How to Cook Dried Beans [BY BEAN TYPE]

cooking dried beans

Dried beans Vs. Tinned Beans

Let’s compare them on 4 levels:

#1 Convenience – tins win

Out of convenience, I used to buy tinned beans ready to use in recipes.

Tinned beans are ideal for quick meals as they’re ready made and just need heating. 

Dried beans require a few hours to cook through, so tinned beans definitely win when it comes to convenience.

#2 Cost – dried beans win

Dried beans are so much cheaper.

The savings are even larger if you buy your dried beans in bulk.

#3 Flavour/versatility – dried beans win

I’ve come to learn that not only are dried beans cheaper, they actually have a lot more flavour!

From my personal experience, soaking dried beans beforehand seems to result in losing some of the flavour from the beans. 

Furthermore, dried beans are so much more versatile as you can cook them how you like them. 

Whether you want them harder, softer mushier – you’re in control. 

#4 Health – dried beans win

With dried beans, what you see is what you get.

There are no added preservatives or salt, like there can be in tinned beans.

Furthermore, you also don’t need to worry about any toxins leaking in from the tins.


cooking dried beans

To soak or not to soak – that is the question.

I don’t know about you, but I always assumed that all dried beans needed to be soaked overnight before cooking. But no, I was wrong!

Whether you choose to soak your beans beforehand really comes down to three things:

#1 The type of bean

Yes, some dried beans might benefit from being soaked beforehand. These include the thick-skinned variety.

          E.g. kidney beans, pinto beans and soy beans

However, despite what you may assume, soaking is optional.

If you choose not to soak them overnight, you’d just need cook them for a little longer.

Other thinner skinned beans, like your humble black bean and adzuki beans, require no soaking.

Additionally, small legumes such as lentils don’t require any soaking. 

#2 Convenience

If you now that you are going to be short on time when it comes to cooking your beans, then you might choose to soak your dried beans the night before. 

This is because it will reduce the cooking time by around half an hour. 

However, if you forget to soak them the night before, don’t panic – it’s not essential

#3 Flavour

I actually prefer not soaking my dried beans because it tends to take away a lot of the flavour.

From personal experience, beans that I have cooked without soaking beforehand, hold their flavour more.

So I guess it depends how ‘beanie’ you want your beans to taste…

Okay, so now you have decided whether to soak your beans or not, you’re probably wondering….

cooking dried beans

How long do I cook dried beans for?

Well, this depends on two things. 

#1 The type of bean in question

As mentioned above, the thick-skinned beans will need longer.

These include kidney beans, pinto beans and soy beans.

Thinner skinned beans such as black beans and black eyed peas need shorter.

Here’s a list of the different cooking times for different types of dried beans:

NOTE: These times are for dried beans being cooked on a low-medium heat, with a lid on. 


Dried Beans (1 cup)


Cooking Time

Adzuki1.5 hours
Anasazi1.5 hours
Black-Eyed Peas1.5 hours
Black Beans1.5 hours
Cannellini1.5 hours
Fava1.5 hours
Kidney2 hours
Lentils30-45 minutes
Mung1.5 hours
Pinto2 hours
Soy Beans3-4 hours
Split Peas30-45 minutes


#2 Whether you have soaked your dried beans or not

Of course, if you haven’t soaked your dried beans beforehand, they will need longer to cook.

Soaking them overnight will typically shorten the cooking time by around 30 minutes.

Therefore, if you HAVE soaked your beans, take 30 minutes off the cooking times listed above 🙂 

You may be asking next…

cooking dried beans

How much water should I use?

Typically, you will need between 3-4 cups of water per 1 cup of dried beans.

However, this will vary slightly depending on two things:

#1 The type of bean

Other beans require more water than others. 

Here’s a little guide for you:


Beans (1 cup)



Adzuki Beans4 cups
Anasazi Beans4 cups
Black-Eyed Peas2” above beans
Black Beans3 cups
Cannellini Beans2” above beans
Fava Beans4 cups
Kidney Beans3 cups
Lentils3 cups
Mung Beans3 cups
Pinto Beans3 cups
Soy Beans3 cups
Split Peas3 cups

#2 The heat you are cooking the beans on

The amount of water above, is for dried beans cooked on a low-medium heat.

If you cook your beans on a higher heat, the water will evaporate quicker. Therefore, you will need more water. 

I recommend cooking beans on a low heat, for maximum flavour

However, if you are in a rush, feel free to blast the heat up a little. Just make sure you keep an eye on the water level and add more when needed. 

Now you’re an expert in cooking beans, you may be wondering…

cooking dried beans

What should I do with my beans?

There are heaps of recipes!

Beans are super versatile. You can sneak them into most recipes. 

Mexican food usually contains lots of beans, so that’s always a good go-to. Burritos, salad bowls, enchiladas, nachos, chimichangas… 

Beans are also great in curries, stews, soups… the list goes on.

Lentils also work as a great mince replacement, so you could pop them in pastas, lasagnas and cottage pies 🙂 

Get creative!

Here are a few recipes for some inspiration:

Loaded breakfast beans

loaded breakfast beans

Loaded Mexican beans packed with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and a whole lot of flavour.

Belizean Burrito Salad Bowl

belizean burrito salad bowl

Coriander brown rice, chilli corn, black beans, pico de gallo, spiced tofu on a bed of salad, topped with guacamole and a wedge of lime!

Chilli Con Vegan

chilli con carne

Fragrant chilli packed with soya mince, tomatoes, peppers, chilli peppers, beans and sweetcorn.

Chickpea, Lentil & Veggie Curry

chickpea lentil curry

Fragrant and fresh curry packed with chickpeas, lentils and veggies.

Black Beans and Rice

black beans rice recipe

Simple, cheap and healthy one pot recipe for black beans, rice and veggies.

Hope you have found this helpful! 🙂

Have a wonderful day.

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