How to Cook Dried Beans: A Simple Recipe


This is our staff recipe for how to cook dried beans.  It’s a simple recipe– requires few ingredients, little attention, and no skill in the kitchen.  Ultimately, beans should be soft but not mushy, their skins barely starting to break – our average cooking time is 80-90 minutes.



1 pound dried beans, soaked and drained

1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons coarse salt




Combine beans, onion, garlic, and bay but NOT SALT yet.

Cover with two inches of cold water.

Bring to a healthy boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.

Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.

Drain beans and discard onions and bay.

Serve warm, drizzled with olive oil.


why and how we soak beans

When we cook dried beans, we always soak them. Simply put, the soaking helps reduce cooking time and allows the beans to absorb more flavor from the cooking liquid, and the salt helps the beans retain their shape and keep their skins from falling apart while cooking.  There is some debate about this and you don’t have to soak your beans, but if you have the time, we generally recommend it.

SLOW SOAK:  Rinse beans and check for any field debris.  Soak dry beans in twice their volume of cold water with a tablespoon of salt.  Leave overnight, or at least 4 hours.  Discard the water before cooking.

FAST SOAK:   In a large bowl, soak the beans with boiling water, a tablespoon of salt, and tightly cover with plastic wrap for at least 1 hour.


Our shelves and online shop offer you a wide variety of dried, heirloom bean varieties for you to experiment with.  We buy our beans from Racho Gordo and Zürsun Idaho Heirloom Beans.  We would love to know which type are your favorite!