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Wondering how to cook dried beans? Our Dutch oven method for cooking dried beans is quicker and simpler than the traditional stovetop method.

How to Cook Dried Beans (Dutch Oven Method) | A Couple Cooks
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At the risk of sounding over-dramatic, this dried bean cooking method has revolutionized our lives. But first, why cook dried beans in the first place? To be honest, we’ve used canned beans frequently, since they’re quick and easy. But dried beans they taste better and are much cheaper. Beans cooked from dry taste deliciously al dente, much less mushy than canned beans. We can always tell in a recipe when we’ve used cooked beans versus canned (especially chickpeas!). Also, dried beans are about ¼ the price of canned beans!

Got an Instant Pot? Try Instant Pot black beans or Instant Pot chickpeas.

What’s a Dutch oven? 

Do you have a Dutch oven? (I didn’t know what it was before we started cooking 6 years ago!) It’s a large, cast iron pot with a lid that’s perfect for soups and is oven-safe so it can be used for baking. We use ours all the time: for soup, risotto, bread,  and so forth. If you don’t have a Dutch oven and want to start cooking dried beans, this might be a good place to start. They are an investment, but we found ours at a discount store for much cheaper than regular price (see below).

If you don’t have a Dutch oven and are not looking to buy one at this time, never fear: you can still cook dried beans! Use the stove top method in this dried beans recipe from our friend Annie.

Related: 12 Easy Dutch Oven Recipes

How to Cook Dried Beans (Dutch Oven Method) | A Couple Cooks

Why use the Dutch oven method to cook dried beans? 

We’ve tried the stovetop method many times, but when we found the Dutch oven method, it stuck. Why? It’s quick and easy: you can set it and forget it. Many of the stove top methods take about 3 to 4 hours total (including soaking the beans) with a little more active time; some recipes even call for soaking the beans overnight.

In contrast, the Dutch oven method takes about 1 ½ hours, and it’s easy enough for me to remember how to do it without a recipe, which I love. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Preheat to 350°F.
  2. Put beans in a pot and cover with 1 inch of water.
  3. Cook for 1 ½ hours; then check and cook a little more if they are not yet done.

Is it really that easy? 

Yes. Typically we cook beans on the weekend while we’re doing other things around the house, like cleaning or writing blogs. Just don’t get too far away so you don’t hear your timer; I’ve done that before accidentally! I try to set a timer on my phone since it’s generally closer to me at any given moment than our oven.

Does this method work for all types of beans? 

Yes, at least all types that we’ve tried! Black beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are our go-to options in the bulk section, but we’ve cooked kidney beans, white beans, mixed beans, and they’ve all worked with this method. The key is to be extra vigilant the first time you try a new bean type and make sure to cook just the right amount of extra time (see below).

Beans on toast
Cook Great Northern beans and try this White Beans on Toast!

How do I store cooked beans? 

Cooked beans will only last a few days in the refrigerator, so usually we save out the equivalent of one can of beans for immediate use and then freeze the rest. The frozen beans will stay good indefinitely. We freeze them drained (without the cooking liquid). The magical formula for cooked versus canned beans:

1 ½ cups cooked beans = 15-ounce can of beans

You can use this formula anytime you are substituting cooked beans for canned beans in a recipe.

Where can I get a Dutch oven? 

This post is not a secret advertisement for a Dutch oven. We wrote it because we wanted to share this method, and we find our Dutch oven to be an essential kitchen tool for the home cook. (You’re welcome, Dutch oven companies of the world.)

Our Dutch oven: Cuisinart Cast Iron 5-Quart Dutch Oven (but we got ours from TJ Maxx for a much better deal!)

If you’re feeling really fancy, Le Creuset is a very-well known brand for Dutch ovens; if we had our pick, we’d use this one:  Le Creuset Cast Iron 5 ½ Quart Dutch Oven. That Caribbean color would look so fun in our kitchen!

Any questions? 

Please let us know if you have any questions on this method! We’ve been using it for about a year with great results.

Looking for other DIYs? 

Whether it’s how to grow bean sprouts or how to hard boil eggs, our essential recipes are easy DIYs to make at home! Here are few more of our essential and DIY recipes:

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How to Cook Dried Beans (Dutch Oven Method)


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 7 cups cooked 1x
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Description

Wondering how to cook dried beans? Our Dutch oven method for cooking dried beans is quicker and simpler than the traditional stovetop method.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound dried beans of any type
  • Water
  • Dutch oven

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Rinse the dried beans and pick out any debris (sometimes we skip this when we are feeling lazy).
  3. Place the beans in the dutch oven, and cover with enough water so there is one inch above the top of the beans.
  4. Cover the dutch oven, place in the oven and let the beans cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  5. Taste a bean and determine whether the bean is tender and cooked through. If not, continue to cook and check every 10 to 15 minutes until the beans are to your liking. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water; let sit for a few minutes to cool.
  6. Store beans in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days; or, freeze them for use indefinitely.
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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39 Comments

  1. Barb M. says:

    Is it necessary for the dutch oven to be cast iron? I have a stainless steel one and normally would not hesitate to use it but you made the point of using cast iron, so now I wonder….?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Stainless should work. Thank you!

  2. Sierra Best says:

    What a game changer. Did this with dried chickpeas for the first time. I did presoak overnight. I put in the DO for 1.5 hrs at 325 F for some gentle cooking. They are done but not mushy and ready to be turned into chana masala later tonight. Thank you! I will never use canned beans again!!!!!!






  3. Tabia Coulibaly says:

    Hi. QUESTION: Why do you not soak beans before cooking?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We haven’t found it necessary. You can for a quicker cook time.

  4. SandraDee says:

    Thank you for a great and effortless way to cook beans quickly.
    Today, however, I decided to use my LARGE Dutch Oven as a pressure cooker, sort of. It was not planned, but I thought I’d give it a try. The lid is tight fitting, though steam does escape. I’ve kept the water at JUST above top of beans, which has resulted in adding water (HOT so that boil continues) quite often, which also gives me a chance to check the beans for doneness. Did you know that you can easily check doneness by removing a bean from the pot and blowing on it; usually done when bean skin ‘peels away’ from the bean! My ranch-raised-Mexican husband taught me this, and I add some salt to the cooking water at about an hour in as my husband insists I do. My beans took about an hour and 45 minutes to tender.For about the last 15 minutes, I add much more water and diced onion, also to my husband’s liking—he is the boss, after all!! Haha!!

    1. Sonja says:

      Haha! Thank you for sharing all of these details — especially the tip on how to check doneness!

  5. Ty says:

    I just tried this method to see if it would work well for pinto beans. I cooked them after rinsing and without soaking. I added a little bacon. The Dutch oven is a Lodge. It did work, but the cooking time was about 2 1/4 hours, so I don’t think it turned out much quicker than stovetop. it was easy, though, and I didn’t need to add water.

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