"$uper" frugal living. "$aving" money...one idea at a time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to: Soak, Cook, Measure and Store Dry Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit......  Ha...just kidding.

We've all heard of the "rice and beans" diet.  You know...what you eat when money is "tight".  Why?  Because it's cheap  frugal.  And...when combined, rice and beans make a complete protein...which is very important, nutritionally, if you are cutting back and/or out on animal proteins.  Plus...beans have lots of fiber.  Good for the body too.

Up 'til now I have been buying canned beans (which you can get for pretty cheap if you watch for good sales)...but, have discovered that cooking them myself is a whole lot cheaper (something about labor costs...he he).

It's really not as hard or time consuming as I imagined it to be...in fact, it's SUPER easy and not an inconvenience on my time at all.

So, I thought I would share what knowledge I have on the subject.  All in the name of $$ SAVING.

Quick tips:

-Most beans will rehydrate to triple their dry size so be sure to start with a pot large enough to accommodate.

-Rinse and sort, removing any rocks, dirt, or discolored beans.

-Before cooking, soak dry-packaged beans to help soften and return moisture to the beans and reduce cooking time.


Preferred HOT SOAK and QUICK SOAK methods - For each pound dry beans (2 cups), add 10 cups hot water; heat to boiling and let boil for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least one hour (quick soak) or up to 4 hours (hot soak).  One useful hint about hot soaking, is that it helps dissolve some of the gas-causing substances, making the beans easier to digest.

CROCKPOT METHOD-   Soaking not necessary; see instruction on how to cook below.

TRADITIONAL OVERNIGHT SOAK- For each pound dry beans (2 cups), add 10 cups cold water and let soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.


STOVE TOP- Drain soaking water and rinse beans; cook in fresh water (8-10 cups).  In general, beans take 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook depending on the variety.  Check bean packaging for specific cooking times and instructions.  To test if beans are done, bite-taste a few.  They should be tender, but not overcooked.

CROCK POT - Place rinsed (soaking not necessary) beans in the crock pot.  For every cup of dry beans place 4 cups water in the crock pot (1 lb, or two cups, will require 8-10 cups water), making sure the beans are completely covered.  Cook on high until tender (3-4 hours), or cook on HIGH for one hour, then turn to LOW and continue cooking overnight (6-8 hours).  To test if beans are done, bite-taste a few.  They should be tender, but not overcooked.

ADDING FLAVOR while cooking-  Spice up beans while they cook.  Seasonings such as garlic, onion, oregano, parsley or thyme can be added to the pot while beans are cooking.  Add acidic  ingredients, such as tomatoes, vinegar, citrus juices, only at the end of cooking, when the beans are already tender.

Add salt only after beans are cooked to tender.  If added before, salt may cause bean skins to  become impermeable, halting the tenderizing process.

COOLING - While cooling, keep beans in cooking liquid to prevent them from drying out.


Canned beans are a great convenience since they are already presoaked and precooked.  Always drain and thoroughly rinse canned beans before adding them to a recipe (a MUST in our house...does wonders for cutting down on flatulence).


Uncooked beans can be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry area.  If kept for more than 12 months, beans will lose moisture and may require longer cooking times.  However, their nutrient value is NOT lost with age.

Canned beans may be stored up to 12 months in their original sealed cans.

Cooked bean may be refrigerated in a covered container for up to five days and may be frozen for up to six months.


One 15 oz can of beans = one and one-half cups cooked beans, drained

One pound dry beans = two cups dry beans

One pound dry beans = six cups cooked beans, drained

One cup dry beans = three cups cooked beans, drained

Most of this information was provided to me by my mother...who got it from the American Dry Bean Board (www.americanbean.org).  I got help with the crockpot instructions from ehow.com.

Coming soon...recipe for Super Tasty (homemade and low-fat) Refried Beans


  1. Wow this is great info!!! But I'm is little confused about why there would be dirt and rocks in the beans before you rinse them??

  2. Even when you buy triple washed beans, sometimes you end up with still a little dirt and/or rocks. You also want to look for shriveled and discolored beans. So...it's just a precaution to make sure you are eating only the best of the best. :)

    I hope that answers your question MWSM. :)


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