How to Soak and Cook Dried Beans {how-to}

Dried Beans before and after soaking overnight

The only solution to “I can’t blog” …

Is to fucking blog.

Even if I just post a single photo.
Even if I just post a trainwreck of thoughts.
Even if I just post a 10,000 word incomprehensible, nonsensical rant about nothing.

I am going to post every day (for the rest of) this month.

If it kills me.

Dried White Cannellini Beans

Dried White Cannellini Beans
I probably should have read the entire paragraph on soaking dried beans in The Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary edition!). At least the part that says “in 3 to 4 times as much water.”

Then I wouldn’t have ended up with a measuring cup almost overflowing with half-soaked beans, tragically disfigured by the slow expansion of their collective beany flesh into a space entirely too small for them. I played a long, tiring game of Operation with a pair of chopsticks to pull each packed bean out of the cup without compromising its existence.

The beans reconstituted to their full, perfectly bean-figured forms after an additional soak in the correct amount of water.

Dried beans were an experiment in two things for me.

Would I have the patience to soak dried beans? (Yes.)

Aaand I forget the second one.

Size Difference, Dried Bean vs. Soaked Beans

Dried Beans: size difference between dried and soaked

How To Soak and Cook Dried Beans

from The Joy of Cooking, page 253


dried beans


Soak dried bans overnight in 3 to 4 times as much water as beans. Remove any that float.

If time does not allow for soaking, use the Quick Soak Method

Quick Soak Method

Cover beans with cold water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, tightly covered, 1 hour. Before cooking, drain and discard the soaking liquid.

To Cook Dried Beans

Bring them just to a boil in water to cover generously, Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until tender.

Cooking Times and Additional Tips:

  • Chickpeas are usually the toughest of the lot and may take up to 3 hours simmering.
  • Dried limas, after soaking, and lentils, which don’t require soaking, may cook in as little as 30 minutes.
  • 1 cup of dried beans, peas, or lentils will expand to 2 to 2½ cups after cooking.
  • Do not add tomatoes, citrus, vinegar, molasses, or any other acidic ingredients until near the end, after the beans are tender; acid, like salt, prevents the beans from softening.

Using Canned Beans:

  • Canned beans can be substituted in recipes that call for cooked beans, though they may be softer and less flavorful.
  • Since brands vary in quality, it is worth comparing different ones.
  • Rinsing canned beans may improve the taste and remove excess salt. Put the beans in a colander and run cold water over them, then drain well.
  • For 2 cups cooked beans, you will need a 19- to 20-ounce can. Fifteen or 16-ounce cand hold 1½ to 1¾ cups of beans.
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