How To Cook Dry Beans

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Wondering how to cook dry beans?

There is a whole, wonderful world of dry beans out there. They give you wonderful fiber, protein and overall nutrition and store really well in your pantry.

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you as many ways of cooking beans as I can. I’ll cover the different ways to cook them, cooking times and even give you some ideas for what to do with those beans once they are cooked. Let’s get started.

Containers of various beans sit with their lids off so you can see the beans in this guide to How To Cook Dry Beans.

Cooking dry beans is a total money saver. The cost savings compared to canned beans can really add up over time. So if you’re on a budget or just find yourself with a pantry full of dry beans, there are many ways to cook them and enjoy them.

Let’s start with the different ways to cook dry beans.

1 cup of dried beans will give you about 2 – 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans.

PREPARING DRY BEANS

To soak or not to soak. That is the question. Most people vote for soaking because they believe it cuts down on the gas effect after eating and it definitely cuts down on required cooking times. I personally have never soaked any of my beans before cooking. I just rinse them, pick out any inedible items like rocks or dirt, and proceed with cooking. But I realize I’m in the minority here. If you want to soak your beans, you can do a long or a short soak.

  • Long soak – Cover dry beans with water in a bowl or pot and set it in the fridge to soak overnight. Drain off the water and use fresh water to start cooking your beans.
  • Short soak –  Put your beans into a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a fast boil, and boil for ten minutes. Then put a lid on your pot and let the pot sit for one hour. Drain off the water and use fresh water to start cooking your beans to package directions.

HOW TO COOK DRY BEANS ON THE STOVE TOP

Each package of beans will come with instructions for how much water to use with each type of bean as well as the length of required cooking times. The important thing is to be sure your beans don’t run out of water and burn on the bottom of your pot. This can happen pretty easily due to longer cooking times. We tend to forget they are cooking on the stove!

Here are some stovetop cooking guidelines and measurements for some of the more common types of beans you might find in your pantry. The below cooking times are for soaked beans.

Four bowls sit with four different kinds of dry beans in them.

 

HOW TO COOK DRY BEANS IN A SLOW COOKER

If you are cooking beans and only beans in a slow cooker, nothing could be simpler!

Soaked beans will cook in about 3-4 hours while un-soaked beans will cook in 5-6 hours.

Add 1 tsp. of salt to help prevent “blow out” beans.

Slow Cooker Size:

  • 3 1/2-quart or smaller slow cooker, for 1 pound of beans or less
  • OR 5-quart or larger slow cooker for 2 pounds of beans or more (source)

In in a slow cooker, the water needed works a little differently. You don’t have to measure. Just put in enough beans to equal the yield you want when they have doubled in size. Cover your beans with water so that the water comes up to at least 2 inches above the beans. Then set to cook. Note that the cooking times listed here can vary based on your slow cooker. Slow cookers are notorious for cooking at different temperatures from appliance to appliance. So if you have a new slow cooker, it’s best to keep an eye on things until you know exactly how your slow cooker cooks.

* Kidney beans are not recommended for slow cooker cooking. It’s absolutely possible to cook them this way, but there is a risk involved with undercooked kidney beans. Enough of a risk for me to say it’s best not to cook them this way. You can read about it here.

HOW TO COOK DRY BEANS IN AN INSTANT POT

Note that these cooking times can vary by the age of your beans. You’ll notice that pinto beans give a range. This is a result of personal experience cooking pinto beans in an Instant Pot. Depending on how old your beans are, they can cook quickly or take a really long time. If you ever open your IP lid to find undercooked beans, simply replace the lid and reset the timer for more time. Easy!

The majority of beans will require about 5-8 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans. There is some play with this amount depending on the type of beans, but I simply use the measure marks on my IP insert. I fill the water up to the “5” on the pot and then add 2 cups of beans. I’ve never had a problem with not having enough water and I’ve cooked many types of beans this way. If in doubt, add more water. The only mistake you can make is not adding enough water.

I’m a big chickpea fan and cook chickpeas in my IP all the time for making hummus and adding to salads. You can find my guide to cooking chickpeas in an Instant Pot here.

BEST WAY TO COOK BEANS

In my experience, the best way to cook dry beans is in an Instant Pot. I get perfect beans every single time without fail. No burning, no babysitting and they are always cooked to perfection. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get good beans by cooking them other ways. I’ve just found the Instant Pot to be the best and most efficient way of getting a perfectly cooked bean.

An overhead view of four different types of beans in separate, white bowls in this guide to How To Cook Dry Beans.

HOW TO STORE DRY BEANS

The best way to store dry beans is to put them in an air tight container with a tight fitting lid. I love canning jars for this reason. They keep dry beans the best. But any container in good condition will keep beans well. Dry beans are not hard to store. Just keep in mind that you can’t keep them for years and years without having to increase cooking times. The older your beans are the longer they will take to cook.

HOW TO STORE COOKED BEANS

Once your beans are cooked, they will keep for about 3-4 days in the fridge. But if you have made a big batch that you won’t be able to eat in that amount of time, it’s easy enough to freeze them. Cooked beans freeze super well! Just find an air-tight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 4 months.

BEAN RECIPES

If you want a general selection of bean recipes you can find all my bean recipes here. However, if you are looking for recipes for specific types of beans, here is a list of recipes for specific beans.

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