Soaking Times for Dried Beans (Recommended Minimum Times)
Soaking dried beans for several hours in filtered water reduces the time required to cook beans, but pre-soaking also has another advantage: it helps break down some of the indigestible sugars that can cause flatulence (intestinal gas), heartburn, reflux, bloating and other digestive problems.
Food authorities today recommended that you soak all dried legumes except lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas and mung beans. The recommended minimum soaking times varies from variety to variety, with soybeans and chickpeas requiring the longest soaking times (see the chart below).
The ideal pre-soaking time for each dried legume depends on a number of factors, including its size, maturity at harvest, moisture level, age/freshness (older beans must be soaked for longer), and digestibility of the carbohydrates it contains.
The following Bean Soaking Time Chart shows the approximate minimum soaking times for over 30 different bean and pea types, listed alphabetically. Use the chart only as a rough guide.
Note: Keep in mind that soaked, uncooked beans are still raw and in many cases highly poisonous, so make sure you always cook your beans thoroughly before eating them.
|Bean (or Legume) Type||Min. Soaking Time||Approx. Cooking Time|
|Adzuki (Aduki)||2 to 4||35 to 40 min|
|Black Turtle||Overnight||50 to 60|
|Black-Eyed Peas||Not necessary but soaking does reduce cooking time!||45 to 60 min|
|Brown Lentils||None||30 to 40 min|
|Cannellini||Overnight||1 ½ to 2 hours|
|Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)||Overnight||1 ½ to 3 hours|
|Fava, Mature/Dried||6 to 8 hours (or overnight)||60 to 90 min|
|Flageolet||Overnight||45 to 60 min|
|Great Northern||Overnight||50 to 70 min|
|Green Lentils||None||30 to 40 min|
|Lima, Mature/Dried||Overnight||50 to 70 min|
|Marrow||Overnight||60 to 90 min|
|Mung||4 to 6 hours||50 to 70 min|
|Navy||6 to 8 hours (or overnight)||45 to 60 min|
|Pinto||6 to 8 hours (or overnight)||About 1 ½ hours|
|Red Kidney||Overnight||70 to 90 min|
|Red Lentils||None||15 to 25 min|
|Red Merlot||6 to 8 hours (or overnight)||45 to 60 min|
|Soybeans||12 hours minimum|
|Split Peas, Green or Yellow||None||30 to 45 min|
|Whole Peas||Overnight||50 to 70 min|
Soaking and Cooking Instructions
Before soaking beans, remove any broken beans and foreign particles such as little pebbles or twigs. Rinse the beans thoroughly and discard the rinse water. Place the rinsed and drained legumes into a glass bowl and add cold filtered water (about 3 cups of water for every cup of dried beans). Do not add salt as this can prevent the absorption of water!
Let the beans absorb water for several hours – the approximate minimum times are shown in the chart above. To reduce the ability of the cooked beans to cause gas and bloating, change the water a couple of times during the soaking process.
After soaking, drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly with clean water. Cook the beans until they are tender but not mushy (note that this can take up to 2 hours, or even longer, for harder bean types such as soybeans and chickpeas). If you are using a pressure cooker, the cooking times will be significantly shorter.
You may want to add a teaspoon of oil into the cooking water as well, especially if you didn't have a chance to soak the beans as long as you would have wanted. Pre-soaking has been shown to effectively reduce the ability of legumes to froth and foam during cooking, and adding oil to the cooking water can further reduce frothing.