How to Cook Dried Beans

Using Dried Beans

Beans truly are magical! They are an inexpensive food, can be cooked and served in so many ways and are a good source of fibre and nutrition. They often make up a large part of a vegetarian diet. 

Dried beans are a part of the legume family known as pulses, which are only grown for and harvested as crops to be dried. Different pulses are grown around the world and are a uniquely sustainable food that can be stored for a long time and shipped more economically than fresh crops. Canada produces pulses and ships them all over the world. 

  • Tips For Working with Dried Beans
    • Dried beans will increase in volume 2 1/2 to 3 times. 
    • Rinse beans in water; remove and discard any foreign matter and any beans that are broken, discoloured, or shrivelled. Dried beans do last a long time but eventually may become too hard to rehydrate. 
    • Dried beans must be soaked before cooking to start breaking down the hard outer layer. Use one of these methods to soak beans: 
      • To long soak, cover beans with 3 times their volume of cold water in a large food-safe nonreactive container and refrigerate overnight; drain. 
      • To quick soak, bring beans and 3 times their volume of cold water to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan. Boil, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 1 hour; drain. 
    • Beans can be cooked on the stovetop, in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker. See Basic Bean Cooking, below.  
    • To test for doneness after cooking, blow on two or three beans in a spoon. The skins will burst if they are sufficiently cooked. 
    • Make sure beans are cooked before adding acidic ingredients. The acidity in some ingredients, such as tomatoes, vinegar, molasses or wine, will often prevent beans from softening. 
  • Basic Bean Cooking

    Aromatics like chopped onions or garlic and salt can be added to cooking water. Use 2 teaspoons salt per pound of beans. 

    • Stovetop: Place drained soaked beans in a large non-reactive pot. Cover with fresh water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil; skim off foam. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender. This will take different lengths of time for different beans. Generally, cooking will take 1 –1 1/2 hours. 
    • Slow cooker: You do not need to soak the beans first except for red kidney beans. For all other dried beans, rinse, put in slow cooker, cover with boiling water by at least 2 inches, filling the slow cooker to only 2/3 full.  For 1 pound of beans, use at least a 3-4 quart slow cooker. For 2 pounds beans, use a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Cook beans on low setting until tender, about 3 to 6 hours. 
    • Pressure cooker: Use manufacturer’s instructions, if possible.  Otherwise, place drained soaked beans in the pressure cooker and cover with 1 1/2 - 2 inches of boiling water and 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil. Pressure cookers must have 1/2 to 1 cup of water or other liquid to work properly. Do not fill pressure cooker over 1/2 full. Cook on high pressure 20-30 minutes. Use natural release at least 15 minutes.  
  • Cooking Beans Ahead

    Dried beans are very economical. They can be cooked and then frozen in amounts that you would use.  

    • Place cooled beans in heavy zip-lock freezer bags and freeze flat.  
    • To use, take out of the freezer, thaw in the fridge or break apart and add directly to a recipe.  

Try These:

  • Medium
    Classic Baked Beans
  • Easy
    Pressure Cooker Baked Beans
  • Medium
    Pressure Cooker Columbian Pinto Beans
How to

Freeze Rehydrated, Cooked Beans

Don't always have time to rehydrate beans each time? Not a problem, we can help.