How To Cook Dry Beans

Today we’re finishing up showing you more about pressure cookers. Jodi did a great job explaining the difference between pressure canners and cookers last week and so many of our readers on our Facebook Page have asked us what we use our cookers for and here’s just one example.

cook-dry-beans

This post deserves a little bit of background information… These are actual quotes by me Julie that I said to Jodi, either on the phone or on msn – yes we’re old school and that’s how we chat when we work late at night.

“Jodi, there is no way I will ever use beans in my Food Storage, so I’ll just store a lot of Tuna for protein”

“Jodi, I decided I actually like black beans now, so I’ll just store a lot of cans of beans”

“Jodi, I was thinking MAYBE I should try to learn how to cook dry beans”

“Jodi, that was a DISASTER, I’m never trying to cook black beans again – they took forever and didn’t even turn out good”

“Jodi, pressure cooking those dry beans was way faster by they turned out WAY mushy”

“Jodi, I got the texture right… I finally got the texture right- but the beans are tasteless”

“Jodi – I GOT IT!”

So I’m proud to declare, I’ve switched over from team canned, to team dry, but I’m also very sympathetic to the team canners. I know that often times you may be in a hurry and just need to open a can of beans, or maybe you have had some bad luck with trying to cook dry beans, or maybe you just haven’t given it a chance yet. Dry beans have plenty of advantages that I’m sure most of you are aware of. They are cheaper, can be healthier, and you can store them longer. So – whether you’re ready or not, I’ll show you how to cook dry beans – and if you’re not ready – remember this post and come back to it one day.

Pressure Cooking Dry Beans

I’ll tell you EXACTLY how I do mine. I cook them in my electric pressure cooker, and LOVE how fast and easy it is. I usually make a seasoned black bean and use it in burritos with brown rice, throw them on salads, put them in any recipe calling for black beans. You can alter the seasonings or bean type. I found putting MORE spices than I thought it needed was when it actually started tasting good. I think I didn’t realize how many beans I was actually cooking, so I under-seasoned them for a long time. Do not add salt as that will slow the cooking process. Also- as a side note, often times I’ll cook chicken in my pressure cooker first, then use the leftover broth as the water for cooking the beans. This gives it a REALLY great flavor.


Cooking Beans Instructions

Add 5 cups of water in pressure cooker
Add spices ( 1 Tablespoon of cumin, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons of dehydrated onions, 2 Tablespoons of dry cilantro)
Add 2 cups of black beans

Cook on high pressure. Set pressure cooker for 30 minutes. After the pressure cooker beeps, do quick pressure release… and ENJOY how EASY THAT WAS! Depending on the age of your beans, you may need to increase this time. Older beans take longer to cook.

Did you all just gasp and say ARE YOU SERIOUS, NO PRE-SOAKING AND 30 MINUTES? Well you should have! It’s awesome. To learn more about pressure cookers – see Jodi’s post last week.

For more about Bean’s Do’s and Don’ts and links to cooking dry beans without a pressure cooker, visit our BabyStep 6: Legumes page.


  • amylou

    I recently used my pressure cooker/canner (10 qt Fagor, stove top type) in fact my son actually cooked them for me because i had alrwady started chili in the slow cooker before leaving for work when i realized that we were out of canned pintos, so my 15 yr old (he was already familiar with the pressure cooker from helping me to make tamales the previous weekend) started the beans in the pressure cooker for me before i left work (i just told him what to add & how much) & they were PERFECT & tender. I just added them to the crock pot to finish cooking with the chili when i got home! Now i just buy the big bags of pintos at Sam’s Club & then vacuum seal in 3 cup portions with a note on each package of how much water & oil to add & the time to cook in the pressure cooker! πŸ™‚ (even better if you add a tablespoon or so of reserved bacon grease for extra flavor during cooking)

    • Great idea to put the instructions right on the bag. Thanks for sharing!

  • Michelle Barber

    I’m doing it. I’ve been wanting an electric pressure cooker for a while but this post sold me because canned beans keep getting more and more expensive. One question: If you were making taco soup, for example, and needed more than one kind of bean (kidney, black and pinto maybe) could you cook a combination of all of them?Β  I’m going to head on over to your link and purchase right this second!

    • You could cook them all together, just make sure to process for the bean with the longest cook time so none of them are crunchy. You can use your electric pressure cooker for so many other things too, you’ll love it!

