Soak Beans Overnight

Always clean and soak your legumes overnight. The next morning rinse, add water and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes then lower the heat to medium and let it cook. It cooks well. Don't add salt while it is boiling, because its delays the cooking process.


By Dorty from SA

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October 6, 20090 found this helpful

I saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen where they tested the soaking/salt/beans theory and they came up with something new that I've tried and am very pleased with. So they get the credit.

You do soak the beans for at least a few hours, overnight is best, but you soak them in salt water, like 2-3 tablespoons to 1 pound of dry beans and water to cover by a few inches.

Then rinse them thoroughly over and over.

Put beans in a pot of fresh unsalted clear water, and cook. They don't seem to need quite as long as with no salt anywhere in the process, I've tried cooking with salt and it does make for tough beans, which is probably where the saying came from. The salt in the soaking process seems to hydrate the skins so you don't feel them so much. The beans are tender and not hard.


When cooked, just finish your recipe as you normally would. I've made 3 batches of chili using this method, and for texture, were my best ever.

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October 6, 20090 found this helpful

I hate to disagree, but I've never had any luck when I soaked beans overnight. Every single time I did, the skins would come off of the beans and the dish would look like a mess. I tried for years and then I stopped cooking beans because I couldn't get the skins to stay on and it looked gross.

Then a Latino woman I worked with gave me this recipe for cooking any kind of bean and it always works:

1. Rinse and pick over the beans and take out the wrinkled ones, broken ones, search for stones. Rinse the beans really well until the water runs clear.


2. I usually cook about 1/2 pound to 1 pound of beans at a time, but you don't have to in order to make this recipe work. Put the beans in a large pot and add COLD water (not ice water, just cold tap water) until the water is about 2-3 inches above the beans.

If you see any beans that are wrinkled etc. rise to the top when you add the water, take them out of the pot at this point. My Latino friend said not to add salt to the water; she said it makes the beans tough. Add salt and seasonings as mentioned below.

3. Start the beans on medium high/high until they start to boil. I always add a dried bay leaf whenever I cook beans, so add it now if you want to.

4. When water starts to boil, add 2 HEADS of garlic. Not garlic pieces, but the entire head of garlic. I know it sounds weird, but this will completely remove any, sorry to be so frank, gassy effects one usually gets when eating beans.


Don't worry; the papery part of the head of garlic won't come off in the cooking. Also, the beans will not taste of garlic at all.

5. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer. I start adding my spices and salt now.

6. If the water starts to evaporate too quickly, add boiling water to the pot. Not warm, not hot, but boiling water.

Start with small amounts of water. I fill a tea kettle ahead of time to keep the water boiling ready to add when I have to add it.

7. The beans will cook in much less time using this method so make sure you test your beans occasionally. I start tasting at around 15-20 minutes after I start simmering them.

8. About 20 minutes before they're finished cooking you can start adding your chopped vegetables and salt and seasonings.

Remember the beans cook faster with this method. When I cook 1 pound of beans, they usually take 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours to cook, much shorter than most recipes recommend.


9. When your beans are finished cooking and your vegetables are finished cooking, remove the two heads of garlic and the bay leaf.

NOTE: I always taste my beans as they're cooking - once it's time to add the salt and seasonings. I add more as needed.

I know, I know it's a weird recipe. I was a non-believer too until I tried it, but now it's the only way I cook beans. The skins stay on and the beans look like they came out of a can; perfect.

Don't use this recipe with lentils though because lentils cook so quickly anyway.

I hope you try it and become a believer!

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