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Black Friday 2018

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How to Cook Dried Beans

95 Comments

How to cook dried beans from Hip2Save

Have you ever considered cooking dried beans instead of buying canned beans? Today, I’m sharing with you how easy and inexpensive it can be to do just that! Choosing to cook dried beans is not only budget-friendly but the end result are beans that taste awesome (and I love that you can control the amount of added sodium!). With the rising cost of meat, beans are such a frugal way to incorporate low fat protein and fiber into recipes.

Need more motivation to learn to cook dried beans? Check out the cost comparison in the image below! A can of beans averages about $1.29 and produces just 1.5 cups. In contrast, you can prepare about 6 cups of cooked beans for an average cost of $1.39. That is a HUGE savings!

dried vs. canned beans Hip2Save.com

How to Soak and Cook Dried Beans

Pour beans on a baking sheet and pull out any cracked, yucky looking ones, or even possible stones and dirt. Put beans into a colander and rinse well.

Soak beans overnight in a 5 quart sauce pan. Make sure to pour several inches of water in the pan because the beans will expand quite a bit. If your kitchen remains fairly cool in temperature, you can leave the beans out on the counter. If your kitchen is on the warm-side (or it’s summer time!), you may want to leave the beans in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, drain the beans and add fresh water. Place the pan on the stove and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer, covered with a lid for about one and two hours until they become tender (do not overcook or the beans can become too mushy). Season with salt and pepper.

Let the beans cool in the water and then drain and transfer to freezer bags if desired. I measured about a cup and a half per bag so each freezer bag is equivalent to a can of beans. The beans can be kept in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to six months.

How to soak and cook dried beans Hip2Save
Now it’s your turn! Get your beans ready for our upcoming Meatless Meals Series where I’ll be sharing with you 5 easy, frugal and delicious recipes that all call for beans as the main ingredient!

[h2s_box]Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime! To see all of Lina’s recipes created just for Hip2Save, click here.[/h2s_box]

Join The Discussion

Comments 95

  1. Rebe

    I am Costa Rican and we basically eat beans with every meal. My mom always adds bay leaves and garlic heads split in two for extra flavor while boiling them. They are delicious and so healthy! Thanks for the post! 🙂

    • Jennifer

      I’m from El Salvador and we also eat beans with almost every meal!….we also do half black and half red beans….and crema con queso fresco….yums! 🙂

      • Rebe

        Jennifer, what a colorful idea to mix the beans! I miss our queso fresco, it’s called turrialba and I havent found anything like it here.

        Adrienne, I agree with MJ, you can add any spice or herb your family enjoys. We use tons of cilantro for our beans, but some people cant stand even the smell of it! You can add a splash of A1 sauce or something similar. You can also smash them with a fork and add a bit of brown sugar. My mom also adds a cup of strong coffee at the end of the boiling process.

      • Gen

        Yay! Im salvadorian too! Can’t miss out on the beans in the pupusas!! =)

        • Jennifer

          Double yay Gen! And of course in the pupusas….or sopa de frijoles or frijoles molidos con platanos fritos!….OMG, now I’m really hungry….lol…

          • Gen

            Omg Jen!!! Yessssss ah!!! Plus im already pregnant and now talking about this?!?? Omg haha

            • Cecy

              I love all those dishes with frijoles.I just love to go to Margoth and sample all. I live in San Salvador.

      • lauren

        I love to use red and black beans together. I made a chilli from red beans, black beans, onions, peppers, bay leaf, salt pepper, and I added in the 33¢ sauce packs that Collin told us about at the dollar store. The family loved it. We are vegetarian so beans are pretty much in everything we eat.

    • adrienne

      Are bay leaves and garlic the only flavors you add? I love beans, but I seem to run out of ways to season them.

      • MJ

        Beans can be seasoned with nearly anything. Just experiment with different spice combinations till you find some you love. They don’t have a lot of flavor on their own to they take on the flavor of the spices you use. We also smash up beans with spices, quinoa/rice or other veggies to make our own “veggie burgers”.

