People always want to know – can you cook beans without soaking? Well, I’ve got good news for you! Keep reading to find out the answer… (ok, spoiler alert – Yes you can! But keep reading to find out how!)
Let me start off by saying that soaking dry beans isn’t hard. You rinse the beans, put them in a large bowl, cover with water, and let them soak overnight. So why does everyone want to know if they can cook beans without soaking?
To soak or not to soak?
Why do people soak beans before cooking them in the first place? Pretty simple, actually. It reduces the cooking time. Dry beans are hard. Very hard. And soaking for many hours breaks down the tough outer surface, which reduces the final cooking time.
There’s also that little rumor that soaking beans before cooking reduces the unwanted gas-producing side effect. I believe the majority of the “evidence” to support that is just anecdotal and I haven’t done a side-by-side “gas experiment” so I can’t really verify that. I guess only you can make the call on whether soaking your beans before cooking makes a difference. (Well, maybe your spouse or partner should get a vote too…?)
While it’s not hard to do, pre-soaking beans before cooking does take some planning – 8-12 hours of planning ahead. And lots of people don’t plan that far ahead. Hence, the half-billion-dollar canned bean industry. Yep, they’re banking on you not planning ahead with those dry beans so they can make a fortune on the canned ones.
Good news, though! You don’t have to be a fanatic-crazy-plan-everything-ahead type of person in order to enjoy the tender creaminess of dried beans. And I’ve got 3 different ways for you to do it. All without soaking!
Method 1 – Cook beans without soaking on the cooktop
Rinse beans well then place in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add enough water so the beans are covered by at least an extra inch of water above the bean line. Add aromatics (a quartered onion, peeled garlic, or a bay leaf) and some salt.
Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the beans and simmer approximately 2 hours. The bigger the bean, the longer they need to cook. See the package for exact times. Stir at least every 20 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot so the beans don’t stick. Remove beans when the desired texture is reached.
There are a couple of disadvantages to cooking beans on the stovetop without soaking. First, it does take a fair amount of “babysitting” the beans. You don’t want them to stick to the bottom or glob together. Second, the beans get a little beaten up from all the stirring, so they’re not the best looking cooked beans. They’re tasty, though!
Method 2 – Cook dry beans in the oven
I found this great oven method of how to cook beans without soaking on the wonderful food blog called The Kitchen Blog. She shows you step-by-step how to make beans in the oven without soaking them. It’s similar to the stovetop method but no babysitting the pot.
Rinse your beans, put them in a dutch oven or cast iron pot, pour in enough water to cover the beans by 2-3 inches, bake at 375 degrees for 2 hours. Stir and check to see if they’re done to your liking. If not, cover and put back in the oven another 15-30 minutes.
This is a great method because the beans really keep their shape since there’s not much stirring going on. But it does take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, so there is some planning ahead needed.
Method 3 – Pressure cooker beans from dry to done in less than an hour
This is how I cook beans without soaking. It’s quick, reliable, and requires almost no effort. But, of course, you can only cook pressure cooker dry beans if you have a pressure cooker! (I have this Mealthy Multipot and love it.)
Just toss in your rinsed, dry beans, cover with water, making sure the water level is 1-2 inches above the bean line, add some salt, a smashed clove of garlic and a bay leave, then pressure cook for 25 minutes. I did these Instant Pot Pinto Beans the other day and they were a-maz-ing! And I often do these pressure cooker black beans. No more cans!
That’s it! Three great way cook beans without soaking! No more planning, no more stressing because you forgot to soak the beans, and no more spending a small fortune on canned beans!