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Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)

4 Servings

50 minutes

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Rice and lentils with caramelized onions is a much-loved food in the Middle East. This is our take on the version we tasted in Lebanon. The rice and lentils are simmered together in the same pot, with the lentils getting a 10-minute head start so both finish at the same time. Meanwhile, the onions are fried until crisp and deeply caramelized—almost burnt, really—to coax out a savory bittersweet flavor. Serve mujaddara hot, warm or at room temperature with a dollop of plain yogurt. It’s a delicious accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, but it’s hearty enough to be the center of a vegetarian meal.




Don't use French green lentils (Puy lentils) in place of the brown lentils called for. Even when fully cooked, green lentils retain a firm, almost al dente texture, while brown lentils take on a softness that combines well with the rice. Don't worry if the onions turn quite dark at the edge of the skillet; deep browning is desirable. But do stir the browned bits into the mix to ensure the onions color evenly. However, if the onions brown deeply before they soften, lower the heat a notch or two and keep stirring until the pan cools slightly.

50 minutes


  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 4

    bay leaves


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Sandra M.
February 11, 2023
Delicious but cooking directions were a bit off for me
This is delicious but I found the seasoning a bit off - too much cumin, not enough salt - and the cooking directions not spot on. Too much water, too little time for the lentils and too long for the rice. I added my rice after 15 min (as opposed to 10) and turned off the heat for the last 5. Be prepared to make some of these adjustments.
Annie W.
July 13, 2022
Lebanese style rice and lentils. Your cooking temps are too high, especially for what were working with. The cook on the lentils is all wrong. Salt should never be added at the beginning (against my better judgement I did), this makes the lentil tough, NOT tender, and they cook unevenly. Salt should always be added at the end when it comes to lentils, and you should know that. It should all be cooked on LOW, not med-low, the water vanishes quickly, leaving the dish dry. The onions should never be cooked on med-high, this creates burning not caramelizing, they should be cooked med to med-low. I'm fairly certain this recipe is not cooked at high temps in Lebanon. My grandmother used to make this, and nothing is cooked on higher heat.
Mary B.
November 13, 2022
Family favorite
Love this recipe. It's very easy to make and has wonderful flavor
Meta C.
January 25, 2024
This is a classic recipe. This was good but liked the Ottolenghi one bettr.
Kathleen S.
February 28, 2024
overdone colorless mush, with onions
I keep making this recipe with high hopes and no regard for the negative comments but wow - it's a really hard one to eat, besides the delicious onions. (Make 4x the onions like the other comment suggests!) I've made it a few times now, and I think it might be pretty good if you modified the cooking times (see Sandra's comment) and reworked the combination of spices, but why bother for something so simple? As it is - blahhhhhhh
Brett W.

I made this today and generally liked it, but I will have to make again with much less salt in the boiling liquid as the lentils/rice tasted too salty for my tastes.

John S.

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Julia D.

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Pauline C.

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Jeanne B.

What about using brown rice? Would that work if you put them in at the same time?

Mary C.

This was delicious and easy. Couldn’t find brown lentils but green worked great ! Made the rice again tonite and put sauted veggies over it

David K.

This is a new family favorite. Everyone loves it even the kids. Agree on the salt comment, we have reduced it to a heaping half tablespoon of salt and that works well.

Arthur C.

Made it and really liked it. Going to experiment with replacing chicken broth for some of the water as well as other spices including paprika and red pepper flakes.

Jennifer C.

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Eric C.

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Nicole L.

I’ve read in several other recipes online that the brand of kosher salt is pretty important. I hear that one tsp of Diamond Crystal is the equivalent of 1/2 tsp of Morton's. Several comments have mentioned the saltiness so this might be the problem.

Laura S.

Really tasty and not too time-consuming to make, but wow, was it salty! We tried to cut it with some plain yogurt. I'll go with some of the other comments and reduce the salt by about half next time. Also, I don't see how onions would ever get crispy in that amount of time with that quantity of oil. They were still tasty, but they were caramelized and soft, not crispy.

kathleen h.

tasty....l2 1/2 tsp cuckoo rice cooker, used long grain brown rice. Dump all together and set the steam time to 13 min...It is VERY brown so you need color somewhere else on plate. I added raisins which is a + addition. Ditto Laura S the onions are not crispy but tasty. Really needs the yogurt.

G W.

Too salty. I see now that it was supposed to be kosher salt. I also had leftover water in the pan... is it supposed to be that way?

Lynn C.

Hi -

The rice and lentils should absorb all of the liquid. There should not be any liquid left in the pan.

The Milk Street Team

Krysta G.

Used Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (measured with a light hand LOL) and it was seasoned perfectly for us. I didn't time my onions, I went by look and mine crisped up nicely. I was worried about the allspice, but I shouldn't have been. Adds to the aroma but was not an overpowering flavour at all.

Evelyn S.

I love how easy and flavorful this recipe is. I use brown rice instead of basmati and just put it in with the lentils all at once. Agreed on salt comments, I used 1.5 tsp of salt and it came out great. I also quadruple the amount of onions because it's just sooooo good.


I just made it and it is absolutely delicious! Will be making it again and again! Love this recipe!