Dried beans are such a budget friendly source of protein and fiber but often get overlooked because they aren’t fun and flavorful or people simply don’t know what to do with them.
Cooking dried beans can feel a little daunting or labor intensive – especially when you read the back of the bag…sort, rinse, soak for many hours, rinse, cook for many hours…seriously, who has time for that?
Sure, you can buy canned beans, but who wants to pay for all that liquid? Rejoice. I’m starting a series on cooking dried beans – soaking, cooking methods, freezing tips, and dried beans recipes – I got ’em coming. Grab a few bags of dried beans and let’s get started.
Sorting, Rinsing, and Soaking Dried Beans for Cooking
First you want to pour the dried beans into a bowl and sort through them for any small stones or beans that look icky or “off”. They may be wrinkled and shrunken, discolored, or broken up. Throw them away.
Next you want to rinse the beans several times. Rinse the beans several times until the water isn’t cloudy looking. I have a handy rice and grains washing colander that I showcased in this post and also use for dried beans and peas.
The final step before cooking dried beans in soaking them and this is where the process can seem ridiculously long. Each method you use for cooking them may be slightly different but there are 2 main processes for soaking dried beans – the long method and the quick method. Read the back of the bag for very slight variances but here’s the breakdown.
Quick Soak (my favorite) – Put sorted, rinsed, and soaked dried beans in stockpot with water – use 6-8 cups water for every 1 lb. dried beans. Bring to boil on stove top for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 1 – 1 and 1/2 hours depending on the package directions, then rinse. Cook as you wish.
Long Soak – Put sorted, rinsed, and soaked dried beans in stockpot with water – use 6-8 cups water for every 1 lb. dried beans.
Cooking Dried Beans
There are several ways you can make cooking dried beans an easy task. Yes, there are still multi-step processes, but many of them are quick easy steps that allow you to go about your day while time does the work for you. You can choose whichever method works for your schedule and the products you have in your home.
Cooking Dried Beans in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
This is my favorite way to cook dried beans. Quick soak method + pressure cooker = what is this magic? The pressure cooker takes 20 minutes, not counting the time it takes to build pressure and the time to release pressure. Going from dried beans to cooked dried beans in under an hour means I’ve cooked about 6 pounds of dried beans in the last 2 weeks. I told my family to get used to beans since they are so quick and easy now. Beans in everything!
This method is so easy and takes the guesswork out of “is this enough water”? You literally put them in the pot, cover with water, set, and forget.
Cooking Dried Beans in Crock Pot
This is my second favorite method because it’s also set and forget. You throw the soaked dried beans in the slow cooker, cover with water, set, and forget. The only difference is this method takes several hours versus BOOM! Cooked beans. Here is a post I previously wrote on cooking dried beans in the slow cooker.
Cooking Dried Beans in Rice Cooker
Pre-soak beans as directed above. Drain and add 6 cups water to 1 lb. beans in the rice cooker. Cook in rice cooker for 1.5 hours then check for doneness.
Cooking Dried Beans in the Oven
Rinse your beans as above. You can soak these to speed up the process or put them in the oven without pre-soaking. I did not pre-soak my beans for this method and they cooked in approximately 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the beans in an oven safe pan that also has an oven safe lid. Cover the beans with water. Bake for 90 minutes and check for doneness. Add another 30 minutes if necessary. Check again. Repeat until they reach desired texture. I like cooking them this way but need to make sure I don’t need to be out and about that day.
Cooking Dried Beans Stovetop
Every bag of dried beans has a recipe for cooking them on the stove top so it isn’t really necessary to have directions. However, just so we can have them all in one place, you are going to want to make sure you are spending the day at home for this one. The method is easy. It just requires a few hours of cook time on the stove. Pre-soak your beans as directed above. Drain the soaking water off and refill with fresh water to cover the beans. Put them on the stove and cover. Bring to a simmer and let simmer several hours until soft. Check them after 1 hour then check them every 30 minutes after that. Add water to cover as needed.
Cooking Dried Beans in the Microwave
I didn’t even try this method. It looked like too much of a time suck with too much hands on time stopping, stirring, changing heat levels, etc.
As you may notice, I’ve arranged these cooking methods in the order I prefer to use. It is so easy to cook dried beans that buying canned beans can really be an emergency backup plan instead of your main source. This is an “easy save” for your budget. Stay tuned for some delicious bean recipes (besides my plethora of black bean recipes) coming starting this Thursday and coming every couple weeks.
Easy Dried Bean Recipes
Note: Some of these recipes include options for canned or homemade beans.