How Long to Cook Dried Beans on the Stovetop?

by Charlie
How Long to Cook Dried Beans on the Stovetop

Have you ever wanted to cook your own dried beans on the stovetop to save on money? Dried beans can often be bought in bulk for very little cost, and if you are thinking of doing this, you might be wondering how long it takes to cook them.

How long to cook dried beans on the stovetop? The length of time will depend heavily on the kinds of beans that you are cooking and how large they are. The age of the beans and their variety can also have a big impact on the cooking time. However, it should usually take between one and three hours of simmering to ensure that beans are fully cooked and tender.

How Do You Cook Dried Beans on the Stovetop?

You should cook dried beans on the stovetop by placing them in a large cooking pot and adding enough water so that the beans are covered by about an inch. Next, put them over a medium to high heat and bring them to a boil, and then drop them to a simmer and cook until they have turned tender.

You should try to cook dried beans on a day when you have free time and you are just at home doing other chores or relaxing. This means that if the beans take longer to cook than you expected, you don’t end up having to turn them off and leave them half cooked. It takes the pressure off the timing and makes them easy.

You can leave the beans simmering on your stovetop while you get on with other things, and check on them every half an hour or so. Add more water when necessary, and salt the beans when they are almost soft enough to eat.

When an hour or two has passed, test whether the beans have turned tender. Some make take three hours or even more to become soft and creamy enough to eat. When they have, turn them off. 

If you are eating them immediately, serve them. If not, allow them to cool in the water you cooked them in, and then drain them and store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

It’s worth timing them so you know approximately how long that kind of bean will take next time, but because so many variables can affect how long it takes beans to cook, this isn’t crucial. If the beans are older, they may take longer. If you cook more, you’ll need to add more time.

24Bite’s blog showcases a terrific refried beans recipe that can be cooked in a large skillet on a stovetop. They mention how they cook the beans for 2 ½ hours without even needing to season the beans!

Should You Soak Dried Beans Overnight?

It isn’t strictly necessary, but many people choose to soak beans overnight before they cook them, and this can significantly improve the cooking experience. The beans will absorb a lot of the water while soaking, and this makes them cook more evenly. It also helps to reduce how long they take to cook. 

You don’t have to soak most beans if you would rather not do so, but it’s a good idea if you have time. Simply place them in a bowl with plenty of cold water and put them in the fridge. After twenty-four hours, drain them and rinse them with more cold water.

Some kinds of beans should be soaked before cooking to reduce certain toxins in them. Kidney beans, for example, should be soaked for a minimum of five hours prior to cooking. Some people feel that soaking beans makes them easier to digest, while others disagree.

Can Beans Take More Than Three Hours to Soften?

Beans will usually have turned tender with about three hours of simmering, but they will sometimes take longer than this, especially if they are old or a particularly hard variety. Don’t panic if your beans seem to be taking a long time to soften; they will eventually do so.

It’s important to be patient when you are cooking beans. Don’t turn the heat up from simmering to boiling in an attempt to speed them up. This will result in beans that are hard in the center and mushy on the outside.

You might even find it ruins the beans, because they will start to break up if they are boiled. It is important to let the heat penetrate slowly and steadily, rather than trying to rush it.

How Should You Store Cooked Dried Beans?

Before cooking, dried beans can be stored in your cupboard, but once you have cooked them, you’ll need to keep them in the fridge or the freezer. If you are going to freeze them, it’s a good idea to do so in portions so that you can easily defrost the amount you need, rather than too much.

Always place beans in an airtight container once they have been cooked, as this helps to reduce the airflow and should make them keep better. Don’t leave the beans on the counter or keep them at room temperature for longer than is necessary; as soon as they have cooled, they should be transferred to a cold environment.

Can You Cook Dried Beans Directly Into a Meal?

No, you shouldn’t cook dried beans directly into a meal such as a soup or stew. The beans will take significantly longer to cook than the rest of the ingredients, so you will either end up with mushy vegetables/meat or undercooked beans.

If you want to add the beans to another meal, it is best to cook them until they are almost tender, but just a little harder than you would ideally want them to be. When you have done this, add them to the soup and simmer for the last half hour or so to let them fully soften.

Final Thoughts

You should allow at least three hours for cooking dried beans on your stovetop, and it’s best to do this on a day when you have time to spare so you don’t end up rushing the cooking process. 

Some beans will take over three hours to simmer, while some will only take an hour, and it depends very much on the kind of bean, how long it has been stored for, and its size.

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