Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

Ohhh my lentils. I just love me somma them beans.

This week I went to a Filipino grocery store and bought 2 giant bags of lentils. Yep, you’re right. Definitely not Filipino, and totally still a good purchase.

One bag is brown/green and it’s called masoor. Just try saying that out loud once. You’ll feel fancy. The other one is cute, little, and red. It’s called dal and it’s delicious. I’m just warning you right now. If you don’t like lentils, you might want to go ahead and click that little red x in the corner. With these two bags of lentils burning a hole in my kitchen counter, these next few weeks are going to be lentil mania.

Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

To be fair, there are cookies coming, too, so… just… stick around, wouldya? Maybe I can get you to like lentils along the way.

red curry lentils

Sometimes people ask my what my favorite recipe of all time is, and even though I know I’ve made other things that I’ve also reallyreally liked, it’s like everything else fades away in that moment and all I can think of are those saucy, spicy, perfect-as-leftovers, healthy, cheap, and easy Red Curry Lentils from way back when. <– That one over there.

So when my mom suggested that I bring some lentil something to the cabin for our annual family vacation (eee!), I got an amazing idea: Red Curry Lentils, for my whole family, in the crockpot. Because I’m now making lentils in mass quantity and forcing my bean love on others. They WILL like it. They will.

Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

Is it weird that my original name for the Red Curry Lentils is sort of backwards? because who really calls them “Red Curry Lentils?” It would be a lot more normal to call it a Red Lentil Curry. Right? Or am I just totally confused here? Yes to both.

I basically took everything that I loved about the beloved backwards-named Red Curry Lentils and made them into forwards Red Lentil Curry, lazy girl style. Er, I mean crockpot style. Same ingredients, same red curry taste, same beautiful saucy-thick-lentil-loaded texture, extra turmeric because I’m getting more brave and I like the color. Annnd more free time for me to make 3 batches of chocolate chip cookies, which is honestly what I did. Food cookin’ in the crockpot means I have more time to make food. Foodie food food. Forever.

Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

I hope you have a crowd to feed or else you reeeally like red lentil curry. Cause this never runs out.

Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

4.8 from 19 reviews
Crockpot Red Curry Lentils
Serves: 16
  • 4 cups regular brown lentils (I used maasor lentils this time)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • a few good shakes of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans tomato puree (29 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • ½ cup coconut milk or cream
  • cilantro for garnishing
  • rice for serving
  1. Rinse the lentils and place them in a large crockpot. Add the diced onions, garlic, ginger, butter, curry paste, garam masala, turmeric, sugar, and cayenne. Stir to combine.
  2. Pour just 1 can of tomato puree over the lentils. Re-fill the can with water twice and add to the crockpot. Stir to make sure that the lentils are covered with liquid. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
  3. Check once or twice during cooking to add more water or tomato puree if the lentils are soaking up all the liquid. The amount of water or tomato puree you add depends on how soupy your want your lentils to be. For me, 1½ cans of tomato puree plus the two cans of water was perfect. Taste and season with salt. Lentils will be soft when they are done cooking.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and sprinkle with cilantro just before serving. Serve over rice or naan bread.



Red lentil curry is one of my favorites! This version is so simple - just toss everything in the crockpot. Easy, healthy, and full of flavor.
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  1. Fantastic! I love lentils, love red curry, and love the slow cooker…this recipe is definitely a winner in my book!

  2. This sounds wonderful! It makes me wish my tummy was better able to handle lentils. :) I bet it smells good too!

  3. Slow cookers are probably my best friends. I love lentils, but I rarely can muster the patience to stand there while they cook all the way through, so this is the perfect recipe for me :)

  4. That there is a whole lotta lentils! Perfect for getting it ready for a potluck!

  5. Love this! Lentils are my very favorite! Seriously, I prefer them to beans and could eat them everyday! This looks awesome, Lindsey!

  6. I love masoor, but I’ve never tried it with coconut milk. Sounds delicious! I have the same crockpot :)

  7. You are your lentils, I love it.

    P.S. I have actually never used a crockpot during the summer, but I might bust it out for this recipe!

