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Nov 3, 2008 05:24 PM

How long should you soak black beans?

I have some dried Alubia Negra beans and I want to use them for dinner tomorrow night. First, how long should I soak them? Is it possible to over-soak them? Second, how long should I cook them after they have soaked? Thanks!

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  1. We put ours in to soak the morning (before we leave for work) of the day we want to cook them for supper. They'll expand as they soak, so cover them with soak water and then add some more. Also pour off the soak water and add new before you cook them. We have a pressure cooker, so presoaked ones take only 3-6 minutes at high pressure with natural pressure release. If you use a regular pan they take longer...but I don't know how long. I used to presoak and then partially cook them and put them in serving size or meal size containers in the freezer and just add them when I was making millet or rice to cook them the rest of the way.

    1. I pre-soak all beans by covering them with 2" of water and boiling for 5 minutes, then putting on the lid and turning off the heat and letting them sit for an hour. After that, I drain them, add new water, and cook in a regular pot (i.e., not a pressure cooker). Depending on the type of beans, they'll take 45 min - an hour to fully cook.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Erika L

        I use this method as it helps "degas" the beans! Then I cook the beans with a quartered onion, end of a celery and several gloves of garlic. When the beans are cooked, I remove the vegetables.

        1. re: Erika L

          +1 for Erika's method. Works very well.

        2. When I cook them in the pressure cooker, I don't soak. They take 15 minutes! Otherwise I have usually soaked overnight.

          1. Per Rick Bayless, I never soak my beans. Just cover with water, bring to a boil and then down to a simmer for about 2 hours. You may need to replenish water occasionally.

            Don't throw the water away either! It has loads of flavor.

            9 Replies
            1. re: dexters

              same here. Never soak. Cook stove top for about 2 hours. You can do it in the oven as well and there would be no need to stir or check on them as you would stove top.

              I'm using a pressure cooker more for beans these days

                1. re: rworange

                  Mr. Orange is right - the slow cooker turns out perfect beans every time, black, red, white, lentils or split peas. I never soak anymore, nor do I have to watch anything boiling on the stove. To elaborate -- measure a little more than twice as much water as beans, add whatever flavorings, put on low and leave. High is quicker, but it's good to be there to stir a couple of times if so.

                2. re: dexters

                  I don't soak either. I use my slow cooker.

                  1. re: MazDee

                    For those sensitive to the "musical" effects of beans, the soaking helps reduce it.

                    1. re: lgss

                      Actually, several tests have proven that soaking *does not* counteract any gaseous effects of beans.

                  2. re: dexters

                    I tried several times to cook beans in whey (long story). They absolutely refused to cook, even after being on the stove for a whole day. Any idea why?

                    1. re: kbinsted

                      Is it possible that whey acts like very hard water? Hard water is unkind to beans, perhaps on account of the minerals, like calcium. Some whey is an excellent source of calcium.

                      My other thought is that certain types of whey are acidic, and acid can have an adverse effect on flavor and texture, but I don't know if whey ever gets acidic enough to matter. Of the two, acid and minerals, I'd be more inclined to suspect minerals. But I'm guessing, so it could be something else entirely.

                      Oh, be sure you trust the source of the beans. Some places never turn over long keeping stock. Really old beans (years) can refuse to soften. Myself, though, I've principally had that problem with kidneys.

                  3. I'm another NO Soak bean maker. A coupl eyears ago I did my own kitchen test - soaked vs unsoaked cooked to the same doneness. Unsoaked beans took about 15 minutes longer. No more soaking and having to plan a day ahead!! PS - put a tablespoon of dried thyme in with any bean as it cooks - a match made in heaven.