Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Soaking Beans

I've wanted to try soaking my own beans for quite a while, but I've been kind of timid about the whole process- but seriously, its not so bad!

I personally hate standing in the bean aisle at the grocery store! I hate choosing between the store brand, national brand and the 'you soak' varieties! Sometimes there is just a few cents difference between the store and national brands... and the 'you soak' seems like so much work! Honestly, grocery shopping should NOT be so difficult!

So here goes...

Ingredients: beans.

First start by opening your bag o' beans (hey, since its March, its o'everything!) and rinse your beans. Pick out any oddball finds and discard!

Place your beans (I am using a 1 pound bag) in a large pot and add 6-8 cups of water to your beans.

Boil for 2 minutes, remove from the heat, cover the pot with the lid, and allow to stand for 1 hour. (Not so tough so far huh?)

After the hour of soaking in warm water, drain your pot, and then refill your pot with another 6 cups of water...

Simmer your beans (with the lid on, but off set just enough that steam can escape) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until your beans are as tender as you like to eat them!

Viola! They look just like their canned counterpart!

The 1 pound bags of dry beans plumped to almost 6 cups of ready to eat beans!

I'm kind of on the fence as to if soaking/cooking my own beans is worth it to me...

Cans of beans retail anywhere from $.59- $.99/can, so the average retail would be $.79/can.

I feel that after rinsing canned beans, an 11 3/4 ounce can yields 1.5 cups of beans, so by this math standard, I would receive approximately 4 cans (6 cups) worth of cooked beans.

My 1 pound bag of dry beans cost $1.39, so divide that by 4 (cans worth) and it equals $.35/can.

This savings, per "can" is pretty substantial! I was pretty surprised!

I did not, however, enjoy the smell of the beans cooking- it wasn't awful, but not pleasant! All, in all, I'm sure that I will soak and cook my beans again, but I will probably do much larger batches and freeze the beans for later use!

Have YOU ever soaked beans? Do YOU think soaking beans is worth it? Do YOU have any other tips, tricks or recipes YOU'D like to share?

This post has been linked to LifeasMom.com


Staying Lean

I almost always soak my beans since it is usually healthier. You can also just soak them overnight without the whole cooking them at all works just the same. Then you could avoid the smell. That's the way I always do it, unless I forget then I may need to do the "quick soak" method you describe here.

Staying Lean

Oh and that is if you are going to use the beans in a crockpot or cook them in something I guess I should add you wouldn't be able to eat them straight after soaking them overnight. Should've clarified that!

Christy Milbrandt

I just emailed you a yummy soup recipe to try with your beans.


I don't dislike beans, but no one here loves them, either. Not too long ago, I saw these beans at Tammy's Recipes.com and they looked so yummy. Guess I'll have to try them.
and http://www.tammysrecipes.com/cooked_pinto_beans


I soaked some pinto beans and then made refried beans and froze a bunch. Now that I'm typing this comment I have a funny feeling I got that recipe from you here on your blog????? LOL LOL


I've soaked beans overnight to use in soup etc. I do think the taste and texture of the dried beans is better than canned. I've been thinking it would be a good idea to pre-cook and freeze in can-sized portions. My son loves beans, so I use a lot of "bean" recipes.


Wow I had no idea people even soaked beans..We dont really eat beans but if we did the convienence from the can is worth alittle more money to me.


To soak or not to soak...I do both. I like the convenience of having canned beans but since we usually like to have the no-salt added variety most times, it can get pricey and difficult to find unless I visit a specialty store or WF. So I do soak when I have the time (same method as the one you suggested). I've heard you can freeze the beans afterwards in ziploc bags & just pull out what you want to add into a soup or stew or some other type of dish. The cost of soaking vs buying the canned stuff does seem to be better.


I am a soaker. Dried beans have less preservatives, aren't stored in cans, and they just taste better I think. I have mason jars filled with dried beans in my pantry. Occasionally I'll use canned in a pinch, but normally dried. You can even ut them in a bag/bowl of water and freeze them until needed. Cheapier, yummier, and better for you :) The Pioneer Woman has an excellent bean recipe.

