How to Cook Dried Black Beans?

Black Beans
Black Beans

Like most things, cooking dried black beans isn’t difficult if you know what you are doing. It can, however, become quite a mess if you are flying blind. Perhaps the most important thing you will need if you are going to prepare dried black beans is time. The process is not particularly labor intensive, but you will need to be sure you allow for several hours from start to finish.

Preparing dried black beans for cooking

When you get your beans home from the store, the first thing you will want to do is clean and sort them. Shriveled and knotty beans will not cook up properly, so it is best to discard these. Keep in mind that beans, like all produce, are grown outside and may have dirt, clay, or pesticide residues clinging to them. Wash them thoroughly several times, changing the water often. For a final measure, cover the beans with water and let them sit for a few minutes, removing whatever floats to the surface.

Once you have cleaned and sorted your dried black beans, they will require a soaking period. Cover your beans with water and leave them to sit for about 4 hours, or even overnight if time allows. You need not do anything else to them during this period, but it is an important step toward getting the desired final result. There is a quick soaking method that allows for boiling the beans up to 3 minutes and then covering them for an hour or two, but this method is likely to reduce the nutritional value. It is better, when possible, to give them the time they need to rehydrate naturally.

Soaking overnight is by far the best method. The quick soak method often causes the beans to break apart prematurely. If you are going to puree the beans, this may be fine, but in salads you’ll want your beans to remain whole so plan accordingly. Save any salts or seasonings for after the beans have completely cooked or very near the end time. Adding acidic ingredients too soon can cause your black beans to become tough.

Cooking your newly rehydrated dried black beans

If you are diligent in properly preparing your beans, the actual process of cooking them is exceedingly simple. Drain off the water you used to soak the beans and add cold water back to them. Use a ratio of 1:3, so if you have 2 cups of beans, use 6 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce them down to a very slow simmer for 2 hours. Now your black beans are ready to use in any way you see fit.

Things you can do with cooked dried black beans

Of course, you can always just season your beans and eat them as is, but there are many other interesting things that can be done. Black bean recipes range from soups to salads and more. Using black beans in dishes you already prepare is a great way to add some nutrition and protein to your diet inexpensively and without meat. Visit Recipe Zarr: Black Beans for over 2,000 ways to use black beans in your meals.

As good as black beans are for you, some people may experience intestinal upset in the form of gas. Take this into consideration when preparing your beans and add herbal seasonings such as summer savory to help reduce this effect. Even with this mild side effect, black beans are a wonderful addition to your diet, and their benefits are quite possibly the reason they have been used for over 7,000 years.


Author: Allan

Allan Thomes has been a professional writer for 1 &1/2 years. He joined the THF Team in May, 2011. Along with the numerous other hobbies he enjoys, Allan spends many hours doing home remodeling projects, entertaining family and friends, and gardening.

10 thoughts on “How to Cook Dried Black Beans?”

    1. Spence, I have done some research to see if there were any errors in the directions given by Allan. Here are the basic instructions that I have found on just about every site that give cooking directions for black beans:

      Step 1: Sort & clean the beans – remove any undesirable small debris (stones, twigs, pesticide residuals, clay, & dirt) and damaged beans. The beans should be placed on a light-colored surface for sorting, and then placed in a strainer to be rinsed off with cold, running water.

      Step 2: Pre-soak the beans – Place the beans in a saucepan and add water (2-3 cups per cup of beans). For a quick-soak, bring the water to a boil and boil the beans for 2-3 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat, put a lid on the pan and let it sit for 2 hours. For the longer, healthier method- Instead of boiling the beans first, just put the covered pan of beans in the refrigerator and let them soak for 8 to 24 hours, allowing room for expansion in the container. The more the beans re-hydrate, the quicker they will cook. If you do not refrigerate the beans while they’re soaking, the beans may ferment.

      Step 3: Drain off the water the beans were soaking in, rinse the beans in clean water.

      Step 4: Place the beans in a saucepan and cover the beans with fresh water or broth (the liquid should be about 1-2 inches above the top of the beans).

      Step 5: Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, only partially covering the pan. Cook the beans for about 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. They can also be prepared in a pressure cooker instead of on the stove top. It takes about 1/2 hour to pressure cook black beans.

      Step 6: Add in salty and acidic seasonings when the beans are done cooking. Adding salts & acidic ingredients, such as lemon, vinegar, and tomatoes will cause the beans to toughen and increase the cooking time.

      Other things to consider is that age and dryness of the beans will affect their flavor, tenderness, and cooking time. If you purchase the beans from a store’s bin, not all of the beans may have the same level of freshness, age and moisture. This means they may not cook consistently.

      If all you’re trying to do is avoid the salt or various other ingredients that may come in a can of beans, then you can simply thoroughly rinse the beans before using them. Then merely heat the beans when the recipes calls for hot beans or use them as is for cold bean recipes.

      1. HELLO! I have soaked them over night. They have been cooking for over 2 hours ON THE STOVE!. and still not real soft??anyway that is a AWESOME looking dog Alan. trying to BEAN the right thing. elevation is 6813 above.

        1. Hi, Erle! It takes almost double the time to re-hydrate and cook black beans at altitudes of 3,500 ft. or higher. So you will have to soak the dried beans longer and take more time cooking them in order to get them tender and well-cooked.

  1. Whatever idiot wrote this is wrong. The beans are still firm! Now everything i was going to make for a group of people coming over is ruined!

  2. Cook time is also affected by the age of the beans. The longer they’ve been sitting on a supermarket shelf the longer they’ll take to cook. I just finished cooking my beans which were fresh since the market had to special order them for me (French people don’t eat them!!!) and they are perfect! I did soak them 1.5 days because I started preparing them for dinner last night without reading through the recipe. Maybe that made a difference?

    1. You’re right, Karyn! Age of the beans do affect the cooking time. That was an interesting tidbit you shared about having to special order the beans due to French people not eating them. Do the French people avoid all dried beans or just black beans? Your beans probably came out more tender due to being very fresh and due to soaking them for 1.5 days.

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