How to cook Dried Beans

Learn how to cook dried beans perfectly at home with this easy step by step tutorial.

How to cook Dried Beans like a pro | Step by step tutorial by Kavitha Ramaswamy of Foodomania.com

Want to learn how to cook dried beans from scratch and turn them into soft nutritional powerhouses? Follow this tutorial and cook beans at home – everyday! Get your daily source of protein from beans – a naturally healthy form!

In India, pressure cookers are a kitchen must have. You can make tons of simple, wholesome meals in them in no time! I’ve probably lost count of the number of uses of pressure cooker! From cooking rice to beans or one pot meals like pulao, we use the cooker every single day. Cooking dried beans is one of the best use of a pressure cooker. You can of course cook in a pot as well. However, IMO, pressure cookers make your life just a tad bit easier. We’ve never used the canned stuff – not because we are health conscious and prefer cooking our own beans. But because we just don’t find that kinda stuff in our supermarket. And since we cook beans and lentils and what not on an everyday basis, we just don’t find the process time consuming!  

The most important thing that you need to keep in mind while cooking beans is that they take time. Once they are on the stove, they can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 hours… depending on a lot of factors. The age of your beans, variety, and size can all affect the cooking time. One pound of dried beans can make about 5-6 cups of cooked beans, which is a lot for quick soups, curries, burritos, salads, and other quick meals all week long. They also freeze beautifully, ensuring delicious beans whenever you need them. So if you’re a busy bee, you could cook beans on a lazy weekend and freeze them up to use during the week!

How to cook Dried Beans in Pressure Cooker – Tutorial

Wash & Soak the beans for 6-8 hours. It is best to do it overnight. Soaking the beans helps accelerate the cooking process. Also, pre-soaking helps the beans cook more evenly and become completely tender all the way through.
How to cook Dried Beans like a pro | Step by step tutorial by Kavitha Ramaswamy of Foodomania.com

Add enough water to cover the beans and place it in the pressure cooker. (1 cup beans could take upto 3 cups of water)
How to cook Dried Beans like a pro | Step by step tutorial by Kavitha Ramaswamy of Foodomania.com

Close the lid and let it cook. How many whistles you need to cook depends on various factors – how soft you want the beans, the type of beans etc. Usually, beans like chickpea cook in 8-12 whistles while kidney beans take anywhere between 12-15 whistles (sometimes even more).
How to cook Dried Beans like a pro | Step by step tutorial by Kavitha Ramaswamy of Foodomania.com

Take some beans, mash and see if they are cooked to your desire texture. If yes, you can filter out the water and use as desired.
How to cook Dried Beans like a pro | Step by step tutorial by Kavitha Ramaswamy of Foodomania.com

You can add the cooked beans to a freezer friendly box and freeze them up to a month. However, I suggest you keep it in there upto a week only. It is always best to cook fresh.
How to cook Dried Beans like a pro | Step by step tutorial by Kavitha Ramaswamy of Foodomania.com

Important points to note while cooking dried beans –

  1. Soak the Beans: I am a firm believer in soaking the beans if you have the time. It does help trim down the cooking time a bit, but even more importantly, pre-soaking helps the beans cook more evenly and become completely tender all the way through.
  2. Keep the Beans at a Simmer: Bring the beans to a boil at the very beginning of cooking to bring everything up to temperature, but then you want to keep the beans at a very gentle simmer for the rest of cooking. You should barely see movement in the water. Along with pre-soaking, simmering the beans gently helps them cook evenly until tender, retain their shape without going smooshy, and keep their skins intact.
  3. Add Salt When Beans Are Just Barely Tender: Adding the salt at the beginning of cooking can sometimes prevent the starches in the beans from breaking down, so they’ll be a little over-firm even after long cooking. The best time to add the salt is when the beans are almost finished cooking. When they are tender enough to eat but still too firm to really be enjoyable (aka, al dente), add the salt
  4. Dry vs. Canned Amounts: One pound of dry beans makes about five cups of cooked beans, equivalent to about 3 cans of canned beans.
  5. Cooking Beans for Soup: If you intend to use your beans in a soup, it’s best to slightly under-cook them here and then finish cooking them in the soup itself.
  6. The Cooking Liquid: Don’t pour it down the drain! Unlike the slimy liquid from canned beans, this cooking liquid is full of flavor and good nutrients. Once you’ve scooped up all your beans, this liquid makes a great base for soups and quick sauces.

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