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How Long Do Trader Joe’s Lentils Last? (Explained)

How Long Do Trader Joe's Lentils Last

Lentils are a great ingredient to add to many dishes. They are incredibly healthy. Low in calories, and packed to the brim with nutrients. They store pretty well too, assuming they haven’t been cooked. So, how long do Trader Joe’s lentils last?

Trader Joe’s steamed lentil products will last 1-2 weeks and will have an expiry date on them. They must be stored in the fridge after purchase. If you purchase dried lentils from Trader Joe’s, which they don’t always have in stock, they can be kept for an indefinite amount of time. 

Understanding Lentils

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Lentils are a legume (a type of pea). When you buy lentils, as an ingredient, you are actually buying the seed of the lentil plant. 

Lentils are grown in a ton of places around the world (although, not so much in Asia), with most lentils produced in Europe and North America. In fact, for many of the lentil products stocked by Trader Joe’s, the lentils are sourced from France.

There are many, many different varieties of lentil. However, they can broadly be classified by their color; red, green, and brown. There are also black, yellow, and blue lentils. However, these are sold less frequently. Each lentil has its own distinct flavor. 

Lentils are known for being densely packed with nutrients. At 25% protein, they make a great alternative to meat. In fact, you will find lentils are a staple part of the diet for many vegans and vegetarians. 

Lentils include:

  • Fiber
  • Thiamine
  • Niacin
  • B6
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese

Plus a whole host of nutrients in smaller quantities. They are often used as a base for all sorts of dishes because of this. 

To check the current price and availability of Trader Joe’s Whole Lentils, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

Trader Joe’s and Its Products

Trader Joe’s is a major grocery store but unlike your traditional supermarket e.g. Walmart, etc. Trader Joe’s doesn’t stock everything. Instead, it stocks a couple of well-selected products under the Trader Joe’s brand name.

The company always aims for high-quality products, and often tries to source products that may be expensive (or unattainable) in other stores.

Trader Joe’s does have a bit of a reputation for not keeping products in stock for that long. Even seemingly big sellers can disappear overnight.

This is due to the way Trader Joe’s operates. They have limited shelf space, and they can’t get unlimited products from their manufacturers, since it all has to be branded with the Trader Joe’s logo.

This does mean that if you are after lentils, Trader Joe’s may not always have them in stock for you. In fact, at the time of writing, Trader Joe’s has stopped selling dried lentils.

This is likely to be temporary, though. At the moment, they seem to be sticking to precooked lentils, or pasta made out of lentils. Although, you can always head down to your local Trader Joe’s. They may bring back the real dried lentils, eventually. 

Shelf Life of Lentils

The shelf life of lentils can vary.

If you have dried lentils, then they can feasibly last forever, providing they are kept dry and in a sealed container. Their taste will diminish a little bit after a short while, but you can keep them in your cupboards for as long as you want.

In fact, many people do. Purchasing dried lentils is the best and cheapest way to buy them, even if it takes a little bit longer to ‘cook’ dried lentils.

If the lentils are cooked (e.g. steamed), then the shelf life can vary depending on whether there are any additives in the product. You should check the expiry date. It is normally a few weeks from the date of manufacture.

Lentil soups in sealed cans and packaging can last a reasonable amount of time (if they don’t need to be refrigerated). Again, several years, much like dried lentils. However, as soon as the package is opened, it will last a few days, at most. 

Trader Joe’s Lentils: Shelf Life

The shelf life of Trader Joe’s lentils can vary.

If you purchase their dried lentils or one of their lentil pasta (including lentil spaghetti), then you can keep the lentils in your cupboard for years without any issues.

Their steamed lentils will last a few weeks after purchase, but you will need to store them in the fridge.

For any other product from Trader Joe’s, you will need to check the expiry date. Although, most Trader Joe’s products have incredibly generous expiry dates due to the way the company works (they have low margins, so they don’t want to be throwing away expired food).

If you buy dried lentils from Trader Joe’s, then store them in a cool, dry location. if you can put them in an airtight container, then that is even better. Other lentil products will likely need to be stored in the fridge but check the product packaging. 

Best Practices for Storing Lentils

Dried lentils should be stored in a cool, dry location. If you have an airtight container, store them in that. While dried lentils could feasibly last for years, they are not immune to expiring.

If they develop mold, an odd color, or an odd scent then discard them. If you store lentils out in the open, they can attract pests and moisture, both of which can reduce their shelf life.

Cooked lentils should always be stored in the fridge. They will last between 5 and 7 days after cooking, although this will depend on what they were cooked with.

Again, keeping an eye out for an odd color or odd scent will tell you whether they have expired. We recommend throwing them away after 7 days regardless of what they look like. 

Final Thoughts

How long Trader Joe’s lentils last will depend on the product. Dried lentils can last years, while their steamed lentils may last just a few weeks. You can always check the expiry date on the product packaging.

Remember, if you want your lentils to last as long as possible, you should always store in an airtight container. For dried, this is fine in your cupboard. For steamed, it should be in the fridge. 


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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