  8. Bring on the lentil love! And I could certainly feed a crowd…or just equip myself with tasty lunches for a month. Both sound delightful.

  9. I love how much you love lentils because you are making ME love lentils even more! I have to try this, Lindsay! I don’t eat them nearly enough as I would like. And lentils made in a slow cooker – amazing. I’ve been looking for a great slow cooker lentil recipe anyway!

  10. You sure do love your lentils don’t you 😉 but I’m not complaining, I love them too and I looove seeing all your lentil recipes! :)

  11. I love spicy lentils, so these are right up my alley : )

  12. This looks so beautiful! And all of those spices sound absolutely heavenly. :)

  13. definitly making this – I am a lentil lover!

  14. Your red lentil curry/red curry lentils/curried red lentils have been a STAPLE in my house pretty much since you posted them. LOVE that recipe!

  15. 1. I am turning this summer into a “make as many POY recipes as possible” kind of time. I can’t hold back the giddy smile every time I think about it. :)
    2. I like your updated “about you and Bjork” section. Which brings me to the next thing…
    3. You listed “lake runs in the fall” as something you love… which means that you are totally going to join me on my little adventure/craziness in October!!!! Yeah, yeah, yippee..wahoo!!!

    • Wahhh. I went for a three mile run today and felt like I was dying. I don’t know Jakky. I just don’t know.

      • Don’t worry. I feel like I am dying every time I run! And by run, I mean wog. You are already leagues ahead of me. Plus, just think of how many chocolate chop cookies we’ll burn off while wogging…

  16. I need to buy a crock pot so thanks for the recommendation. I always like to know what works for others. The recipe looks delicious.

  17. Yummo! Love the look and ease of this recipe. Also, I can’t believe your family will eat this. My family would NEVER eat something as “exotic” as this…if I suggested bringing red lentil curry to our next family vacation, they’d probably vote me out of the family :)
    Enjoy the vacation time with your long-lost-and-now-found loved ones!

  18. i will take anything lentils related any time and yes cookies on the side will be appreciated too 😛

  19. I just made your “Red Curry Lentils” – stovetop style – for the first time today and fell in love! So glad to see this super-sized version that is sure to be a hit in our household. Thanks!

  20. I love lentils, and I love curry, but I have never had red curry…I cannot wait to try this!!! Thanks!

  21. Lentils in the crockpot? Family vacation in a cabin? You are really back in the US, friend! Have a great time!

  22. Those red curry lentils look amazing! I definitely have to try those out. Lentils in the crockpot are a great idea too!

  23. These pictures are gorgeous! The lighting is so perf. Can’t wait to make a big batch of this and eat it for days!

  24. This is inspiring me to make lentils again! I used to make lentil dahl all the time in high school but for some reason just got out of the habit. As always, your photography is such a good representation of the food. It’s not easy to make lentil stew look pretty and savory!

  25. sounds delish! think i’ll have it with paratha!

  26. I’m obsessed with lentils–I love all your lentil recipes and can’t wait to try this crockpot version!!

  27. I love lentils. I usually make Tuscan lentil soup, but love a curry alternative. Gorgeous pics. May try this in my cast iron pot in the oven instead.

  28. I’m not the biggest lentil love (yet!) but I’d still love to give this a try!

  29. This looks like a winning flavour combo!
    Janie x

  30. Yum! We make “masoor” all the time at home in India, though our version is quite different. I’m definitely going to try this one too, looks yum!

  31. I made this tonight and it was excellent! Thank you!

  32. Hi – new to your site and I’m loving all the great recipes! Quick question: red curry paste…thai style or Indian (if there is such a thing)?

  33. This looks great! I do have a question though. I would love to try cooking this sometime, but I’d be cooking for only two people, so how would adjust the recipe for two people?

    Thanks! I can’t wait to try this.

  34. Hi there!
    Really want to try this but with 5 tbsp of curry paste, how spicey would you say it is? I’d like to serve it for dinner but wonder if its too spicey for the little ones!?

