culinary review

How Long To Cook Beans

Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:54 pm
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Comments: 25 Views: 105076

All beans do require relatively long time to cook, however the different types do differ beans Here is a chart for various beans and how long they take to cook.

Soaking does reduce the cooking times somewhat for all the beans. There are two basic methods for soaking beans:

Long Soak:
Simply cover the beans in water and soak them overnight (about 8-10 hours). You don't want to soak the beans for too much longer, then they can absorb too much liquid and loose their texture and flavor. If however, you soaked your beans and want to wait to cook them, then drain the beans and store in the fridge until you're ready.

Quick Soak:

The second method is a little quicker and doesn't require as much preparation. Put the beans in a large pot, add water and bring up to a boil. Let the water boil for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover the pot and let soak for about 1 hour.

Beans-to-Water Ratio

All the beans have the same beans-to-water ratio.

  • 1 pound of soaked beans need to cook in 4 quarts (16 cups) of water
  • 1 pound of unsoaked beans need to cook in 5 quarts (20 cups) of water

Cooking the beans

When cooking the beans, bring the water, the beans and 2 ½ teaspoons of salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and maintain a low simmer during the remainder of the cooking time.

Type of BeansRequired Cooking Time
Black Beans 
Soaked1 1/2 - 2 hours
Unsoaked2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours
Black-Eyed Peas 
Soaked1 - 1/4 hours
Unsoaked1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours
Cannellini Beans
Soaked 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Unsoaked 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours
Soaked 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Unsoaked2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours
Great Northern Beans  
1 - 1 1/4 hours
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours
Navy Beans  
Soaked 1 - 1 1/4 hours
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours
Pinto Beans  
1 - 1 1/4 hours
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours
Red Kidney Beans  
Soaked 1 - 1 1/4 hours
Unsoaked 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours
Unsoaked 20 - 30 min


Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:38 pm
Name: sharon | Comment: how long does it take to cook if you are adding to soup? I cook soup in the crockpot either on low or high and everytime I add beans whether navy or northern, and have soaked over night, it still takes about 8 hours for the beans to get tender. Why is that? Please advise what I am doing wrong.


Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:24 am
Name: Gin | Comment: I'd like to know this answer too. I've had the same problem before and I also fear the ones that don't digest well so perhaps I now overcook. However, I live in a different area and now I'm learning that the hard water is an issue for cooking time. (Maybe altitude too?) I found it was suggested to add a little baking soda in the water if hard water and so I assume, in the soaking water. Now I'm finding I get better results if I use my porcelain-on-iron pot versus stainless steel. Perhaps the iron distributes the heat better, you think? Also, I was told NOT to salt until into the cooking, or near the end, as this makes the beans tough. They will still flavor well if added after cooking a while. Lots of questions, Maybe someone knows.

Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:31 pmThe times we have listed are our experiences with the various bean types. We are at sea level and typically use a cast iron pot to cook the beans in, whether for soups or otherwise.

We have found that one of the most important things is that you use fresh beans.

We once heard of someone using beans that were previously used for pie weights and they were hard and did not cook well.

Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:11 am
Name: Craig | Comment: Some crock-pots cook at below-boiling temperatures, so it takes much longer to properly cook the beans through. The actual temperature at which a crock-pot cooks varies, depending on how old the crock-pot is. Older models cooked at lower temperatures, new models have higher temperatures because of newer health regulations.

Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:04 am
Name: marcee | Comment: i soak mine overnight then rinse put in crock pot on my way to church on high then when i get home i check them and usually about 3 hrs total on high works realy well for me

Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:25 pm
Name: | Comment: I am wanting to prepare black beans for a salad. If I soak them overnight, how long do I cook them and do I rinse them after cooking

Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:17 pm
Name: joan | Comment: Is there salt in your soup? Salt can prevent beans from absorbing liquid.

Sat May 22, 2010 11:58 am
Name: | Comment:

Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:45 pm
Name: justine | Comment: what about pinto beans? how long do they take??

Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:04 pm
Name: Carol | Comment: It is true as my mother told me, if you add salt the beans will stay hard, how long I don't know but I once cooked them all day and threw them out because I didn't know this!

Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:11 pm
Name: nick | Comment: a chef friend of mine told me that adding salt before the beans are finished cooking will prevent them from getting soft, which is what always happened when I cooked them before. i think other spices are ok, but salt should only be added at the end.

Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:15 pm
Name: Bill | Comment: I boiled navy beans for two minutes. Let thm soak for two hours and they are now simmering on the stove for three hours and still not soft.

Where did they come up with 1 and one-half hours.

Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:58 am
Name: C Barton | Comment: I find that if you want your legumes to have a consistent "tooth", then after soaking, put the lentils and smaller legumes in the cooking pot later than the bigger beans; this way the lentils won't turn to mush before the bigger beans are done; I find that lentils will cook in about 40 minutes to my preferred softness.
Another thing: I use a little acid, either wine, tomato, or sushi vinegar in my bean stews, and wonder if the acid helps the beans cook better?

Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:55 pm
Name: Joyce | Comment: i cook great northern beans all day...i started them at 8am and we will eat them for dinner 6:30 ish, i dont soak them, i wash them add water, salt , pepper, celery, onion and a ham bone and they taste so good and smell good too! so i pretty much cook them for 10 hours....they are soft and tasty and even better next day!

Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:54 pm
Name: Carl | Comment: Acids, like vinegar or tomatoes, will "significantly prolong the cooking time" according to Rouxbee Cooking School, so they should generally be added toward the end of the cooking time.

Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:50 am
Name: Chef | Comment: Sometimes beans can be too dry...also, dont salt your beans till their tender or near tender!

Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:09 pm
Name: Carla | Comment: There's an ERROR with the cooking time for BLACK-EYED PEAS. Black-Eyed Peas cook much much faster. I normally soak dried Black-Eyed Peas over night and it takes only about 25-30 minutes to cook. I've never done them unsoaked.

Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:38 pm
Name: Shelli | Comment: Well, I have a chili, with tomato, red wine vinegar and salt on the stove. About 2 hours so far.... I'll let ya know when the white beans soften up.


Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:04 pm
Name: NEO | Comment: I made bean stew today with one of those 13-bean mixes. I soaked the beans overnight. Put them on at noon, and they were finally soft around 6:30 this evening. Even the package (which I did not believe) said to cook them for about an hour. Pretty sure that package wasn't marked "magic beans"!

Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:52 pm

Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:13 pm
Name: James | Comment: Why is it that everywhere I read it is unnecessary to soak lentils first!? I know you can cook them in 20 mins but I do find that they are digested a lot better, have a better texture and greatly shorten the cooking time even more.

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:42 pm
Name: Sami Comment: I live in a high altitude area ( over 7-8000 ft above sea level). I did not soak the beans, the recipe does not call for that. Instead I rinsed them and placed them in a large pot, with chicken stock and water, now cooking for 2 hrs, almost there. These beans are not old, the previous batch i used were and after 5 hrs of cooking, i still made my dish, they were apparently old beans although the pkg label said they were good.
NEVER PUT SALT or TOMTATOE into the bean mixture until the beans are throughly cooked. This can hinder the cooking time. Plenty of time to season when the means are done.
Any commentd????

Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:54 am
Name: veronica Comment: i did quick soak. put the beans in 8 cups water, and let it cook for 2 minutes in boiling water.Then let it soak for hour than drain. I put my black beans in pot cooked for 2 hours . But it wasnt long enought it was hard. So I like cook additional 4 hours. All together i started cooking at 4:20 pm - took off t 10:20pm. They were great. My husband ate about 3 bowls full. That was his first timing eating beans.I aslo put ham bone i had from easter and like it soak in beans. The beans were tender, tasty and good.

Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:06 pm
Name: Carolyn Comment: If you add Salt or anything tomato based the beans stay hard. You can add in the tomato or sal after the beans have fully cooked

Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:54 pm
Name: Sheila Comment: Non soaked red beans. 2 hours, still cooking ....

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