How To Cook Dried Beans Four Different Ways

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Do you love to cokk dried beans? I’ve been wanting to talk about how to cooking dried beans four different ways for some time now. There is something awesome about a pot of beans simmering on the stove. You can flavor so many kinds of beans with different seasonings, and the magic of several new meals begin. I grew up eating beans and made pinto beans into mashed beans to fill burritos to freeze in bulk with my daughters. I must admit right here that ONCE I missed a chunk of dirt, it must have been very small but big enough that it took one of my daughters years before she would eat refried beans again. Yep, she bit into a burrito with a chunk of dirt. I know we need to open the bag and spread the beans out and check for rocks, debris and small chunks of dirt. Dang, I missed a chunk! Anyway, just giving you the heads-up to look through the bags of beans you decide to soak or not soak before cooking them. Today, when I made these beans I found a 1/4 inch rock, this is why I use a mesh strainer to inspect my beans before I soak or cook them.


I love storing beans in my pantry and food storage because they are nutritious, hearty, versatile and inexpensive. When fall comes, I immediately think of chili served with cornbread. I make chili with white beans, red chili beans, or a combination. Man, my mouth is watering just thinking about a pot of chili. Here’s the deal about beans, if they are really old, as in 25 years old, that were stored in big cans (mine were green) then they may not have the food value we would all like after that many years. BUT, they would fill the belly, and if you have a pressure cooker you may be able to cook those old hard, and I mean really hard beans. I was in a pressure cooker class a few years ago and the instructor showed us how beans will soften if cooked in a pressure cooker. If you added some cooked quinoa and some vegetables along with the cooked beans you would at least feel full after an emergency in your neighborhood. I have friends that eat old beans almost every day of the week and they are healthy, so life is good if you store lots of beans.

I like to rinse my beans before I pre-soak them or cook them. You don’t have to pre-soak the beans, but just giving you the heads-up here, it takes longer to cook the beans when you don’t. I didn’t pre-soak the beans for my pressure cookers. I used two different electric pressure cookers below so I could compare them side by side. I purchased both of them just so you know I am not getting paid to review these pressure cookers.

Cooking Dried Beans:

Please note, I cooked the dried pinto beans four different ways using only the following:

  1. 1 cup dried beans (sort for rocks/debris, wash and drain)
  2. 3 cups water
  3. No salt, seasonings or oil/fat added
  4. I didn’t pre-soak any of them before cooking. PLEASE NOTE, I would for sure pre-soak the beans for cooking beans on the stovetop, in the oven, and the slow cooker. Just giving you the heads-up here. Pre-soak is always the best way to cook beans. Nothing has changed except maybe the pressure cooker cooks them a little faster. BUT, I will pre-soak all my beans going forward. I’ve pre-soaked them for years, but I wanted to see if I could cook them without doing pre-soaking. Nope, it helps cook them faster.

Four Ways to Cook:

Dried Beans-Stovetop:

I would for sure pre-soak the beans at least 6-12 hours minimum covered with water in the refrigerator. After pre-soaking them, drain the water from the pan and cover with at least one inch of fresh water. Cook without a lid on medium heat until the water comes to a boil, simmer until tender, this time period will depend on how old the beans are. I had some beans that were about two years old and they took 8 hours to cook. I didn’t pre-soak them, big mistake. You can add your favorite seasonings, garlic, jalapenos, green chilies, onions, etc. There is something awesome about making your own homemade pinto beans, or whatever beans you have in your pantry. I added my favorite seasonings like chili powder, cumin and garlic halfway through the cooking. I didn’t add oil or fat of any kind.

Dried Beans-Slow Cooker:

I would for sure pre-soak the beans at least 6-12 hours minimum covered with water in the refrigerator. After pre-soaking them, drain the water from the pan and cover with at least two inches of fresh water in your slow cooker. I would start by setting the slow cooker on high and then lower it to low maybe halfway through the day, depending on the temperature of your slow cooker. I realize different brands cook at different temperatures. Cook at least 6-10 hours or until tender. I added my favorite seasonings like chili powder, cumin, and garlic halfway through the cooking. I didn’t add oil or fat of any kind.

