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

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)


  • 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

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

Keywords: How to cook dried beans in a dutch oven

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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34 Comments

  1. I love this post! I use dried beans all the time-it’s so much cheaper! And much easier than you’d think! But I’ve never tried the dutch oven method so I’m excited to try it!

  2. I actually love this post too, I had no idea about the oven method! This will make it so much easier. I use a pressure cooker but I know it’s not the most popular kitchen equipment, so I’m happy to have another method to recommend to people. I still soak beans overnight though because I personally find that it makes them easier to digest (helps reduce the phytic acid content).

  3. Thank you for this post. I have never had success with dried beans without soaking them overnight, partly due to hard water in our area. Do you know if that makes any difference? I have also never had a Dutch oven (I am in my 50s now), and am seriously considering investing in one, as I have also seen great bread recipes using those. But mostly, I appreciate the reminder about how easy and nourishing it is to use dried beans (and inexpensive), especially now that some of the plastics lining the insides of cans are being linked with health hazards. I think it’s going to be a good winter with lots of beans! :-)

    1. Interesting! I am not sure if hard water has anything to do with cooking beans :) I’d highly recommend a Dutch oven – we use it quite often and love how evenly it heats! We’ve cooked bread in it with good results too!

  4. I am excited to try this method out too. Even a basic recipe gets me excited to be in the kitchen. On another note, keep your eyes peeled at T.J. Maxx, I found a 3 1/2 quart Le Creuset for less than half the price. A dutch oven that is definitely worth the splurge.

  5. It’s pretty amazing to me that this works without soaking the beans. I just cooked some black beans the other day, and I did it stove top after soaking for 24 hours (change the water, using hot water, after 12 hours). I soaked them that long following a method I learned for making lentils more digestible. For me, soaking the black beans that long made them more digestible also. For that reason it’s worth taking the time to soak them that long. It also took only about 1.5 hours to cook perfectly on the stovetop after the long soak. Thanks for doing this post – it was not at all boring!

    1. Haha, thanks so much! Yes, it sounds like many people like the soaking method for the digestion factor. We’ll have to try that too! I think that this method would be even quicker with a soak.

  6. I was seriously just going to soak some beans overnight when I read your post. So I waited until morning and this method worked great! Simple and quick. I’ll be using this from now on. Thank you!

  7. GREAT post! I didn’t know you could freeze cooked beans – never even thought about it! I have a lot of dried beans but don’t think far enough ahead to cook them, I’ll be cooking a pot or two this weekend and freezing in single serving containers for quick additions to dinners! Genius

  8. I’ve used your method for about a year now with good results. My beans usually are not quite done though after about 2 hours, but I’m making quite a lot, 1/2 gallon dried beans to start with.

    The extra thing I do is put them into Ball jars, screw on the lid loosely and then put them in the oven again at about 220 degrees, just barely boiling temperature for about an hour.

    Then they come out sealed and sanitary with a good vacuum. I tighten the lids and they will keep in the fridge for a year if you want.

    Gary

  9. I bookmarked this page and have to look at it every time I cook a batch of beans. I hope your site never goes down because then I would have to learn how to cook them all over again. :)

    Gary
    share-a-like dot com

  10. Thanks. This worked awesome and the beans tasted and had the texture like they came out of a can or better!!!

      1. My favorite method too — so cozy to have a pot of beans in oven warming the chilly house! I lucked out and inherited my mother-in-law’s antique bean pot from my DAUGHTER! She was going to get rid of it when my s-i-l gave it to her. Nobody wanted the old pot that says BEANS on the front but me! I love it! My cell won’t let me give 5 stars? Maybe it knows I always soak beans overnight?

        1. Thanks for this comment! Love the idea of a pot with BEANS on the front – haha! We’ve heard a few complaints that there are some issues with giving a 5 star rating on mobile — we’re looking into it! THANKS!

  11. Gary:
    When you put the beans into mason jars do you have any water in them or just beans? Your sealing method sounds great.

  12. Every time I put the beans in a pot to soak overnight, drained the water, added more water and slow cooked on the stovetop, I’m left wondering how this all worked on chuck wagons back in the day. The magic of a cast iron dutch oven turns out to be timeless. Can’t wait to switch bean cooking methods, and ordering 20# bags of beans from the local coop market.

  13. Thanks, I love this recipe! And so does my husband who grew up in Costa Rica. He has always told me not to go to the trouble of making dried beans as it was too complicated and the canned beans were fine. However, after my first batch in our new cast iron dutch oven he was singing a different tune! They were amazing and so easy to make. Making my second batch right now. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    1. Oh I’m so glad they came out well! Glad to hear they convinced your husband too! :) Thank you so much, and please let us know if you make other recipes too!

  14. I only have an oven safe Cuisinart Stainless Steel 5 1/1 Qt multi-purpose pan with cover , no Dutch Oven. Would this pan work with your method? I’d love to try it since we vegetarians in my house love beans !

    1. Hi there, we have never tried it with this sort of pan, but if it’s oven safe I would think it would work! Let us know if you give it a try!

  15. I didn’t have a dutch oven, but used this method with my corningware French white casserole. It worked perfectly. I think probably any oven safe covered dish would work. Thank you so much for the post. I’ll be eating a lot more beans now!

  16. I bought a Dutch oven yesterday and used it to make fish n chips that were fantastic. But I was also thinking of cooking beans with it too. I can’t wait to try your method. Thanks

  17. 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.

  18. 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!!

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