Can you oversoak beans?

I put some beans on to soak, then wasn't able to cook them when I planned to. Now they've been soaking for 48 hours. Will there be anything wrong with them? They are cannellini beans.



dgonsoulin May 21, 2017
Being from South Louisiana, I make red beans and rice pretty often. I used red kidney beans and I have soaked them in plain water in the fridge for two or three days many times. It doesn't affect the outcome at all.
Lynda F. March 13, 2020
Nailed it.
sydney January 1, 2017
Quick-soak method revolutionized my kitchen last year. Bring dried beans to a boil. Cover. Turn off heat and leave for an hour. Done! Depending on the bean they're fully cooked or partially cooked, and you go from there. Love it.
Lynn C. January 1, 2017
Growing up in New Orleans and having seen a lot of beans cooked I would say it's OK to soak them up to 24 hours. I also soak mine in chicken broth and spices. I like to infuse as much flavor as possible. Pound of dried beans, black Pepper, thyme, salt, pepper, onion powder, fresh garlic, garlic powder, 3 bay leaves 2 stalks celery, 1 medium onion, 1 carrot, 2 ham hocks (or to taste), 2 quarts boxed chicken stocked and 1 pound of cubed ham. The more hocks the stronger the smoky flavor. Empty your dried beans into the pot and take out all of the discolored ones and stones, soak overnight. Dice your celery, carrot and onion and add to your pot along with the hocks. Cook for 2 to 3 hours.

Some people where I come from put a roux in everything and yes even beans but it makes them way to thick and they have to add a lot of water which makes the taste well watery.

We serve ours with Jalapeno and Cheese Cornbread.

and by the way don't eat those beans. Even if you can't smell any peculiar odors or see bubbles they can still harbor harmful bacteria but if you cook them anyway it will kill the bacteria. Beans contain toxins naturally and never eat raw or soaked beans as only a few can make you very ill.
Jerry P. February 6, 2021
Those toxins are the reason you should change the water after soaking, so don't soak them in broth unless you're throwing it away.
a S. June 21, 2011
From a food-safety standpoint, beans should not be soaked for more than 4 hours at room temperature. If soaking beans overnight (the optimal amount of soaking time if you're taking that step) it should be done in the refrigerator. In the future, you may just want skip the soak (one less thing to plan ahead!) -- you can expect the cooking time to be longer, but that's it.
I accidentally soaked beans for three days a few weeks ago. They were in a pot at room temperature. When I checked on them, they smelled...bad and there were bubbles all over the surface of the water. The beans had pretty much fermented. I soak my beans in the fridge now, especially since it's summer. So, smell them first, if they stink, toss them =)
Droplet June 20, 2011
I have oversoaked beans once or twice in the past, but refrigerated them in their water. They were ok after 48 hours, but I noticed their taste was slightly washed off. If they have been soaking at room temperature, it might be best to discard them. If you cook beans often and are able to afford, a pressure cooker helps when planning doesn't go as planned.
Panfusine June 20, 2011
if you want the seeds to sprout instead of just tossing them away, just drain off the water, Transfer the beans into a cheesecloth & keep them covered & moist for another day. & then use the sprouts (although I've never tried cannelini bean sprouts).. The nutritious value of the beans goes up another notch when sprouted.
ChefJune June 20, 2011
Partially, I think it depends upon the freshness of the beans. Some beans can take more soaking than others. At this time of year, I generally refrigerate the beans while they soak, so just in case I don't get to cook them when I originally planned, they'll be okay the next day.

One time in recent memory they sat for 3 days in the fridge, and started bubbling. I just tossed them.
Anitalectric June 19, 2011
Sometimes, if you leave them too long they will begin to sprout, at which point it is time to abort mission and possibly do something else with them, depending on what kind of beans they are! I have always wanted to try home-sprouting beans on purpose, but so far it only happens by accident ;)

What I do when I don't have time to cook beans (post soak) is drain the water, transfer the beans to a container, and stash in the freezer. Do this as close as possible to the recommended soaking time.

Then, when you're ready to cook them, just take them out of the freezer and dump directly into boiling water. You'll pick up right where you left off!

I recently started using dried beans from the local farmer's market. They are the closest thing to fresh you can get, so the soaking time is much shorter. This is good if you don't have that much time to wait. Also, lentils are great to have around b/c they require no soaking.
Vivian K. October 29, 2019
I've been soaking lentil beans for over a week now are they any good
Panfusine June 19, 2011
judging from the funky odor that emanated from my kitchen counter thanks to an 'oversoaked' batch of garbanzo's I'd say yes, if you see the soaking water begin to bubble, (more than a day) its oversoaked.
susan G. June 19, 2011
In summer, unless you have a cool-ish kitchen, you can refrigerate beans while they soak, or use the quick soak procedure -- bring to a boil with plenty of water, then wait 2 hours. One sign that the soaking beans may be fermenting is the appearance of bubbles in the water.
rroseperry June 19, 2011
I agree about giving them the smell test to see if they're going off. You might want to check your cooking time as well, test them for doneness before you usually would.
SKK June 19, 2011
In my experience the beans begin to spoil if soaked that long, particularly if it is in a warm spot. Time for the smell test - first thorougly drain and rinse the beans and see how they smell. If it seems ok cook them. Most likely they will be mushy.
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