It takes a long time to cook dry beans, but the actual amount of time you spend handling them is very little. If you’ve held off from cooking dried beans before because of the time involved, you may find that it’s worth it to learn how to make dry beans.
It’s such an inexpensive food that can be seasoned in multiple ways to create soups, side dishes, gumbos, and more.
Because it takes so long to cook dry beans but you have to do very little to prepare them, it’s a great food to work on on the side while you make other dishes for your meal.
You’ll see what I mean as I show you how to cook dry beans.
How Long to Soak Dry Beans?
If you’re purchasing a bag of dry beans, you won’t be able to just cook them in a pot of water as they are. They’ll need to be soaked first, unless you want to slow cook them.
Start by picking through the beans to get rid of any large debris you see in the beans and then rinse them. You will want to rinse them over a colander so that small debris filters out.
You can soak them one of several ways. They can be heated up in a large pot with six cups of water for every pound of dry beans, and then you should let that water boil for two to three minutes.
Next, take them off the heat and cover the pot, allowing the beans to soak in the remaining water for about an hour.
If you want to be less hand-on or you have some extra time, you can let them soak overnight. Just put the beans in an airtight container and put 10 cups of cold water for every two cups of beans (or every pound).
Then, cover the container and refrigerate it overnight, or 8 hours- whichever is easier.
How Long to Cook Dry Beans
Once your beans have soaked, it’s time to cook them. You can put them into a large pot and cover with the same amount of water as before and bring the water to boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to very low and cover the pot. Allow the beans to simmer until they are tender. They shouldn’t be mushy, however.
How long should you cook them? That depends on which kind of bean you are cooking.
- How to cook dry black beans? It’s going to take 60 to 90 minutes to cook them using this method.
- How to cook dry kidney beans? You want to cook them for 90 to 120 minutes.
- How about Great Northern beans? Those take 45 to 60 minutes.
- How to cook dry lima beans? They take 45 to 60 minutes to cook as well.
- For Pinto beans, you can expect them to take 90 to 120 minutes
You can check on your beans periodically, testing them at the low end of the cooking duration range to see if they’re finished cooking.
To test, you can pick one up with a spoon or fork and mash it against the side of your pot. If it won’t mash all the way, it’s not fully cooked.
If the beans need to cook for a while longer but the water is running low, you can always add some more water.
How to Cook Dry Beans in Slow Cooker
Even if you’re using a slow cooker, it’s still recommended that you soak your beans just like I described earlier in this article. You can use any of the soaking methods, and then you’ll want to rinse your beans out in a colander until the water runs clear as you rinse them.
Put your beans into slow cooker with eight cups of water. For extra flavor, you can use vegetable broth instead. Stir your beans and liquid together and cook for four hours on the high setting. You can also cook on the low setting for six hours.
How to Cook Dry Beans in an Instant Pot?
The pressure cooker method is much faster, and if you want to save a lot of time, then this is definitely the way to go. You can use a pressure cooker or instant pot to cook dry beans in 30 minutes, and they don’t even need to soak ahead of time.
You can put your beans in along with any seasonings you’re using and cook for 30 minutes on high pressure for most beans. Let the pressure release naturally and then do quick release.
Some beans will cook in just 25 minutes, including Pinto and Navy beans, whereas others take 40 minutes, like chickpeas and butter beans.
How Long Do Dry Beans Last?
Dry beans can last for years and still be good to eat. The USDA says they have a minimum shelf life of one year when you store them in a cool, dry place. If the bag of beans gets opened, damaged or wet, their shelf life goes down the drain, but otherwise, they can last you for a long time.
Old beans may take longer to cook or may need to soak longer, so keep that in mind if you’re using beans that have been in your cupboard for a few years.
How to Dry Beans
If you grow beans in your garden, you can dry them one of two ways. You can either use a dehydrator, which works very quickly or put them in a warm, dry place and allow them to dry naturally.
The second method takes about a week, and you should turn them over periodically so that they will dry out completely.
How to Can Dry Beans
Once they dry out, how do you can them? You simply need to sort through the beans and rinse them out, and then soak them in water overnight.
The next day, you can drain out the water and rinse the beans off until the water runs clear. Cook them in a large pot with about 2 inches of water and warm until the water starts to boil.
Once the beans begin boiling, take them hot and spoon them into cooking jars with about an inch of room between the cooking liquid and the top of the jar.
That’s right- you’ll be putting your cooking water in with the beans when you can. Then, seal your jars shut.