3 Easy Methods for Soaking Beans

Beans are the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you…well, toot. Let’s face it, beans are yummy. But the gas sucks. So to keep your beans more tasty and less musical it’s always a good idea to learn about the best methods for soaking beans. Soaking beans is not hard. Sure, it may take a few hours but it’s not like you have to stand there watching them get submerged. Just be sure to plan a little ahead of time when making recipes calling for dried beans or legumes.

To help make the most of your frugal and yummy bean meals I’ve summarized three easy methods for soaking beans, they are: the long soak method (where you soak beans overnight), the quick soak method, and the quick cook method.

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Method 1: The 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 overnight. Soaking beans overnight 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 overnight using the “Long Soak” method can reduce complex sugars by up to 60 percent. I usually use this method of soaking dried beans with exceptional results – no gastrointestinal gusts.

Method 2: Quick Soaking Beans (The Power Soak)

I haven’t tried the “Quick Soaking Beans or Power Soak” method yet. But 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 3: Quick Cook

While most bigger beans like red beans, chick peas, and navy beans do require soaking – some smaller beans and legumes require little to no soaking. Legumes like lentils, mung beans, or split peas can be added to soup (like lentil soup) without ever needing time soaked in water before cooking.

If you’re using smaller beans and legumes, then use the “Quick Cook” or “no soak method” where you just throw your dried beans into a pot and cook the heck outta them. 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….

How long can you leave your beans soaking?

Most beans only require about 6-8 hours of soaking to fully expand and soften. I’ve been kinda lazy at times and soaked my garbanzos for two full days without issue. The key is to change the bean water frequently (at least daily). If beans are soaked longer than two days then some fermentation may begin which can change the bean’s flavor after it is cooked. A few readers have asked about soaking beans beyond three days – I’m of the opinion why risk getting sick to save $1, it just doesn’t make cents.

There you have it – 3 easy methods for soaking beans! If you’re looking for some more beaneriffic inspiration, then bean sure to check out these awesome bean articles for your frugal dining pleasure:

More on soaking beans:

Cheap, easy, and healthy recipes with beans:

Got any further tips or methods for soaking beans?

Your two cents:

  1. Gerard September 25th, 2011

    Another option: after the first 12 hours, just rinse the beans and drain well, then let ‘em sit damp (rinse and drain again at least twice a day). They’ll start to sprout, slowly, which will reduce the Farty Gases even more, and make more of their nutrients available. And they’ll cook faster, and taste a little sweeter. One to three days works for most of them. Lots of tips on this on Indian cooking/gardening websites.

    Of course, this requires a fair bit of planning ahead…

  2. Mary January 5th, 2012

    I have let my soaked beans sprout also. The idea is the starch in the beans begins to convert to sugar to grow the beansprout. The sugars are easier to digest. They can be soaked in a widemouth quart jar with a screen lid and then rinsed and drained in the same jar. Cover with a towel to help them sprout.
    Beano really works BTW.

  3. Mykael April 5th, 2012

    Use fresh water for cooking and add a whole carrot(which you will not eat). Doing both reduces the ‘gas’ effect.

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