    • You could always go with less and then just add some to the adult servings. I find that it doesn’t necessarily add spiciness (depends on how spicy the paste is) but it just adds more flavor. And 5 T is a lot but remember, there are LOTS of lentils in this crockpot! :)

      • Hi!
        I made these tonight and they were really good and not that spicy at all.

        It does make a huge batch so I’m wondering if you’ve ever froze small portions to enjoy later?


        • I have some in the freezer right now! :) I’d suggest freezing them in smaller batches so you can heat up individual or 2-person servings later on.

        • Forgive my ignorance, but I am, at this very moment, preparing to make this recipe, and I am wondering, the recipe says to add the coconut milk just before serving, and since I intend to freeze at least half, should I wait to add it, or go for it as soon as its done and then freeze?

          • It freezes fine with the coconut milk but adding it right before you eat it helps keep it nice and creamy, in my opinion. I would add it, freeze it, and then just plan to add a little more when you serve it to kind of rehydrate it a little. :)

  35. I tried this recipe tonight and I LOVED it! My husband doesn’t normally like lentils but he enjoyed this recipe. We are a family of 5 with 2 kids under the age of 3. So, as you can imagine we had A LOT leftover. We will likely have it again this week as leftovers but there is still a good amount leftover. Does this recipe freeze well? And do I need to do anything to reconstitute it when I reheat it? Thanks for the addition to my collection of recipes. :)

    • Yep! it does freeze well. I actually have some in my freezer now. Nothing special about reheating it, other than that it might need a little water to come back to the original consistency.

  36. What exactly is meant by “tomato puree”? It’s not a phrase I see in the supermarkets around here, and Googling it seems to return interpretations of both pureed tomatoes (which would have been my guess, oddly enough) but also what seems to amount to, basically, tomato sauce. Thanks!

  37. This looks and sounds great! Just a suggestion, try it “legit Indian style ” by cooking it in a pressure cooker. Soak the lentils overnight and those little guys will take minutes to cook. A pressure cooker will change your life.

  38. Just made this and it is AMAZING! I used fresh ground masala and a whole can of coconut cream and had it over Black Sweet Thai rice. Definitely a keeper!

  39. Hi I was sooo excited to make this and thought I had the ingredients…but I forgot to pick up the red curry paste and while trying to find tomato puree I didnt see it and nabbed tomato sauce… :(

    any suggestions for making this recipe without red curry paste or should I wait? and get the right ingredients?

    • Oh, man, the red curry paste kinda makes the whole thing. I would wait until you have that, unless you are fine ending up with something totally different than the original. :)

  40. This looks really yummy, going to try it soon. I loved your regular curried lentils.

    Not sure what the discrepancy is, but according to the recipe analyzer, this recipe is about 280 calories for 1/16th of the recipe, not 110 as the recipe states. Pretty big difference :)

    Thank you for your lovely blog!

  41. I sort of used your recipe to make a lentil dish in my crock for tonight. I was missing a few ingredients, such as curry paste and fresh ginger, so I used the spices I’d normally put in a lentil dal, such as curry powder and cumin in addition to turmeric and garam masala. I also had fresh tomatoes that needed to be used, so I pureed them in my Vitamix rather than opening a can and just guessed on the water. I also tossed in a couple of small sweet potatoes that I had around (diced) and omitted the sugar and oil. I used a whole can of coconut milk, as another commenter did, and it came out really good! We had it over quinoa with cauliflower on the side and I mixed it in mine. The kids ate a little and my husband loved it, so we will find a way to use the leftovers either this week or frozen. Thanks for the inspiration!

  42. Is it possible to make this using red lentils instead of brown ones? Not sure how they differ, other than the color, but want to be sure… Thanks!

    • Yes, it would be possible, but the amount of liquids and everything might be different because red lentils cook quite differently than brown ones. I don’t even think you’d need to make it in the crockpot… usually I can get the red ones cooked in 15 minutes or so! Check out this for something similar:

  43. Ok, me again :-) I went to Whole Foods for brown lentils. I only saw green, red, and French. The French looked brown-ish to me so I bought them, only to learn just now from google that they are not technically considered the brown kind. So. My question is, can I make this with the French lentils and/or what accommodations would need to be made, if any? I could not find the Masoor kind, except in an already pre-made mix looking bag (i.e., with other spices, dried tomatoes, etc. – I think that’s what they were. I also saw them at Costco yesterday…)….

