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Soaking and Cooking Dried Beans

February 22, 2013
by Shannon Hepburn

Jeez-o-flip, there are so many contrasting thoughts on the proper way to soak and cook dried beans.  Let’s simplify and demystify: put beans in bowl and add water. Soak. Then cook.  Really, that’s it.  So what’s the controversy?  And why does something so simple feel so arduous?  Because it’s easier to open a can of already cooked beans.  I do it all the time.  I think it’s the cooking time where I get hung up.  I think I don’t have time to tend to a pot of beans when in reality they don’t need tending at all – they don’t even need to be stirred!  They also require thinking ahead, making a plan of how you’re going to use them.  This falls under the meal planning category – another seemingly arduous task.

Well here’s a possible solution: soak the beans before you head to work in the morning.  When you get home and are preparing dinner just put an extra pot of water on the stove for the beans and cook them while you eat dinner.  Check the beans to see if they’re done – if not, keep cooking as you do the dishes.  Check again. You can expect beans to cook anywhere from 45 minutes to one and a half hours. When done, drain them and let them cool a bit before putting into a container and into the fridge.  Once the beans have completely cooled you may put them into smaller portioned containers and freeze them.  My beans are soaking on the counter right now.  I’ll cook them tonight while we’re having dinner and then be ready to eat beans with you next week.


  • rinse beans and pick out any debris
  • put beans in a bowl and add water to cover by about 2 inches
  • soak during the day while at work
  • cook beans in a pot of water (salted or not) that covers the beans by about 2 inches
  • bring to boil and then turn down heat to a simmer and cook until beans are soft – anywhere from 45 minutes – 1 1/2 hours
  • let cool and store in a container in the fridge or freeze in smaller portions to use later