How To Soak Beans

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I don’t think I need to tell you that the price of everything is pretty insane right now. Pantry staples are one of the few things it felt like we could depend on, and then the cost of eggs? Well…I don’t have to say it.

In this crazy market,  one of the best ways to do that is to make wholesome, homemade meals from scratch that don’t cost an arm and a leg that still taste amazing. Beans absolutely fit the bill.

In my home, we’re kind of obsessed with replacing meat with tasty black beans in dishes like our vegetarian enchilada casserole or veggie quesadillas.

British Baked Beans Photo

My son loves baked beans so he’s always game for a new recipe to try. Not to mention that one of my favorite soups, minestrone soup, is heavy on beans.

So, to say we’re a bean family is putting it lightly! Keeping dried beans on hand that we can soak and make any which way at any time is so handy.

Why Soak Beans?

Understanding why you would soak beans is an important question. Soaking beans makes them easier to digest, plus they are cheaper to purchase, too.

Beans contain complex sugars that can be difficult to digest. Soaking beans can help prevent gastric complaints.

Soaked beans are firmer and split less while cooking. This keeps your dish consistent and helps keep beans from breaking down and getting overly mushy.

Toaster Oven Roasted Chickpeas Picture

Can You Soak Beans Too Long?

You will not want to soak your beans longer than 12 hours, though I suggest keeping the soaking time closer to 10 hours at the most for most uses.

If you’re looking to soak “overnight,” I suggest 8 to 10 hours. Soaking beans for too long will often cause loss of flavor and texture, which you want to avoid.

Is It Better To Soak the Beans in Hot or Cold Water?

Soaking beans in hot water will reduce cooking time, better dissolve the sugars that can cause indigestion and gas, and produce beans that are more tender.

This is useful when employing the quick-soak method, when you plan to cook your beans but do not want to perform an overnight soak or don’t have the time.

Cool water soaking can be done at room temperature or with the beans tucked in the fridge, placing the beans in a large bowl covered with two inches of water.

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup Image

What Is the Least Amount of Time To Soak Beans?

To quick-soak beans, add the beans to a large pot of boiling water. Boil for five minutes, then remove from the heat and cover. Allow them to sit in the hot water for an hour, then cook in fresh water.

Is It Better To Soak Beans Overnight or Boil Them?

The optimal soak time for beans is generally about eight hours. To check your beans to see if they’re ready to cook, squeeze them gently.

The outer shell should separate easily and the bean should feel slightly tender. Drain the beans in a colander and discard the soaking water.

Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers Image

Do You Soak Beans in the Fridge or on the Counter?

You can soak the beans in the fridge or on the counter – it makes no difference! Many people prefer the fridge so they know that nothing can contaminate the beans while they are unattended.

How To Soak Beans

  1. Select the beans that are the best fit for what you’re looking to make. Whether you want to try a new white bean chicken chili recipe or go for a classic British baked beans recipe, selecting the proper beans is key.
  2. Rinse off your beans and pick out any debris such as rocks or dirt, as well as any shriveled or rotten beans.
  3. Choose the soaking method that best suits your needs. If you want to cook your beans the same day, use the boiling and soaking method. If you wish to prepare your beans the next day, soak overnight in cool water, either on the countertop or in the fridge.
  4. Prepare your beans as the recipe calls for. Add seasonings and spices to make your beans taste as desired, or cook them as-is to keep them neutrally flavored.
  5. Store your cooked beans in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze them for up to six months.

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