        • MJ

          Oops…”so” they take on the flavor, not “to”.

    • ryan

      HOORAY..ive been a vegetarian for 15 years…your zesty quinoa is now a staple in our house…cant wait to see your new ideas!!! keep up the wonderful work!!!

    • kelli

      I just read a book about cooking beans. It told you not to add salt until the beans are tender or it will add to cooking time and tough beans. It also said you can add 2t salt to soaking liquid to season the beans.

    • Melanie

      Are there certain beans that taste better than others? Lina used black beans, but I was wondering if certain beans (red, pinto, navy, kidney, etc.) were used for certain recipes.

      • jenn

        I use pureed navy beans for replacements for some dairy (like cream cheese or sour cream) because they have a nice creaminess, but very neutral flavor. Most beans are very neutral though. Just add the spices you love to any color and they will taste great.
        I like to mix up the colors just to have some nice visual interest sometimes. 🙂

  2. jane

    As a vegan, it makes me happy to see you promoting beans as the protein. YAY!

  3. Dianne

    I agree with Jane. I put them in everything even spaghetti sauce. They are all around good for you and have been preparing them and freezing them like this for years so that I have every variety at my hands when I need them and just cook more when that type runs out. Thank you for this! YAY!!

    • Nina

      Hi Dianne, can you please share your spaghetti sauce recipe?

      • Dianne

        Nina I just add the cooked beans to the sauce and don’t do anything else. It just acts as a protein source instead of meat. I love black beans but have used garbanzo, small red, any kind really.

  4. Chits

    An easier way to cook is to put the soaked beans in a pressure cooker and steam it for 10-15 mins (until the cooker relieves pressure once or twice)

  5. Bridget

    I bake my beans. No soaking, just baking. Love beans! Lol

    • Michelle

      Could you elaborate what you mean? I hate waiting for them to soak. I’m curious if there is a way I could just cook them right away. Thanks.

      • Dianne

        You can speed up the soak cycle some by soaking in hot water. I put them in the pan and heat up the water on the stove until just hot to the touch and turn off the burner. Let soak for about an hour and then cook them.

      • Bridget

        I don’t soak them at all.
        I rinse them off and take out the bad looking ones.
        Put them in a tightly lidded pot that is oven safe. Season them with spices that are supposed to de-gas them. Put them on the stove with about 1.5 inches of water and bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Transfer the pot to the oven set at 250 and bake for 75 minutes.

        • maflies1

          What spices are good for helping to not cause gas? Thanking you so much for sharing.

          • Kim

            I too want to know, what spices are good for helping to not cause gas? Thanking you so much for sharing.

      • snappy

        my mother in law lives in mexico and makes beans everyday, she just cleans them and puts them in the crockpot with salt. she turns them on at night and in the morning they are done.

        • Carol

          I did the same thing with the crock pot and they came out mushy. I had them on the high setting. I guess I should put them on low. What does your mother in law set them on?

  6. LoveSaving

    Thank you much for this post Lina! You have given me the push I needed to use dry beans.
    I recently discovered the organic canned beans I had been purchasing were coming from China…….no thank you. The country of origin was not labeled on the can, so I contacted the retailer who was able to verify through the supplier. I was amazed. I have two concerns with food products from China. First, the track record and secondly, China is known for falsifying documents to have their product certified organic. So buyer beware.
    I found organic dried beans grown in the US at my local health-food store. Excited to give this a try. We love beans at our house.

  7. Kate

    I make them ALL the time!! The best refried beans ever I did same as u except put em n crock pot w/some pork (or ham bone) when they r done cook up bacon & add 3-4T of the grease 2 beans, mix put in food processor until like mashed potatoes (most important part) & SO GOOD!

    • Suzanne H

      I do the same but without the meat. An immersion (stick) blender works wonderfully to get the “refried beans” texture! I use it for my crock pot apple butter as well.

