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Brown Lentils vs. Green Lentils: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 19, 2023
Brown lentils have a mild, earthy flavor and hold their shape well, ideal for soups and stews. Green lentils have a peppery taste, firmer texture, and are suitable for salads and sides.

Key Differences

Brown lentils have a softer texture and cook faster, typically in about 20-30 minutes. Green lentils, on the other hand, maintain a firmer texture even after cooking and usually require 30-40 minutes to become tender.
The flavor of brown lentils is mild and earthy, making them a versatile ingredient in various dishes. Green lentils have a slightly peppery taste, which adds a distinct flavor to dishes.
Both brown and green lentils are rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, but green lentils have slightly more fiber and iron than brown lentils.
Brown lentils are commonly used in soups, stews, and curries where their softer texture is desirable. Green lentils are preferred in salads, side dishes, or recipes where a firmer texture is needed.
Brown lentils are usually smaller and have a brownish hue, widely available in most grocery stores. Green lentils are larger, have a greenish color, and might be slightly more expensive or less commonly found.

Comparison Chart


Softer, breaks down easily
Firmer, retains shape

Cooking Time

20-30 minutes
30-40 minutes


Mild and earthy
Slightly peppery

Best Used In

Soups, stews, curries
Salads, sides, dishes needing texture

Nutritional Content

High in protein, slightly less fiber
High in protein and fiber

Brown Lentils and Green Lentils Definitions

Brown Lentils

A type of lentil that softens and breaks down when cooked.
The brown lentils thickened the stew as they cooked.

Green Lentils

A nutrient-rich legume, higher in fiber than other lentils.
For a fiber boost, I include green lentils in my diet.

Brown Lentils

An ingredient common in vegetarian and vegan recipes for its high protein content.
I made a vegetarian shepherd's pie with brown lentils.

Green Lentils

Commonly used in recipes where a firmer texture is desired.
Green lentils are perfect for this cold lentil salad.

Brown Lentils

A staple in many cuisines, especially in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Brown lentils are essential in my homemade dal recipe.

Green Lentils

A type of lentil with a firm texture and a slightly peppery flavor.
I used green lentils in the salad for a crunchy texture.

Brown Lentils

A lentil variety that absorbs flavors well, making it versatile in cooking.
The brown lentils absorbed all the spices in the curry.

Green Lentils

A versatile ingredient in vegetarian cooking, known for its distinct flavor.
I made a green lentil soup that was flavorful and hearty.

Brown Lentils

A small, round, brown legume used in cooking.
I added brown lentils to the soup for extra protein.

Green Lentils

Green lentils retain their shape well, ideal for salads and sides.
The green lentils added a nice bite to the rice pilaf.


Can brown lentils be substituted for green lentils?

Yes, but the texture and cooking time will vary.

What are brown lentils?

Small, earthy-flavored legumes commonly used in soups and stews.

How long do green lentils take to cook?

Usually 30-40 minutes.

Are green lentils suitable for soups?

Yes, they hold their shape well in soups.

Which lentils are better for a firm texture?

Green lentils.

What are green lentils?

Firm, peppery-flavored legumes ideal for salads and maintaining shape when cooked.

Are brown lentils good for salads?

They can be used, but they soften more than green lentils.

How long do brown lentils take to cook?

Typically 20-30 minutes.

Which lentils cook faster?

Brown lentils.

Do brown lentils require pre-soaking?

No, they cook quickly without soaking.

Are green lentils more expensive than brown?

Sometimes, depending on the region and availability.

Do brown lentils hold their shape after cooking?

Less so than green lentils.

Can brown lentils be used in Indian cooking?

Absolutely, they're common in many Indian dishes.

What dishes are green lentils best used in?

Salads, sides, and recipes where a firmer texture is needed.

Do brown and green lentils have the same nutritional value?

They're similar, but green lentils have slightly more fiber and iron.

Which lentils are better for vegan diets?

Both are excellent protein sources for vegan diets.

Are green lentils good in stews?

Yes, they provide a firm texture.

Can I use brown lentils in a lentil salad?

Yes, but they'll be softer than green lentils.

Do green lentils need to be soaked before cooking?

No, but soaking can reduce cooking time.

Are green lentils high in fiber?

Yes, they're an excellent source of fiber.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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