Quick Reference Bean Cooking Guide

Beans are a healthy, frugal staple in any kitchen pantry, yet there is often much confusion on how to prep and cook beans from their dried state. I put together a quick reference bean cooking guide for cooking the most popular bean varieties, including their recommended soak times. The cooking times listed below, are for STOVE TOP cooking in a saucepan.

Most beans require soaking overnight, or at least 6-8 hours. This helps to crack open their outermost shell, which aids in eliminating the unwanted gassy effects of consuming beans and is necessary for proper and thorough cooking of beans (legumes), as they are a food that cannot be eaten in their raw state. A common complaint from those new to preparing beans from their dried state, is that they didn’t cook properly. This typically means one of two things: you either didn’t soak the beans long enough; or the beans are too old. And, there is one bean variety (garbanzo – also called chickpea) that is best soaked for a full 24 hours before cooking, otherwise results are sub-par.

After soaking any bean ALWAYS thoroughly rinse with cool water and add fresh water to the cooking pot. Never cook the beans with their soaking water. After combining the beans, water and a generous pinch of sea salt into a sauce-pot, bring them to a boil over medium heat and let boil for 1 minute. Immediately reduce heat, cover and simmer for the recommended cooking times.

The following beans (legumes) require only a 30 minute soak:

Lentils (brown) 1 cup dry lentils to 3 cups water.

Cooking time: 30 minutes. Red lentils require less cooking time.

Split Peas 1 cup dry beans to 3 cups water.

Cooking time is 45-75 minutes.

Lima Beans 1 cup dry beans to 3 cups water.

Cooking time is 90 minutes.

The following beans (legumes) require an overnight soak (or at least 6-8 hours):

Black Beans 1 cup dry beans to 4 cups water.

Cooking time is 60-90 minutes.

Pinto Beans 1 cup dry beans to 3 cups water.

Cooking time is 2-2 1/2 hours.

Navy Beans 1 cup dry beans to 3 cups water.

Cooking time is 90 minutes.

Soybeans 1 cup dry beans to 4 cups water.

Cooking time is 3 hours.

Adzuki Beans 1 cup dry beans to 4 cups water.

Cooking time is 60-120 minutes.

Great Northern Beans 1 cup dry beans to 3 cups water.

Cooking time is 60-120 minutes.

The following beans (legumes) are best with a 24 hour soak:

Garbanzo Beans (also known as chickpeas) 1 cup dry beans to 4 cups water.

Cooking time is 2-3 hours.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina “The Veggie Goddess” Matthews