Dry Beans and Legumes Cooking Chart

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Andrea Meyers - Beans and lentils

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I will use canned beans in a pinch because they are convenient, but increasingly I cook dry beans from scratch because I control the ingredients, such as the amount of salt which is often high in canned beans. I also prefer the flavor of freshly cooked beans over canned, though possibly the best reason is the money savings. Dry beans are significantly less expensive than canned.

A couple steps are required to cook dry beans, but the process is not complicated. Before cooking beans and legumes, you just need to pick out any stones or bad beans, rinse until the water runs clean, then soak before cooking. Soaking helps the beans to absorb enough moisture for cooking. There are two methods for soaking dry beans and legumes.

Long soak, or soaking overnight, uses no energy and works while you sleep; it can’t get any easier. Just pour the rinsed beans into a medium to large pot with a lid, cover with water about 3 inches over the beans, and allow to sit overnight. Drain before cooking in fresh water.

Quick-soaking on the stove takes less time. Just bring the beans to boil in a large pot, and boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for at least 1 hour, then drain and cook in fresh water.

Soaked beans can be cooked in a pot on the stove or in a slow cooker. Using a pressure cooker eliminates the need for soaking, just follow the manufacturer’s directions. If you want to salt your beans, add it during the last 30 minutes of cook time, whether the beans are on the stove or in a slow cooker. If using a pressure cooker, add salt after the beans are cooked and pressure is fully released, then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Keep in mind that lentils and split peas are small and generally do not require a soak before cooking.

[This chart summarizes long soak time, cook time, and approximate yield for 1 cup of beans/legumes.]

Bean/Legume (1 cup) Soak Time Simmer Time Yield (Cups)
Azuki Beans 4 hrs 45-55 min 3
Anasazi Beans 4-8 hrs 60 min 2-1/4
Black Beans 4 hrs 60-90 min 2-1/4
Black-eyed Peas* 60-90 min (use Quick Soak method) 60 min 2
Cannellini Beans1 8-12 hrs 60 min 2
Fava Beans2 8-12 hrs 40-50 min 1-2/3
Garbanzos (chickpeas) 6-8 hrs 1-3 hrs 2
Great Northern Beans1 8-12 hrs 1-1/2 hrs 2-2/3
Green Split Peas NA 45 min 2
Yellow Split Peas NA 60-90 min 2
Green Peas, whole 8-12 hrs 1-2 hrs 2
Kidney Beans1 6-8 hrs 60 min 2-1/4
Lentils, brown NA 45-60 min 2-1/4
Lentils, green NA 30-45 min 2
Lentils, red or yellow NA 20-30 min 2 to 2-1/2
Lima Beans (butter beans), large3 8-12 hrs 45-60 min 2
Lima Beans (butter beans), small3 8-12 hrs 50-60  min 3
Lima Beans, Christmas 8-12 hrs 60 min 2
Mung Beans NA 60 min 2
Navy Beans 6-8 hrs 45-60 min 2-2/3
Pink Beans 4-8 hrs 50-60 min 2-3/4
Pinto Beans 6-8 hrs 1-1/2 2-2/3
Soybeans 8-12 hrs 1-2 hrs 3
Tepary Beans 8-12 hrs 90 min 3


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Andrea Meyers - Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans (The Kids Cook Monday) Andrea Meyers - Spicy Mexican Black Beans (The Kids Cook Monday) Andrea Meyers - From the Pantry: Cardamom Pods (Chana Masala)

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1 Raw kidney beans, including cannellini and Great Northern beans, contain the toxin phytohemagglutinin, which is destroyed with 10 minutes of boiling. After boiling, you can reduce temperature to a simmer and continue slow cooking.

2 Fava beans have an inner shell that must be removed after soaking. If you can find shelled fava beans, that will save you preparation time.

3 Lima beans contain the cyanide compound linamarin, which is only deactivated by cooking, and therefore should not be eaten raw.

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  1. says

    I love beans — all different kinds and even though the convenience of canned beans is nice — making more from dried allows you to have them on hand. The quick soak method works best for me. Great info!


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