Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 8, 2012 06:31 PM

Dried beans in chili- just soak or cook before adding?

I usually use canned beans in my chili but want to try dried. I know that I should soak them overnight, but do I need to cook before adding or do they cook in the chili?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Dried beans take a while longer than the chili to cook so cook them first then add

    1. Simmer beans with onion, garlic & jalapeños til tender. Cook chili til almost done. Add beans.
      I cannot imagine adding dried beans to not quite cooked chili..-)

      1. Acid prevents beans from tenderizing - even pre-soaked ones. If you add beans to tomato before they are cooked, they will never soften.

        2 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          I thought that about tomatoes too, Grey, until I made a recipe from Jamie's Italy (Jamie Oliver) in which he uses both tomato and potato to prepare dried beans.

          Here is part is my review...
          "I soaked the beans all day long instead of over night. In the evening, the beans were drained, placed into a large pot and covered with fresh water. A peeled potato and squashed tomato (I quartered one large one) are added. JO says these will soften the bean skin. Add a 1/2 bulb of garlic, a bunch of herbs (rosemary, bay, thyme basil - tied). Do not add salt at this point. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. The beans are drained of all but 1/2 cup of liquid. Dress with that liquid, EVOO, a little bit of vinegar, and S & P." And further along, "The beans had a wonderful flavor from the herbs and, I think, the tomato as well."

          I have not repeated the recipe but I should to see if I was right about the flavor, etc. the first time around.

          1. re: Gio

            All I know is that I once soaked and cooked kidney beans in water till perhaps 3/4 done, then added canned tomato, stock, and other vegetable soup ingredients. This was before I knew about beans and acid. I cooked it and cooked it and cooked it - must have been at least 4 more hours. Beans never got any softer. Perhaps the difference is the relatively small volume of tomato in Oliver's recipe, or maybe some alchemy involving the potato's role.

        2. Another vote for cooking them beforehand. Just till tender - be careful not to overcook them.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bacardi1

            You have to cook them first or they will never get tender. Depending on who I am serving I often cook and then serve on the side along with other toppings. Not everyone loves beans in their chili.

            Ok I meant to reply to OP. Oops!

          2. The original comment has been removed