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How to Cook Dried Beans (3 Ways!)

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Cooking dry beans is easy, but there are a few different ways to do it, so we’re going to show you all of them!

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titled photo collage of various bean dishes with overlay text "How to Cook Dried Beans".

Beans, the magical fruit. The more you cook them, the more health benefits you’ll unlock!

They are a great source of protein and fiber, and they’re perfect for lunch and dinner meal prep – in salads, soups, and Mexican foods.

What is a drY bean?

A dry bean is simply a bean that has been harvested and then dried, usually in the sun. They can be stored for a long time, which makes them a good staple to have in your pantry.

They are different from green beans, which are harvested while they are still immature and then cooked. Dried beans, on the other hand, are harvested when they are fully mature and then dried.

There are many different types of dry beans, including black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and white beans. They can be found in the bulk section of most supermarkets.

dried navy beans spilling out of an open burlap sack.

Reasons why cooking dried beans IS great

  1. Inexpensive Meal Option

Dried beans are an inexpensive option for a healthy meal. Especially now that the prices are getting higher and higher, we need to be more mindful of what we’re spending our money on.

They are a great way to get your protein and fiber without breaking the bank. You can buy a bag of beans for around $2 which will be enough for 3 or 4 meals. That’s only about $0.50 per meal!

  1. Nutritious and Healthy

Not only are dried beans an inexpensive option, but they’re also packed with nutrients. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they contain essential vitamins and minerals. 

Cooking them is a great way to get all the benefits of beans without having to eat them every day. You can cook them once and then use them in different recipes throughout the week.

  1. Perfect for Meal Prep

Once you learn how to cook dried beans, you will have many uses for them, including easier meal prep. You can cook a big batch of the legumes at the beginning of the week and then use them in different recipes throughout the week. This is a great way to save time and money!

There are so many different ways to use dry beans in recipes. You can add them to salads, soups, stews, rice dishes, and more.

ways to cook dried beans

You can cook them in a pot on the stove, in a slow cooker, or even in an Instant Pot. There are also a lot of different ways to flavor them. You can add spices, herbs, or even vegetables.

The best way to cook dried beans is going to depend on what you’re making and how you want to flavor them. We’ve outlined a few different ways to cook them below.

two green bowls of crock pot pinto beans with ham. A striped red cloth and salt and pepper cellar sit on the side.
Slow Cooker Pinto Beans with Bacon

Dry beans vs Canned beans

There are a few different things to consider when deciding whether to cook dried beans or use canned beans.

Dried beans are more nutritious because they haven’t been processed. They’re also going to be less expensive.

Canned beans are more convenient because you don’t have to cook them, but they’re more expensive and not as nutritious.

Dry beans are better because you can control the flavor more. When you cook them, you can add whatever spices or herbs you want. With canned beans, you are stuck with the flavors that are already in there.

You can also control the texture more when you cook dried beans. If you want them to be softer, you can cook them longer. To be firmer, you can cook them for less time.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal option, then canned beans are going to be the best choice.

But if you’re looking for a more frugal, nutritious, and flavorful option, then cooking dried beans is the better choice.

different types of dried beans.

Do you need to soak beans before cooking?

There are some benefits to soaking beans before cooking.

  1. Reduced cooking time.

According to the USDA, beans that have been soaked in water for at least five hours will cook in about half the time as beans that have not been soaked.

  1. Easier to digest.

Soaking dry beans can also help to reduce gas and bloating. All legumes, including beans, contain a compound called oligosaccharides, which is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot break down.

Soaking helps to break down the oligosaccharides, which makes them easier to digest.

If you’re cooking on the stove, you’ll need to soak them for at least eight hours. If you’re using a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, you can get away with soaking them for shorter periods of time.

soaking dried beans in water.

How to soak dried beans

There are a few different ways to soak dried beans. You can do a quick soak, which is done by boiling them for two minutes and then letting them soak for an hour.

Or you can do a longer soak, which is done by soaking the beans overnight.

Quick Soaking

To do a quick soak, bring a pot of water to a boil, and then add the beans. Boil for two minutes and then remove from heat. Let them soak for an hour before draining and cooking.

Overnight Soaking

To do a long soak, add the beans to a pot of cold water and let them soak overnight. In the morning, drain them and cook them according to your recipe.

Can you oversoak beans?

It is possible to oversoak beans, and doing so results in beans that are mushy. So, if you’re going to soak beans overnight, be sure to drain them first thing in the morning, just before cooking them.

