April 25, 2018
How to Cook Beans

Supermarket Buying Guide: Beans

How to Cook Beans

by Edward R. Blonz, Ph.D.  

Think that cooking beans is too complicated? Our four simple steps will help you make tasty and healthy beans without a lot of effort.

  • Sort and wash beans, discarding any that look shriveled or discolored and removing any pebbles.
  • To shorten the cooking time (and reduce gas-producing carbohydrates), soak the beans in water overnight—or at least 6 to 8 hours—changing the water at least once before cooking them. To reduce the soaking time to 1 to 2 hours, start with boiling water. In a hurry? No soaking is required for lentils, blackeyed peas or split peas.
  • Drain the beans and put them in a pot with fresh, unsalted water (salt can slow the cooking and make beans tough); add seasonings that suit your taste (such as cumin, garlic, oregano) or are in your recipe.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and keep the water at a simmer, not a full boil, to keep the beans from breaking up. Cook for 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the variety of bean. Most beans take about 90 minutes to cook if they have been soaked, 2 hours if not soaked. Black-eyed peas can be cooked in as little as an hour, while lentils and split peas are ready in just 30 to 45 minutes.

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