When I was a teenager I was shocked to find out that beans weren’t naturally soft. Hilarious, right? I got so used to canned beans that I had no idea they came precooked. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that dried beans are completely foreign. That’s why I’m going to show you how to cook dried black beans.
Do I judge anyone for buying canned beans? Heck no. I still do from time to time. They are cost-effective, shelf-stable, convenient in a crisis, and nutrient dense. Although you’ll see me vouching to buy fresh foods as much as possible, canned beans are a processed food that I will never argue with.
But I do think if you have the time to cook your own beans, it can only provide more benefits.
Canned beans have added sodium and their limited packaging increased energy from processing and waste. However, dried beans are often found in larger packages or even bulk bin stores, leading to lower waste consumption. They also don’t have any added salt, so are very low in sodium.
Again, no judgement if you buy canned beans. But I do encourage you to rinse them with water before eating to help reduce their salt content. Especially if your medical provider or dietitian has recommended you follow a low or reduced sodium diet.
Soak the beans
It’s generally recommended to pre-soak beans before you cook them. Pre-soaking helps reduce required cooking time. It’s also very important to rinse beans in a colander before cooking to remove dirt and debris. Make sure you do a quick sweep to make sure no small rocks found their way into your beans (it happens, but is no big deal as long as you don’t bite on it!).
There are two methods to soaking black beans
1. Overnight Soak Method
This method requires that you soak the beans overnight, or for 6-8 hours. Place the beans in a large bowl or container and cover in 2 inches of water. Cover container and let sit in fridge overnight. The next day, drain beans, rinse, place in a pot with fresh water and cook.
2. Quick Soak Method
The quick soak method is good for people who forget to soak their beans the night before. First, rinse your black beans and remove any debris. In a pot, combine 3 cups water for every 1 cup of beans. Bring to a simmer for two minutes, then remove from heat and let stand for one hour.
I prefer the overnight method because beans still take plenty of time to cook. With the overnight method, you can soak your beans when you wake up in the morning, throw them in the fridge while you’re at work, and start cooking when you get home. But with the quick soak method, you have to start preparing the beans at least 3 hours before you want to serve them.
How to cook dried black beans
Finally, here’s how to cook dried black beans!
After the beans are soaked, cook by first bringing to a boil. Then bring water down to a simmer, cover, and stir occasionally. Cook for about two hours. Beans should always be covered with water. If water evaporates too much, add boiling water as needed.
Add seasoning such as salt, or acids at the end of the cooking process as adding it to early can affect the texture of the beans.
Feel free to save these instructions on how to cook dried black beans for later!