Make Ahead

Basic Cooked Dried Beans

November 17, 2013
4 Ratings
  • Makes 9 cups of beans
Author Notes

It is your preference whether to soak or not to soak. MH likes to hydrate the beans before cooking; CH believes that with the gentlest cooking you can jump right in without a soak. Look for the “Best Used By” date when buying a package of dried beans. The fresher the beans, the more quickly they’ll cook. One pound dried beans will yield about 6 cups of cooked beans. Cooked beans freeze beautifully. —The Canal House

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups dried beans, unsoaked or soaked for 4 hours or overnight
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 branch fresh thyme, optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Really good extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Drain the beans and put them into a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover them with cold water by 4 inches or so. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, if using, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt. Bring the beans just to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and very gently simmer them until they are swollen and tender, 30 to 90 minutes (or more), depending on the freshness of the dried beans. The beans should remain submerged while they cook, so add more water to the pot if you need to.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in a generous pinch of salt. Add a good glug of olive oil. Let the beans cool to just warm or to room temperature in the cooking liquid. (The beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sharon Wegner
    Sharon Wegner
  • Horto
  • devin
  • Rosa Lee Gibbons
    Rosa Lee Gibbons

5 Reviews

Sharon W. April 10, 2016
There is mention of being able to freeze the cooked beans, but no one tells how to do it. I wonder if they all stick together and then get mushy when you defrost them.
devin November 17, 2014
how can you keep the beans longer? is it possible to preserve them in weck jars?
Rosa L. February 10, 2015
I know you can freeze them after cooking because I have done that. You can also preserve them by using the pressure cooker method. How to Pressure Can Dried Beans in Weck Jars
Horto March 19, 2014
cooking liquid
Horto March 19, 2014
now is this cooking a good thing to use for a soup broth?
or is there something funky about it, hat to dump it