Good Question: Can I Freeze Cooked Beans?

published Jan 20, 2009
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Ava is inspired to cook beans, but she’s looking for some tips on freezing cooked beans. Can you help?

All this talk of beans makes me want to make nothing but bean soups, stews, and chilis, and I’m determined to start using dried beans instead of canned. My question has to do with freezing pre-soaked and pre-cooked beans. Everywhere on the internet it says to freeze the beans after they’ve been soaked and cooked, then defrost and use them like canned.

But if I’m going to be cooking something else with them, like chili, then they’ll have been cooked TWICE by the time they’re ready to eat. Will this ruin their texture or make them fall apart?

One of the things I’m most looking forward to with the dried is firmer, better textured beans without the skins falling off, like canned do. I hate that, when the skins fall off.

So for a recipe like soup or stew or chili, where the beans are going to be cooked for at least an hour with the other ingredients: before I freeze the beans should I soak only? Soak then undercook? or can beans handle being fully cooked twice? If you can help me I really appreciate it! Thanks!

Freezing is a great way to preserve cooked beans! One pound of dried beans usually yields about six cups of cooked beans, which is often more than we need. You can easily freeze cooked beans for quick defrosting and use in small bags or containers.

Ava, on the issue of splitting beans, we want to repeat Steve Sando’s advice. To reduce splitting, cook your beans at the absolute lowest temperature that you can. We try to get our heat low enough so that just an occasional bubble comes up from the pot. Also, adding salt about halfway through cooking is said to help reduce splitting too.

We would give similar advice for cooking chili after the beans are added: keep it to a low simmer. Or add the frozen beans at the very end after the meat has been fully cooked so that you don’t need to cook them again for long.

Any more tips for using frozen cooked beans?

(Image: Flickr member sean dreilinger licensed for use under Creative Commons)