How to Cook Black Beans on the Stovetop

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Learn how to cook black beans like a pro! For tender and creamy legumes, just follow these easy cooking tips on how to soak and finish on the stovetop. Add perfectly cooked beans to salads, dips, soups, stews, chilis, and side dishes for a boost of protein and fiber.

black beans recipe

Cooking black beans on the stove top is easy, affordable, and yields the best flavor. Of course, there’s no denying that pre-cooked canned beans are super convenient. It’s often my go-to option when I need a quick vegetarian protein, but unfortunately, they tend to be mushy and over-saturated with sodium.

The process is straightforward, soaking the beans in salt water softens the skins so that the outside is edible and the interiors are soft. For those short on time, I share a “quick soak” option or you can add a pinch of baking soda which will speed up the cooking time.

uncooked black beans, some with little white chips on them

How to cook black beans

  • Pick over broken dried beans and rinse with water.
  • Soak in a large bowl with water and salt for 8 to 24 hours.
  • Drain and rinse.
  • Add soaked beans, 4 cups of water, and add salt to a pot.
  • Bring to a boil, simmer, cover, and then reduce to low heat.
  • Cook until beans are tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  • Drain and serve.

Soak the beans before cooking

Yes, soaking gives the tough fibrous, outer seed coat time to evenly absorb water and soften. The starchy centers will turn creamier as more water is able to move inside, heat, and gelatinize. A bonus is that soaking allows the beans to cook faster. By taking a few minutes the night before will save you time later.

What about using an Instant Pot?

When making Instant Pot black beans you can entirely skip the soaking process. Using a pressure cooker, they’ll be ready in about 1 hour.

soaking black beans in a large bowl

Does soaking beans help reduce gas?

Yes, it can help to reduce some of the gas and discomfort that a person may experience. How? Beans contain oligosaccharides, small chain carbohydrates that are not easily digestible by humans, but gut-friendly bacteria love to feed on them and the result is gas.

Soaking, either overnight or quickly in hot water for 1-hour helps to remove some of those carbohydrates like stachyose. Make sure to drain and rinse the beans after soaking and cooking.

Speed up the cooking process

Try the “quick soak” method for dried black beans. Simply soak in high heat water for an hour and then cook on the stovetop until tender. This method should take about 2 to 2 ½ hours to prepare, instead of 9+ hours. This works great for any dried beans such as red kidney, navy, pinto, and garbanzo.

Alternatively, add a small amount of baking soda to the cooking water post soaking. This technique creates an alkaline environment that rapidly breaks down the pectin in the skins and can cook the beans in under 1 ½ hour. It also helps to keep the blackish purple anthocyanin pigments stay in the skin. About ⅛ teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of beans will do.

simmering black beans in a pot on the stovetop

How long does it take to cook dried black beans?

  • Standard Soaking: 8 to 24 hours in cold water and salt
  • Quick Soak method: 1 hour covered in hot water
  • Stovetop Cooking: Post soaking; 1 to 2 hours

Flavorful additions

As the beans are simmering, you can add more aromatics and flavor to the pot. Chopped onions sauteed in olive oil, garlic, bay leaves, or seasonings like cumin, coriander, and chili powder are great flavor boosters. Make sure to add any acidic ingredients like tomatoes, lemon juice, or vinegar towards the end of the cooking process. Acid makes the skins stay firm, so the beans will never cook through.

Black bean nutrition

Black beans are from the Phaseolus vulgaris family and they stand out for its fiber-rich qualities. They are also a source of vegetarian and vegan proteins and elevated levels of minerals and B vitamins. They also contain prebiotics that helps to grow and sustain the healthy bacteria in the digestive system.

spoon lifting cooked black beans out of a pot

More black bean recipes

How to know if dried beans are stale

The only way to check for “bad” beans is at the end of the soaking process. Stale beans will have wrinkly skin. When beans are picked and processed, they can get holes in their seed coats from physical bumping, changes in storage temperature and moisture, or microorganism growth which allows water to be picked up. If the entire batch looks like this, toss them out! The texture will be gritty instead of creamy. (Source: Cook’s Illustrated)

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How to Cook Black Beans (Stovetop Method)

Learn how to cook black beans like a pro! For tender and creamy legumes, just follow these easy cooking tips on how to soak and finish on the stovetop.
Pin Print Review
4.1 from 10 votes
Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time9 hrs 30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients

  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried black beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

  • Pick over and discard any broken dried beans.
  • Add dried black beans to a colander and rinse with water.
  • In a large bowl add 8 cups water and 1 ½ tablespoons salt, stir to dissolve.
  • Add the washed beans and allow to soak a minimum of 8 to 24 hours at room temperature.
  • Alternatively, the beans can be quick-soaked. Bring the water, salt, and beans to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cover the beans for 1 hour of soaking.
  • Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
  • In a large pot add the soaked beans, 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Gently cook beans over low heat until tender, 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Drain and serve black beans warm.

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Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Black Beans (Stovetop Method)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value*
Sodium 14mg1%
Potassium 719mg21%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 10g20%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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16 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Steven says

    Hello Jessica, hope you are safe and well. I bought Goya black beans soaks them over night, cooked on the stove top, put them in the slow cooker bit they never got nice. Toss them out…What happened. I’m afraid to try again. Thank you much

  2. Keri says

    After cooking the black beans can they be stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator or frozen for later use?

  3. Jeff Hillmeyer says

    I have perfected cooking black, pinto, red beans, and just about whatever type in this category ( you could try other types but will require shorter times). When I moved to a high altitude climate, I discovered one key ingredient to eliminate when cooking. SALT. Almost any bean comes out soft and cooks faster, no matter which method. You simply add it afterwards to taste. But by far, the easiest way to cook is in a crock pot, because no soaking (quick or overnight) is required. When I make pintos or black beans, to give it a good basis to reheat later for any other style, I add whole cumin that I rub between my hands to crack a bit and lots of fresh garlic that I chop coarsely (about 4 cloves per 1 lb bag of beans). Then, after about 4 hours later, check for tenderness, and if to your liking, add the salt then, and only then! Remember one thing, SALT is your enemy while cooking, but absolutely magical to add when you’re ready to eat! Add a lot of water (almost to the top of the crock pot) to get something soup-like, and rememeber you can always cook out water, but you can never add it to make the flavor stand.

  4. Aza says

    Jessica is right about the salt. Black beans are special because they have thin skins and they blow open easily. Even an 8 hour soak in unsalted water will produce dozens of blown beans. Salting the water slows down water penetration and produces more even softening (with less blow outs and more uniformity of outcome) — not to mention a tastier bean.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Nick- For the quick soak or overnight soak, you could do 16 cups of water for 32 ounces of beans. Just make sure the water covers the surface. I would then cook the beans in fresh 16 cups of water after draining.

  5. Judee Jablonowski says

    Just made your black beans, very tasty. Soaked overnight, cooked 1 1/2 hours in salt water with bay leaf. Excellent!!!

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