Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
May 12, 2009 06:39 PM

an issue with beans

This has happened a few times now. I boil dry beans from the bag for two minutes and soak em for at least an hour, according to the directions on the bags, but they still dont soften up enough when I add em to a dish.
What could I be doing wrong?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just responded to your other post on this issue.

    Since you want to use them tonight, your beans need to be simmered longer. Drain them, put cold water over them again, cover, bring to a boil and simmer until done - check every 10 minutes or so.

    If they were to sit water to soften, it would take about 6-12 hours even with a swift boil.

    1. I'm surprised they were edible. That's how you soften the beans prior to cooking. Here's the deal: if you just toss some dry beans in a pot of water and boil it, the beans will cook on the outside and be hard on the inside, and will also crack and fall apart. The bean must be rehydrated either by the method you used, or by soaking at room temperature overnight (cover with at least a couple inches of water).

      Depending mainly on the size of the bean, you still need to simmer for an hour or more. When I make New Orleans style red beans I plan on 3 hours for cooking (after soaking overnight).

      1. Dried beans *do not* need to be soaked overnight, but a pound of beans will require about 2-1/2 hours of simmering time to be edible. If you soak beans over night, or use other "techniques" they still require 2+ hours to cook.

        1. For red beans and rice, an almost every Monday meal tradition here, I have found that soaking them overnight is much better for the outcome. A soft, creamy bean that I cook on low for about 3 hours after soaking (cook with fresh water). I always add a pinch or two of brown sugar along with the other stuff. For whatever reason, we don't tend to have stomach problems with this method, and we did with the no-soak.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bayoucook

            I always soak my beans, I have used the crock pot method too, but usually soak over night as my prefered method. I just made a bean soup. Soaked the beans for 8 hrs. Then added, onion, celery, carrot, etc home broth and 1 hour later, the beans were tender and perfect. And agree bayou, straight beans or in a soup, I find them creamier for some reason.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              I know! I've tried them both ways and paid attention (smile). It's just better soaked overnight - and it's not like it's actively time-consuming, so why not?

            2. re: bayoucook

              Yes me too, I've not ever had problems with beans not cooking. I think I cooked them once when I was in a hurry and I didn't soak them prior. I just brought the pot to a hard boil for I forget how long. I don't recommend that. Take the time to soak them and change the water twice, use the second rinse/soak water to cook them in.

              I quit cooking beans on the stove top, I've been cooking beans in a crockpot for the last few years, and I let them cook all day. It's a planning thing, beans aren't a food that you can just make spur of the moment, they'll always disappoint you. You must soak them at least 8 hours, and you must cook them slow for them to get to that creamy goodness state.

              1. re: chef chicklet

                Agree, beans aren't something you decide to do in a hurry! I use the crockpot exclusively now, but I never pre soak. The beans always come out creamy and wonderful. I make enough to freeze some, to use later when I am in a hurry. I do think the freshness of the beans has something to do with how creamy they become. I haven't noticed a difference in "that bean problem" since I stopped pre-soaking. Mexicans often add epazote to their beans, and that is supposed to be an antidote to the flatulence problem, but I don't often remember to buy it.

            3. you have to cook them till tender, even after the soak and rest. the cooking itself can take an hour or, often, more time....

              1 Reply
              1. re: alkapal

                Usually an hour for me, but I did have some navys I swear never got soft. Probably stale or old beans.