Do You Soak Beans In The Fridge Or On The Counter?

Soaking of dried beans is not necessary

The “not generally needed” school of thought can be said to be represented by Russ Parsons, the Los Angeles Times Food Editor. He says the only reason to soak beans is to reduce cooking time, and that otherwise, in his opinion, there’s no difference in flavour, texture or split versus unsplit beans during cooking. Parsons is backed, or inspired, by the Mexican food authority Diana Kennedy, who says, “If you want the best-flavored beans, don’t soak them overnight, but start cooking in hot water.” [1]

Parsons says that he finds that the taste of unsoaked beans is richer, and that they give off a richer, thicker broth, useful for some bean dishes. Some people believe that soaking beans overnight, and then discarding the soaking water, reduces flatulence, but Parsons says the science he’s seen says that you’d have to soak beans for up to 3 days for any of the flatulence-causing sugars to start to leech into the water, by which point the beans would be close to germinating. Some people believe that some of the nutrition also leeches out of the beans during a pre-soak, but there have been no studies done on this.

Parsons does acknowledge that pre-soaking reduces cooking time, and that older dried beans (any that you suspect are more than 6 months old), and tougher ones such as chickpeas, definitely require a pre-soak.

Parsons and Kennedy are not alone in their views. Many people say the best way to cook beans is through a long, slow cooking time, with no pre-soaking. This, however, could be seen to be at odds with today’s skyrocketing energy costs, the price of which after hours and hours of cooking can practically make those beans seem like caviar when the fuel bill arrives in the post.

Cooking Tips

If you’ve presoaked beans but then something occurs that you can’t proceed with cooking them right away, drain them, and pop them in a sealed container for a day or so in fridge, or freeze.


Where to Buy

My price point for canned beans was, until my last trip to Sav-a-Lot, less than 50 cents. (They just went up to 57-69 cents!! Now I have to watch the sales again.)  This was in 2009…

Fancy beans like garbanzo (chickpeas) and cannelloni beans run more expensive, generally, about a dollar a can even on sale. If you have an Aldi near you, check their regular price for beans (and leave a comment for the rest of us, if you would). I always loved being able to totally skip paying attention to bean sales because I only bought the standard ones at Sav-A-Lot! ? (Healthy Meals at Aldi and Save-a-Lot)

What is the best way to soak beans

Beans MUST soak for about 4 days minimum to significantly reduce gas. Here’s how to soak beans for 4 days:

  1. Place beans in large bowl. Cover by about 2 inches with room temperature water.
  2. Soak for 24 hours. 
  3. Pour beans into a colander, and rinse them well. Wash the bowl. Place beans back into bowl, and again, cover by 2 inches with water.
  4. Repeat this process for a minimum of 4 days, or up to 6 days.
  5. Watch the amount of white bubbles and foam on the surface of the water. It will reach its height on Day 3, and then gradually decrease. Cook your beans when all or most of the bubbles have ceased.

Do soaked beans have a good flavor and texture

I’ve read some sources that say long-soaked beans do not maintain as good of flavor or texture.

Firstly, this just isn’t true. And secondly, digestion is more important than a subtle nuance in flavor or texture.

But even after a 6-day soak, I get a great flavored and textured bean.

Cooking Dried Beans Exceptions

I use this method for cooking dried beans for almost every bean variety: black beans, pinto beans, cannellini, kidney, cranberry, and more. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule:

  • Lentils. There’s no need to soak these legumes before you cook them! Each variety has a distinct texture and short cooking time – learn about cooking black, green, brown, and red lentils here.
  • Split peas. Green and yellow split peas also cook quickly and don’t require soaking. Green split peas cook in about 25 minutes, while yellow split peas take 30-40 minutes. Both are great for soups, as they dissolve into a smooth, creamy puree as they cook.
  • Adzuki beans. These little red beans have a delightful sweet, nutty flavor, and if you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend you give them a try! Simmer them for 35-40 minutes with salt and your desired aromatics (read more about these below!).

Can you soak beans at room temperature

Answered By: Richard Williams Date: created: Feb 18 2021

First, cover the beans with water at room temperature. Soak them overnight or for 8 to 10 hours. … Beans soaked longer than 12 hours can absorb too much water and lose their characteristic texture and flavor. If you plan to cook beans for dinner and you want to use the long-soak method, start soaking in the morning.

