Bean cooking guide
Behind every delicious pot of beans is a quality bag of dried beans and a few basic tips.
Use a pressure cooker
Skip the pre-soak step
Salt early and liberally
Choose your beans and how much to cook
Start with beans that are from recent harvests and ideally less than 2 years old. (If they are older than that, see our FAQs). This guide is based on cooking 1 bag of beans (1 pound), which we recommend, since leftovers can be repurposed in so many ways. One pound of beans will give you roughly 7 cups of cooked beans.
Pick a cooking method
There are 3 basic ways to cook beans. Pressure cooking makes a ton of sense for busy weeknights, and it’s almost always our preferred way of doing things.
Flavor your beans (optional)
Adding flavor gives you a pot of brothy beans that can stand on its own. We like to keep vegetable chunks large, garlic cloves whole, and herbs tied together so that you can easily remove them once they’re done. Save other additions such as greens or roasted veggies for later. See our FAQs for recommended amounts.
Some winning combinations:
- Olive oil
- Bay leaf
- Olive oil
- Sage and/or rosemary
- Parmesan rind (for an umami kick)
- Olive oil
- Leek, celery, carrot
- Lard, bacon fat, or neutral oil
- Fresh or dried chile
Add water (and be picky about how much)
Thick, full-bodied bean broth is magical. Aim for water to cover beans by 1-1⁄2 inches (pressure cooker) and 2 inches (stovetop and slow cooker), adding more water only as necessary to keep beans submerged. Feeling extra indulgent? Sub out water for stock or broth (make sure to adjust salt accordingly).
Add salt and fat early and liberally
Salt: We think 1-1⁄2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt per pound is the perfect amount to bring out the beans' full flavor without being too
salty. Add salt to the cooking water at the outset, despite what you may have heard otherwise.
Fat: Try olive oil, rendered pork fat, or really any fat that works with your flavor profile. We like 1-2 tablespoons per pound or beans. Incorporating a healthy dose of fat early will create the depth of flavor you are looking for.
Cook until tender
Cook beans until tender, not mushy. Always taste several beans to check for doneness. They should be tender without hard spots, and the skins should wrinkle when you blow on them.
*Cooking times are based on beans that are <1 year old, and may vary slightly based on water hardness and other ingredients added. Add ~5 minutes for every year thereafter.
Specific instructions by cooking method:
The Primary Beans Way. Cook on high pressure according to the chart below. Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes, and then finish with a quick release. If the beans are slightly undercooked, don’t fret (see our FAQs). If you have the time, finish by simmering uncovered for 10 minutes or longer to concentrate the broth.
|Time (min)||Time (min)|
|Ayocote Blanco||40||Flor de Junio||35|
For when you want a more low and slow approach to food and life. Slowly simmer covered or partially covered until tender, usually 1-1⁄2 to 3 hours. Start checking the beans after 1 hour and then every 30 minutes until they are tender. Stir occasionally and add water as needed to keep the beans submerged.
For the mornings when you plan ahead. Cover and cook on low until tender, about 6 to 8 hours. Start checking the beans after 6 hours and then every 30 to 60 minutes until they are tender.
Enjoy or save for later
Voila! Fish out any aromatics you added, and get ready to plate the beans as they are, use them in a recipe, or go off-script and create something new. The options are endless.more ideas
Store beans in their own broth. Cooked beans will keep in a covered container for up to 5 days in the fridge. We can’t imagine you’d have any leftovers anyway ;)stock your pantry