Chili - dried beans- disaster?

Hi all,
today I am making veggie chili and i am using dried beans for the first time. Red beans and black beans. soaked them according to package directions (in seperate pots, 5 cups of water to about 1 lb of dried beans, brought to boil for 2 mins, then sat for an hour w lid on). The thing is the beans never got soft and tender, and it had been well over an hour. So i thought, okay well they will cook the rest of the way in the chili, esp if I throw in crock pot for hours.

am starting to think i was clearly wrong about that and that i should just dump this whole batch of chili. i read beans will never cook w tomato sauce bc of the acidity (and sadly i already added that).

any ideas? is this a losing game? what if i used an immersion blender on the beans? would that make it cook any better?

thanks in advance for any help.

  • Posted by: bridget
  • March 7, 2015


Susan March 8, 2015
Soaking is the first step in cooking beans. Following the soaking (whether overnight or the quick soak, which you did), the beans then need to be cooked. The age of the bean generally determines how long they need to cook. As one respondent pointed out, it isn't necessary to soak black beans. With them you can jump straight to cooking. Don't give up. Once you get the hang of this, you'll never go back to gummy canned beans again.
bridget March 8, 2015
thank you! You're right...I didn't realize that soaking was the first step in preparing the beans. I for some reason thought that soaking would give them the same consistency as canned, and that is how I would know they were "done." Turns out that I did soak them enough (i think) because a few hours on high in the crockpot had them at the perfect consistency! They weren't as flavorful as seasoned beans, but they were great...I think I just have to season them in the future. thanks again for your help!
olive March 7, 2015
I forgot to say after rinsing the beans I add fresh water to cover with all the rest I mentioned ;)
olive March 7, 2015
I have cooked beans in chili and tomatoes for a few hours and have been fine. Soaked overnight, rinsed then put in a large pot with chunks of onion, garlic, bay leaves, and spices. After their half-way done I add crushed tomatoes and salt. Usually it takes about 3 hours, but not if the beans are old…in which case they may never cook.
bridget March 8, 2015
thanks! that sounds like a great method.
ktr March 7, 2015
I may be misreading but what it appears to me you did was to presoak your beans and not actually cook them. Normally after they have been boiled and then sit for an hour, you drain the water off and then add more water and cook them until they soften. I wouldn't worry too much though because beans can be cooked in the crockpot. I've made several soup recipes where the beans cook in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients. They are probably going to take most of the day to cook this way though. If they aren't cooked all the way as you get close to eating, you can put them in a pot and cook them on the stovetop to speed things up.
Nancy March 7, 2015
I agree with ktr that they are savable, but not likely for dinner tonight. resort to one of the classic remedies for a failed dish (scrambled eggs, pizza). Then cook the beans long and slow. I would also add stock or water - about 1 cup for every cup of soaked beans - to your chili recipe to take the place of the water in which you would have cooked them to doneness.
bridget March 8, 2015
thank you. thats exactly what happened. i foolishly thought that soaking beans would give them the same texture as they have when when they werent getting that tender, i thought i did something wrong. turned out that the crockpot on high for a few hours was all it needed! thanks again.
Cav March 7, 2015
Soaking black beans is not really a necessary step ( unless you seek to avoid flatulence. And as you're making a vegetarian chilli, that might not be high on the agenda.

Acids can firm up beans, but they only firm them, not turn them rock hard. It's possible that either your red beans have been grown or stored in an environment where they'll never soften when cooked, or they have simply not been soaked enough. Or they have not yet been cooked enough.

I'd possibly leave them in the crock pot over night or somehow remove the beans from the braise and soak them overnight. Either way, it's dinner tomorrow not tonight.
bridget March 8, 2015
thank you for your help! that is great to know about black beans in the future.
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