Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cooking Dried Beans and Legumes

Many people are baffled with how to cook dried beans. Relax, it's easy and beans and legumes are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Here are some tips to help you cook better with beans:
  • Don't have time to cook dried beans? No problem, dried or canned beans will work interchangeably in most recipes, and you don't need to precook canned beans.

  • Even though they may be dried, the fresher the bean the better -- for flavor and for the amount of nutrients. Fresher dried beans will cook faster than older dried beans, so use the cooking times as a very general guideline. Taste the beans for tenderness early and often during the cooking process.

  • Because bean cooking times can vary so widely from batch to batch, it's best to pre-cook dried beans before using in recipes.

  • Before cooking, rinse the beans and pick through them, removing any small stones that sometimes get mixed in and throwing out any shriveled or discolored beans.

  • Store dried beans in covered plastic food containers.

  • After cooking beans, divide into portions and refrigerate leftovers in their own liquid for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months (longer if you have a vacuum food saver appliance).

  • Reheat cooked beans in the microwave, on the stovetop or even in the oven.
Cooking Method I -- Place beans in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until beans are tender (usually used with smaller legumes such as lentils, for larger beans see Method II or Quick Soak Method).

Cooking Method II -- Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. Drain and place in clean water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender.

Quick Soak Method: Cover in cold water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let soak for 2 hours, then simmer until tender.

Favorite Bean Recipes

Beans Under Pressure!
The pressure cooker is a great time and energy saver when it comes to cooking beans. Click this link for detailed pressure cooker bean cooking instructions and for a time chart for cooking beans in the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Bean Recipes


The Veggie Queen said...

For the people who are still afraid of using the pressure cooker, I produced a DVD, Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes that shows them step by step how to use the pressure cooker. They can find it at or
Here's to everyone eating more beans, any way that they cook them.

Cheri Sicard said...

Thanks for the DVD option. I encourage everyone to use the pressure cooker. Once you do it once, you realize how easy and time saving it is. We also have a Pressure Cooker Tutorial at Find it at

The Veggie Queen said...

Thank you. I have seen your tutorial and it's very good. I have a video clip on my site and on You Tube that makes the process clear, and helps people get over the (irrational) fear of the pressure cooker.

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