  8. kaleena

    How do you thaw them? I like to use kidney beans straight out of the can for taco salads but everytime I freeze the extra from a can and try to defrost them in the microwave I end up cooking them and then they don’t work for our taco salads.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Take them out and place in fridge over night or just run hot water over the bag in the sink.

      • RF

        off topic I received $5 off $50 or more purchase digital coupon from kroger & $3 off glade plugins starter kit coupon from Right @home. Plz check your emails:)

    • Dianne

      Kaleena, as an alternative, I freeze cooked beans in left over plastic containers, then put in microwave on high for just long enough to break them up and then use as much as I need for that recipe. Or you could do it in the microwave on a defrost setting. Experimentation helps to find the right time and temperature that works for the container you use. They stay frozen enough so that the container can be put back in the freezer but will thaw quickly when I add them to whatever I am cooking.

      • Dianne

        Oh and as an alternate method you could place the cooked, cooled beans on a cookie sheet and freeze them there, then put them in the container of your choice. I do this with other items as well and makes for taking out portions easier from a plastic bag. Sometimes it just takes a smack on the counter to “loosen” them.

      • Tanya

        I do the same thing, Dianne! I use empty margarine bowls for my containers, usually, LOL.

  9. Gina S

    Just wanted to add that if you cook the beans in a pressure cooker, you can save a lot of time. In one whistle, the beans are done. I think it would probably take 15 minutes in whole. So if you do have soaked beans ready, you can whip up the whole dish in minutes.

  10. Nik

    Does the same process apply to a smaller batch? I don’t have a freezer and it’s just me so I would hate to make a huge batch for them just to go bad. Any recommendations appreciated.,

    • Dianne

      Absolutely, just make enough to put in your refrigerator freezer assuming you do have that but if you don’t just do 1/2 cup of dried beans at a time, that will just about triple in size so you will end up with as much as a can of beans would yield.

  11. irene

    I batch-cook beans for the freezer all the time. It’s even more effortless in a crockpot. After soaking, cook on high for about 4-5 hours. Remember to salt AFTER cooking because it inhibits the cooking process in beans.

    In addition to seasoning with garlic and bay leaves as another poster commented, onions, cumin and canned chipotle adds a Mexican kick. Also, you could use salt-free chicken stock instead of water.

    • Erin

      I always soak my dried beans in salted water overnight. It gives them that creamy texture of canned beans.

  12. Susan

    My husband really decided to go Vegan so I can’t wait to see the Upcoming Meatless Meals Series for some ideas:)

    • Susan

      I meant “recently decided” LOL

      • Patty

        You decided emphatically 🙂

  13. NESS

    WHEN WE USE PINTO BEANS WE PUT TWO PIECES OF UNCOOKED BACON WHILE IN A CROCK POT TO GIVE IT MORE FLAVOR.

  14. Lindak

    We use beans all the time too. I make cuban style black beans in the crockpot and my husband uses chickpeas for soup, cold salad and to make hummus. We prepare our beans mostly in the pressure cooker. I can’t remember the last time I bought a can of beans!

  15. Nikki

    My grandma loves making a black bean dessert dish. She adds coconut milk a can and sugar to taste. It’s delicious! She also adds taro or tapioca from the Asian market if it’s for a a special occasion. She likes it just with plain coconut milk and sugar. Yummy and easy dessert!

  16. dek

    Im Indian and i would suggest investing in a pressure cooker..this process can be reduced to 10 min actual cooking time.

  17. Tania

    I make beans all the time. I make it in a pressure cooker and it takes only 15 minutes.

    • Andrea

      Does it matter how much water you put in the pressure cooker with the beans? Is this after they’ve soaked too?

  18. pregorealdeal

    This is also an excellent way to avoid canned foods which have preservatives and many studies show that the chemicals in the can leak into your food. I made the switch years ago and never buy anything out of a can.

  19. adrienne

    Any suggestions for easy bean recipes that can serve as main dishes?