Bargains to Bounty

I was reading a comment last week that food banks often have trouble finding homes for the dried beans that have been donated. It seems that most people prefer meals they can just heat up (soups, canned pastas, etc.) and are unsure how to soak or cook beans properly. Too bad they can't all read your tutorial!


I soak my own beans and don't find the smell offensive at all. If you think far enough ahead soak them overnight.


I am one of those people that nearly always soaks beans. I just like the fact that they don't have all sorts of unhealthy preservatives etc. in them.

I usually make up a bunch and then freeze them. The bad part is remembering to get them out to thaw, depending on the recipe. :)

Oh and Walmarts around here sell dry beans for more like $0.88-$1.09 a lb. so that makes doing your own even cheaper!


I usually soak my beans overnight, but if I'm in a hurry, I'll use canned for chili. I use Ham Been's 15 Bean Soup Mix (about $2). Throw in a ham bone and leftovers. Makes great soup. Katy


I have soaked beans before but usually I use canned because of convenience. When I use canned, I always rinse them until there are no bubbles left so I know most of the canned, starchy stuff has been rinsed away. I like the taste a lot. I don't find the smell too offensive so when I do have the time, I like to soak...it's finding the time!

Also, I like navy beans for my white bean and chicken chili and these are sometimes hard to find in cans (except at Walmart), so I do sometimes soak the dried navy beans for this. When I do it this way, though, I do it usually on a weekend when I have more time.



Making pinto beans or refried beans is so much tastier if you soak your own! My mom is Hispanic and the only beans we ever ate when I was younger were the ones that had to be soaked. I didn't even know they came in a can until I got to college and had to start shopping on my own!

Laura Webber

Seriously, I LOVE you ladies, thanks for all of the tips! I may just be a 'soaker' from now on!!!!


okay, I too soak beans...but I do it a large batch at a time...soak 20 cups dry beans for 12-18 hours.(Make sure covered with water all the time) Drain & rinse beans. Fill glass jar 3/4 full(no more than that). Add 1/2-1tsp salt if desired. Fill with water leaving 1 inch head space...can under 10# pressure for 1 hour and 30 minutes in pressure canner. Use the beans for soup, baked beans, add to chili, etc. Can do various beans ie kidney, pinto, etc this way. I do cans of plain beans and also make bean/veggie soup starting with washed but unsoaked beans! Great to have on hand when you want something fast to eat! Rec'd this recipe from a friend..think of her everytime I open a can of beans...FYI I get 50# navy beans for 25.00....makes a LOT of cans of beans....lol faith

Paula Wethington

I really like the 15-bean dry bean soup mix that can be found at most stores. Put in some chopped up ham and a little bit of onion as it's cooking up, and it's very good. Serve with corn bread.


I am all about soaking my own beans... I just bought some more navy beans to make this week. I need to start buying in bulk, because I usually do 5 pounds at a time anyway, then freeze in ziploc until I need them. However, I always find that they need to cook longer than the package says! Mine are never done in one and a half to two hours like they suggest. It always takes much longer!


This may sound scandelous, but I NEVER soak my homemade beans. I sort and rinse and put staight into a pot of boiling water with a blob (not a big blob, just a small blob, I don't measure) of shortening. I cook over medium heat for 3ish hours until soft. Done! You have to add some water every 1/2 hour or so, just to make sure they don't boil dry, but that's it.

Just thought I'd pass on the info. In case someone forgets to soak their beans the night before...


I just did a post on beans myself recently. I usually buy my beans in even bigger bags (5 lb - 25 lb) which makes them even cheaper - more like .10-.15 per can size amount of cooked beans.

I just learned how tomake homemade refried beans from dried in an hour by using a pressure cooker has helped me so much since I usually forget to soak.

Laura Webber

Thanks for all of the bean soaking insight... I have so much to learn (and try!) still!


I just started soaking beans to save money, but only knew how to soak overnight. Thanks for this tutorial... now I know how to have beans for dinner even when I forget the night before.