Asked By: Chase Price Date: created: Apr 25 2021

Do you soak beans in hot or cold water

Answered By: Hayden Anderson Date: created: Dec 03 2021

Hot soaking is the preferred method since it reduces cooking time, helps dissolve some of the gas-causing substances in beans, and most consistently produces tender beans. Quick Soak. This is the fastest method. In a large pot, add 6 cups of water for each pound (2 cups) of dry beans.

Asked By: Logan Mitchell Date: created: Oct 01 2021

Should You Soak Your Beans?

The Internet debate on soaking will go on until the end of time. Overnight soak, quick soak, or no soak at all—these are all hotly contended!

The biggest benefit to soaking beans the night before you want to use them is that it will reduce your cooking time. Look at your schedule for the day and the time you have on your hands, and make the best choice for you. If that is a priority for you, then by all means soak away.

I tested both Great Northern Beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). I found that the unsoaked beans took only 30 minutes longer than the soaked beans to reach peak tenderness, and I didn’t notice a discernible difference in texture when it came to the finished bean.

Like many things when it comes to home cooking, your desire to soak or not soak is a personal choice. You will not destroy your beans, your dinner, or your gastrointestinal system by choosing one method over the other.

Ready to soak (or not)?! See below for the scoop on each method.

Alison Conklin

Ways to Flavor a Pot of Beans

From the start of cooking:

  • Add 1 bay leaf, 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, and a handful of parsley stems tied with twine, so they can be easily removed from the pot. Peel and quarter a yellow onion. Leave the stem end intact and toss half of it into the pot as well.
  • Toss peppercorns, chilis, cumin seeds, garlic cloves, and coriander seeds in a square of cheesecloth. Tie it up and add it to a pot of black beans, pinto beans or black-eyed peas.
  • Add onion, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika at the beginning of the cook time.
  • Add parsley stems, thyme, onion, garlic, and carrot.

After the beans have been cooked and drained:

  • I’ve never met a pot of beans that didn’t benefit from a little red wine vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice.
  • For Italian-inspired beans (and my favorite way to eat white beans): Drizzle them with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and freshly minced parsley.
  • South of the Border Beans: Add lime juice, chopped chilis, freshly minced red onions, and cilantro.

Alison Conklin

2. How to soak dried beans:

There are about three methods for soaking beans:

Method One: Long Soak

The “Long Soak” method is the most common way to soak your beaners. Just put your beans in a large bowl or pot of water and let them sit submerged for 8-12 hours. Soaking actually begins bean germination and promotes enzyme release. The germination process is what breaks down all the complex bean sugars. Breaking down the complex sugar is a good thing as this is what gives us gas. Apparently, soaking beans using the “Long Soak” method can reduce complex sugars by up to 60 percent. I usually leave my beans to soak overnight as this prevents my “better half” from poking them to see if they are done.

Method Two: Quick Or Power Soak

I haven’t tried the “Quick/Power Soak” method. Basically, just bring a pot of water to boil, add your beans, and then let them boil for about three minutes. After boiling, remove the beans from the stove and let them sit in the hot water for 2-6 hours. This method apparently removes 80 percent of complex bean sugars. How does that toot your horn?

Method Three: Quick Cook

This is basically the no soak method where you just throw your dried beans into a pot and cook the heck outta them. This method only really works with beans like lentils and split peas. I wouldn’t recommend the “Quick Cook” method for tougher beans like kidney or chick peas cause you will fart your friends into an oblivion. Just saying….

Can you freeze soaked beans?

You can freeze soaked beans before you cook them. Simply drain the beans, dry them and then put them in an airtight container in the freezer. They’ll last 3 months. You can also freeze them in the soaking liquid, but they’ll take a lot longer to defrost.

To avoid freezer burn either:

  • Use a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out
  • Use as small a plastic container as possible and cover the beans with a layer of plastic wrap

Although you can freeze soaked beans, I dont recommend it. It’s much easier to cook them before you freeze them. That way they’re ready to go as soon as you get them out of the freezer. 

If you don’t have time to cook them straight away, you can leave the soaked beans in the fridge for a few days until you get a chance to cook them. When you do get round to cooking them, you can transfer the cooked beans to the freezer.

How to store cooked beans

To store cooked beans, let them cool to room temperature before putting them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can keep them in there with or without the cooking liquid. In both cases, the beans will last 4-5 days.

The boiling method

In very hot and humid climates it’s not uncommon for cooked beans to start to ferment even in the refrigerator. This will be pretty easy to spot (they’ll start to smell).

To stop this, you can boil the beans for a few min

To stop this, you can boil the beans for a few minutes every day. This will kill the fermenting bacteria and your beans will be as good as new. After you’ve boiled them, simply wait for the beans to cool and return them to the refrigerator. 