    • I think the French lentils would be the closest, so good call. Lentils are pretty forgiving with cooking times so I think no matter what kind you use you’ll be fine. :)

  44. thank you!!!! this was ridiculously amazing. i think it’s the finest thing i’ve ever eaten. wow!!

  45. I’m making this dish for work on Halloween but I could only see red thai curry paste in the supermarket. Is it supposed to be a Thai recipe? I panicked and bought Dhansak paste?! It’s curry and it’s red. :-) Can I get away with this or shall I go back and get the thai paste?

  46. Danielle Ponce de Leon says:

    Hi Lindsay, I have this recipe in the crockpot as we speak and the apartment smells divine! My husband is going to want to eat it as soon as he walks through the door. I just wanted to say that the recipe ingredients list does not include water, but in your notes below the recipe you say you add water. Maybe this was an oversight? Anyway, I halved the recipe and used 1 can of puree and about 3/4 can of water. I will add more if it needs it throughout cooking. Just thought I might bring this to your attention. Can’t wait for dinner!

  47. Danielle Ponce de Leon says:

    Of course you did! I have a habit of skimming when I read…sorry! This dish is delicious! Will definitely be making this a staple fall/winter dish!

  48. Would you say that if you don’t have a crowd to feed, you could cut the recipe in half and have enough for a normal size family recipe?

  49. I stumbled on this website and recipe when looking for easy Indian lentil recipes for my new crockpot. We don’t have a dishwasher right now, so I try to keep my dinners to one pot, two max, and this fit the bill. I added chicken tenderloins because my husband doesn’t think it’s dinner unless there’s meat involved and spinach to sneak in some vegetables, and it was amazing, even better the next day. Thank you!

  50. Oh my goodness!!! I made this tonight and it was AMAZING. No joke, this was the absolute best lentil recipe iv’e ever made. Everyone make this now!!! I cut the recipe in half (used only two cups of lentils) since I only cook for two, and there was still a ton of leftovers for lunch the next day. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe :)

  51. Hi ,

    I am in the UK & this looks lovely . I just wanted to check that you did mean 2 cans of tomato puree as in tomato paste / tomato concentrate ?? That sounded a strong flavour .

    I know that some ingredients mean something slightly different depending on what side of the world you live .

    Thank you in advance

    • No, sorry, tomato puree is literally like the tomatoes, just pureed. :) More like a sauce and less like a paste. Hope that helps!

    • Hiya. I’m in the UK too and I’ve made the stovetop version of this recipe and LOVED it. However I didn’t use tomato puree as over here it’s the very concentrated tomato paste and you should really be using a couple tablespoons maximum. I used a can of chopped/plum tomatoes that I pureed. You can also get away with using pasata (I think) or just blend some fresh tomatoes. I cook this once a week and we all love it (altho i make 2 versions, one of which is a spice free version for my toddlers). I’ve used split red lentils too which cooks even quicker!

  52. I made this recipe today – was really pretty good. The lentils were still a little too firm after 8.5 hours on low. Next time, I’ll cook it a little longer (or part time on high – it’s probably just my crockpot). I left out the cayenne pepper – the curry paste was spicy enough. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as given. Thanks for the recipe!

  53. Just want to say that this recipe is amazing and cheap. THANK YOU!!

  54. I made this, and it’s pretty good, but I added a touch of cinnamon for a touch of sweetness while still keeping with the flavors, and I would also say that the butter is definitely not optional. If you make it without it, the flavors are there, but it doesn’t…..stick. There isn’t that fullbodied, stick-to-the-tongue taste you’d want. I made it without it, and then tasted it and couldn’t figure out what was missing, so I added the melted butter, and it totally put everything together.

  55. What brand of red curry paste do you use?

  56. Made these lentils for my family tonight and all my guys liked them. We often do meatless Mondays, even though we had these on Tuesday, these will be a great addition to my collection. Thanks.

  57. Kira Bronaugh says:


    I have a couple of questions; is the garam masala pretty spicy? And do you think this dish would go well with brown rice?

