How to Store and Cook Dried Beans
Do you have a bag of dried beans in your pantry and you have been avoiding cooking them because you weren’t sure how? Well, let go of the uncertainty! We have put together all the information you need to know about storing and preparing dried beans with confidence.
Store dry beans in a cool, dry place and avoid high temperatures and high humidity to maintain freshness. Store unused dry beans in a resealable plastic bag or tightly covered, non-metal container for up to one year. Store cooked beans in a covered container that is not made from metal in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Also try storing cooked beans in smaller one to two cup portions, for ease of use in recipes. For more information about how long it is safe to store foods, visit the FoodKeeper App.
Below are the basic steps to preparing dried beans. The steps include sorting, rinsing, soaking and cooking. You have the option of choosing one of three different soaking methods that will best fit the amount of time and attention you have to soak dry beans.
- Spread dry beans on a clean kitchen towel to remove small stones, dirt, damaged, or shriveled beans before cooking.
- Place beans in a strainer and rinse several times under cold running water. Once beans have been sorted and rinsed, they need to be soaked before cooking using one of the methods described in the table below. Dry peas and lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. It is important to remember that dry beans will absorb water while they soak, so make sure to use a large pot with extra room to allow them to expand.
Hot Soak Quick Soak Overnight Soak Recommended Fastest Easiest Step 1 Place one pound (2 cups) of dry beans in a large pot with 10 cups of water. Place one pound (2 cups) of dry beans in a large pot with 6 cups of water. Place one pound (2 cups) of dry beans in a large pot with 10 cups of water. Step 2 Heat to boiling for 2 to 3 minutes. Boil for about 2-3 minutes. Cover, refrigerate, and soak for 6-8 hours or overnight. Step 3 Remove from heat, cover, and let beans soak for 4 hours. Remove from heat, cover, and soak for at least 1 hour. Step 4 Drain beans and discard water. Drain beans and discard water. Drain beans and discard water. Step 5 Rinse soaked beans with fresh, cool water before cooking. Rinse soaked beans with fresh, cool water before cooking. Rinse soaked beans with fresh, cool water before cooking.
Source: USDA. Bean Basics: A Toolkit on How to Use Beans. April 2020.
- Place rinsed beans in a large pot with 6 cups of fresh water and bring beans to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Cook beans according to the table below or on the package. Start checking the doneness of beans after about one hour.
When cooking beans, add herbs and spices as desired for added flavor. Do not add salt or acidic ingredients (such as tomatoes) to beans during cooking as it will slow the cooking process. Beans may be simmered with other ingredients in a crockpot after they have been cooked and are tender.
|Black Beans||1½ – 2 hours|
(No soaking required!)
|½ to 1 hour|
|Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)||½ to 1 hour|
|Cranberry||¾ to 1 hour|
|Great Northern Beans||¾ to 1 hour|
|Jacob’s Cattle||1-2 hours|
(dark and light red)
|Dark Red: 1½ to 2 hours
Light Red: 1 to 1½ hours
|Large Lima Beans
|1 to 1½ hours|
|Navy Beans||1½ to 2 hours|
|Pinto Beans||1½ to 2 hours|
|Yellow Eye||1-2 hours|
Source: U.S. Dry Bean Council. Bean Varieties.
One cup of dry beans will make two to three cups of cooked beans, and one pound of dry beans (2 cups) will make about six cups of cooked beans. One drained, 15 ½ ounce can of beans equals 1 ¾ cup of cooked dry beans. Try some of our favorite bean recipes from the Food and Health Recipe page and substitute the canned beans with the beans you have cooked. Remember, you can cook your dry beans ahead of time and freeze them for later use just as you would use canned beans. Freeze cooked beans in freezer grade containers in 1 cup and 2 cup amounts and thaw in the refrigerator before use.
- FoodKeeper App
- USDA. Bean Basics: A Toolkit on How to Use Beans. April 2020.
- U.S. Dry Bean Council. Bean Varieties
- Food and Health Recipe page
By Kate Yerxa, Extension Professor and EFNEP Coordinator