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Stay tuned next week we’ll have four plus one dessert! 🙂

  20. meena

    hi
    i am a vegan and i use all kinds of beans red,black, chick peas name it everthing. i get a big pkt soak half over night, next morning just boil in pressure cooker with some salt, that’s it. i store in rubbermaid boxes in my freezer, whenever i want to use it, remove and keep out for couple of hrs before. i never get store brand.

    2. i saute onions,tomatoes, carrot,celery whatever vegetable u like add everything cook for sometime then add the choice of beans, u can have it look soup with beans and vegetables or eat with rice or tortias or eat plain also.

    btw this is the wrong place to post i know i m new to this site also, kmart has a clearance of valentine 90% off, huge selection i m in PA. just an info

  21. Tera @ Adventures in Mommy-hood

    When I cook beans on the stove I either undercook them or burn them EVERY time! Sometimes I’ve got some undercooked and some burned in the same batch! (I’m talented that way). When I cook them in the slow cooker, they turn out mushy, so I cook my beans by pressure canning them! They go into the jars raw and come out cooked. Now I’ve got ready-cooked beans for all my recipes, and they don’t take up freezer space. Here’s how I do it: http://bluefield5.blogspot.com/2013/08/pressure-canning-dry-beans.html

    • Erin

      I feel you today! I fell asleep while cooking my black beans today. They’re pretty mushy. Good thing I’m making black bean burritos. 🙂

      • Dianne

        Be careful…my SIL rented out her house to someone who’s 80 year old mother came to visit, put beans on to cook, fell asleep, and burned the house down. True story.

  22. Debby

    I always have black beans soak in water and lime juice squeezed in over them overnight. then the next day after rinsing them I add chicken stock and enough water to cover them….throw in a whole onion peeled and cut in half…about 8 cloves of garlic smashed (or diced) and about a half a jalapeno chopped up and let them simmer for about 6 hours. Then I add a touch of salt and a half a cup of salsa and let them go another hour…and they are perfect! They work great to mix with scrambled eggs to make breakfast burritos..to mix with chopped chicken breast for a quick lunch of protein…

    • Leighton

      Mix with eggs… Love this idea!

  23. Linsey

    It’s nice to see something that doesn’t have meat in it! I am also a vegetarian. We eat black beans ALL the time and I always buy canned. But, I have wondered how to do it this way. Thank you sooo much for the post and for everybody’s else’s idea! Favorite post of the day! 🙂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Yeah, thanks Linsey 🙂

  24. Renee

    Yay! Can’t wait to see the recipes!

  25. Barbara

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this or not…I only had time to skim the post… But I have a secret to shorten dry bean cooking time without soaking. You can add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water.

  26. marlene

    i love mayocopa beans or peruvian beans they are delicious i can count on 1 hand the number of times ive used can beans mainly just for 7 layer dip. I cook beans once a week on monday and they last all week i make various dishes with them we try to cut out meat but we do have beans and rice

  27. Maria

    I’m Pakistani and we sauté half an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic until brown, add two tomatoes (diced) and stir occasionally until the tomatoes become into a paste, add spices (1 teaspoon each of turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, or to taste)…add the beans (3/4 cup), cooked and cover the beans with water. If the beans are not cooked, you would still cook the same way, add water, just about three inches more up the wall of the pot. Let the water boil down until the beans are soft, or add more water if you like beans mushy (like I do). I cut a little cilantro on top with a squeeze of lemon…delish!

    • Maria

      By the way, it’s the same process for any beans, not just black beans. Definitely play up the ingredients to your liking! Serve with naan or tortillas and a spoon or two of yogurt on the side 🙂

  28. Julie

    We eat refried pinto beans a lot. The canned kind reminded me of dog food. I have a recipe where I just rinse the beans and cook all day in my crockpot with water, onion, and some spices! I blend with my hand blender when they are done and freeze in glad containers. So easy to pull out and heat u!