    • Not so much hot-spicy, just spiced spicy. If that makes sense. :) But if you’re worried about it, just add a little, taste, and add more if you want. And yes, brown rice would be great!

  58. Hi Lindsay,
    Just wondering if this would work using adzuki beans or a mix of adzuki beans & lentils? Also, I have trouble finding vegan red curry paste in Australia, but I have a yellow curry paste that’s vegan – do you think it would be worth trying, or better to wait until I find a vegan red curry paste?
    Thanks :)

  59. Just found your list of the top 10 meals to make for friends with new babies, and I must say all the meals look delicious, and I wouldn’t mind any of them showing up on my table while I figure out how to do this newborn thing again with a 3 year-old and 1-1/2 year old running around :) Quick question, where do I find red curry paste? Is this something you had to pick up at a specialty store? Is it in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store? I have all the other ingredients already, just not sure where to find this. Thank you for your help!

    • Aw, hang in there mommy! You can do it! :) Red curry paste is usually in the Asian section of regular grocery stores. It’s rare for me not to be able to find it at the major grocery chains here in MN.

  60. Hi,

    What brand of red curry paste did you use? Is there a difference in the tastes of red curry paste between Thai and Indian food? I think I used Indian style red curry paste – whatever that may be. The taste was off so I wondered if changing brands may do the trick.

  61. Emma Rina says:

    Made this last night and the taste was great but the lentils were still hard. I cooked on high for 4 hours and tried it and kept it on for another 4 hours because they were still firm. What did I do wrong? I kept checking to see if it needed water.

    • Hm, that’s strange. They do need to cook for quite a while to get soft, but 8 hours on high should be more than enough. I guess I’m not sure…

      • Has anyone tried this with presoaked lentils?

        Should the lentils be unsoaked dry lentils or lentils that have been soaked for x hours or cooked lentils? Can I use green lentils? Whole Foods did not have brown lentils so I bought 4c of green. Another commenter said she used French lentils and you said that was better than green… Any advice? Thanks.

  62. I made this last night and we loved it!
    I cut the recipe in half since there were only three of us, and there are still leftovers. I know what I’m going to have for lunch today! :-)
    I cooked it on the stove, and it came together quickly. I sauteed the onion and garlic in a little olive oil, stirred in the spices, and then added a whole 16 oz bag of lentils (slightly more than two cups), the can of crushed tomatoes (I like Contadina brand), & water. Then I just let it simmer and added a little water as necessary. I didn’t use butter.

    I made naan to eat alongside, but I like roasted eggplant with my curry, too. I place the eggplant on my plate and spoon curry over it. I provided lime wedges and cilantro to top it, and we liked the addition of lime.

    Thank you for this recipe! I know I’ll be making it again and again!

    • I’ve made this several times now, and I always love it!
      Tonight I made it in my Cuisinart electric pressure cooker for the first time. It worked beautifully! I made a half recipe (as usual) & cooked it on high for 9 minutes with a natural pressure release. I don’t think I’ll make it any other easy from now on….so fast and simple, with fantastic results! I’m going to share your recipe with the FB pressure cooker recipe group. I know many of them will love it!

  63. Just a quick update to say that I’ve enjoyed leftovers with a poached egg on top! I often have odd things for brunch, and this curry with a poached egg is really very good!

  64. Love red lentils. Just making some lentil and carrot soup for my dinner and got a lot of lentil left over so I thought…make a curry! Now I’m tempted to make this lentil curry with rice for dinner instead :-)

  65. Can you freeze this recipe if you get a little lentil overload?

  66. Can I opt out the coconut milk? I just don’t like dairy to savory dishes.

  67. Karine Scott says:

    At the risk of sounding stupid. What is Garam Masala? I googled it and it just says indian spices. Is this readily available at all grocery stores?

  68. Hi can I freeze this with the coconut all in or is it strictly to be added just before serving? Also how long will it keep in the fridge? Mine is cooking away in the crock pot and smells devine.

