Soaking is an essential step in bean preparation. The purpose
of soaking is to begin rehydration before cooking, thereby
reducing cooking time. Unsoaked beans take longer to cook
and require more attention so they won’t cook dry.
During soaking beans make up their lost water, increasing
up to twice their dried size. Enough water must be used to
keep the beans covered while soaking. Once rehydrated, beans
cook in 1 to 3 hours, depending on the type of bean. Add approx.
3 cups of water per cup of dried beans be sure to start with
a large enough container/pot.
There are basically two methods for soaking: long-soak and
quick-soak. Both work equally well and differ only in the
amount of time required to rehydrate the beans. Choose the
one which best suits your time and schedule.
Long-soaking takes time and some advance planning, but needs
very little effort. First, cover the beans with water at room
temperature. Soak them overnight or for 8-10 hours in a cool
place. Be sure the soak water is at room temperature. Cold
water slows rehydration and the beans will take longer to
Cooking time will also be longer if beans are not soaked
long enough – at least 8 hours. Beans soaked longer
than 12 hours can absorb too much water and lose their characteristic
texture and flavour.
Quick-soaking rehydrates dried beans in little more than
1 hour. For most cooks, this is the most convenient method.
Bring the beans and water for soaking to a boil. Boil for
2-3 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and cover the
pot. Let the beans stand in the soak water for 1 hour.. At
the end of the hour, discard the soak water and cook the beans.
Hot-soak. The Preferred Hot Soak is the newest method for
soaking beans. Instructions for the Preferred Hot Soak are
In a large pot add 10 cups of water for each pound (2 cups)
of dry beans. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes, remove
from heat, cover and stand at least 1 hour (quick-soak method),
but preferably 4 hours. (The longer soaking time is recommended
to allow a greater amount of sugar to dissolve, thus helping
the beans to be more easily digested.) Whether you soak the
beans for one hour or several, discard soak water& rinse
Cooking without soaking
Beans don’t have to be soaked before they are cooked.
Soaking shortens cooking time. Because unsoaked beans have
to cook longer, they require more energy from your stove.
To cook beans without soaking, use twice the amount of cooking
water specified in the recipe. Combine the water and rinsed
beans in the pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce
the heat to maintain a simmer. The beans rehydrate while cooking
so you will have to watch them carefully and add more water
whenever necessary to keep them covered. Cooking time for
unsoaked beans can vary up to 2 hours. Most beans will be
tender in 2 to 3 hours.