How to Cook Dried Beans

How to Cook Dried Beans |

No need to pre-soak beans! This trick will save you a step when cooking dried beans. ~ 

Every time I cruise through the dried beans aisle in the supermarket, I’m amazed I can feed my entire family of six (plus four more people!) a healthy, high-fiber, filling, protein-packed and plant-based meal for $1.29 – the cost of a 1-pound bag of dried beans.

If only I could remember to soak those beans overnight – as is recommended on packages of dried beans.

So I do the “Quick Soak” method:
Rinse and sort beans in a large pot. (Don’t skip this, I’ve found small pebbles in bags of beans.) To 1 pound of beans, add 8 cups water. Bring to a rapid boil, boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain soaking water and rinse beans. You just need to begin at least 3-4 hours before dinner is served. I like this method because I find the beans get a head start on cooking and cook up softer and faster than when overnight soaked. However, sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow for watching a pot boil, setting it aside, then cooking.

So here’s my new favorite way to cook dried beans:
Set it and forget it! Do not soak, just cook for 3-4 hours on high in the slow cooker. I discovered this rather by accident. I was researching different methods for this post: Soaking overnight then cooking in a pot, quick soaking then cooking in a slow cooker…and I mixed things up and threw 1 cup un-soaked, dried navy beans into the slow cooker with 4-5 cups low-sodium broth. 2 1/2 cups of soft, flavorful beans emerged after just 3.5 hours.

How to Cook Dried Beans |

Here are my three favorite dried beans to cook:

Navy beans – If you’ve never cooked dried beans, start with these. When cooked, they have a texture most similar to canned beans – super tender with soft skins. They also cook faster than almost any dried bean.

Garbanzo beans – My kids like these sweet, nutty bean classically used in hummus. If you eat a lot of hummus, compare the numbers: 3 cans of garbanzo beans (10.5 servings) for $3.87 vs. 1 bag (10 servings) for $1.29.

Pinto beans – I use these in chili or refried beans. If you cook in the slow cooker with an acid like tomatoes (as I do below) the beans with lose their color and turn white. But they are still delicious.

One note on ummm, flatulence: Pre-soaking beans helps remove most of the indigestible bean sugars that cause gas. So if you don’t pre-soak, just discard the broth used to cook the beans in the pot or slow cooker…OR eat beans MORE often so your body can develop more of the enzymes needed to digest beans: My kids (the daughters and son of a dietitian!) say that popular little ditty like this:

Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the LESS you toot….So let’s eat beans for every meal!

Here are 5 Tips to Deflate Flatulence (listed at bottom of the post.)

Salsa Burger Chili


  • 1 cup dried pinto or navy beans, pre-soaked for faster cooking
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jar (15 oz) salsa
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin


  1. Brown meat with onion in a large skillet; drain fat.
  2. Place dried beans, meat mixture, 1 cup water and all other ingredients in slow cooker.
  3. Cook on high for 5-6 hours for pre-soaked pinto beans (3-4 hours for navy beans), 6-7 hours for dried pinto beans (4-5 hours for navy beans) that have not been pre-soaked.
  4. ON THE STOVE WITHOUT A SLOW COOKER: Follow instructions above except cook on the stove on medium-low heat for 2-3 hours for pre-soaked beans.

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  1. I never remember to soak my beans overnight, so this is a great post :)
    Sues recently posted..Valentine’s Day Must-Haves 2014My Profile

  2. I always cook my beans from scratch! They taste SO MUCH BETTER than from a can. Not surprisingly.
    Joanne recently posted..Stuffed Cabbage with Ricotta and Pine NutsMy Profile

  3. “Beans beans. the more you eat the less you toot.” That hilarious! I used to babe a problem with white beans so I started to blend them and that solved the problem.
    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits recently posted..Gourmet Pizza with Ahh …mazing Cauliflower Pizza CrustMy Profile

  4. love this! i’ve just started making beans a lot in my slow cooker too… brilliant minds, you know?! but i’ve been cooking chicken bones overnight while the beans soak to make a fresh broth, then add the beans in the morning. nothing more comforting on a frozen night than a bowl of beans and hot cornbread!
    gretchen | kumquat recently posted..Texas Sheet CakeMy Profile

  5. I have never heard that discarding the pre-soaking liquid helps with GI disturbance! I love beans but my body doesn’t. I’ll definitely have to try this.
    Emily @theapronblog recently posted..Pistachio Pairings: Goat Cheese Stuffed Pepperazzi with Pistachio CrumbleMy Profile

  6. Love cooking beans in my crockpot. Just did garbanzo beans this afternoon for a dip, but my daughter and I snacked on them too.

  7. Wow, I do use the slow cooker for beans, but I always soak them overnight! This is a great tip. Thanks!
    Kelly @ The Pretty Bee: Cooking + Creating recently posted..Chocolate Pecan Granola.My Profile

  8. This is a terrific tip for cooking dried beans. Most of us are just not thinking ahead to the next day’s meal so we simply forget to soak. And canned beans not only cost more, some may be concerned about the BPA in the lining of most canned beans.
    Elizabeth @ Eating Local in the Lou recently posted..A Rainbow on a Plate: Blood Orange and Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and PistachiosMy Profile

  9. Lorelle says:

    I soak beans when I buy them, and then store them in the freezer in 1.5 cup bags. Then I have them already pre-soaked to add to dishes – they take no time to defrost.

    • Lorelle, that’s simply brilliant. I’ve never ever thought to soak ahead of time. So smart…that would make dry beans even an option for the 5-o-clock rush!

  10. I’ll have to try this! I too often realize that I’d forgotten to presoak beans by the morning I plan on using them. So I’ll have to try this no-soak process! Plus, I feel like they always take way longer to cook than expected when you presoak them (too many dinners w/ hard beans) 😉
    Rebecca @BeTrulyNourished recently posted..Weekly Nourishment February 16-20 + a new addition to the teamMy Profile

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