  29. Tanya

    Lina, this is such a timely post! Tonight, I am actually making bean and rice burritos out of some leftover pinto beans I had in the freezer. I usually make mine in the slow cooker so we can enjoy beans and cornbread for supper when the hubby and I get home from work! Our family of three always has leftovers from a one pound bag. For my burritos, I cook about a cup of rice (two cups after cooked) and then add a cheap packet of taco seasoning (usually 2 for 1.00 at Kroger) and however much water it specifies to the rice as if it was ground meat. While it simmers, I thaw my container of beans in the microwave and then transfer them to a skillet to “re-fry” them in a little veggie oil. Simply fill soft tortillas (got mine at Dollar Tree) with some seasoned rice, beans, shredded cheese and a spoonful of salsa (again…Dollar Tree). Roll up and place in a 9 by 13 baking dish (holds 10). Serve with a side of buttered corn, some chips & salsa, and garnish with a little shredded lettuce and more cheese. Yummy and super cheap, filling meal!!

  30. Debbie

    any tips on making them less of a “musical fruit” if you know what I mean? ; )
    my mom always does extra rinsing after the first boil

    • Dianne

      I’ve heard different things over the years, don’t cook them in the same water you soak them in, use baking soda which I think changes the flavor so I just have fun with it. They affect me more than my husband so I take charcoal on those days with the beans when I eat them, that helps. You know those free charcoal pills we got at Walgreen’s last fall. ;o)

      • jenn

        Using the different soak and cooking water is supposed to help. I take probiotics which helps me. When I forget to take them, I notice a difference. Anyways, try different soaking and cooking waters and see if that helps.

  31. Maria

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve always been intimidated by the process. I’ll try this next weekend.

  32. Diana

    I love beans!!! I put pinto beans in the crockpot all day with onion and salt to taste. I split them up in the freezer and use them for different meals

  33. Paulina

    The reason you MUST soak beans at least overnight (10-12 hrs) is so that the beans release the anti-nutrients (a natural toxin in the bean) and after you drain them, you must always rinse them thoroughly to get rid of the toxins, then you go ahead and cook them whatever process you would like. It is VERY important that you soak them or even better, sprout them, otherwise all the nutrients contained in the beans will not be absorbed by your body and you will be ingesting the toxins and well we all know that is not good.

  34. Rosario Diaz Gonzalez

    In Puerto Rico, at any given time most women have the beans soaking in water for the next day’s meal. My mom kept up the custom when we moved here in the mid sixties. While soaking both added an herb called RECAO (Culantro, an herb native to Mexico, Central, and South America, has a strong, aromatic scent that fills the air when you brush up against it. This easy-to-grow herb has many culinary uses in Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian cuisine. It is also very popular in Panama, Puerto Rico, and other Latin-influenced areas. Although used in small amounts, its very strong flavor is used as a seasoning in a wide range of foods, including meats, vegetables, and chutneys. It goes by many names: long coriander, false coriander, recao (Spanish), langer koriander (German), ngo gai (Vietnamese), pak chi farang (Thai), and bhandhanya (Hindi). Like its close relative cilantro, the plant tends to stretch tall and go to seed in the lengthening days of spring. While culantro and cilantro look different, the leaf aromas are similar, although culantro is stronger. Grown as an annual, it is actually biennial in areas warm enough to let it overwinter.) Soaking the beans allowing cooking to be faster and adding the recao gives them an additional amazing flavor. Although I love my customs, I put the beans with water, recao and other seasonings into my crock pot and cook them overnight sometimes longer because I love my beans soft…

    • Dawn

      Sounds delicious! I would love to know the details of your recipe. Which spices and how much, quantity of dried beans, and cooking time/heat level in the slow cooker. Thank you!

  35. CW

    I am completely new to this and my grocery budget is $20/wk for two people. I have never cooked beans and don’t have freezer space. No idea what kind to buy or portions for two. Any suggestions or guidance from Lina or anyone else would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    • Bridget

      I usually buy half a pound of black, 1/2 lb of red, 1/2 lb of pinto. Each 1/2 lb makes about 2.5-3 cups cooked. They don’t take up any room in the freezer really for me. I pour them in a freezer bag and squeeze the air out. Lay the bag down flat and it freezes that way. HTH

      • CW

        Thanks that is a good starting point. No clue how much to buy!