Dried Beans-Oven Cooking:

I have to tell you this was the easiest way to cook them! I grabbed one of my Dutch ovens, but any deep oven-safe pan would work. I would for sure pre-soak the beans at least 6-12 hours minimum covered with water in the refrigerator. After pre-soaking them, drain the water from the pan and cover with at least one to two inches of water in the Dutch oven or pot. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake without a lid for 90-120 minutes. Longer if your beans are older. Cook until tender to your taste. I added my favorite seasonings like chili powder, cumin, and garlic halfway through the cooking. I didn’t add oil or fat of any kind.

Dried Beans-Electric Pressure Cookers:

dried beans

I have purchased both the Fagor 3-in-1 pressure cooker and the 7-in-1 Instant Pot so I wanted to compare the two side by side. I am partial to the Fagor because I have taken several classes from Chef Brad who teaches so many wonderful classes everywhere. He suggested at the time we buy a Fagor, so I did. Then the Instant Pot became popular on Facebook and on blogs recently. I decided to buy an Instant Pot before I did a giveaway with one last year. They are both great machines.

You can see the mesh strainer above, I use it to rinse my beans before I soak or cook them. As you know, I will go back to soaking my beans overnight once again after today’s experiment. NOTE: you must be careful with beans in a pressure cooker because of the foam they create. Read the instructions about cooking beans in your pressure cooker’s owner’s manual. Most say to keep the pot fully cooked below 2/3 or 1/2 full. Please check your book because beans will expand and fill the pot, possibly too full.

Dried Beans-Fagor:

The ratio for cooking beans is 1 part beans to 3 parts water. You lock the lid in place and turn it to “pressure”, HIGH 50-60 minutes and push start. I used the natural release to release the pressure after cooking.

Dried Beans-Instant Pot:

The ratio for cooking beans is 1 part beans to 3 parts water. You lock the lid in place and turn it to “Beans/Chili”, then push the high pressure. The time comes up as 30 minutes, but my beans didn’t get cooked in the 30 minutes, but my beans are two years old. They may cook in 30 minutes if you have a fresh bag of beans, but these two-year-old beans were not cooked. Next time I will push 50-60 minutes. I used the natural release to release the pressure after cooking.

Release on pressure cookers:

Here are two ways to release the pressure, be sure and use a hot pad or washcloth or you will get burned from the steam:

1. Natural Method: after cooking you will press the START/STOP button to stop the cooking process. Unplug the unit and wait for the pressure to naturally release….approximately 20-30 minutes. After this time move the pressure regulator to vent to make sure all the pressure has been released.

2. Quick Release Method: after cooking press the START/STOP button to make sure the unit is completely turned off. Turn the pressure regulator to vent and allow the pressure to release. Caution! Keep hands and face away from the escaping steam as it is extremely hot and can cause injury. I use a washcloth to cover the release vent when turning it to help from getting burned by the very hot steam.

Please store some dried beans, they are inexpensive and you can cook them outside with charcoal and a Dutch oven or a Sun Oven if you have a lot of sunshine where you live. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless you and your family for being prepared.

My favorite things:

Fagor 670040230 Stainless-Steel 3-in-1 6-Quart Multi-Cooker

Instant Pot IP-LUX60 V3 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 6Qt, 1000W (updated model)

Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers

Augason Farms Pinto Beans Emergency Food Storage 41 Pound Pail

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14 thoughts on “How To Cook Dried Beans Four Different Ways

  • February 1, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Hi there! Instead of soaking for hours,do this! After cleaning,put in pot cover beans in water,bring to a boil, put lid on pot. Then set pot aside on stove for an hour and voila! Cook with your preferred method! Easy peasey!

    • February 1, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Hi JoAnn I am going to add your comment to my post, we all learn from each other, right? Great tip! I love beans! Linda

    • January 8, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      So after that how long do i cook the beans for ? I mean till their ready to eat?

      • January 8, 2019 at 1:13 pm

        Hi Fallen, yes. It all depends on how old the beans are. The older they are the longer they take to cook. Linda

    • February 1, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Hi Janet, thanks for the tip on canning, I got my Master Preserver Canning Certificate a few months ago. I’m going to read this article and see if the post matches my training from the USDA guide. Thanks so much, Linda

      • February 1, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        Good Idea! I didn’t check this against the USDA guide. I did use their chilli recipe a while back. It is really good.