  69. whew*

    I cut the recipe in half but maybe didnt measure the spices out that much, I made a very spicy curry, taste good but it lingers fire in my mouth. note to self, fresh indian chili powder= strong. 😀

  70. PAul pallante says:

    Absolutely delicious…butter is totally optional and not needed to make this a healthy dish.

  71. I just made this tonight for dinner and it was fantastic! I did add some carrots and two chicken breasts and some berbere seasoning. Amazing. :) This will be in my regular rotation. Thanks!

  72. Teresa Salerno says:

    I made this last night and just halved the recipe since no one else likes curry in my house, Yay more for me. I omitted the oil/butter and added mushrooms and it’s so good i’m eating it for breakfast right now. Thanks for the recipe! I also pinned it in my Lentil board for future eats.

  73. Can you use red or green lentils in this recipe? I couldn’t find any brown lentils at the grocery store.

  74. Does the nutritional information include rice? I’m guessing not but just checking.

  75. Yummy…Thanks for this amazing and greathealthy super food recipe. I am craving for this. It looks very delicious and nutritious. I cannot wait to try this and share it to my friends :-) Perfect

  76. Thank you for the great recipe.
    I used green lentils, halved the recipe, and cooked them on LOW in my slow cooker for 9 hours, but they are still crunchy. I read through all of the comments and noticed a few others had the same experience. I even soaked the lentils for 12 hours with a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar before preparing in order to reduce any physic acid. Any thoughts? They smelled incredible and tasted great – just a little crunchy.

    • Sorry to hear that, Ally. Were your lentils purchased recently? Lentils that are older will take longer to cook through. Otherwise, depending on your slow cooker, they may have just needed more time. Hope they get soft for you next time around!

  77. I have made this recipe twice now and both times it was a massive hit!! I only used 2 tbsp curry paste though so it was easy on the little one’s tongue and added a bunch of chopped kale. I also used the left overs to make an eggplant lasagne, which i made by layering slices (long ways) of boiled eggplant, lentil mixture and my version of a clean white sauce. Then topped it with 2 eggs mixed with the white sauce :)
    Thank you so so much for sharing this recipe it is my favourite thing ever!
    Ayla x

  78. Hello,

    Can you tell me how big your slow cooker is? I have a four-quart oval slow cooker, and I’m trying to figure out if I will need to cut the recipe in half , or if I can make the whole recipe. I’m looking forward to trying this out very soon. I already have the ingredients.

  79. Would red lentils work? I just picked some up from Holy Land.

  80. Not only is this recipe AMAZING when served plain with naan, but Im currently having the leftovers as lunch with avacado, over easy eggs, and extra cilantro – its a borderline spiritual experience.

  81. Does this recipe freeze well?

    Thanks and can’t wait to make it!!

  82. Just cooked 1&1/2 cups of green lentils …partly in a crock pot…super tender…but firm,and not mushy…TIME 3/4 of an hour. !

    Boiled them first for 10 minutes in a pot on the hob, just keeping the water level just enough to cover them…topping up with boiling water from a kettle, as required…then transferred them to the crock pot…added enough water to just cover them…put it on high…45 minutes…job done.

  83. Hey! Sounds like a great recipe. Just wondering if you could say what kind of red curry paste? Thai? I don’t know an Indian red curry paste, but just thought I would clarify!

  84. Oh man! I made this yesterday (added a little chorizo, but that’s about the only modification) and I just had to stop by and thank you. This was DELICIOUS (and the leftovers are nice and easy to pack away for lunches too).

  85. Love all your recipes- we have been followers of your blog for a couple years now and have found many weekly meals! Thank you! I have been looking for creative recipes for soups that are meatless and am excited to try this one however…. I cannot digest Coconut Milk (or regular milk) – what do you recommend as an alternative? Would almond milk work?

  86. This recipe looks good. I like lentils. My cans of tomatoes are labeled 400 gm. Are your ounces weight or volume? My can is 2 7/8 inches (75 mm) in diameter and 4 inches (102 mm) tall. How does that compare to your 29 ounce can? I don’t have any cans of tomato sauce in my cupboard but I think the size of the can would be the same. How many cans would I need? The weights & measures here in Australia are metric.

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