Dried beans must be soaked before cooking. See our How to Soak Dried Beans page for more information.
To cook, place drained soaked beans in a large non-reactive pot. Cover with fresh water by 3 inches (7.5 cm). Bring to a boil; skim off foam. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender.
To test for doneness, blow on two or three beans in a spoon. The skins will burst if they are sufficiently cooked.
Ensure beans are sufficiently cooked before adding other ingredients. The acidity in some ingredients, such as tomatoes, vinegar, molasses or wine, will prevent beans from softening properly.
Cooking beans in a slow cooker can produce varying results. It’s sometimes difficult to completely soften beans in a slow cooker. To make sure you’re not picking half-cooked beans from your dish, cook them completely before adding them to the slow cooker with other ingredients.