        • February 1, 2017 at 12:56 pm

          Janet, I used to can spaghetti sauce and chili sauce, green beans and just about any fruit and vegetable. I used a Presto pressure canner for years and years. I finally saved up for an All American pressure canner! One of the things I learned at one of the classes is the fact that tomatoes are not as acidic as they used to be so we have to add ingredients to can them safely. This is why we no longer get cankers from tomatoes today. Our food has changed so much because of Monsanto and the government $$$$ they earn that we really don’t know what we are eating anymore. It’s really scary to me because I’m not in a position to grow ALL the food I need to survive. I’ll have to try that chili recipe!! Linda

          • February 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm

            Good to know about the tomatos. I usually plant a heirloom tomato. I’ll have to be sure to do that now. I noticed that many more people are starting to have intestinal problems. I think it is because of the food supply is being sprayed with who knows what, after they genetically modify them.

            P.S. If you find out that the link I put up isn’t up to USDA standards, please take it down. Better safe than sorry.

          • February 4, 2017 at 6:57 pm

            Hi, Janet, the link is fine, thank you, though. It’s interesting that the USU Utah State Extension Service where I got my Master Preserver Canning Certificate told us that the USDA is shutting down their “canning kitchens” because they said people are not canning as much anymore. I personally think it’s coming back into popularity. It may not be as popular for those who do not grow their own fruit and vegetables. I was surprised they said that. I know my daughters grew up canning everything but meat. Now, none of them can any food. I’m the only one that does and nothing like I used to when my house was full. I am very upset about Monsanto having the right to patent living organisms like corn. We are not eating what we think we may be eating. If people really studied about how corn is grown with Roundup, they wouldn’t eat anything in a box, package or jar you buy from the grocery store. I better get off my soapbox! LOL! I wish I had more land and the strength to have a few acres. Hugs! Linda P.S. plus the money to buy the land. 🙂

  • February 1, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Another great article. I love beans. Got a kick out of fact that there was a hunk of dirt added for flavor. What’s the big deal? Like we didn’t make mud pies when we were kids. Right? And we survived and are almost certainly the strongest people alive in today’s America. (Flexing strong, but a tad flabby muscle sporting a big toothy grin).

    Today I officially turned 70 and cannot believe it. Lord knows I feel like I am only 69. Anyway, it was a treat to read your article and made my day a special one as usual.

    Hey, just curious…have you any tips on canning beans? Should they be cooked or raw and what are your thoughts? Feel the urgent need to begin prepping again with the shocking episodes that are occurring lately. I certainly hope that our kindness and quiet politeness is not mistaken for weakness, but we will see.

    Hope all is well with your family. Keep up the great work!
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    • February 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Vivian, Happy Birthday, my friend! The BIG 70, I just turned 67 this month so we are very close in age, yay! I do remember making mud cakes!! I do have some tips on canning dried beans. I worked hard to get my Master Preserver Canning Certificate right here in St. George, Utah. The guidelines are USDA approved which are the safest way to can, dehydrate and fruit, vegetable or meat. I am going to see if I can upload the link to the book that came with the cost of my class.
      The title of the book is: Complete Guide to Home Canning – Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539 REVISED 2015, check with your local state extension service. It’s no longer available on Amazon. It talks about soaking, boiling, and then canning.

  • February 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Last year I bought a La Reina Multi Cooker Pro. I love this cooker. I had some pinto beans that were 4 years old. I tried cooking some on the stove top after soaking them 12 hours, they never and I repeat never got soft enough to eat. So, being one to not waste food, I then placed them in the Cooker. It took 45 minutes, but they were cooked !! I am impressed. The only thing about this brand of cooker is there was no recipe book. So I have been searching different recipes online. I am saving up to buy the Instant Pot because I have heard so many good comments about it and there are a lot of recipes online for it. Thanks for another great article. God Bless.

    • February 4, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Judy, okay, thanks for telling me this about your beans! I had a hard time with a few batches. The Instant Pot does not have a great book that comes with it. Just giving you the heads-up. I was actually quite frustrated with it because in one section it says you CAN cook pasta and beans and another section says you CANNOT. I thought, WHAT? I just started pushing buttons until I got it to start. I knew enough ways to pressure cook with my Fagor I figured it out on my own how to use the Instant Pot. I would keep the one you have unless you find a really fabulous price. Linda


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