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. Follow the cooking directions on the package.
[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|
Recipes with Beans
Bean Recipes from Other Blogs
- Kalyn’s Kitchen - Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos
- The Perfect Pantry - Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chipotle Baked Beans
- The Wimpy Vegetarian – Tuscan Bean Soup with Rosemary Oil
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.[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]