How To: Cook Dried Beans from Scratch


Because they’re full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and deliciousness, we use beans all the time in our recipes. It’s fine to use beans from a can, but dried beans cooked from scratch are even tastier and less expensive. The method is the same for different kinds of beans, and all that changes is the cooking time.

kitchen gear

  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Slotted spoon
  • Pot holder


  • 1 pound dried beans


  • To cook dried beans, start with a pound of beans of your choice. Put them in a large pot and sort through them, tossing out any shriveled beans, little stones, or twigs.
  • Pour cold water into the pot so that the water comes up about 2 inches above the beans, then skim any stray bean skins or bits of stuff that float to the top. Depending on how much time you have, do one of these things: 1) Cover the pot and leave the beans to soak either overnight or all day while you’re at school or 2) Put the pot on the stove and set the heat to medium-high. When the water boils, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and leave it to soak for an hour.
  • Drain your soaked beans in the colander and cover them with fresh cold water.
  • Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. When the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to low, put the lid on the pot, and simmer the beans (cook to a very gentle boil) until they are tender but not falling apart. This can take anywhere from half an hour to 2 hours, depending on what kind of beans you have and how old they are. (Start testing the beans after they’ve been cooking for 30 minutes, and if they seem close, then taste one again in 15 minutes or so. If they don’t seem close, taste in 30 minutes.)
  • Once the beans are cooked, put them in the colander and rinse under cold water. Cover and refrigerate no more than two days.

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