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. Cook them up gigantes-style like Bobby Flay.  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 like to store them in glass with some of the cooking liquid.  They will keep for several days.


My recipe involves soaking in advance, which I prefer.  If you are short on time, please refer to my Bean Basics post, or simply bring the beans to a boil for 5 minutes before proceeding with cooking (thanks RG!)


How to Cook Beans

Yield: bean math: 1 pound dry beans = 2 cups dry beans = 4 - 6 cups cooked beans


  • 1 pound dry beans
  • 1 tablespoon salt for soaking
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • optional aromatic veggies: 1 carrot (quartered) and/or 1 onion (halved) and/or 2 celery ribs (quartered)


  1. Soak: Put the beans in a large bowl and fill it with water to cover the beans by 3 or 4 inches. Add in a tablespoon of salt and swish it around with your fingers. Leave at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain: After soaking, drain off the soaking water by dumping the beans into a colander.
  3. Cook with slow cooker: Put beans in your slow cooker insert and add fresh water to cover the beans by a couple inches. Pour in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the optional aromatic veggies. 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.
  4. Or cook on stovetop: Put the soaked beans in a large dutch oven or stockpot. Add fresh water, olive oil, salt, optional aromatic veggies as above, bring to boil then lower the heat to a low simmer and cook until beans are tender, usually 1 – 1 ½ hours.

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