How To Quick-Soak Dried Beans in Just One Hour

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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We've all been there. You go to start a recipe for your favorite chili or bean soup or from-scratch hummus and then it hits you: you forgot to soak the beans! Of course you can reach for canned beans at this point, but if freshly cooked beans are what you really want, then read on for how to quick-soak your beans and cut the soaking time down to just one hour.

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Whether you plan your recipe the night before or an hour before, we highly recommend that you soak your dried beans before cooking them. This presoak begins the softening process and allows the beans to cook more quickly and evenly. Ideally, you would soak the beans for several hours before cooking, often overnight, so the beans have plenty of time to absorb water slowly.

But if you don't have time for a long soak or just plain forgot, then there's still hope. This quick-soak method shortcuts the hours of waiting by first bringing the beans to a boil, then letting them soak in the hot water for about an hour. This doesn't actually cook the beans — they're not ready to eat quite yet — but this puts your beans at the starting line, just as if you'd soaked them overnight.

How To Quick-Soak Dried Beans

What You Need

Ingredients
Dried beans, any amount
Water

Equipment
Saucepan or small Dutch oven

Instructions

  1. Rinse the beans: Pour the beans into a colander and rinse them under cool running water. Check and discard any stones or other debris. Drain.
  2. Transfer to the saucepan and cover with water: Tip the beans into a pot and cover with about 2 inches of water.
  3. Boil the beans: Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cook the beans for 1 minute, then remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Soak for 1 hour: Cover with a lid and let the beans to soak in the warm water for one hour.
  5. Drain the beans: Drain the beans into a colander. Rinse and begin to cook according to your recipe.

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(Image credits: Emma Christensen; Dana Velden)

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Main, Advice, Beans & Lentils, How To, Stovetop

Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.