short some red lentils. I usually cook it for 25-30 minutes after everything's combined in the pot. Can I mix in some brown ones or are the cooking times different? I'm expecting so, since they're much bigger than the red ones.

  • The times are different -- if you bought it packaged (and not bulk / scoop your own), there should be some recommended time on the package. ... but also beware that old lentils will take longer to cook, too, so the times are estimates.
    – Joe
    Aug 2, 2016 at 3:01

1 Answer 1


You likely won't find a definitive answer out there, as there's a range of times for the lentils.

To summarize an article from the Washington Post :

  • Red, orange or yellow split lentils : 15 to 25 minutes
  • Black beluga lentils : 20 to 25 minutes
  • French du Puy lentils : 25 to 30 minutes
  • Brown or green lentils : 30 to 40 minutes

... suggesting that you'd need to add the brown lentils 15 minutes before the red lentils ... but you mentioned that you cook the red lentils for 25-30 minutes, suggesting that either you like them to fall apart, or you're cooking over lower heat. If it's lower heat, I'd give the brown lentils a 20 minute head start.

If that's going to put a crimp in your timing, I'd suggest starting the brown lentils in water (or some flavorful liquid), and cooking for 15 minutes while you're getting everything else together, then draining and adding them at the same time (or shortly after) the red lentils.

  • Another random thought long after the question was asked -- soaking the brown lentils ahead of time would reduce their cooking time, but I'm not sure if it'd be enough to get them down to the cooking time for red lentils. But then again, having some that are broken down and creamy while having a little texture from the other ones might not be a bad thing.
    – Joe
    Mar 27, 2018 at 15:46

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