Quick Soak Beans for Faster Cooking

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Learn how to quick-soak beans in one hour! Using hot salted water speeds up the final cooking time, shaving off at least 45 minutes for stovetop preparation. Instead of overnight soaking dried beans, try this faster method to have them ready to eat the same day.

Quick Soak Beans for Faster Cooking

How to quick-soak dried beans

Soaking beans overnight starts the hydration process. It makes cooking faster the next day and yields a creamier texture. However, sometimes we forget to soak or need a faster same-day solution. Using the quick-soak method is a handy technique!

Various types of beans can be used like large pinto, black, red, or kidney beans. The dried beans sit in hot briny water for just an hour. The total cook time slashes down to just a few hours. Now you don’t have to wait all day to prepare wholesome dishes like a big batch of baked beans or black bean soup.

1) Wash the beans

Washing beans inside of a colander

Rinse the beans in a colander using cold water before soaking for about 1 to 2 minutes. Beans can gather dirt on the surface from processing. Washing ensures a clean pot of legumes. This is also a good time to check for any broken or cracked pieces and discard them.

2) Add salt and water

Large saucepan filled with beans and salt

In a large pot add salt (1 ½ tablespoons), the rinsed beans, and 2 quarts (8 cups) of water. The generous amount of salt will help to soften the outer skin and season the beans as it soaks.

3) Quick soaking

Beans soaking in a pot of water

Bring to a boil briefly, just 2 minutes. This will rapidly heat up the cold water, but not completely cook the beans. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow it to sit for 60 minutes. This is the critical point to let the water and salt work its magic. Make sure to drain the water and rinse the beans well before cooking so that it doesn’t taste too salty.

Ready to cook!

When you’re ready to cook, add 1 quart (4 cups) of water, salt (1 teaspoon), and soaked beans in a large pot. Cover and simmer, make sure to stir the beans every 30-minutes as they cook.

The beans will be ready when their texture is tender and creamy. This could take about 1 to 1 ½ hours or more depending on the size. Once ready, you can now enjoy them in your favorite dishes or they are great for meal prepping.

Why you need to soak beans

There are advantages to taking the time to soak beans. If the beans are not hydrated the cook time increases. Soaking can save you around 45 minutes of stovetop simmering. Limiting the simmering time also reduces the number of burst beans. Hydrating the starches inside makes the beans creamier. Legumes like lentils, split peas, adzuki, and black-eyed peas do not require a pre-soak.

Hot water and salt are key

Overnight soaking uses cool water, which takes 8 to 24 hours of soaking. Hot water hydrates the skin faster, however, I find that combining water and salt works better together. They make the skin softer while transferring more water to the center.

The dried beans are exposed to boiling water briefly, then sit off the heat for gentle absorption for one hour. Plus, the beans retain their characteristic taste because they sit in the water for a shorter period of time.

Tasty ways to use cooked beans

Why salt helps

Soaking the beans in salted water helps to soften the thick outer skin. This yields creamier centers and beans that don’t burst as much. The sodium ions in the salt replace the calcium and magnesium ions on the skin. The new abundance of sodium ions weakens the pectin in the cell walls and allows more water to infuse through the skin which softens the core and cooks the starches. Don’t skip the salt! They are better tasting too.

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Quick Soak Beans

Learn how to quick-soak beans in one hour! Using hot salted water speeds up the final cook time, shaving off at least 45 minutes for stovetop preparation.
Pin Print Review
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients

Quick Soaking Beans

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

Cooking Beans

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

Quick Soaking Beans

  • Pick over and discard any broken dried beans.
  • Add beans to a colander and rinse with cold water for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • In a large saucepan or dutch oven add beans, 1 ½ tablespoons salt, and 8 cups water, stir to dissolve.
  • Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cover the beans for 1 hour of soaking.
  • Drain and rinse the beans before cooking.

Cooking Beans

  • In the same pan 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. Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot, about every 30 minutes.
  • Gently cook beans over low heat until tender and creamy, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Drain and serve them warm.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: One cup of dried beans yields about 2 to 3 cups of cooked beans depending on the type.
  • Serving Size: ½ cup cooked beans
  • Beans that DO NOT need soaking: Lentils, split peas, adzuki, and black-eyed peas.

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Nutrition Facts
Quick Soak Beans
Amount Per Serving
Calories 167 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 308mg13%
Potassium 672mg19%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 62mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* 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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