Too Long in Exile received generally positive reviews. Rock critic Peter Paphides wrote in Melody Maker at the time, "never has one man's regression therapy sounded this exhilarating", while Gavin Martin from the Daily Mirror remarked that Morrison has "rediscovered his 'earthy, elemental fire'. He is still the foremost blues auteur."Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot found his singing "freer than ever" and most of the performances "joyful", praising the music's urban blues and soul-jazz sounds. Kot said the album is a "casual tour de force", with the exception of the cover song "Moody's Mood for Love", which he felt would nevertheless be enjoyed by fans of Morrison's "Moondance" (1970). In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said Morrison draws on the spiritual guidance of blues greats for the album's best material, highlighting the collaborations with John Lee Hooker on "Gloria" and "Wasted Years", although he lamented some aimless songs such as "In the Forest".
In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rob Sheffield said Too Long in Exile was the "breeziest" of Morrison's post-1980s albums. In a less enthusiastic review, AllMusic's Bil Carpenter wrote in retrospect that it was "an earthly departure from his previous two pop efforts", featuring a "delicious" cover of "Lonely Avenue" and impressive duets with Hooker but also a "mundane" title track.Rolling Stone included the album in its list of the "Essential Recording of the 90's".