Basic Dried Beans

Recipe by TishT
READY IN: 8hrs 1min
YIELD: 5-6 cups


  • 1
    lb dried beans (your favorite)
  • 10
    cups water


  • Note: Lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas do not need to be soaked.
  • Pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled beans or any foreign matter.
  • Rinse well.
  • Traditional Slow Soak: In a 5-quart saucepan, cover 1 pound dried beans with 10 cups water.
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.
  • Drain and rinse the beans.
  • Hot Soak: In a 5-quart saucepan, bring 10 cups water to a boil.
  • Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil.
  • Remove from the heat; cover tightly and set aside at room temperature 2-3 hours.
  • Drain and rinse the beans.
  • Quick Soak: In a 5-quart saucepan, bring 10 cups water to a boil.
  • Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil; let boil 2-3 minutes.
  • Cover tightly and set aside at room temperature 1 hour.
  • Drain and rinse the beans.
  • Gas-Free Soak: (The best method for gas-free beans, developed by the California Dry Bean Advisory Board.) In a 5-quart sauce- pan, place 1 pound of beans in 10 or more cups of boiling water; boil for 2-3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight.
  • By morning, 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible sugars will have dissolved into the soaking water.
  • Drain, then rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking them.
  • COOKING BEANS: When cooking beans, do not add salt or acidic ingredients, like vinegar, tomatoes or juice- which slow the cooking substantially; add these ingredients when the beans are just tender.
  • Cooking times vary with the types of beans used but also may vary with their age.
  • Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.
  • Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly.
  • Return the soaked, rinsed beans to the 5-quart saucepan.
  • Cover the beans with 3 times their volume of water.
  • Add herbs or spices (not salt), as desired.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender (the time will depend on the type of bean, but start checking after 45-60 minutes).
  • Do not boil them since this will break the skins.
  • Check the level of the water and add more if it gets low.
  • When the beans are tender, drain and use in recipes; or for later use, immerse them in cold water until cool, then drain well and freeze in 1- to 2-cup packages.
  • One pound of dried beans will yield about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans.
  • PRESSURE COOKING: This is one of the quickest ways to cook beans.
  • After you've soaked 1/2 pound of beans, place them in a 4-quart pressure cooker with 4 cups water.
  • Cook at 15 pounds pressure following the manufacturer's directions for the type of legume you are cooking.