In theory, you can do this indefinitely. But eventually the beans will start to go mushy from overcooking. 

What Should I Cook My Beans In?

You do not need to only cook your beans on the stove. You can choose to use a pressure cooker or slow cooker as well.

If using a pressure cooker, do not fill the pot more than halfway with the beans and water. This will help to reduce the cooking time, but might not give enough time for the beans to absorb any additional flavors you have added in.

To make sure all the flavors blend, you can leave the pressure cooker lid closed for an hour to allow the ingredients such as herbs, onion, and garlic to permeate the beans. It is also a good idea to add in a tablespoon of oil into the cooking water to avoid any foam forming, which could block the pressure cooker safety valve.

If you are wanting to use a crockpot, you can set it to cook on high for 3 hours. Be sure to have the beans covered in water throughout the cooking process.

Once cooked for 3 hours on high, lower the temperature and continue to cook the beans on simmer until they are soft, which could take between 6 to 8 hours. This is a longer method but is a great way to achieve perfectly cooked beans that absorb all the flavors they should.

How Long To Soak Beans

Now it is time to soak your beans, and you can choose between three methods to do so.

Here are the three different ways to soak your beans at home:

1. Traditional Soaking – 8 to 12 Hours

The traditional soaking method is best when cooking beans in a pressure cooker, as the pressure cooker allows the beans to become much softer than normal cooking.

  1. Place your beans in a bowl
  2. Cover the beans in cold water while in the bowl, ensuring all beans are covered
  3. Leave the beans to soak for 8 hours, or if possible, leave them to soak in the water overnight (about 12 hours)
  4. Drain the beans and discard the water. The beans might appear wrinkled after soaking, but they will rehydrate once they have been cooked
  5. Rinse the beans with cool water

2. Hot Soaking – 24 Hours

Many people choose to use a hot soaking method. It usually results in the softest, most tender beans.

  1. Place the beans in a large pot and add in 10 cups of water for every 2 cups full of beans
  2. Heat the water to boiling and let it boil for three additional minutes
  3. Remove the beans from the heat and cover them. Let the beans stand for up to 24 hours
  4. Drain the water from the beans and discard the water
  5. Rinse the beans will cool water

3. Quick Soaking – 1 Hour

Quick soaking is the fastest way to soak your beans, while still giving you tender beans after cooking.

  1. Place the beans in a large pot and add in 6 cups of water for every 2 full cups of beans
  2. Bring the water to a boil and leave it to boil for an additional 3 minutes
  3. Remove the beans and water from the heat and cover, let the beans stand for 1 hour
  4. Drain the water from the beans and discard of the water
  5. Rinse the beans with cool water

How to Cook Beans

rate this recipe:

5 from 14 votes

Prep Time: 8 hrs

Cook Time: 2 hrs

Serves 8 to 12 (makes 6 cups) Pin Recipe Print RecipeLearn how to cook dried beans on the stove! Simmer them with water and salt, or add aromatics to the pot for extra flavor.


  • 2 cups dried beans
  • Water
  • Sea salt

optional aromatics:Onion quarters , halved shallots Smashed or sliced garlic cloves Scrap veggies , scallion tops, fennel fronds, herb stems Desired spices , bay leaves, peppercorns


For black beans, white beans, red beans, garbanzo beans:

  • Place the beans in a large bowl. Discard any stones or debris. Cover with 2 to 3 inches of water and discard any beans that float. Soak at room temperature for 8 hours or over overnight. Drain and rinse well.

  • Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Skim any foam off the top, then add 2 teaspoon sea salt and desired aromatics. Continue simmering until tender but not mushy, up to 2 more hours, stirring occasionally. The timing will depend on the type and freshness of your beans. I typically check them every 30 minutes. If they start to look dry, add a bit more water to the pot.

  • When the beans are tender, discard the aromatics. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Store cooked beans in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for several months.

For adzuki beans:

  • Skip the soaking process. Rinse, then place the adzuki beans in a large pot. Cover with 2 to 3 inches of water and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes with desired aromatics and sea salt. Season to taste.

For split peas:Skip the soaking process. Rinse, then place 2 cups split peas in a large pot with 4 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until soft, 25 to 40 minutes. Season to taste. Split peas will become mushy in texture, similar to red lentils. They're great for thickening soups and stews.

Do you cover beans when soaking overnight?

Overnight Soaking To soak beans the traditional way, cover them with water by 2 inches, add 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (or 1 tablespoon fine salt) per pound of beans, and let them soak for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. Drain them and rinse before using.

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