Important!
Keep in mind that soaking beans for too long can also cause them to lose nutrients. So, if you soak your beans, be sure to do it for the minimum amount of time that’s required.

pinto beans soaking in a water filled bowl.

DRIED bEANS FAQ

Do you need to cook beans before adding them to a recipe?

Yes, you do need to cook beans before adding them to a recipe. Dried beans are raw and not edible.

What happens if you don’t rinse beans before cooking?

Some types of dried beans contain toxins are called saponins, and they can cause digestive issues.

Rinsing removes the toxins, as well as any dirt or debris. Place them in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water before cooking.

Which is better: cooking dried beans on the stovetop, in an Instant Pot, or in a slow cooker?

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to cook dried beans, then the Instant Pot is a great choice.

If you’re looking for a more hands-off approach, then the slow cooker is a good option. And lastly, if you want more control over how the beans are cooked, then stovetop cooking is the way to go.

Beans Cooking Time

The cooking time for different types of beans varies depending on the type of bean and method of cooking. Let’s take a look at the cooking times for each type of pre-soaked bean:

Stovetop

  • Pinto: 90-120 minutes
  • Navy: 90-120 minutes
  • Great northern beans: 45-60 minutes
  • Kidney: 90-120 minutes
  • Black beans: 60-90 minutes
  • Calico or garbanzo (chickpeas): 120-180 minutes
  • Lima (butter) beans: 60-90 minutes

Instant Pot

  • Pinto: 20-25 minutes
  • Navy: 20-25 minutes
  • Great northern beans: 10-15 minutes
  • Kidney beans: 20-30 minutes
  • Black beans: 20-30 minutes
  • Calico or garbanzo (chickpeas): 25 minutes
  • Lima (butter) beans: 25 minutes

Slow Cooker

  • Pinto: 4-6 hours
  • Navy: 6-8 hours
  • Great northern beans: 4-6 hours
  • Red kidney: Not recommended (Slow cooking Kidney beans is dangerous)
  • Black beans: 3-4 hours
  • Calico or garbanzo (chickpeas): 6-8 hours
  • Lima (butter) beans: 3 hours
chart of cooking times for dried beans.

How to Cook Dried Beans On Stovetop

Cooking dried beans on a stovetop is the most common way to cook them. It’s also the easiest method because all you need is a pot and some water.

To cook dried beans on a stovetop, add the beans to a large pot of water or broth and bring them to a boil according to the cooking time above.

Reduce the heat and let the beans simmer. Then, drain and add them to your recipe.

Try Our Cooked Dried Bean Recipes

a casserole dish of calico beans with bacon

How to Cook Dried Beans in Instant Pot

If you’re short on time, cooking dried beans in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker is a great option. You can have cooked beans in about an hour, which is much faster than cooking them on the stove.

To cook dried beans in an Instant Pot, add them to the Instant Pot then add enough water or broth to cover the beans, and then set the cooker on high pressure.

Let the beans cook for according to cooking time, or until they’re soft. Once they’re done, you can use them in any recipe you like.

Here are Some of our Instant Pot Dry Beans Recipes

Instant Pot Black Beans made into a stew in a green bowl.

How to Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker

Cooking dried beans in a slow cooker is another easy method. It’s perfect if you’re cooking a large batch because you can set it and forget it.

To cook dried beans in a slow cooker, add them to the slow cooker then add enough broth or water to cover the beans, and then set the cooker on low.

Let the beans cook according to the cooking time above, or until they’re soft. Once they’re done, you can use them in any recipe you like. Try adding them to salads, soups, or Mexican dishes.

Try this slow cooker beans recipe

a green bowl with great northern bean soup and red kitchen towel, salt and pepper cellar, and golden spoon at the back.

Variations and Addins

  • Add flavor to your beans by cooking them with aromatics like onions, garlic, bay leaves, and herbs.
  • Try adding a can of diced tomatoes, green chilies, and cumin for a flavorful Mexican-inspired dish.
  • If you want to make your beans more of a meal, then try cooking them with sausage, bacon, or ground beef.
  • Add some spice to your beans by adding cayenne pepper, chili powder, or hot sauce.
  • Make them into a soup by adding broth and vegetables.
  • You can also add dried beans to different recipes. Try adding them to soups, stews, salads, or rice dishes.

How to Store Cooked Beans

Cooked dried beans can be stored in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to six months. Be sure to store them in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.

When you’re ready to use them, thaw the beans in the fridge overnight. Then, add them to your recipe and enjoy!

Instant Pot black beans ready for storage placed in a Ziploc bag.


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