  • Wstsctt

    Ok ladies,

    A little help here! I l’m home all day so I don’t mind cooking with dry beans. I very rarely soak overnight, I’m a quick soak type of person and have had great results. My question is- How do I get my two boys to eat beans!Β  I’ve scanned the internet for all sorts of recipes but to no eval. They just won’t eat them no matter how I cook them! Help!!!

  • Jason

    Great Job Ladies!
    You were the number One result on Google for…

    “cook dry beans in canner” (with or without the quotes)

    I was trying to find more information regarding using a pressure Canner.
    Mine has a “grate” in the bottom and whether or not to remove that when cooking beans.
    I assume you should but I was hoping for some information from someone that has done it.
    Love your blog, keep up the good work.
    thanks,
    Jason

    • Jason, I don’t use the grate in the bottom for cooking beans. I think it
      is mainly only for steaming vegetables or other things that you wouldn’t
      want to get scorched to the bottom. Pressure cooking beans is so easy and
      delicious. Good luck! Let us know how it works out for you.

    • Jason, I don’t use the grate in the bottom for cooking beans. I think it
      is mainly only for steaming vegetables or other things that you wouldn’t
      want to get scorched to the bottom. Pressure cooking beans is so easy and
      delicious. Good luck! Let us know how it works out for you.

  • Mary

    I’ve never been a black bean fan–but here in Texas–pinto beans reighn supreme. Soak them overnight–change your water and start over with cold water–simmer away all day–add a hambone-bacon-salt pork–and they can’t be beat!

  • ejohnson

    Where did you get the smoking deal on your chicken that you canned?? Any ideas on where to get bulk cheap (er) chicken? Thanks!!!! Your video was awesome, and I am totaly ready to can something now.

    • Annette

      What state do you live in? Here in PA I got chicken leg quarters for 39 cents a pound earlier this month. I shop at Pathmark and Country Harvest. I’m always on the lookout for meat specials to can.

  • TK

    I don’t have an electric pressure cooker yet. Have my Mom’s Pressure Canner/Cooker which I just used for the first time and also a small 4 qt. Presto Pressure Cooker the size of a pot. Would like to learn how to use the small one. I am so confused because my instructions say I have to soak the beans overnight in 1/4 cooking oil, and 1tsp. salt with the water. Then drain and put into the cooker… and process 35 minutes. I figured with all that why use a pressure cooker? Does anybody know why I can’t do it Julie’s way?

    • My pressure cooker/canner manual says that it is recommend to soak them for even cooking and to help with the “gas” issues. But it sounds like it is optional. It also says to use a bit of oil to help with frothing. I would guess this is more important in a traditional pressure cooker. I’d say give it a shot. Beans are cheap, and it’s ok to have to try a few times to get it right πŸ™‚

    • My pressure cooker/canner manual says that it is recommend to soak them for even cooking and to help with the “gas” issues. But it sounds like it is optional. It also says to use a bit of oil to help with frothing. I would guess this is more important in a traditional pressure cooker. I’d say give it a shot. Beans are cheap, and it’s ok to have to try a few times to get it right πŸ™‚

    • My pressure cooker/canner manual says that it is recommend to soak them for even cooking and to help with the “gas” issues. But it sounds like it is optional. It also says to use a bit of oil to help with frothing. I would guess this is more important in a traditional pressure cooker. I’d say give it a shot. Beans are cheap, and it’s ok to have to try a few times to get it right πŸ™‚

  • CJ

    I always cook beans from scratch. Then I freeze the leftovers in 2 cup increments. Dried beans are tastier,don’t have the BPA from cans,and much less expensive.

  • Chris

    ugh, I meant my electric pressure cooker. I need to buy a pressure canner so I can make & can my own refried beans. YAY for being able to eliminate all those horrible cans and season the way I want!!!

    • Your soup sounds delish! I’m getting hungry now πŸ™‚ I had my pressure canner for over a year before I got brave enough to try it and now I love it. Hope you get yours soon!

  • Chris

    I just used my pressure canner last night and used a bag of 16 bean mix with some left over ham and the bone with some celery, seasonings, diced tomatoes, fresh garlic, onions & low sodium chicken stock. It was WONDERFUL!!!!

  • Karen in Vancouver, WA

    Thank you for showing your progression through the bean process. LOVE IT!!!! I just put this recipe in my electric pressure cooker. I am SOO excited for the results.

