Cooking Beans in a Pot on the Stovetop

If you're here for tips to cooking beans without a pressure cooker, this means you are likely pretty new to cooking beans overall.

Pot of cooked beans

So you have probably been getting your beans pre-made from a can and have come to realize that they're not only more expensive, but they are not as healthy (usually) because they contain lots of excess sodium you don't need.

Plus, there have been some concerns about the BPA found in canned stuff, but as you will see from this video over at, the jury is still out on exactly how harmful it really is.

Plus, if you forget to rinse your beans that come out of can? Look out, world! Can you say gastro-intestinal difficulties? Yikes.

Anyway, I am very proud of you for wanting to learn how to do it yourself. I promise you will be amaaazed at how much better fresh beans taste. In fact, there really is no comparison to those out of a can. Good job.

Although cooking beans from scratch in a pressure cooker takes a FRACTION of the time and actually helps retain more nutrients, you might not own one yet. So here are some simple directions for how to cook beans without a pressure cooker using a regular pot on the stovetop.

Okay, let's get started...

  1. When using this cooking method, soaking your beans is a MUST. It will drastically cut your cooking times for just about every legume out there. Refer to my Bean Cooking Guide for simple directions.

  2. Use 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of dried beans which have been soaked ahead of time. If you're REALLY in a pinch and simply forgot to soak your beans, then add 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of dried beans.

  3. Add water, beans and any seasonings to a heavy saucepan with a lid.

    Oops, let's back up for a quick second. When I say "seasonings" I do NOT mean salt! Why? Because salt could stop (or drastically affect) the cooking process, so they may never soften no matter how long you cook them. This includes veggie broth which contains sodium.

    Also, when cooking beans do not add acidic foods such as vinegar or tomatoes for the very same reason -- the skins might take too long to soften.

  4. It's good to add a piece of kombu (about 1" ought to do it). Kombu helps to make the beans more digestible. Also, kombu is a great NATURAL source of iodine, which we need to be healthy (especially if you're Vegan because it can be difficult to find natural iodine in plant-based foods).

  5. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until tender. (Replace water as needed so that the beans are always covered with liquid as they cook.) They're done to perfection when you can easily smoosh one between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Drain.

Vegan Coach's Stovetop Cooking Time Suggestions

  • Aduki/Adzuki
    1 - 1 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 cups

  • Anasazi
    1 - 1 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 1/4 cups

  • Black
    2 - 2 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 cups

  • Cannellini
    2 to 2 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 cups

  • Garbanzos
    2 - 2 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 1/2 cups
  • Great Northern
    1 - 1 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 1/4 cups

  • Kidney
    2 - 2 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 cups

  • Navy
    1 1/2 - 2 hours
    Makes 2 cups

  • Pinto
    1 - 1 1/2 hours
    Makes 2 1/4 cups

All of the above measurements and cooking times are based on PRE-SOAKING your beans overnight (at least 8 hours -- preferably longer).

For every 1 cup beans use 3 cups water. Can be doubled, tripled, or more.

Beans are done to perfection when you can easily smoosh one between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

You can also add a small strip of Kombu to the cooking water to make your beans more digestible.

PLEASE NOTE: Vinegar, citrus, and tomatoes should not be added to the pot before cooking your beans or they will take for-ev-er to cook.

Your beans are now ready to be used in any way you'd like. Use the Bean Flavor Matches to create your very own recipe in minutes.

You Asked...

"Can you use the stock from the cooked beans for soup or should it be discarded?"

Sassy Sez: Yes, you sure can. Before we had our pressure cooker, Jeff's specialty was a yummy bean and veggie soup, lovingly called "Sloopy Soup" -- neither of us can remember exactly WHY we called it that though.    :)

ANYway, he always made the soup with soaked (drained) beans and veggies, so the cooking water remained through the whole process, from the start of cooking all the way down into our tummies. Just be sure you DO NOT use salt or salted vegetable stock/bouillon (opt for salt-free). Or wait until the beans are done cooking before you add salt or vegetable bouillon. Otherwise the beans may not cook properly and will be hard. Which would be sad.

Happy cooking!

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