Cooking Beans 101

Christopher Kimball Blog

What do I need to know about soaking and cooking dried beans?

Through the years, we’ve waffled back and forth about the best way to cook dried beans. Admittedly, we haven’t been consistent: some recipes specify that the beans be soaked before cooking, others do not. Our recommendation? Follow the recipe. Each has been specifically developed for soaked or unsoaked beans and should be prepared accordingly.

Soaking Water
So that being said, for recipes that do soak the beans, we typically recommend a long soak—eight hours to overnight. Quick soaking, or bringing the beans to a boil and allowing them to sit for an hour or two before draining and proceeding with the recipe, works fine at rehydrating the beans, though it can rob the beans of some of their nutritional value (see below).

In recent testing, we’ve found that soaking dried beans in mineral-rich; hard tap water can toughen…

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