Adapted from savvyeat.com
I rarely cook dried beans the “proper” way, soaking them overnight and then cooking them in fresh water the next day.
Nor do I often cook just the amount of beans I need for a particular recipe. If I’m going to put in that much time, I surely deserve to get the highest yields possible. So when I cook dried beans, I make a whole pound at once, doling them out for various meals over the course of the next week.
Method 1: Crockpot Pour one pound of beans and 1-2 teaspoons salt into a crockpot and add enough water to cover the beans by 2-3″. If you’d like, you can season the water further with salt, pepper or dried herbs. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours, until the beans are fork-tender. Drain off about half the water, then refrigerate in an airtight container in the remaining cooking liquid. Cook Time: 6-8 hours Active Cook and Prep Time: 10 minutes Note: Beans such as kidney beans, pinto beans and chickpeas will take close to the full 8 hours. Some varieties, such as Great White Northern beans, will take less time, closer to 6 hours. Edited to note: According to the FDA, it may not be safe to use this method with red kidney beans. Before cooking your red kidney beans in a slow cooker, boil them on the stove for at least 10 minutes and pour off the water. Then you can safely put them in the crockpot with fresh water and cook as indicated above. You may choose to pre-boil other types of beans as well, as there have been several cases in the UK of food poisoning from dried beans, as Mary describes in her comment below. Method 2: Dutch Oven Preheat the oven to 350F. Fill a Dutch oven with one pound of beans and 1-2 teaspoons salt and add cold water until the water level is at least 1-2″ higher than the beans. Season to taste with salt, pepper or dried herbs. Cover and cook at 350F for one hour, then taste test at least 5 beans for tenderness. If any of them are still tough, cook the beans for another 20 minutes and test another 5 beans. Continue testing at 15-20 minute intervals until the beans are fully cooked. The beans should be tender when you bite in, but not so tender that they are splitting in half with the skin peeling off. In my experience, it takes between 1 hour, 20 minutes and 2 hours to cook a pound of beans, depending on the type. Drain off about half the water, then refrigerate in an airtight container in the remaining liquid until ready to use. Cook Time: 1-2 hours Active Cook and Prep Time: 10 minutes Edited to Note: It is a good idea to pre-boil kidney beans before cooking them. Boil them on the stove for at least 10 minutes and pour off the water. Then you can safely put them in the Dutch oven with fresh water and cook as indicated above. You may choose to pre-boil other types of beans as well, as there have been several cases in the UK of food poisoning from dried beans To Freeze the Remaining Beans: To freeze, place the beans in an airtight container and cover with their cooking liquid. Leave about 1/2″-1″ air space at the top of the container to allow the beans to expand. Beans can be frozen for up to 2-3 months, then defrosted when you are ready to use them.