If you eat beans from a can, you’re doing it wrong. So wrong. Making beans from scratch (soak and Instant Pot) not only taste better, but it’s super cost-effective and dried beans have a very long shelf life. A bag of beans for about a buck will yield several cans worth!
Traditional Beans Method – Dry Beans + Soak Overnight
I often hear my friends say they would like to make beans from scratch, but it’s so time-consuming. No, it’s really not! Just like you make your child breakfast, or let the dog out to pee, making beans can also be part of that routine, except if you forget to do it, no one will starve or pee on your floor.
The two easiest times to start your beans are morning and evening. If you work or have to leave in the morning, take the beans and soak them in a huge pot during the day. 6 hours should be the minimum. Cover the beans with water and then an extra inch over the bean line for good measure. I cover the pot with a clean dish cloth, but you can put a lid on it as well. By the time you return in the late afternoon or early evening, rinse the swollen beans once and then refill the pot with water, again adding water one inch over the soaked beans. Put on a low simmer heat, cover with lid and let it roll for a couple of hours. I throw in a mixture of spices depending on what I’m in the mood for (bay, oregano, fresh garlic, salt), but I won’t get into that too much here as you are the boss when it comes to flavoring. Add water when needed, but at a low simmer you don’t have to stress out about it.
The morning soak routine means that I’ll have fresh hot beans for my dinner with very low effort. Great for Taco Tuesday at my house, taco salads, or just an easy bean chili soup on a cold gray day.
The instructions on the bag of beans say to soak beans overnight. I guess this makes sense because you’re sleeping and the beans are soaking, which means they will be ready to cook in the morning. Not a fan of this written note, however. To me this means I have nothing going on in the morning, except to make beans. You know what fellow Bean Makers, I am busy and actually have stuff to do. Even if I don’t have anything exciting going on, I’m a little insulted that you are insinuating I have nothing better to do. Oh, but homemade beans are so good. Ok, maybe I do have time. I do the overnight soak method for mornings that I am home (maybe a weekend), or when I have to pay bills. I’m grounded anyway paying phone, electric, insurance, water, gas, etc. etc. (barf), so it’s actually really nice to hear the pot on the stove gently bubbling away as the enticing bean aroma fills my kitchen. By the time I’m finished, they are close to done. Once on the pot, well-soaked beans won’t take more than an hour of cooking, but a slow cooked bean rumbling on the stove for a couple of hours is a treat.
Soaked Beans Cooking Method
- Rinse beans well, then cover with cold water and soak for 6 hours or overnight.
- Transfer beans to a soup pot and add water to cover by 1 inch.
- Add onion, bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer, partly cover pot with lid, and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Instant Pot Beans
I like Instant Pot Beans, but word to the wise – if you don’t get the time right, you may end up with mushy beans. I still prefer to slow simmer by beans, but if you’re REALLY pressed for time, by all means cook them in your Instant Pot!
- Rinse and sort your dried beans. Place 1 pound dried beans with 8 cups water in your Instant Pot – beans should be covered in water by a few inches. You may add salt at this point, but I prefer to season mine afterwards (to each their own!)
- Cook on high pressure with the suggested time below. I let my beans ‘self release’, but if you’re in a hurry you can do the manually pressure release. Season afterwards!
SUGESTED BEAN COOKING TIME
- Black beans: 20 minutes
- Pinto beans: 25 minutes
- Black-eyed peas : 20 minutes
- Great Northern beans: 25 minutes
- Cannellini beans: 35 minutes
- Chickpeas: 35 minutes
Once you have beans that taste like beans, and not ‘nasty metal can’, then you really can never go back and they will easily become part of your routine as well. When your friends come over to have some of your homemade chili, you simply snap your fingers and say, ‘Oh, these beans? They ain’t no thang.’ Because if you can remember to let your dog out to pee, you can easily make beans. Snap!