How long should dry beans be soaked before cooking?

  • How long should dry beans be soaked before cooking? Jay

    I'm guessing there are different answers depending on the type of dried bean (pinto, kidney, navy, white, etc.) and I am interested in all of them.

    So: how long should dry beans be soaked?

    Should the water be just tap water, or salted?

    Should the soaking water be discarded or used later?


  • Overnight is ideal, but even an hour or two will help. If you don't have much time, you can speed the processs by using hot water. Tap water, and not salted - salt toughens the skin of beans if it used before they are cooked. Most folks discard the soaking water, as it is thought to produce flatulence. Also, if you have a pressure cooker, you can cook dried beans without a pre-soak and get great results.

  • An alternative to pre-soaking is pre-cooking. I have 200g borlotti beans and tomato sauce in the oven right now in a covered casserole. After three hours cooking at 110C I'll take them out and leave them covered until I get home from work after which time they should be nice and soft.

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