Cooking Dried Beans

I had no idea that cooking dried beans is so easy! For years, I bought canned beans for use in recipes. Finally, I learned how to cook dried beans from scratch.

There are so many benefits!

  • I save money.
  • I generate less garbage.
  • I know exactly what we are eating.
  • I feel very virtuous and pioneer-ish. There is something so wholesome about a pot of beans simmering on the stove!

Soaking Dried Beans

Before you cook dry beans, you need to soak them. It is theoretically possible to cook beans without soaking them, but they would take forever to cook.

Here is everything you need to know about soaking beans.

Discarding the Soak Water - or Not

This is a personal choice.

Since some of the nutrients are retained in the soak water, some cooks use that water for cooking the beans.

Others believe that discarding the water helps reduce the annoying gas sometimes caused by eating beans.

It's up to you.

Cooking Dried Beans

  • Put the soaked beans in a kettle and cover them with water. The level of the water should be about 1 inch/2 cm above the level of the beans.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat.
  • Boil gently, with the pot partially covered.
  • Check frequently to make sure that the beans are still covered with water. If not, add hot water.
  • You may see a foam forming on top of the cooking liquid. You can remove it, or not.
  • Test the beans regularly for doneness:
    • Take out one bean.
    • Let it cool.
    • Put it in your mouth and try to squash it against the roof of your mouth.
    • If it is as soft as you want it, the beans are ready!

How Long Will The Beans Take To Cook?

Bean cooking time depends on many factors:

  • the type of beans
  • their age and freshness
  • how long the beans were soaked
  • your altitude
  • the hardness/softness of your water

Here are some very general guidelines for some of my favorite beans.

Black Beans: 90 minutes

Chickpeas: 90 minutes

Kidney Beans: 60 minutes

Pinto Beans: 45 minutes

The first few times you cook beans, check them after half an hour, and continue to check at frequent intervals. You'll soon figure out how long they need. Make a note of the ideal cooking time, and next time you'll know exactly how long they will take.

Return from cooking dried beans to bean recipes.

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