February 5, 2011

VH BASICS: Cooking Beans

Beans are a huge staple in my diet. I eat them at least once a day. And there are so many advantages to buying and cooking dried beans rather than buying canned. First off, a lot of canned foods are stored in cans that are coated in bisphenol A, also known as BPA. It helps preserve the foods, but it also mimics human hormones and has been classified as an endocrine disruptor. BPA has been associated with a variety of health problems, including cancers, early puberty, and developmental problems.

Also, it's so much cheaper to buy dried beans than it is to buy canned. The kidney beans I buy at my local co-op are less than $2.00 a pound. Can you imagine how many beans are in a pound? Most beans that I buy are around that same price too. I always have dried kidney, garbanzo, black, and cannellini beans on hand. I think I even have some mung beans that I got on sale too. I've included a nifty chart for you guys that has the cooking times for each different type of bean on it.

Don't forget to soak them overnight before you cook them! It reduces cooking time and helps in digestion! I always cook mine in my electric pressure cooker, but you can always just cook yours on the stovetop! A pressure cooker just cuts down on the cooking time. The usually ratio for cooking beans is 3-4 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans.


  1. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!! I've been winging it with the pressure cooker- this will make life so much easier! :)

    1. This chart, while helpful, is not completely accurate regarding cooking times. Or maybe not for me. In my latest book, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes, I have cooking charts for beans, grains and vegetables. No more guessing on pressure cooking times.

      I love the pressure cooker and pressure cooking.

  2. great!! Thank you for this!!!

  3. You're welcome everybody! Thanks for posting!

  4. Can you maybe expand on how you would make refried beans from there? Hahaha, thanks! <3

  5. therealnickgaga - Refried beans is a whole 'nother recipe in itself! I can definitely give it a shot in the future though!

  6. Thanks! That would be awesome! The organic refried beans I buy are SO expensive, so I went out and bought dry bulk organic beans today! SOOO much cheaper!

  7. For refried beans, cook the beans, save a little of the cooking water when you drain them, mash the beans and add a little of the cooking water to make them the consistency you like.

  8. Matt,

    I have actually figured out how many cups a pound of beans will generally make: 6 cups or the equivalent of 4 cans of beans. Cooking beans in the pressure cooker is amazing, especially when you are like you and I are and eat beans daily. I make large batches and put what I don't use into the freezer in 1 1/2 cup amounts which is what you find in a can of beans. Thanks so much for this post.
    There can't be too many people encouraging others to start pressure cooking. It helps with personal and planetary health.

  9. Hi Matt,
    Do you season your beans before you cook them? in the pressure cooker? I've been doing it the old fashion way on the stove top and skimming off the foam as well. I guess you can't do that in the cooker?