Question: How do I cook dry beans?

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: Short of using a pressure cooker, this is the quickest and, I think, most goof-proof way to cook dried beans: Rinse the beans then soak them in boiling water to cover by about 3 inches for 1 to 2 hours, or in cold water overnight. Drain off the soaking liquid, put the beans in a pot and cover with 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently until beans are tender. This can take from 45 minutes up to 3 hours depending upon the beans and how old they are. Check for tenderness by tasting. Note that if you add molasses or brown sugar, or an acidic ingredient such as tomatoes or wine, it will take longer for the beans to become tender.

Check out our Beans Recipes Collection, many of which call for using dry beans.