How to Cook Beans

by Jan 10, 2017

These giant white beans are Royal Coronas from Rancho Gordo. Serve them simply with olive oil and parmesan, or add them to soups and pasta dishes. Eat them with sautéed greens or with halibut and tomatoes. Mash them on crostini. There are endless opportunities to use a good bean. All you have to do is transform it from hard to soft, and that is easy!


Once your beans are cooked, enjoy some of them warm then keep the rest refrigerated to use later. I store them in glass jars, 4 cups into a quart, with as much bean broth as will fit. They keep for a good week, alternatively, you can freeze them. Freezing works best if you drain off the bean broth first.

How to Cook Beans

Bean math: 1 pound dry beans = 2 cups dry beans = 4–6 cups cooked beans


  • 1 pound dry beans Rancho Gordo
  • 1 tbsp salt for soaking
  • 1–2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt for cooking


  1. Put the beans in a large bowl and fill it with water to cover the beans by 3 or 4 inches. Add a tablespoon of salt and swish it around with your fingers. Leave at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

    After soaking, drain off the soaking water by dumping the beans into a colander.

    If you don't have time for a soak, just boil the beans on the stovetop for 5 minutes and proceed.

  2. Put beans in your slow cooker and add fresh water to cover the beans by a couple inches. Pour in the olive oil and sprinkle in the 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the lid on and set to Low for 4–6 hours.

    If your beans are very fresh, they will cook more quickly, so start checking them at 3 hours. Keep in mind how you want to use the beans—if you're adding them to a soup or casserole, stop the cooking when they're al dente. For marinated beans or hummus, cook the beans until they are very creamy inside.

  3. Alternatively, you can cook on the stovetop. Put the soaked beans in a large dutch oven or stockpot. Add fresh water, olive oil, salt, bring to boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, usually 1–1 ½ hours.

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