How to Cook Dried Beans

How to Cook Dried Beans: Easy and freezer friendly! Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans (BPA free!) | natashaskitchen.com

Beans are easy to cook and they store beautifully in the freezer. Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans (think soup, Turkey Chili, Taco Salad Dip, Annie’s Salsa, Chicken Cream Cheese Chili,…). You’ll just be avoiding the BPA that’s associated with canned foods. Making your own is also very inexpensive.

Pick a day that you’ll be home anyways while these simmer away on the stove. My white beans cooked in 1.5 hours while my black beans took nearly 3 hours.

Cook time can really vary depending on size, variety and age. Cook until they reach your desired doneness. I cook two large pots of beans at once and they last me through Fall and Winter.

Read these Important tips before you get started:

1. Don’t mix varieties in one pot as different ones have different cooking times.

2. Use a heavy-bottomed pot for even cooking and heat distribution

3. Don’t use beans that have been in your pantry for the past 10 years. Buy fresh ones.

4. Be patient – don’t rush things by increasing the heat or you’ll end up with mush.

5. Keep them in their liquid until ready to serve. I freeze them in freezer safe bags in their liquid and drain only after thawing. This keeps them from shriveling up.

6. Use filtered water when soaking and cooking if you want the best flavor (particularly if you have stinky water)

7. Don’t be a bean; Pre-soak ‘yer beans (see step 1 below).

8. Thanks to some fantastic tips from readers, I’ve learned that cooking them in a slow cooker is a no-go because they have a toxin called phytic acid that needs to boil out or it will cause a rumbly in the tumbly (bad upset stomach).

P.S. I learned to cook ‘ma beans from The Kitchn and BonAppetit.

Ingredients for Home-cooked Beans:

2 lbs beans (black, white, or black-eyed, etc)
Filtered water
2 garlic cloves, pierced
1 small onion, halved or quartered (or the firm green parts from a leek)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp salt (I used sea salt)
5 1/2 Qt heavy-bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven)

How to Cook Dried Beans: Easy and freezer friendly! Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans | natashaskitchen.com

How to Cook Dried Beans on the Stove: 

1. Presoak beans in cold water overnight (10-12 hours). Place in a large pot or bowl and add enough filtered water to cover 2 inches over the surface (they soak up water like crazy and expand). Drain and rinse before cooking.

How to Cook Dried Beans-6

2. Return to a large pot and add garlic, onion and bay leaves, then add enough water to have 1″ water over the surface of your beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, adding more water as needed to keep them submerged. Skim off foam that rises to the top. For firmer results cook with the lid off, and for softer/mushier, cook partially covered.

How to Cook Dried Beans-7How to Cook Dried Beans: Easy and freezer friendly! Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans (BPA free!) | natashaskitchen.com

3. Start checking for doneness after about an hour. Once they are nearly done (al dente), add 1 1/2 Tbsp salt or to taste and continue cooking until at desired doneness (DO NOT DRAIN). Remove and discard onion, garlic, and bay leaves.

How to Cook Dried Beans: Easy and freezer friendly! Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans (BPA free!) | natashaskitchen.com

Freezing instructions:

Once they are at room temperature, transfer into freezer safe ziplock bags along with enough liquid to keep them wet. Remove any air from the bags seal well and stack them flat to save space in the freezer.

How to Cook Dried Beans: Easy and freezer friendly! Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans (BPA free!) | natashaskitchen.com

How to Cook Dried Beans

4.5 from 4 reviews
Beans are easy to cook and they store beautifully in the freezer. Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans.
Author:
Skill Level: Easy
Cost To Make: $4-$5
Serving: 10 cups cooked

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beans (black, white, or black-eyed, etc)
  • Filtered water
  • 2 garlic cloves, pierced
  • 1 small onion, halved or quartered (or the firm green parts from a leek)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ Tbsp salt (I used sea salt)

What you'll need:

  • 5½ Qt heavy-bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven)

Instructions

  1. Presoak beans in cold water overnight (10-12 hours). Place in a large pot or bowl and add enough filtered water to cover 2 inches over the surface (they soak up water like crazy and expand). Drain and rinse before cooking.
  2. Return beans to a large pot and add garlic, onion and bay leaves, then add enough water to have 1" water over the surface of your beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, adding more water as needed to keep them submerged. Skim off foam that rises to the top. For firmer beans cook with the lid off, and for softer/mushier, cook partially covered.
  3. Start checking for doneness after about an hour. Once they are nearly done (al dente), add 1½ Tbsp salt or to taste and continue cooking until at desired doneness (DO NOT DRAIN).