    • jenn

      I too have lack of freezer space, and cook for two. The great thing about beans is that you can have them whole, so smash them up for re fried beans. You can keep them in the fridge for several days. If you use different spices, you can make them taste different. Add chili flavors one day (cumin, chili powder, onion, garlic, etc) or add Italian seasonings another (onion, garlic, basil, oreganeo).

      I normally cook half a pound in a crock pot at a time, and depending if we have meat with the meal or not, they can last for a few meals. Rice also goes great with beans, which is very cheap. I get the 1 pound brown rice at my grocery store for 77 cents, and it makes a lot of rice, plus has more fiber and a nice, slightly nutty taste. It does take 50 minutes to cook, but I make a bunch up, put it in the fridge, and then use it as filler with a little bit meat, veggies, cheese, and/or beans. 🙂

      • CW

        Awesome! I’m a crockpot person. I think between the two of you responding I’ve now got the courage to try this. Cooking beans (non-canned) has always intimidated me. Thanks.

  36. Joanna

    I cook them in the crock pot it only takes 5 hours on high and no soaking. I just rinse and cover with water about 2 inches of water above the beans, Garlic powder, a little chicken broth powder and some Mexican seasoning. I do the same with pinto beans.

  37. Melanie

    I tried to read if there were any posts regarding my question and this might sound funny to ask, but how do you make them “refried” (meaning all mushed up and smooth)? After you cook them, do you just puree them?

    • jenn

      When I want to make them really creamy, I puree them in the blender or food processor. Otherwise I just use a potato masher or fork to just break them up, if I want them more chunky.

  38. julie

    I use a pressure cooker to cook beans and lentils. if you forget to soak overnight just use a quick soak method. Do not add salt until the beans cook or the salt will toughen the beans. in addition don’t add your acidic food t
    o the beans for same reason. Enjoy adding various seasoning for wonderful flavors.

  39. rosana

    I use the pinto beans, and add some green and red bell peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro and sometimes use rosemary. eat it with fresh cheese (quedo fresco)

  40. AnnaC

    Thank you Lina!This is just what I needed! My husband and I want to limit the amount of can foods in our pantry. I only know how to cook canned beans and was dreading getting the dried beans because of all yhe extra prep time . But this post was super helpful! 🙂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      You’re welcome Anna! It’s pretty easy!

  41. Mary

    An even easier method is to put the bag of beans in a slow cooker and cover with 2 inches of water and set on low and 6 hours later, you have cooked beans. I do wash and pick through but no soaking and super easy.

  42. Veronica

    I make my own beans all the time and I do the same prep but I cook them in the slow cooker 🙂 on low all night. Place beans in then fill about 1″ of water above them I throw in a whole onion garlic, black pepper

    • Jesse

      You just answered my question! Was wondering how to do this, crock-pot style 🙂 thanks!

  43. Angie

    I am a beginner cook and am not doing that great so far. When a recipe says “season to taste” I am totally clueless. So, if I cook a 2 pound bag of pinto beans, using the above cooking instructions, how much salt and pepper should I add?

  44. Eileen

    Crock Pot:
    Rinse beans.
    Pour beans into crock pot and add enough water to cover beans an additional 2 inches.
    Let beans soak for 6 hours or overnight. DO NOT turn crock pot on.
    Drain and rinse beans. …
    Cook on low for 8 hours.
    When beans are cool you can package them in zip lock bags. …
    These freeze beautifully.

    Pressure Cooker:
    1 pound dried beans
    8 cups water
    Black beans: 20 to 25 minutes
    Black-eyed peas : 20 to 25 minutes
    Great Northern beans: 25 to 30 minutes
    Navy beans: 25 to 30 minutes
    Pinto beans: 25 to 30 minutes
    Cannellini beans: 35 to 40 minutes
    Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): 35 to 40 minute

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