How to Cook Dried Beans


  1. Pre-soak the dried beans (see our How to Soak Beans Guide for step-by-step instructions). After the beans have soaked for a sufficient amount of time, drain and discard the soaking water.
  2. In a large pot, add enough fresh water to the pre-soaked beans so that the water level is a few inches above the beans. A general rule of thumb is 3 parts water for 1 part beans.
  3. Bring the beans to a full boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Skim off any foam on the water surface with a spoon.
  4. Cover half of the pot with a lid, and let simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Check the water level occasionally to make sure there is still an adequate amount of cooking water. Add fresh water if the water level looks to low. If you think the beans are cooking too slowly, try adding a cup or two of water.
  5. Turn off the heat when the beans are finished cooking. You may leave them in the cooking water until you are ready to use them. You can also refrigerate them for up to two days in their original cooking water (allow them to cool before placing in the refrigerator


  • Adding onions, hot peppers, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, and herbs to the beans while they are cooking can greatly enhance their flavor. Try sauteing these things with a dash of oil in the pot before adding the water and pre-soaked beans.
  • Do not add salt to the beans while they are cooking. Not only will this cause the salt flavor to concetrate and make the beans taste too salty, but it can make them tougher. Season with salt only after the beans have finished cooking.
  • Cooking beans as slowly as possible produces a richer flavor and better texture.

2 Responses to How to Cook Dried Beans

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  2. Mike Corbeil says:

    I learned of the quick pre-soaking method last week, tried it for black and red kidney beans, so far, and it worked out great. A few of the beans came out a little too mushy, but most had the appearance they should have, and their textures were fine. A little firmer might be better, but I’ll watch more closely after around 80 minutes of cooking, the next time, which’ll be soon.

    Re. Tips and Tricks:

    Very fine suggestions! However, I’ll a question and a comment with regards to the additional ingredients that you recommend, and one you omitted.

    Re. olive oil:

    If using the kind of oil that I use, then it’s certified organic first- and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, which is the fullest kind of olive oil we can get or that can be made. It’s SMOKE POINT is much lower than refined olive oils and the extra virgin one that’s unrefined has a smoke point somewhere in the range of 225 to 250F, acccording to, which is a very good resource for learning about what the founder calls the World’s Healthiest Foods, 100 of them. (The Web site also provides some recipes, nutritional information, history of uses of each of the foods, health information, and possibly a little more. Also has a channel at YouTube and the channel is whfoodsorg, which is for, a mirror, I guess, of, since the contents are identical.)

    Searching the Web last week about smoke points, I found most people recommend HIGH temperature cooking with olive oil, but it is NOT a good idea. One Web site though is and the editor or editors recommend against using olive oil above 300F.

    That page doesn’t specify whether it’s refined, semi-refined or unrefined olive oil that’s referred to when specifying the smoke point range for olive oil (around half way down the page). So first-/cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil should be treated with even greater precaution; treating it as having a smoke point no higher than 250F.

    “Better safe, rather than sorry”, as the old aged expression says.

    Re. a lacking ingredient suggestion:

    MOLASSES, that is, blackstrap molasses! I don’t know if you’ve ever had beans baked with this molasses, but it’s very good. And while I’ll guess that it would not be recommendable to include hot peppers, I believe the other ingredients you suggested would be fine; plus, possibly fennel, and maybe fenugrec, ginger, cumin, celery seeds, black pepper, and maybe some other spices. I wouldn’t use all of them at once, but would use several of them as ingredients.

    This would go well with potatoes, parsnip, corn, and winter and summer squashes.

    I wouldn’t recommend corn other than certified organic though, for corn and canola are highly likely to be GMO when they’re not CO’d. That’s why I refrain from buying olives that’re in canola oil, unless the packaging says CO (and “man” are those expensive!). I treat corn the same way, though make an exception once or two during the fall when corn on the cob is fresh and being sold at a road-side stand across the street from where I reside. When seeing nice-sized corn on the cob that’s CO’d though, then I go for that; the problem being that the ears usually are very small and for the same price, for the price is per ear, rather than based on weight.

    There’s also tumeric, aka curcuma, a very healthy spice, but with molasses?

    Your recipe guideline is very fine as it is though and I mainly intend to mention MOLASSES; only blackstrap, though, and preferably CO kind. Some people might prefer to use pure (and, preferably, CO) cane sugar, maple syrup or unpasteurized honey; and I suppose that this would be fine for cooking beans, as well.

    This evening I’ll be cooking Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) for the first time, to then try to make some good hummus. Some ingredients to use for this and which I learned about this morning from a recipe at some Web site (don’t recall which) are lemon juice and a hot pepper, for which I’ll use cayenne.

    Advantages of cooking with spices:

    Of course there are the excellent health benefits with the consumption of spices, but I believe that some of them definitely and greatly help prolong how long a prepared food will stay good. I first began learning about that when using what’s called cinnamon sticks around here (it isn’t actually cinnamon, but the stick has a little resemblance to cinnamon stick) for cooking oatmeal. When cooking OM without a cinnamon stick, the OM would keep in the refrigerator for a few days and would then go bad, nasty bad. But when cooked with a “cinnamon” stick, then I found OM still being good after a whole week in the refrigerator. The … stick doubled (or more) the keep-ability, say, of the OM. And these sticks are great for cooking rice to be used for rice pudding made with, f.e., yogurt (and of course the rice). It gives such a great taste to the rice that I wouldn’t need to add any sugar for sweetening the pudding, though might add some pure maple syrup anyway.

    Onion, garlic, cumin, I believe celery seed, turmeric and some other spices have anti-bacterial properties, and maybe some also have anti-fungal properties, if there’s a difference. Dill probably does, as well. So these types of spices should help prolong preservability of prepared foods, I believe.

    I hope this post isn’t too long.