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Oct 21, 2013 08:41 AM

To soak dried beans or not to soak dried beans...that is the question

I am making a game plan on crockpot chili and attempting to obtain information. Here is the situation, 1) this is the first time of my using dried beans so I am trying to get this correct, 2) when I do the chili in the crockpot I have a plan to place everything into the crock then set time for 10 hours.

The question I am unsure on is if the overnight soak step can be skipped or if it is still needed. I have dried pinto beans but am considering dried kidney beans instead. Thank you in advance for responses.

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  1. If you don't soak overnight, boil the dried beans for 20 minutes before adding to the chili pot.

    8 Replies
    1. re: treb

      I forgot to soak black beans recently and that's what I did. For OP, why not soak the bean in SC, strain and then proceed?

      1. re: c oliver

        Now I do recall reading something similar to that and was unsure on how that works. I believe it stated soaking for 3 hrs? How does that effect the cook time or doesn't it?

        As stated, this is first time for using dried beans so I am curious as to how the crockpot is used in that matter. Please explain. Thank you. =)

        1. re: SueBear

          I'd just soak overnight, strain the beans, return them to the SC and proceed with your recipe. I have a strong opinion that just about anything except stock is going to be overcooked after ten hours. I monitor anything that's cooked and when it's done it's turned off. But YMMV>

          1. re: c oliver

            I just found data needed by searching the Internet for a quick soak and that will resolve what I need rather than doing the overnight matter.

            1. re: SueBear

              Since I'm asleep I've not found the overnight so to be very onerous :)

        2. re: c oliver

          I just made a big pot of black beans. Cuban/Puerto Rican style. I find I don't like to pre soak or do anything to shorten the cooking time since I get a more flavorful dish when the sofrittos are allowed to cook longer. I do a coarse sofritto at the onset and do a fine chopped on to finish

        3. re: treb

          Okay...that brings me to 2 more questions, since the beans are being boiled for 20 minutes they will turn out okay and not mush correct? That is a large concern.

          Second question, how much water do you use?


        4. This should be good for at least 20 responses on whether beans even belong in True, Real, Authentic chili. And what type if any.

          I normally soak the beans overnight in the broth that I have used to cook something else in. Ham hocks, beef kidneys, and smoked turkey legs do a good job on flavoring the beans. I then adjust the water level and cook on the top of the stove. They are finished when they are soft but not yet losing the skins.

          I have tried cooking everything at once, but something usually "fails" and I end up with missing components. Meat turns to mush. Aromatic veggies disappear. Salt and sweet seem to intensify. Old beans turn into hard bullets or over soaked ones turn into a solid mass.

          I have failed in so many ways making one pot chili that I now turn it into a multi-day affair. But then I take chili seriously. Whether Chicago, Cincinnati, New Mexico, or any other variation.

          1. Acid may prevent beans from softening, i.e. tomatoes.

            1. For the myriad of chilis I make, if using beans, I use the "quick soak" method for dried beans or in some cases use drained canned beans.

              Quick soak is bring to a boil, let go for 2 minutes and then turn off heat and cover and let sit for 1 hour. Then drain and use. Never have turned out mushy.

              Chili is balancing how long the meat needs to cook and making sure the beans are done as well as making sure things are not too watery.

              Over cooked meat and or beans are not a good thing.

              It's takes a few tries or a T&T recipe to get the feel.

              Ground meat vs chunks, beef vs chix vs other cuts all varies the timing of it all but not the method.

              Chili is usualy very forgiving.

              Good luck.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jjjrfoodie

                how much water are you using when you boil them? That sounds simple enough for me. Thank you.

                never mind.. I found the information I needed on the Internet.. great idea and thank you!

                1. re: jjjrfoodie

                  "Quick soak is bring to a boil, let go for 2 minutes and then turn off heat and cover and let sit for 1 hour. Then drain and use. Never have turned out mushy."

                  This is what I almost always do. I don't usually plan far enough ahead to do the overnight soak and the quick soak is very effective.

                2. Although you don't have to pre-soak your beans, it could work well to do it. Soaking them overnight can be an aid in digesting them, or you can use the Bulgarian housewives method prior to putting them into your slow cooker: place the beans in just enough water to cover, cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pour out the water and repeat this step 2 more times. This method works!

                  If you don't want to do that, your plan and cooking time sounds sufficient. Good luck!