This post is a Savvy Replay: I wrote a similar post years ago, but I’m refreshing it here with some new information and photography.
Let’s talk beans. Dried beans, to be exact. They are one of the pantry staples that I have on hand at all times. They are incredibly versatile, easily going from burrito bowls to chili to falafel to salads with just a change in seasoning. And while they take a little time to cook, they don’t require much effort at all. Here are the two ways I cook them:
Method 1: In the Slow Cooker.
Prep and Cook Time: 6-8 hours.
Active Time: 10 minutes.
Pour some dried beans and a bit of salt into a slow cooker, and add water until the beans are covered by at least 2 inches. You’ll want 1-2 teaspoons of salt per pound of beans. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until the beans are tender when you stab them with a fork. Typically, you want to test at least 5 beans from different areas of the slow cooker to make sure everything is cooked through. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Method 2: In a Dutch Oven.
Prep and Cook Time: 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Active Time: 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Pour some dried beans and a bit of salt (about 1 teaspoon per pound of beans) into a Dutch oven, and add water until the beans are covered by at least 1-2 inches. Put the lid on the Dutch oven, and cook for one hour. Test 5 beans from different spots in the Dutch oven. If they aren’t fork-tender yet, cook the beans for another 20 minutes. Keep testing 5 beans every 15-20 minutes until none of the beans you test are tough. Overall, the cook time should be 1 1/2 – 2 hours, depending on the type of bean.
Note 1: You may choose to season the beans further with pepper or dried or fresh herbs. Add them when you add the salt to the beans. However, I tend to stick with just salt, to give me more flexibility with how I use the beans later.
Note 2: According to the FDA, it is not safe to use either of these methods for red kidney beans. Instead, soak the beans in water overnight. Drain the beans, cover them with fresh water, and boil for at least 10 minutes.
To Freeze Dried Beans Post-Cooking.
Pour cooked beans into an airtight freezer-safe container and cover completely with some of the bean cooking liquid. Leave 1/2 – 1″ air space at the top of the container, since the liquid will expand as it freezes. The beans should last in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use dried beans:
- Bean burrito bowls
- Black bean flautas with Oh My Veggies
- Cheesy black bean chipotle quinoa fritters from Foodie with Family
- Creamy Parmesan white bean stew with spicy greens from How Sweet It Is
- Falafel burgers
- Freekah bean burgers with harissa onions from Oh My Veggies
- Lentil and chickpea salad with feta and tahini from Smitten Kitchen
- Moroccan pumpkin and chickpea stew
- Pasta and beans
- Pizza quinoa bean burgers from Edible Perspective
- Roasted fennel and white bean dip from Sprouted Kitchen
- Spicy garlic shrimp and white beans from A Kitchen Addiction
- Toasty Parmesan chickpea salad from How Sweet It Is
- White bean and arugula-walnut pesto tartines from Big Girls, Small Kitchen