Freezing instructions:

  1. Once beans are at room temp, transfer into freezer safe ziploc bags along with enough liquid to keep them wet. Remove any air from the bags seal well and stack them flat to save space in the freezer.

Notes

My white beans cooked in 1.5 hours while my black beans took nearly 3 hours. Cook time can really vary depending on size, variety and age. Cook until they reach your desired doneness.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

 

How to Cook Dried Beans: Easy and freezer friendly! Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans (BPA free!) | natashaskitchen.com

How to Cook Dried Beans: Easy and freezer friendly! Home cooked beans can be used for any recipe that calls for canned beans | natashaskitchen.com

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • David
    January 14, 2018

    Tessa, When I do my beans I put everything in the water except the salt when soaking as well. I rinse very well then press my garlic, fine chop my onion, bay leaves and other seasonings except salt or something that has salt in it. Put my beans and water and put a lid on and let it soak until morning. Always checking to make sure you do not need to add more water. All beans obviously must be under the water line. When cooking to al dente then add salt or seasonings with salt, (cured pork) or other meats cooked drained and flavorful. Many say this is not a safe way but I have never gotten sick or gotten anyone else sick. My friends love my beans say they have more flavor than any others. I like them too. The information you have with all of your recipes are excellent. Thank you for all of your recipes and tips. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 15, 2018

      Thank you so much for sharing your method! Reply

  • Tessa
    May 4, 2017

    I can’t wait to try this. I would like to make this for my son’s graduation party. We are doing a taco bar. This might be a silly question, do you remove the garlic and onions before serving? Also. I’d like to make these two days ahead, can you help me with reheating suggestions. We will have the beans in large disposable aluminum foil pans that can be warmed in the oven and kept warm with the small heat cans. Thanks for your help. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 4, 2017

      Hi Tessa, it will be easier to serve if you remove the garlic, onions and bay leaf and I clarified that in the recipe :). Congratulations to your son! That is so exciting 🙂 Reply

      • tessa
        May 29, 2017

        I am sorry I missed that! I was looking at the recipe, not the pictures. Have you ever made this with pinto beans? Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          May 29, 2017

          Hi Tessa, no worries 🙂 I haven’t tried pinto beans so you might do a quick google search to see if the cook time is different. Reply

  • Natalie
    March 14, 2017

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial! I’ve made them and they truly are way better than canned beans! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 14, 2017

      I’m so happy to hear that! I love them too and feel so much better about putting home cooked beans in soups and other recipes for my kids Reply

  • Jaclyn
    March 14, 2017

    Question. So if I’m going to use the beans for a chili or soup in the crockpot and plan to leave that on for several hours, do I have to cook the beans before I use them for the chili? OR can I just do presoak part and then toss them in with the other stuff for my recipie? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 14, 2017

      I like to pre-cook them because they absorb a lot of water while cooking. I would suggest looking for a recipe that uses dried beans in chili and follow that method. Also, keep in mind that the lid should be partially (not full) covered and allow the beans to be boiled sufficiently to get rid of Phytic Acid. I learned from one of my readers that the Phytic Acid can cause bad digestive distress if the beans aren’t boiled (pre-soaking helps get rid of alot of the phytic acid as well) Reply

  • Ellen K
    January 26, 2016

    Hi Natasha,

    Have you tried using the Pressure cooker for this? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 26, 2016

      I haven’t but from what I’ve read, some beans need to be boiled sufficiently to get rid of Phytic Acid, so I’m not sure if a pressure cooker would be good for beans. You might do some google searching to see if anyone else has tried it. Reply

    • Yvonne
      November 5, 2017

      I always cook my beans in a pressure cooker (now an Instant Pot) without anyone in the family having any GI issues. I do not pre-soak but I do rinse well prior to cooking. Reply

  • October 20, 2015

    Used your method to cook and freeze small red beans today. I cooked my own beans previously but never thought of freezing them. Thanks for the idea and method 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 20, 2015

      That’s awesome!! Thanks Katya 🙂 Reply

  • Kathy
    September 28, 2015

    I have always been nervous to try cooking my own beans and now I feel foolish! That looks super-easy!
    Thanks Natasha! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 29, 2015

      It really is super easy. enjoy! 🙂 Reply

  • Lindsey
    September 24, 2015

    Thank you for posting this Natasha! I have never tried to cook dried beans, feels so intimidating lol, plus we don’t really eat beans much.. But! I know they are healthy and good source of protein! And your recipe looks yummy, can’t wait to try now that I know how to do it!! God bless you. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 24, 2015

      You’re so welcome 🙂 we use them mostly for soups and salsa. God bless you too! Reply

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