Cooking Beans in Five Steps

Buying dried beans in bulk and cooking them yourself will save you money and make you feel like a boss in the kitchen. I recommend trying a few different varieties and cook them all on the same day. In the world of nutrition this is called “batch cooking” and it’s going to change your life.

Cooking beans is far less intimidating than you might think. There are dozens of charts you will find on pinterest that will tell you down to the hour how long beans should be soaked and cooked. I think the process can be more streamlined and simplified with five easy steps. It doesn’t matter what legume you choose the process will always be the same. The only thing that varies is the cooking time.



Put your beans in a pot or a bowl and blast them with water. You will start to see little particles and debris coming to the top. The beans will stay closer to the bottom so you should be able to dump out the dirty water and the random crap that surfaces. Then blast it again. This time swish your hands through the beans and water. Dump that water. Repeat this process until the water is clear.


For soaking it’s important to choose a pot or bowl that is double the size of your wet beans. Put the beans in the pot and cover it with a generous amount of water (3+ inches). Leave this pot to sit overnight or up to 24 hours. Essentially you are sprouting your legumes in this step. If you skip this step it will take a much longer time to cook the beans. Feel free to add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the water to help break up the phytic acid beans – don’t fret if you don’t add this to the lot.


You let those suckers set and not it’s time to rinse. Get rid of that nasty soaking water including the added acid. Rinse thoroughly under water.


Kombu is nutritious sea vegetable that will make beans be more digestible = less gas. Kombu contains the enzyme glutamic acid which helps break down the raffinose sugars in beans (the gas producing stuff we can’t digest). It is also a good source of calcium and iron and is crazy rich in iodine. You can buy dried kombu at health food stores and Asian markets. If you store kombu in a dry place this seaweed can last for a long time. Add a four inch strip to your cooking pot and watch that baby expand. You can keep it in and eat it or remove it as soon as you are done cooking your beans. Beware, if you don’t want little bits of seaweed all throughout your beans know that kombu will break down after being in water for a couple of hours.


I wish there was a secret time map that told you how long it will take your beans to cook. The size of your beans, their age, the variety, and your stove temp are all varying factors. Cooking beans will give you chance to practice a healthy dose of patience. This is why I like to cook all my beans for the week on Sunday when I’m tinkering around the house. Pick a time to cook your beans when you can check the pot every so often to see how things are coming along.

Put beans in the pot and add enough water to cover the beans by an inch or two.  Bring the pot to a boil on medium-high heat. Important step: bring the water down to a simmer. I know it’s tempting to have the beans at a roaring boil to speed up the cooking process. However, this will make your beans mushy on the outside by splitting the skins and the beans will lose their shape. Remember that patience thing?

Let these babies simmer for almost an hour before checking them. If you taste one and it seems done make sure to stir the batch. Beans can be little liars so make sure to take a couple of different samples before determining if the batch is done. The best time to add salt is when the beans are almost finished. If you add salt at the beginning it will prevent the starches in the beans from breaking down. Also avoid adding tomatoes, vinegars, or lemon to your beans – this will take forever to cook.

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Does this all sounds like a pain in the ___? Read this link lust from about Chef Russ Parsons genius discovery of cooking beans in the oven.

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