  • Tuxgirl

    Interesting… I’ve been team dry for black beans (I don’t have much of most of the other types), but I’ve never used a pressure cooker. I guess maybe I’ve just been fortunate so far. (Making it today, actually… Put them out to soak last night)

    One question about the pressure-cooking method: When you do beans the stove-top way, one of the recommended steps is to change the soaking water at least once during the process to reduce the… gastrointestinal effects of the beans. Are there any tips for doing that with pressure-cooked beans?

    • If you are worried about the gassiness you can soak the beans first and then change the water and THEN cook them. I think I’ve also heard that adding vinegar can help? Anyone else heard that?

    • If you are worried about the gassiness you can soak the beans first and then change the water and THEN cook them. I think I’ve also heard that adding vinegar can help? Anyone else heard that?

      • GrandmaLori

        My dear old Aunt NaDean, mother of 9 – age 87, told me once to add a TLB of vinegar to the cooking or soaking water to reduce the gas. She claimed the taste dissipated as they cooked/soaked. Again, I guess the thing to do is try it. I can imagine with 9 kids in a small house, there would be advantages to this remedy…

    • If you are worried about the gassiness you can soak the beans first and then change the water and THEN cook them. I think I’ve also heard that adding vinegar can help? Anyone else heard that?

  • Guest

    I also can my dry beans. Best of both worlds. πŸ™‚

  • I also can my dry beans. Best of both worlds. πŸ™‚

  • MJ

    It’s not that I don’t love cooking dry beans, it’s more the issue that I’m not rich enough to own all these fancy kitchen gadgets like you guys and Crystal’s blog talk about. No pressure cooker, no fancy blender, heck, I was lucky to just get a wheat grinder within the past year and that was a combined birthday/Christmas gift from several people. I’d love to hear your recipe for cooking the beans on the stove. I’ve tried several before but have the same issues you did such as they are too dry, not a good texture, or tasteless.

    • AG

      They put a link in the post how to cook beans without a pressure cooker. Reread the post. I am just really grateful that they give us a lot of options on how to do things, that must take a lot of time.

    • AG

      They put a link in the post how to cook beans without a pressure cooker. Reread the post. I am just really grateful that they give us a lot of options on how to do things, that must take a lot of time.

    • MJ, we try to share on this blog the things that have worked well for us as we progress on our food storage journey. As you can see from Julie’s quotes above, she never really got into using dried beans until she found a tool that made it easy and convenient for her. That’s something helpful for people to see if they have been struggling with using dried beans.

      I would suggest if you don’t have a pressure cooker, to use the same recipe but do it in your crockpot. That is the only way I have found for my beans to turn out great before I got my pressure cooker.

      Also I believe you can find used pressure cookers (probably not the electric kind)
      for pretty cheap and if you can, the cost savings on dried beans over canned beans is pretty significant if you use a lot of beans in your cooking.

    • A crockpot is a great tool for cooking beans, too. And they’re not overly expensive and require no “watching.”

      The big thing to remember about cooking them on the stove is to not boil them super hard because the beans will often fall apart if you do.

  • Annette

    Julie, You should tell people how to pressure can beans in jars. You get the best of both worlds, inexpensive dry beans, and they are ready to use off the shelf when you need them. The process is a little time consuming, but worth it. I only use my own pressure canned white beans in recipes where I substitute beans for oil. Thanks for all you do πŸ™‚

    • Julie hasn’t braved the world of canning yet πŸ˜‰ Pressure canning beans is next on MY list of things to try though, I’m excited!

      • Sharon

        I have never canned beans but cook up a batch in a slow cooker and bag up smaller (can size) portions and freeze them. I also like to add salt, instant powder milk and margerine to pinto beans after they are done cooking if I am not going to use them in a recipe.

    • Cobbsmom

      I agree. I can beans two ways: (1) soaking overnight (they absorb an equal portion of water), then placing 2 cups of wet beans in a canning jar with 2 cups of water and salt, if desired.

      Or (2) placing 1 cup of dry beans (no soaking) in canning jar and 3 cups of water with salt, if desired.

      Processing time is the same and I cannot tell the difference in texture.

      Personally, I prefer soaking overnight because you never know how old the beans. The older beans will absorb more water. If there isn’t enough water to fully cook, the beans are like a brick trying to get out of the jar.

      If you want to test this – place 1 cup of beans in a canning jar and add 3 cups of water. Let set on the counter overnight (you can cover if you want). In the morning (or 8-12 hours later), strain and measure the liquid. You should have close to 2 cups of liquid.and 2 cups of beans.